60s NWA Star Buddy Colt Passes Away at 81

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It’s been a rough week for the pro wrestling industry once again, as multiple legends from the NWA have passed away. On Friday night, Cauliflower Alley announced that 1960s and 1970s National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) star Buddy Colt had passed away at the age of 81.

A student of “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, beginning under the named “Cowboy” Ron Reed. Aside from NWA Mid-America, he also worked St. Louis Wrestling Club, before heading 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.

Colt had become a touring star in multiple territories, including NWA Tri-States (later Mid-South), Georgia Championship Wrestling, NWA Central States, NWA Mid-Atlantic, and others, but in 1972, he became a fixture with Championship Wrestling in Florida. By 1974, he was one of the NWA’s most decorated champions – 6x NWA Georgia Heavyweight Champion, 4x NWA Florida Heavyweight Champion, 5x NWA Florida Southern Heavyweight Champion, 4x NWA Columbus Heavyweight Champion, and many more.

But on February 20, 1975, his life would change forever. Buddy Colt was a licensed pilot, and that night he piloted a Cessna plane for the other heels in his traveling troupe, including Austin Idol, Gary Hart, and Bobby Shane in Florida. But the plane got in dark weather and the plane crashed into the waters before making it to Tampa. Bobby Shane drowned in the crash, while the remaining three suffered serious injuries. Austin Idol and Gary Hart would recover and become major stars in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but a serious ankle injury to Buddy Colt – real name Ron Read – would end his in-ring wrestling career. “I had to wear a steel brace, completely shattered my right ankle,” Read recalled to ABC Action News back in 2019. “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.”

He would remain in the wrestling industry after his in-ring career ended, first as a manager for stars who needed a mouthpiece, such as Abdullah the Butcher and Larry “The Ax” Hennig, before joining the commentary table, where he joined Gordon Solie as the color commentator for Championship Wrestling From Florida.

LWOPW sends its condolences to the Read family as well as Buddy’s friends, peers, and fans around the world.