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Fabulous Freebird Buddy Roberts Passes Away at 65

Erik BeastonFeatured ColumnistNovember 29, 2012

According to World Wrestling Entertainment's official website, Buddy Roberts has passed away at the age of 65.

Roberts (real name: Dale Hey) was a member of the legendary trio The Fabulous Freebirds, with Michael "P.S." Hayes and Terry "Bam Bam" Gordy. The group achieved its greatest notoriety and success during the early 1980's in Fritz Von Erich's World Class Championship Wrestling promotion.

As the top rivals of Von Erich's sons Kevin, David, and Kerry, the Freebirds were the main villains in a promotion that revolutionized the sport of professional wrestling. Fans would pack the world famous Sportatorium in Dallas to see what would go down between the Von Erich boys and the rebels that were the Freebirds.

Buddy Roberts was an invaluable member of the team. While Hayes was the flamboyant leader and Gordy was the bruiser/enforcer, Roberts was the traditionally tough guy wrestler that could stand toe-to-toe with any other competitor put in front of him.

His most famous match, at the height of his career in Dallas, came in 1983 against "Iceman" King Parsons. It was a hair versus hair match that would see Roberts lose and have his hair taken clean off with a special Nair-like cream. The fans ate it up as one of the top villains in the territory finally got a little of what was coming to him.

Robert's knack for wearing wrestling head gear to keep a wig on his head would be recreated 20 years later, when Kurt Angle lost his hair and covered his baldness the same way.

The rivalry between Roberts, the Freebirds and the Von Erich boys is widely considered one of the greatest in wrestling history and one that fueled the WCCW promotion to its greatest success. In 1990, with the closing of the promotion, Roberts retired from professional wrestling.

Roberts was a throat cancer survivor, having overcome the illness. He blamed the disease on smoking.

Our sympathy goes out to Buddy's family and friends.

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