Freebird Buddy Roberts passes away

Dale Hey, who wrestled as Buddy Smith, Dale Roberts, Dale Valentine and most notably as Buddy Roberts, has passed away at the age of 65.

Hey, part of the Hall of Fame Fabulous Freebirds trio, had a previous long battle with throat cancer, which he attributed to heavy smoking.  He was part of two of the greatests tag teams of the last 40 years, the Freebirds and the Hollywood Blonds.

As Buddy Smith, he was a solid working prelim wrestler in the AWA, where he hooked up with John Sutton, a former building usher and huge wrestling fan, and veteran Jerry Brown.

The trio went to Montreal as The Hollywood Blonds, under the management of Sutton, who came Sir Oliver Humperdink.  They were the Grand Prix wrestling tag team champions during a hot period of wrestling in  Quebec.  At their peak, they were part of a double main event, going against Bruno Sammartino & Edouard Carpentier underneath a Killer Kowalski vs. Mad Dog Vachon grudge match that drew a sellout of 29,127 fans to Jarry Park, still the Quebec attendance record.

The trio worked all over the U.S. during the 70s.  After the trio broke up, Hey had a run as Dale Valentine, billed as Johnny Valentine's younger brother, as a way for Johnny to stay in wrestling after a plane crash had ended his career.  But that gimmick didn't get a lot of traction.

He seemed at the end of the line by 1980, when Bill Watts put him together with Terry Gordy & Michael Hayes, young heels who were setting Mid South Wrestling on fire.  Watts felt Gordy, still a teenager, was one of the greatest wrestlers he had seen, but that Hayes was better served as a manager.  He also saw Roberts as a veteran who could keep the two out of trouble, but if anything, the opposite happened.  The Freebirds had a sensational run in Mid South, Georgia and later in Texas.  Feuds with Junkyard Dog and The Von Erich family set box office records at the time.

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