|This article needs additional citations for verification. (May 2007)|
June 14, 1959|
St. Petersburg, Florida
|Died||February 7, 1992
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Buzz Sawyer|
|Billed height||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
|Billed weight||240 lb (110 kg)|
Bruce Alan Woyan (June 14, 1959 – February 7, 1992) was an American professional wrestler, better known by his ring name Buzz Sawyer. Throughout his career, he was also known by the nickname "Mad Dog". He was characterized by his crazy antics inside the ring and out.
Sawyer started wrestling in 1979 in the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA)'s Jim Crockett Promotions. He stayed there with some stints in Georgia Championship Wrestling until 1984. He mainly teamed with his brother, Brett Sawyer. He had a feud with the Road Warriors after he left their manager Paul Ellering's Legion of Doom.
Buzz also had an epic feud with Tommy Rich that led to many bloody matches, the greatest of which was billed as the Last Battle of Atlanta and for the first time featured a completely enclosed cage. It also saw manager Paul Ellering suspended 20 feet above the ring in a smaller cage. This is the match that Shawn Michaels credits for inspiring the Hell in the Cell concept used by WWE. The stipulation for this match was that Sawyer and Rich would never wrestle one another again. Tommy Rich lost a match to Ted Dibiase and the stipulation was a loser leaves town match. Rich would appear the next week on TV under a mask and calling himself the mysterious MR.R. There is no footage of the historic match as the rumors has it Ole Anderson tossed all the footage from classic Omni shows.
Sawyer had a short World Wrestling Federation (WWF) run in 1984. He was called "Bulldog" Buzz Sawyer because Mad Dog was being used by Mad Dog Vachon. During Sawyer's few TV appearances, he was managed by Captain Lou Albano. Sawyer's gimmick included a dog chain and a lot of barking. After his WWF stint he surfaced in the NWA territory CWF in Florida, under the mind control of Kevin Sullivan. He feuded with Mike Graham, Dusty Rhodes, and Adrian Street.
In 1985, Buzz went to Mid-South Wrestling (which would become the Universal Wrestling Federation in 1986) and became a protégé of Dick Slater's. After Slater won the North American title, he gave the Mid-South TV Title to Sawyer to defend for him. The promotion tricked Slater into letting Sawyer defend the North American Title (which he promptly lost), and Sawyer then refused to give the TV belt back to Slater.
In 1986, Sawyer left the UWF for World Class Championship Wrestling. He formed a team with Matt Borne and they won the WCWA Tag Team Championship. He also won the WCWA Television Championship and the WCWA Texas Heavyweight Championship and feuded with Brian Adias while there. He got into a feud with Dingo Warrior and he lost his tag team titles, with Master Gee substituting for him, to Warrior and Lance Von Erich before reportedly being fired after failing a drug test.
He returned to WCW in 1989 as part of Gary Hart's J-Tex Corporation that was feuding with the Four Horsemen, and he had several matches against Arn Anderson. He then joined Kevin Sullivan's "Slaughterhouse" stable in 1990. At the Wrestle War event in 1990, he fractured his wrist and never returned to WCW.
Personal life and death
Sawyer was a graduate from Dixie Hollins High School where he was a state ranked wrestler in the 186 pound weight class. He was known for allegedly hammering nails with his forehead in locker rooms prior to and at the halftimes of their local football games. He would use his amateur skills, while in New Japan Pro Wrestling in 1989, against the Soviet amateurs that joined the promotion.
Sawyer was wrestling on the independent circuit when he died from heart failure due to an overdose on February 7, 1992. Fellow wrestler Billy Jack Haynes contended that his death was a well planned hit because they were both part-time drug smugglers in the Pacific Northwest around the same time.
Sawyer was known for his crazy antics such as trying to fight the police outside a bar and also his drug abuse. He trained a few wrestlers. Sawyer was paid by Mark Calaway to teach him to wrestle, but Sawyer only showed Calaway how to lock-up (or start a match) and then skipped town the next day. Calaway later went on to become known as "The Undertaker" and have great success in wrestling.
- Finishing moves
- "Mad Dog" Buzz Sawyer
- "Bulldog" Buzz Sawyer
Championships and accomplishments
- Georgia Championship Wrestling
- Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling
- Mid-South Wrestling Association / Universal Wrestling Federation
- Pacific Northwest Wrestling
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI ranked him # 185 of the 500 best singles wrestlers during the "PWI Years" in 2003.
- World Class Wrestling Association
- Foley, Mick. Have A Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks (p.167)
- Foley, Mick. Have A Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks (p.168)
- Mick Foley (2000). Have A Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks. HarperCollins. p. 768. ISBN 0-06-103101-1.