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Matt Borne

Matt D

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This is mainly me wanting to fact check Dave, since after watching a bunch of Portland, I'm confused about the timeline and I want us to work through this together. Please use this note for anything you want though. I just want to get this down.


Dave said this in his bio of Borne:


Rose came on television one day and shocked everyone in the Pacific Northwest. He did a promo, saying that the Playboy’s days as a Playboy were over, and he was getting married. Rose had been married before, and in fact was married the first year or so when he was doing the playboy gimmick to a woman from Minneapolis, who he didn’t bring to Oregon. But none of that was known locally. Everyone in Portland knew who Buddy Rose was, and he played up the playboy image around town. So that was shocking enough. The big shocker was announcing he was marrying Toni Rae Borne, Matt’s sister.


Tony Borne was a heel most of his career, but he had turned babyface a decade earlier. While he had stopped wrestling regularly years earlier, he would appear on television from time-to-time. This was the most hated guy in town marrying the pretty daughter of the area legend. Everyone was shocked. It became an awkward situation, because wrestling was based on reality. In those days, fans would have never accepted the idea that two brothers-in-law could fight each other. It was tougher in a small territory that didn’t employ many wrestlers, so everyone had to work with everyone, let alone for the rising athletic babyface not to be able to work with the top heel.


Rose had to be a heel. It was considered too early in Borne’s career to not be a babyface. But for legitimacy, the two had to steer clear of each other. Tony and Matt had to address the subject on television. Matt’s only comment on TV was that out of respect for his sister, he wouldn’t ever wrestle Rose, but said that if Rose ever did anything to his sister, he’d kill him.


The marriage was short-lived, so much so that some people were skeptical that it wasn’t a contrived angle to build a feud. But the reality is, it was a wrestling feud that built out of reality, and not the other way around.


A short time later, Rose and Toni Rae got into an argument at their house. Rose started slapping her around, but she was able to get to the phone and, depending on the version of the story, either called her father, or her brother. Both lived a short distance away, and if she did call her father, he immediately called Matt.


Matt rushed to the house, kicked down the front door and started attacking Rose. Rose knew he was not a physical match for Borne, and ran out of the house to get away. Borne ran after him, and tackled him on the front lawn. Borne was on top of him, throwing punch after punch. Police were called, and got there immediately, with Borne still beating on Rose. Given the popularity of wrestling in the community, the officers knew the two on sight, and hearing what happened, didn’t charge Borne with anything. They took Rose in and he had to spend a night in jail.


The incident made the papers. The next day, promoter Don Owen brought the two of them together in a room. Rose didn’t want to be anywhere near Borne, a feeling that he maintained until he passed away four years ago. Owen told them that every fan and non-fan knew about the fight, and knew why they fought, and they now had to feud with each other on top, even though neither wanted to have anything to do with the other. So they worked together in every kind of match imaginable in what was a landmark feud that elevated Borne to the main events, and his lone Pacific Northwest title win, even if it only lasted for one day.

Now, admitting that the dates on youtube may not be correct but I think most of them are relatively incorrect at least., let's look at what we do have here.


Borne was around as a prelim guy in 79 or 80 but he really starts interacting with Buddy in 81, teaming with Buzz Sawyer vs Buddy/Rip and Buddy/Destroyer in February and March. His one night reign with the title was between April 29 and April 30. He has a pretty good singles match on TV vs Buddy on June 6. It's on June 20 that he comes on TV and announces the wedding to Toni Rae and that they've been dating for four months (months where Buddy and Borne have been wrestling fairly often)


Then, instead of keeping them apart like Dave suggests, they use this to immediately intensify the program with Buddy claiming that he wants Borne as part of the army so they can team as brothers and so that he can help out his career. Tony Borne comes out now and again this period which includes the Aug 28 Battle Royal which was built almost entirely around Rose and Borne matching up. It's possible that between June 20 and August 28 they kept them apart for the most part, but it certainly wasn't the incident where Matt Borne attacked Buddy that led them to wrestle again. It's all pretty cordial for a bit but gets continually heated as the next month or two goes on.


September and October have the tag feud between Buddy/Partner vs Borne/Partner (usually Regal) and everything comes to a head first with the talk of a blowoff match where the stips would be LLT, Head Shaved, or Winner gets the contract of the loser, basically. It was leading to either Borne getting control of Buddy or Buddy getting control of Borne. Immediately after this we get the Talk show appearance on 10/21, which made me think that the incident happened somewhere between 10/17's TV and 10/21. The following Saturday, Buddy confirms the divorce and says the match is still on and that he still wants to team with Borne. In the midst of this build, they introduce Rocky Johnson as the new lead face. Within two or three weeks Borne is now a heel and the forth member of the army and Hack Sawyer is getting built up for the Flair title shot.


Basically, what I'm trying to say here is that the narrative presented in the obit is way off, way off, and frankly, I'm just boggled by the Borne heel turn. People knew what Buddy did to his sister even if it wasn't really referenced on TV. I don't get how anyone would buy it if things were how Dave said.

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