I read a post this morning rating the top 25 professional wrestling tag teams of all time and noticed that The Fabulous Freebirds were rightfully in the top 10.
Conversing with a Twitter acquaintance, I wanted to explain the Freebirds’ influence on the 80s era of wrestling, but of course that would take more than 140 characters, so why not blog about one of the greatest tag team/stables to ever do it?
The Fabulous Freebirds started in the Florida area in 1979 when young guns Michael Hayes and the late Terry “Bam Bam” Gordy along with grizzled veteran Buddy Roberts decided to join forces and create a three-man tag team. The Freebirds took their name from Southern rock legends Lynyrd Skynyrd’s song “Freebird” and that was their intro song until Hayes recorded “Badstreet, U.S.A.” a few years later. The Freebirds moved to World Class Championship Wrestling of Dallas, Texas in 1982 and immediately began a feud with the great Von Erich family, still one of wrestling’s greatest rivalries to this day.
The Freebirds’ leader was Hayes, a charismatic speaker who branded himself PS (“Purely Sexy”) and moonwalked on the ring apron. Theatrics aside, Hayes was a tough customer in the ring and had a cowboy boot handy to bust someone upside the head with.
Gordy, still a teenager when the Freebirds formed, was a 6’4 290-pound badass who was one of the most feared guys in the game, in or out of the ring. Gordy could mix it up from a brawler style to a mat style as he honed his craft in Japan.
Roberts, nicknamed “Jack” for his love of Jack Daniels whiskey, was a 15-year vet of various territories in Canada and the US before joining the young duo of Hayes and Gordy, serving as the elder statesman of the group with years of experience to lend to PS and Bam Bam.
The Freebirds predated the Four Horsemen by a couple of years as the clique to hate and also were innovative in the way they would defend their tag team titles. Some nights it would be Hayes/Gordy, Gordy/Roberts or Roberts/Hayes defending the belts, leading to the now-famous “Freebird rule” that states any two members of a crew can defend the tag team titles on a given night.
The Freebirds are often slept on because much of their heyday was spent outside of the WWF/NWA/WCW atmosphere, but their innovative and groundbreaking history can’t be denied.