Friday, December 7, 2012

Mike Boyette

As I think I've mentioned in the past, I don't write up entries for every single death that occurs in my fields of interest. My feeling is that there are people out there far more capable of writing those than me. However, there comes the time when a passing affects me personally, and that's when you see a discussion. Regrettably, that time has come again.

Last week, Buddy Roberts of the pro wrestling team the Fabulous Freebirds passed away. I grew up watching Buddy, and it's only a quirk of timing that I missed his earlier stint as half of the Hollywood Blonds tag team. Now only a week later, another wrestler I watched in the glories days of Mid-South/UWF has passed away. That would be Mike Boyette.

You're excused if you have no idea who Mike Boyette was, even if you were a wrestling fan. In the UWF, Boyette was portrayed as a perpetual loser, albeit a memorable one. Years later, I learned that Mike Boyette had been a star. The "losing streak" was probably setting up an angle that would never come, like the one that Jack Hart (Barry Horowitz) had once suffered in Florida.

Mike Boyette was a guy who could put on a terrific match. Though never called on as the one to sell tickets in "my" wrestling, his job was just as important - he was there to make his opponents look good. He did this beautifully, and was able to be good enough in the role to make an impression without ever overshadowing the men he was putting over. I have a lot of respect for a guy who can maintain that kind of balance.

Mike Boyette was also reportedly a great guy, and a huge asset to the wrestling business. I wish I could have seen him in situations where HE was the focus, but I was still a fan of him regardless of whether he was a "jobber" or not. Mike "The Hippie" Boyette was a favorite of mine, and I'm sad that he has died. With the recent passages of Roberts and Boyette (who I am sure I saw wrestle each other), it seems like more and more of my childhood wrestling heroes (and villains) are leaving us. R.I.P., gentlemen...and thank you for the memories.

Some Mike Boyette highlights:

Here's a match where Mike Boyette uses the name "Mike Boyer" (closer to his real name, and probably an effort to preserve the Boyette moniker while doing a job) and goes against Mr. Wrestling II. This has a lot of nostalgia appeal for me, as it is from the Shreveport TV studio tapings of the 1970s. I grew up with ring announcer Reisor Bowden and and announcer Boyd Pierce!

This is from either the 1980s or the very early 90s, and has Boyette wrestling a young Bob Holly. It ends with Mike Boyette standing tall in the middle of the ring with one of my childhood heroes (and villains!) Mr. Olympia. I kind of like that as a finale.

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