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"Killer" Buddy Austin (1930-1981)

 

Real NameAustin Wesley Rogers (born “Wesley Austin Rapes”)

Lifespan - 2/27/30 - 8/12/81

6’2” 240 lbs. - San Francisco, CA


Athletic Background - n/a

Teacher(s)Roy Graham

Professional Background - Gulf Coast(`57-`58), Florida(`57-`61), Columbus(`58-`60), Capitol(`60-`63), Montreal(`60), Chicago(`60-`63), Central States(`61-`62), St. Louis(`61-`63), San Francisco[AWA](`62), Hawaii(`62-`64), JWA(`62-`69), WWWF(`63), Toronto(`63), San Francisco[AWA](`64-`66), Los Angeles(`64-`69), Dallas(`67), WWWF(`67), Hawaii(`68-`70), Australia(`69), Stampede(`70-`71), Florida(`71), Gulf Coast(`72), IWE(`72), Tri-State(`74), San Francisco[NWA](`75), San Francisco[AWA](`77), Vancouver(`77)

AliasesAustin Rogers, The Golden Gladiator, Francis Gabor, Frank Gabor, Killer Austin, Bulldog Austin, Mad Dog Austin

Peak Years`61-`70


Place in HistoryBuddy Austin was the perfect package for a pro-wrestling villain - the bleach blond hair, the “Killer” nickname and the piledriver finisher.  While he is not remembered as well as many of his contemporaries, Buddy Austin was an excellent heel who worked on top most places he worked and he worked all over.  Buddy Austin, like many of the future stars of the 1960s, caught a break in Al Haft’s Ohio promotion, where he made a connection with Buddy Rogers.  He, as Frankie Gabor, worked as half of a brother tag team with Johnny (the future Fritz Von Goering) in the early days of Capitol Wrestling.  They worked in Chicago and Montreal when those were two of the hottest cities in the world.  Buddy Austin was emerging as an excellent heel and started getting pushed into main events with only a few years under his belt.  He was based in the Midwest for a time, where he held the Central States’ title and worked out with a fresh-faced Harley Race.  By 1962, he was one of the elite group that worked on top in Los Angeles and San Francisco, had regular stops in Hawaii and worked near the top of the cards in Japan and Australia.  It was a profitable position and only the best, men like the Destroyer, Killer Kowalski, Curtis Iaukea and Bobo Brazil, were able to secure it.  Both of the international offices were going into down cycles, but Buddy Austin was able to make a mark as tag wrestler.  In Australia, Austin was actually shot in a bar fight, which accounts for the large scar on his stomach, but even that didn’t keep him away!  Some dismiss him as second rate when compared to men like Johnny Valentine, Ray Stevens and other top heels of the era, but he was still one of the premier heels in the pro-wrestling world throughout the 1960s.  Los Angeles is probably the place he is most closely associated with as he held their WWA World title, he formed a successful team with Freddie Blassie and the two had a great feud after their break-up.  Blassie later remarked that Austin’s constant drunkenness, which impacted his personal life, made him popular among the boys and never hampered his ability to perform.  In time though, Buddy Austin’s star began to fade and he was reduced to worked underneath for smaller offices.  He tried to pull his life together with his estranged family before passed away in 1981.


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