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Where Are They Now? Pat Rose
For Pat Rose, sports-entertainment was a childhood dream come true. The former "journeyman" Superstar achieved his dream of becoming a professional wrestler after setting out to do so in his adolescence.
"Back in 1972 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, I went to an event at the Memorial Auditorium," he said. "I was 12 years old at the time, and it is at that very moment I made the decision in my mind that I was going to be a professional wrestler."
The road through his teen years would make Rose an accomplished amateur in high school, only furthering the passion he had to be a sports-entertainer.
"I would tell all my buddies that I was going to be a pro wrestler, and they would all say to me, 'No you won't.'"
The naysayers aside, Rose continued to pursue a career in the ring after high school, and that is when he met Ken Hawk, a friend from Cleveland, Tenn.
"I trained with him for about two weeks, and after those two weeks I went to TV 12 in Chattanooga, and the rest for me is history," Rose continued. "I worked there for a bit and in 1980, I went down to Georgia Championship Wrestling."
Rose credits his time in the territories as the best of his career, saying, "Man, when I look back now to the '80s, I consider that to be an era in wrestling that may never be seen again. It's all changed." He continued, "There will never be another Ric Flair, another Stan Hansen and there will never be another team like the Road Warriors."
With such big names to surround himself with, it would be easy for any former star to say they all helped his career immensely, but Rose points to one man that helped him along in his wrestling career more than any other — Arn Anderson.
"I feel it is a great honor to have wrestled and been friends with Flair and Hansen when I competed, but I used to live with Arn when he was breaking into the business with Bob Armstrong, so that bond is forever," he said. "Arn moved on to NWA and a fan of this business knows how his career took off. He will always be one of the biggest stars in sports-entertainment, and from the start he has been one of my favorite wrestlers — he is a class act guy and I love him for everything he has done for me."
To be in the company of such legends of the business was exciting for Pat Rose on two levels.
"It was an exciting time for me because I knew who they were. I was a fan of wrestling before I was a wrestler and a lot of the guys I idolized were just getting out of the ring when we young lions were breaking through."
Rose recalled doing television tapings for TBS in Atlanta early in his career, and cited that Paul Orndorff inadvertently helped him on his path to realizing his dream.
"I was sitting in the dressing rooms waiting to tape for TBS, and I was intimidated. Here I was, this young kid waiting to go on national television and I was nervous as all hell," he said. "Then I realized that Orndorff put his clothes on the same way I did. It just had this calming effect on me to realize we were all the same. That calm helped me get in the ring and have great matches with some of my idols because hey, they were human too."
After becoming more comfortable in the ring, stardom followed Pat Rose. He fondly looked back on his career, saying, "There were a couple of highlights for me in the ring. One was holding the NWA Southeastern Tag Titles with Arn Anderson and again with Randy Rose. Another was putting on the mask and being Mr. Wrestling II's partner. That was exciting for me."
"I was in Louisiana wrestling and Arn called me and said, 'Hey, Pat, come to Pensacola,'" he continued. "And when Arn Anderson calls you, you move. I didn't ask any questions. … I was there. They put me with Two [Mr Wrestling], so I'd actually have to travel with the mask. So here we were 20 miles outside of the city, and the hoods would come on. The hood would not come off for the whole night. It would only come off when we'd get through wrestling and go to the dressing room to shower."
But the best time of his career, according to Rose, is teaming with his good friend Arn Anderson.
"Arn was a good, close friend and we loved each other. We knew each other's grannies, we were raised by our grannies, you know what I mean?" he said. "And yeah, that was probably the biggest highlight cause look what he's done. It's just a matter of time before he's in the WWE Hall of Fame. And I hope to God that there's some way that I can make it there. I would love to be sitting in that audience when he does accept and make that speech."
Another person who Rose worked with was his one-time manager Sherri Martel. The emotional Rose became somber when he recalled his time with Sherri and her recent passing.
"I work hard for a living down at Mohawk Industries, it's a carpeting industry, and when I was coming home from work up Route 75, I received a text message asking if I heard about Sherri Martel passing away," Rose said. "I said, 'No man, you're kidding.' So, I called a buddy of mine and asked him to get on the Internet to check this out, and he told me she passed away. And that brought tears to my eyes because that's one of my buddies in this business."
"In Memphis, it was me and Tom Prichard with Sherri Martel as our manager," Rose recalled. "She was a super, super sweet person, hard worker and boy could she get the crowd to hate us — oh my God could she."
Rose paused, then continued.
"And we got to be a part of that and it just broke my heart to hear that she passed away. I talked to her about four months ago and she sounded so upbeat, so friendly and so lovable. She was a good person."
One person Rose still stays in touch with is WWE's own Jim Ross.
"Yeah I was lucky to be in the Mid-South territory, with J.R., Grizzly Smith and all the others. I think J.R. liked me because I was a hard worker and in shape. I had great arms back then," he said, laughing. "What can ya say about J.R., man? He's a legend as well, and he deserved the WWE Hall of Fame deal. Have ya had any of his BBQ sauce? Jesus, you gotta try it! It is excellent. My wife Lisa and I order from his Web site all the time."
Rose with grandson Rowdy Ryan (left ) and son Camden Tyee (right).
These days, along with his wife Lisa, Rose also spends time with daughters Erica, Jessica, Megan and Courtney, and he is the proud father of his son — Camden. "I am 47 years old and I have my 2-year-old son. I love coming home to Camden every day...he's funny and he's the only boy," he said. "I also have three grand-babies. My daughter Erica is 25, and she has three of her own. I love kids though. When I was on the road, I acted stupid, living that rock 'n' roll lifestyle like everyone did in the '80s. I didn't get a chance to raise my girls properly being on the road all the time, so I thank God every day for Camden, so I can teach him all the great things in life — honor, integrity, sports; you name it. I really want him to be a high school wrestler too."
Located just outside of where his career began in Tennessee, Rose has been doing what many former wrestlers and many other "retirees" do in their spare time — fishing. Lots of fishing.
"The last time I was in the ring, was April 1994. I hurt my neck and that was it for me," he said. "I didn't want to walk away, but I had to. I still love the world of sports-entertainment, but this fishing thing is pretty good. I first started in smaller tournaments in 1993, and by 2003 I thought maybe it was time to step it up to the big leagues."
"To me, bass fishing and pro-wrestling go hand-in-hand," Rose continued. "Let me tell you why: With bass fishing, you have the shirts, interviews; you have to be on all the time because you have sponsors. You gotta be sponsored to do this. Right now, I am sponsored by J Kruz Eyewear, Daiichi Hooks, Kicker Fish Baits, Tennessee Armature and Hart Tackle Company. Without sponsors like that, I could not do what I am doing in the world of bass fishing. This is an expert sport — just like sports-entertainment. You have interviews, dress flashy and are on the microphone. And it's hard for me, when I placed in a tournament in April, I made it to the stage, and it was hard for me to not do a bad guy interview."
Rose plans to take what he has learned in the ring and on the water and pass all of it on to his young son.
"I want to teach my son everything that I can about fishing and about getting an education. Education is key. I have a daughter now who accepted a scholarship from University of Alabama Southern for softball, and she'll be starting there this fall," he said. "I want to teach Camden that if you love something so much go after it and don't take no for an answer — be consistent, and in time it'll come about."
When pressed about where he would fit in today's WWE, Rose simply laughed and said, "If I was in the shape I was in when I started, I would go toe-to-toe with anybody."
A bad guy in the ring, Rose says the fans of sports-entertainment are what have helped him in his retirement.
"I didn't realize that the wrestling fans cared so much about wrestlers or noticed that we worked so hard in the ring, until I got a MySpace page and started gettin' e-mails," Rose said. "When you go out and wrestle every night, you don't hear good job or good match. I mean, you'd hear it from the guys, but you don't hear it from the fans. I would just like to say thank you to the fans for noticing how hard we work for you. We love you. I appreciate the 15 years I put in the business. I'd take nothing for those memories or that experience. I want to thank the fans for being there. Let's keep wrestling alive, support WWE and all that they're doing, man. They're keeping pro wrestling alive."
And so is Pat Rose, who is following another dream, one he can share with his son, Camden.
Set the Hook! with Pat Rose (Presented by Power-Pole, Shallow Water Anchoring Systems, and Strike King Lures) every Saturday morning 7-8 am EST on ESPN 105 1 The Zone, www.espnchattanooga.com and visit www.setthehookwithpatrose.com.