Ron Read, who was better recognized in the professional wrestling world as Buddy Colt, has died at the age of 85.
Read was a star in many territories but his name will forever be linked to one night in February 1975.
While working in Florida, Read was a licensed pilot and was setting out for Tampa after working earlier in the evening in Miami. Joining Read on the flight were Gary Hart, Austin Idol, and Bobby Shane. After experiencing weather issues, Read attempted to make an emergency landing and the plane crashed into the water.
Sadly, Shane did not survive but the other three did. Read wrestled a few more matches but the injuries sustained were too grave and his in-ring career was over shortly after.
In 2019, Read spoke with ABC Action News about the crash and the injuries he suffered:
I had to wear a steel brace, completely shattered my right ankle. 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.
Read came out of the U.S. Marine Corps and broke into the industry in June 1962 working for promoter Nick Gulas in Tennessee. Over the next several years, he traveled to many territories including Georgia, Florida, and Texas, where he had big runs.
In Tim Hornbaker’s Death of the Territories book, it was noted that Colt wound up with a small percentage of stock in Georgia Championship Wrestling when working there. Colt would later sell his stock to Jerry Brisco, who would be part of the upheaval that saw Jerry and older brother Jack approach Vince McMahon and led to McMahon getting majority control of the territory and the WTBS timeslot in July 1984.
Colt held numerous championships and left his mark among several of the country’s thriving wrestling markets.
In Greg Oliver’s obit on SLAM Wrestling, he reported that Read had been suffering from dementia and Parkinson’s disease.