|Birth name||Bruce Alan Woyan|
June 14, 1959|
St. Petersburg, Florida, United States
February 7, 1992 (aged 32)|
Sacramento, California, United States
|Cause of death||Drug overdose|
|Family||Brett Sawyer (brother)|
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Buzz Sawyer|
|Billed height||5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)|
|Billed weight||242 lb (110 kg)|
Professional wrestling career
Sawyer started wrestling in 1978 in the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) affiliate 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 appeared the next week on TV under a mask and calling himself the mysterious MR.R. It was long thought that there was no footage of the historic match, as the rumors had it Ole Anderson tossed all the footage from classic Omni shows. However WWE released the entire match on the WWE Network on September 5, 2016.
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 became 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.
Sawyer was a graduate from Dixie M. Hollins High School where he was a state champion in the 191.5 pound weight class. In 1976, he placed third nationally, losing in the semifinal to eventual champion Dan Severn. 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 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 became known as "The Undertaker" in the World Wrestling Federation, and would go on to become one of the most respected men in the company.
Championships and accomplishments
- Georgia Championship Wrestling
- Memphis 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.
- Southeastern Championship Wrestling
- World Class Wrestling Association
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter
- Harris M. Lentz III (21 October 2003). Biographical Dictionary of Professional Wrestling, 2d ed. McFarland. p. 311. ISBN 978-1-4766-0505-0.
- "Buzz Sawyer". Cagematch.de. Retrieved August 27, 2017.
- Russo, Ric (October 20, 2000). "What Ever Happened to...Brett Sawyer?". Orlando Sentinel. Tronc. Retrieved August 27, 2017.
- 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)
- "Matt "Doink the Clown" Bourne obit", from The Wrestling Observer, cited by Dux@Irongarmx.net
- Joe "Animal" Laurinaitis; Andrew William Wright (8 February 2011). The Road Warriors: Danger, Death and the Rush of Wrestling: Danger, Death, and the Rush of Wrestling. Medallion Media Group. p. 73. ISBN 978-1-60542-164-3.