1975 was a disastrous year in wrestling. As you will soon learn, the dangers of travel can, unfortunately, prove deadly.In 1975, two plane crashes occurred just under eight months apart.
On February 20th, 1975, passengers Bobby Shane, Buddy Colt, Dennis McCord, and ‘Playboy’ Gary Hart were on board.
Later in the year, on October 4th, 1975, a second fateful flight occurred with Ric Flair, Johnny Valentine, Bob Bruggers, Tim Woods, and David Crockett aboard.
These tragic plane crashes would change the wrestling world forever.
1. Plane Crash with Bobby Shane, Buddy Colt, Austin Idol, and ‘Playboy’ Gary Hart Aboard
On February 20th, 1975, Buddy Colt, ‘Iron’ Mike McCord, Gary Hart, and Bobby Shane were traveling from a show in Miami to Tampa in the middle of the night in Buddy Colt’s personal single-engine Cessna 173.
While airborne, a storm approached rapidly, forcing Buddy Colt, who was piloting the plane, into a cloud bank with zero visibility. Blinded, Colt’s plane took a nosedive into Tampa Bay.
Three of the passengers were able to unfasten their seat-belts, swim to the surface, and eventually to safety 300 yards away. Unfortunately, one of the passengers was unable to unfasten their seat belt in time and did not make it.Gary Hart highlighted the terrible events of their plane crash in his autobiography, My Life In Wrestling…With A Little Help From My Friends:
"On February 19th, 1975, we had a show in the Miami Convention Center. After the matches, Bobby Shane, Buddy Colt, Dennis McCord, and I left the arena and went to Wolfie’s to get something to eat, and then we went to the airport to board Buddy’s plane – a single-engine Cessna 173 – to go home to Tampa. Buddy was flying the plane, Dennis was next to him, Bobby was behind Buddy, and I was behind Dennis.
"When we had originally flown into Miami, Bobby was behind Dennis, but I asked if we could switch seats going back because Dennis wasn’t as tall as Buddy, and I could have more legroom. Bobby didn’t mind at all because it was going to be a ‘working flight.’ As I mentioned in the previous chapter, Bobby was in the process of taking over the book from Bill Watts. As Bill’s assistant, I was reviewing the TV formats and going over the building managers with him, and I was also going to help him book a few shows during the flight, as well.
"As we left Miami, Buddy called Tampa control and asked how the weather was over there. They said there were severe thunderstorms moving across the bay, so Buddy decided to change course and land in Sarasota. Before he could change course, an air traffic controller from McNeal Air Force Base in Tampa came on and said that if we wanted to go to Tampa, we could make it, assuring us, ‘You won’t have any problems, and you’ll probably get here before the storm comes in.’
"Buddy asked us all if we wanted to land in Sarasota or if we should head on to Tampa, and we collectively made the unanimous decision to go home. That’s why we were on the airplane in the first place. There was no concern about the storm because the air traffic controller assured us we would make it to Tampa in time.
"When we broke through the clouds over Tampa, however, we realized that the air traffic controller had seriously misjudged the storm’s movement, and we were smack-dab in the middle of it. The landing was going to be difficult, and on Buddy’s first attempt, we were high and to the right, so he veered out over the bay to go back in for another approach. As soon as we started over the bay, Dennis screamed, ‘For God’s sake, pull up, we’re gonna hit the water!’
"As soon as I heard him say that, I reached down and unlatched my seat-belt. The next thing I remember was that I popped to the top of the bay, and it was at that moment I realized I had just survived a horrible event.
"Buddy’s plane crashed into the bay cartwheeling at one-hundred-and-eighty miles per hour, and as it broke apart, I was thrown out because, fortunately, I had unbuckled my seat-belt in the nick of time. The plane crashed three-hundred yards offshore, and I was thrown an additional one-hundred-and-fifty yards away from the wreckage.
"Way off in the distance, I could see a light, but I didn’t see hide nor hair of Bobby, Dennis, or Buddy. I started swimming towards the light, and even though it was raining badly and the water was choppy, everything seemed so serene. I started to realize that I couldn’t see out of my right eye, and when I reached up to touch my head, I could feel my skull. Even still, I had no pain, no fear, and no concern. I was completely at peace and wasn’t afraid.
"My only ambition was to get to that light, and there was no doubt in my mind that I was going to make it. I swam for a while and then came upon Dennis. He had gone down with the plane, but being a powerlifter, was able to curl his seat-belt to give himself enough room to slip out. I was relieved to see him, but he told me he couldn’t make it any further. I instructed him to lay back and float, and then I grabbed him with my left hand and pulled him along as I swam. At the time, my left arm and wrist were broken, but I didn’t know it yet. I just got a grip on him and did the backstroke with my right arm until we got to shallow water. At that point, I said, ‘Come on, Dennis, we can walk now.’
"He just looked at me and said, ‘Gary, I can’t walk.’
"Since his feet were caught in the bottom of the plane, they were all torn up and rendered useless. Then, I heard Buddy’s voice out in the distance, screaming, ‘Is anybody there? Is anybody there?’
"I told Dennis to stay put and swam back out in the bay towards Buddy’s screams. I don’t know how far I went, but when I got to him, I immediately asked if he knew where Bobby was. He said no, so I hoped that Bobby saw the light himself and swam on his own. Buddy was severely injured. He had no problem getting off his seat-belt when he sank with the plane, but the rudder pedals wrapped around his ankle and lower leg and broke his leg in a compound fracture. It was only hanging on by tendons. Just as I did with Dennis, I pulled Buddy to shallow water and sat the two of them together. At that point, I turned my attention to finding Bobby.
"I swam back out and started hollering his name. Of all the guys, Bobby was actually a true friend. Don’t get me wrong – I liked Buddy and Dennis a lot, but I had known Bobby for years, and we lived together when we worked in Michigan. I was very concerned that he wasn’t there with us, especially knowing that Buddy and Dennis went down with the plane. After calling his name for quite a while and searching to no avail, I made the decision to stop searching for Bobby and to go get help for Buddy, Dennis, and myself.
"The light I had been swimming towards was on top of a dock. It was low tide, and the wall from where the water ended to the top of the dock must have been twenty-five feet high. There was a ladder, but there was a good twelve feet between the water and the foot of the ladder, so Dennis and Buddy let me crawl up on their backs so I could reach it. Both of them – with one leg each – stood up so that I could climb on their shoulders and reach the ladder. I climbed the ladder to the dock where the light was at. There was a boat there, so I pushed it into the bay so Buddy and Dennis could climb in and get out of the water. There was also a house by the dock, so I started pounding and kicking on the door.
"Unbeknownst to me, due to the force of the plane crash, I lost all the clothes that I had on – my shirt, my pants, my underwear, my rings, my watch, my socks, my shoes – everything. I was standing there completely naked, with caked blood all over me, and my skull exposed. When the people came to the door and saw a naked, bloody man pounding on their door, they panicked and closed the door, screaming, ‘Get out of here! We’re calling the police!’
"They were freaking out. This was 2:30 a.m., and they didn’t know that a plane crash had just happened in the bay. Fortunately, I had the presence of mind to kick on the door five more times to make sure that they would indeed call the police. Then, I walked back to where Buddy and Dennis were and yelled down to them, ‘Help is on the way!’
"At that point, I sat down under a tree. I still didn’t have any pain or any fear and was very collected, peaceful, and calm. I heard sirens, and the first person I saw was Bob Roop’s wife, who lived nearby and heard on a police scanner that a plane had gone down in the bay. She wanted to know what she could do for me, so I said, ‘Call my wife and tell her that I’m injured but alive and that I’m on my way to the hospital.’
"The next person I saw was a policeman, and as soon as he saw me, he said, ‘I guess you won’t be at the matches on Tuesday night.’
"When I was being put into the ambulance, Dick Murdoch – who arrived after hearing about the plane crash – came running and jumped in the back with me. The ambulance driver started screaming that he had to get out, but Dick growled, ‘Nobody’s throwing me out of here! He’s my friend, and I’m staying with him!’
"He stayed with me and talked to me during the entire ride, even joking, ‘That’s the biggest bump I ever saw you take!’
"Dick was so wonderful that night and even went into the emergency room with me. I told him, ‘Dickie, if I should die, tell my wife to cremate me, take me back to Texas, and spread my ashes there.’
"He assured me he would and waited with me until my wife arrived. The last thing I remember was that when my wife finally got to the hospital, she started crying on Dick Murdoch’s belly."
Gary Hart continued, "I went out for three days. When I woke up, I was extremely relieved and thankful to be alive. I told my wife, ‘I had a dream that Duke Keomuka was here, and he told me that I was a hero the way I saved Buddy and Dennis. He even made a joke that I killed my heat and that I’ll have to work real hard to get it back. Then, when I asked him about Bobby, he said he didn’t make it.’
"’That was yesterday,’ she said. ‘It was Duke. He really was here. Eddie Graham and Jim Barnett were here, too.’
"’I didn’t see Eddie or Jim,’ I said. ‘I only talked with Duke.’
"’No, Eddie was here,’ she replied. ‘He was in the room with you and Duke. Jim was out in the hall with me because he couldn’t bear to see you in the condition you were in. Fritz and Doris Von Erich called, as well.’
"I was hoping Duke’s visit was just a dream, but unfortunately, it wasn’t. I really wanted to believe that since Buddy, Dennis, and I made it – Bobby survived, as well. When my wife confirmed that Bobby had died, it had a tremendous effect on me. I was sent into despair, and all I wanted to do was go back to sleep."News of the four wrestlers being involved in a plane crash with Bobby Shane perishing was announced at the Tampa show the following night. Jack Brisco, former NWA world champion, recalled the crowd actually cheering for their demise. This was, of course, during a time when kayfabe in wrestling was heavily protected.
Buddy Colt soon retired from wrestling, Gary Hart would continue to wrestle/manage mostly in Texas, and Mike McCord became a massive star in Memphis as Austin Idol. According to Jerry Lawler, Idol was once offered a job with the World Wrestling Federation but turned down the offer as it would force him to travel by plane, something Idol supposedly never did again after the plane crash.
Related: Austin Idol, Stu Hart, and Steven Condrey’s "Stiff" Ribs
Little did the wrestling world know, just under eight months later, another plane crash would occur, which would sadly kill the pilot, paralyze Johnny Valentine (father of Greg), and break Flair’s back in three places.
2. Plane Crash with Ric Flair, Johnny Valentine, Bob Bruggers, Tim Woods, and David Crockett AboardJohn Valentine was the first to notice that the plane had run out of gas.
It was October 4th, 1975. Valentine, Ric Flair, Bob Bruggers, Tim Woods, and David Crockett were squeezed into a tiny twin-engine Cessna 310 plane from Charlotte bound for Wilmington, North Carolina, for an evening show at the sold-out outdoor Legion Stadium.
Valentine was sitting next to the pilot. He was the US Heavyweight champion and the Jim Crockett Promotions’ top star. The following week he was scheduled to face then-NWA World Heavyweight champion Dory Funk Jr. at the Greensboro Coliseum.
He turned to the others in the rear of the aircraft and smiled.
"Guess what," he said, "We are out of fuel…" Then he laughed. He laughed because he knew the aircraft could fly on the right engine, which was still running.
At this point, the aircraft had descended to 1,000 feet above ground level on approach to land and was cleared for a visual approach. The pilot reached for the fuel tank selection lever. He turned it to the reverse fuel tank.
But it was empty, too.
The pilot was Joseph Michael Farkas, a 28-year-old Vietnam veteran. He’d had trouble getting the plane off the ground in Charlotte because of the combined bulk of the wrestlers. He didn’t distribute the weight of the passengers in the plane properly and decided to dump fuel from the gas tank to lighten the load. His miscalculation would prove a fatal error.
As Farkas turned the lever, the right engine spluttered, surged…then nothing, only the wind rushing by and the propellers turning in the cold wind.
"We just dropped like a rock," Tim Woods remembers.
Farkas started screaming. Valentine reached over and slapped him to bring him to. The aircraft dipped nose-first in rapid descent, only three miles short of the runway at New Hanover Airport.
"I was scared to death," says David Crockett. "I wasn’t supposed to be flying that day – my brother Jimmy was. He called up and said he was feeling really bad with the flu. This was a Sunday event in Wilmington, so I said I’d go because it was only a 45-minute plane ride. I remember leaning over, trying to control my breathing. My wife had had our first child two weeks before, so I was trying to do Lamaze, so I wouldn’t get the wind knocked out of me and pass out because I knew if I passed out, I’d be deader than a doornail. I remember thinking I’ve got all these wrestlers in front of me. If we crash in this water, I’ll never get past them and get out. There’d be no way…"
Woods, who wrestled under a mask at the time as the original Mr. Wrestling, remembered a conversation he had with Austin Idol, a plane crash survivor himself from a few years earlier.
"Austin Idol did not have his shoes on in the plane," recalled Woods from his Charlotte home. "And it tore the bottoms of his feet down to the bone, and he nearly never wrestled again. When Austin Idol told me about that, that was the first thing that went through my mind. I didn’t have my shoes on either. The pilot had a big briefcase with some airplane manuals in it. I grabbed that and put it under my feet because I didn’t have time to get my shoes on.
I knew that I wasn’t going to die, but I figured we’d all get hurt. It was just a matter of how badly…"
Johnny Valentine believed he would come out unscathed.
"All the time when they were going down, he said he knew he wasn’t going to be hurt," said Valentine’s wife, Sharon. "He said he felt like he was indestructible. He said they were in trouble but that [it] was going to be all right. He kept telling them that."
Farkas used the controls to level the fast-sinking plane at 4,000 feet, and then it clipped and tore through tree branches. Crockett said the pilot almost landed the plane safely. "If we had gotten past the trees, we would have made the clearing right before the runway."
Woods recalled, "When we finally hit the ground, [Farkas] stalled the plane – by doing that, he got our speed down as low as possible. We were still between 85 and 100 miles when we hit the ground…"
On impact, all the seats broke loose, "Cascading one on top of the other."
John Valentine – his arms braced against the dash of the aircraft – took the full brunt of the seats, the wrestlers, and the baggage as they slammed forward into him, breaking his back in three places.
Crockett’s head smashed through the seat in front of him – busting Woods’ ribs – his mouth ripped open, and his right shoulder dislocated. Ric Flair, just 26 at the time, suffered multiple lacerations and broke his back. Bruggers, a former linebacker for the Miami Dolphins and San Diego Chargers, also broke his back.
The plane hit another tree, bounced off, and nosed dived into a railroad embankment.
"We crashed about 100 yards short of the runway," said Crocket. "We just missed a water tower from the prison camp, which is there."
Valentine was conscious the whole time. He later told Crockett, "David, be glad that you don’t remember."
As his back was crushed, a bone fracture wedged itself into his spinal column. His back would have to be re-attached with a clamp. He was paralyzed from the waist down, his wrestling career shattered.
After the plane crash, the six men were rushed to New Hanover County Hospital in Wilmington.
The pilot, Joseph Michael Farkas, died two months later in the hospital.
Bob Bruggers had a steel rod inserted into his spinal column. After a month in the hospital, he went home. It was said he could have made a comeback to the sport, but he never wrestled again.
Crockett, who felt the effects of the plane crash for six months after it happened, suffered trauma to his head and sustained other injuries.
"They stitched me up in my mouth, and I didn’t realize that I had dislocated my shoulder. They tried to give me crutches to walk out of the hospital, but my right arm wasn’t working, so they checked that and found out I had a dislocated shoulder. I was always complaining that whenever they put water or anything in my mouth, I would scream. When my wife got me back to Charlotte, I was still complaining about it. I didn’t want to eat or drink anything because it was hurting. She took me to our dentist, and when he looked inside, he said, ‘Well, I can understand that – he’s shattered two teeth, and the nerves are just sitting there exposed!’"Ric Flair doesn’t like to talk about the plane crash even now.
"I was out six months," he was quoted in the Ric Flair: 2 Decades of Excellence documentary. "I was supposed to stay out a year… [but] like every young athlete, I wanted to get back in, you know?"
"The doctors said, ‘I can tell you that the bones are put back together…but whether or not [you can wrestle again] you’ll have to find out yourself…’"
Ric Flair’s fate could have been entirely different that day.
Earlier in the flight, he and Valentine had swapped seats. Flair had gotten scared sitting up front next to the pilot. He repeatedly complained until Valentine finally said, "You get in the back; I’ll sit in the front."
"That’s fate," said Valentine’s wife Sharon twenty-five years after the event. "Neither John nor I feel bad about the fact that had Ric still been sitting there, he’d be in this shape… John’s never shown any animosity or anything about that." Though Sharon herself called Ric Flair "callous" and "cold," claiming her husband never heard from Flair after the plane crash.
When newspapers reported the plane crash, Tim Woods’ real name – George Woodin – was used to hide the fact that Woods – a heel – was sharing a plane flight with his kayfabe bitter-enemy, Johnny Valentine.
In fact, when Wahoo McDaniel came to the hospital to visit, the staff there tried to restrain him and called the cops as they believed he was coming there to attack Ric Flair, his kayfabe rival at the time.
Wrestling was a different world back then and had Ric Flair – arguably the greatest wrestler of his generation — not changed seats with Valentine that day, wrestling as we know it today would be unrecognizable.
If you enjoyed this piece, be sure not to miss the following articles on our site:
Sources used in this article: Gary Hart’s autobiography: My Life In Wrestling…With A Little Help From My Friends’, canoe.ca, John F. Molinaro’s Dec. 2000 article for SLAM! Wrestling, dory-funk.com, onlineworldofwrestling.com, Mike Mooneyham’s article for the Charleston Post & Courier, Wilmington WCTV News
This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that we have recommended. While clicking these links won’t cost you any extra money, they will help us to continue to bring you quality content!
Some quotes used in this article compiled by Matt Pender and shared here with thanks to our friends over at ‘‘Wrestling’s Glory Days’ Facebook page.
Want More?Choose another story!
Follow us: Twitter / Facebook / Instagram
About Our Site/ Meet Our Writers / Write For Us
Pro Wrestling Stories
Follow Pro Wrestling Stories on Twitter @pws_official, Facebook @prowrestlingstories, or reach out via e-mail at [email protected]
WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO . . . BUDDY COLT?
Feb. 20, 1975. It's a day that pro wrestler Ronald Read will remember for the rest of his life.
The 39-year-old Read, better known by his ring name, Buddy Colt, was piloting a small Cessna 173 aircraft from Miami to Tampa after a show at the Miami Convention Center.
It was the "bad guy's plane." On board with him were three fellow performers, all well-known heels: grapplers Mike McCord [a k a Austin Idol], Bobby Shane and manager Playboy Gary Hart.
The aircraft never reached its destination, a small airport in Tampa. Instead Colt and company encountered rough weather and wound up crashing into Tampa Bay. Shane died on impact. McCord badly injured his foot. Hart suffered psychological damage, and Colt's right ankle was shattered.
"I had just won the National Wrestling Alliance North American Championship from Cowboy Bill Watts earlier that week. Things were going very well for me," said Colt, looking back on that fateful night. "After the crash, I never wrestled again. My life changed completely."
For Colt, it was a hard pill to swallow. After working his way up the ladder from preliminary match status -- making between $15 and $30 a night -- to headliner -- thousands per week -- it was over.
"From the very first time I put on a pair of wrestling trunks and got into the ring I loved the business. I still do," Colt said. "After the crash, the ankle became infected, and I developed gangrene. It was never the same again, and I had to wear a brace."
Although he could no longer wrestle, Colt made himself useful in other areas. Championship Wrestling from Florida kept him on the payroll and used him a variety of roles over the next decade. He managed some of the group's top villains -- Abdullah the Butcher, King Curtis and Larry "The Axe" Hennig -- in front of the camera. Behind the scenes Colt worked as a booker. He also worked as a referee and for a time sat beside Gordon Solie on television broadcasts to provide color commentary.
In addition to his dealings with CWF, he became an entrepreneur. Colt started a company called Mid-State Industries in 1978. For the past 22 years, the chemical and building supply business has done very well in the Bay Area.
A lot of his clients find themselves doing a double-take when they meet the owner.
"When I introduce myself as Ronald Read, they shake their heads in disbelief and say, 'No you're not, you're Buddy Colt. I remember watching you wrestle on television,' " he said. "So I just go by Buddy. Nobody calls me Ron anymore, they just call me Buddy."
Read's transformation from skinny high school kid into Buddy Colt, professional wrestler, dates to his days working as a newspaper delivery boy in Maryland in the early 1950s. His family couldn't afford a TV, so when he was making his rounds on his paper route, he would sneak a peek at the sets of his customers who were wrestling fans.
That exposure hooked him.
"I made my mind up that I wanted to become a professional wrestler," he said. "At the time I really wasn't sure how I was going to do that. Our high school didn't have a wrestling team, but I was determined to find a way."
That way turned out to be the Army. Barely 17, Read joined the service in 1953. He took up judo and worked out with the base's wrestling squad. When he left the service, he began working out at a YMCA in Houston. There he met Joe Mercer, a local wrestling promoter.
Mercer gave him Read first job wrestling. As Cowboy Ron Read, he made very little money as he worked several territories in the South. In 1964, he changed his ring name to Buddy Colt.
"I was working in Kansas City quite a bit at that time and there was a wrestler who went by the name of Cowboy Bob Ellis," Colt recalled. "The territory didn't need two cowboys."
Colt made his way to Florida and Georgia, where he won several championships. He played the role of brash heel to perfection and often drew the ire of many wrestling fans. Once during a match at the Orlando Sports Stadium in Orlando someone took a shot at him.
"I didn't even know about it until after the match because the bullet missed me and grazed somebody in the stands on the other side of the ring. He wasn't seriously hurt," Colt said. "The police questioned me after the match, and they arrested the man for attempted murder. But the case was thrown out because the judge said I incited the guy with my actions in the ring."
Back then, the heels prided themselves on drawing the ire of the crowd. Colt did this very well.
"I relished being the bad guy, and I was very good at it," he said. "It was also a role you could have more fun with, but you had to be careful. It could get scary at times."
These days, in addition to running Mid-State Industries with his wife, Lorraine, Colt has found his way back to the squared circle. He's assumed the title of commissioner for an independent professional wrestling outfit called NWA Florida. Howard Brody runs the promotion, which does shows in the Tampa Bay area.
American professional wrestler
Ron Read (January 13, 1936 – March 5, 2021), known professionally as Buddy Colt, Ty Colt and "Cowboy" Ron Reed, was an American professional wrestler who worked in NWA promotions including the St. Louis Wrestling Club, Championship Wrestling from Florida and Georgia Championship Wrestling. Among others, he won the NWA Georgia Heavyweight Championship seven times, the NWA Florida Southern Heavyweight Championship four and the NWA North American Heavyweight Championship once.
Professional wrestling career
Trained by Killer Karl Krupp, Buddy Colt made his pro wrestling debut in 1962 in Nick Gulas and Bob Welch's NWA Mid-America in the Tennessee region, worked under the named “Cowboy” Ron Reed. Aside from NWA Mid-America, he also worked St. Louis Wrestling Club, went to the West Coast to work for the World Wrestling Alliance (WWA) where he was renamed Ty Colt. In 1969, he renamed to Buddy Colt working NWA Western States, the Amarillo, Texas promotion run by the Funk family, where he quickly won the NWA North American Heavyweight Championship.
On February 20, 1975, Colt was the pilot of a plane which crashed in water near Tampa Bay, resulting in the death of Bobby Shane. Colt and passengers Gary Hart and Austin Idol were seriously injured. He retired from wrestling due to broken ankles, which later developed gangrene and were fused together, but continued to fly. He remained in Championship Wrestling from Florida as a color commentator along with Gordon Solie and had part ownership of the company.
Colt grew up in Bladensburg, Maryland, before becoming an aviation mechanic and sergeant in the United States Marines, discharging in January 1957. He died on March 5, 2021, aged 85. He had Parkinson's disease and dementia, and was survived by his wife, son, and five daughters.
Championships and accomplishments
- ^ abcdefghiKreikenbohm, Philip. "Buddy Colt". Cagematch.net. Retrieved May 28, 2021.
- ^ abGreer, Jamie (March 5, 2021). "Buddy Colt, NWA Star From the 1960s, Passes Away Aged 81".
- ^"Wrestling legend Buddy Colt opens up about deadly plane crash, embracing villain role". WFTS. July 26, 2019.
- ^ ab"Legendary Buddy Colt dies". March 5, 2021.
American professional wrestler
Robert Lee Schoenberger (August 25, 1945 – February 20, 1975), better known as Bobby Shane, who also wrestled as Bobby Schoen and as The Challenger, was an American professional wrestler known for his time in NWA Florida in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He was a well-known "heel" in the National Wrestling Alliance and considered a future wrestling star at the time of his death.
Professional wrestling career
The son of St. Louis referee Gus Schoenberger, he started his career in the American Wrestling Association in Minnesota. Eventually winning titles in the Mid-west and Hawaii. By 1968 he went to Georgia where he became popular. In 1970, he was the masked Challenger teaming up with The Professional (Doug Gilbert) winning the NWA Georgia Tag Teams titles in a tournament. Later that year he defeated Nick Bockwinkel for the NWA Georgia Television Championship.
In 1971 he moved to the NWA's Florida territory where he became a big name. He won the Florida Southern Heavyweight Championship from George Gaiser, as well as the NWA Florida Television Championship winning it two times from Bob Roop and Tim Woods in 1972. Shane won the NWA Florida Tag Team Championship with Chris Markoff, Bearcat Wright and Gorgeous George, Jr. from 1972–1974. Jack Brisco would have a feud with Shane during his time in Florida. He became known as the "King of Wrestling". In 1974 he went to World Championship Wrestling in Australia and feuded with Mario Milano.
On February 20, 1975, Shane was accompanied by Gary Hart, Austin Idol and Buddy Colt, who was piloting the Cessna 182, when they took off from Opa Locka Airport, located in Miami to Peter O. Knight Airport, located in Tampa. The aircraft crashed into the Tampa Bay following a stall after Colt attempted a go-around. Amidst the crash, the Tampa Police Department retrieved the aircraft from the water where they found Shane's body and announced that Shane had died from drowning. It is believed his foot was caught in the wreckage of the aircraft. Shane died at 29 years old, and the other wrestlers survived with minor and critical injuries. Hart was thrown from the plane and had suffered serious injuries (broken arm, wrist, knee, back, sternum, collarbone and vertebrae; right eye knocked loose; a partially severed nose; head trauma). Despite this, he managed to locate Idol and swim him to shore, then swim back and rescue Colt. However, swimming out a third time, Hart was unable to find Shane; reportedly he was plagued by the memory and for decades wondered whether he had done everything he could.
Championships and accomplishments
Wikipedia buddy colt
Wrestling legend Buddy Colt opens up about deadly plane crash, embracing villain role
ROAD TO WRESTLEMANIA – On Sunday April 5, 2020, Wrestlemania 36 will be held at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
Long before Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Entertainment developed the idea for professional wrestling’s annual signature event, Florida was a hotbed for those looking to make a living in the squared circle.
Over the next 12 months, ABC Action News will profile grapplers with ties to Tampa Bay who left quite an impact on the sports entertainment industry.
TAMPA, Fla. – February 20, 1975
It’s a day Ron Read will never forget.
A day that altered his life forever and claimed the life of a colleague on the cusp of stardom. At the time, Read was 39 years of age – and was known in the ring as the villainous Buddy Colt.
He’d been a member of the professional wrestling fraternity for a little over a decade and in his spare time, managed to earn his pilot’s license. Read was at the controls of a Cessna 173 following a show at the Miami Beach Convention Center. On board with him - fellow "heels," Playboy Gary Hart, Bobby Shane and Austin Idol – who at the time wrestled under his real name, Mike McCord.
They were on their way to the Tampa International Airport when inclement weather forced Read to attempt an emergency landing at Peter O. Knight Airport on Davis Island. They didn’t make it – the aircraft instead wound up in the dark, murky waters of Tampa Bay.
Read and Hart were ejected on impact. McCord managed to free himself, but Shane was trapped in the wreckage and drowned. All three survivors suffered serious injuries.
“I had to wear a steel brace, completely shattered my right ankle,” Read recalled. “I wrestled three matches after [the crash] all tag-team matches, and I did very little. I realized pretty quickly that I couldn’t perform [in the ring] any longer.”
Undeterred, he continued his chosen career in a variety of different roles. Read first worked as a manager/mouthpiece for wrestlers who didn’t possess his gift for gab.
Among the wrestlers he worked with were names familiar to most professional wrestling enthusiasts – Abdullah the Butcher, King Curtis and Larry "The Axe" Henning.
His knowledge of the business also allowed him to assist in booking the matches.
When he got tired of that, Read slid over to the announcer table next to the legendary Gordon Solie on Championship from Florida broadcasts.
Before the injury "Buddy Colt," had earned a reputation as a wrestler fans loved to hate. He thrived on crowds jeering and booing him as he pummeled one of their favorites on a nightly basis.
"Colt" captured a handful of regional championships and appeared in main event matches from coast-to-coast. Despite the hardships, he says he would gladly do it all over again.
“It’s [professional wrestling] in my blood. There’s nothing like wrestling in front of a capacity crowd with fans screaming your name,” Read says. “Professional wrestling turned my life around – I absolutely love it.”
Read earned a comfortable living during his days in the squared circle. He set up his home base in the Tampa Bay area early on and retired here when he retired for good.
In his heyday, a six-figure salary was a big deal for a professional wrestler and as Colt, he achieved that several times. When "sports entertainment," made its jump to cable television in the mid to late 1970s, it really took off.
So, how exactly did Read get his start in the ring?
During a stint in the Marines, while stationed in Japan – he took up judo. When his military service concluded Read ventured into bodybuilding and powerlifting.
In the early 1960s, he found himself in Houston where he met professional wrestling promoter Joe Mercer, who offered to train Read. He calls the $400 he gave Mercer the best money he ever spent.
He made his debut as a babyface – wrestler-speak for "good guy" - Cowboy Ron Read. He did okay in that role, but things really started to click for him when he dyed his hair blonde, developed an arrogant attitude who didn’t care what the fans thought of him.
“It was always more fun playing the villain," Read said. "Most of the boys will tell you that.”
He doesn’t keep up with the current "sports entertainment," form of professional wrestling, but he enjoys spending time with his contemporaries telling stories about the old days.
- Keyboard yamaha
- Ruger halo sign
- Subway footlong nutrition
- Tape measure vertical antenna
- Glamping seguin tx
- L15b7 turbo
- Aeronautical information manual 2016
- Virtual facecam
- Jefferson county alabama most wanted
- Freeform wiki
- Bnha curious
- Rm 85 exhaust
- Healing translate