Michael Hayes has discussed his time in the legendary Fabulous Freebirds group and revealed who came up with the ‘Freebird Rule’ that changed the face of tag team wrestling.
Hayes, along with Terry Gordy began teaming in the late seventies before adding Buddy Roberts to their group. Together they tore the house down in World Class Championship Wrestling acting as the perfect foils for the beloved Von Erich family.
Hayes took a trip from Badstreet, USA to join WWE’s The Bump where he discussed how the Freebirds came to be.
“Well, Terry Gordy and I were wrestling as teenagers in a territory in Mississippi. We were the only boys in a man’s world. He [Gordy] always had the wrestling talent, and I could always run my mouth. I just said to him, ‘You’re going to make it, and I am, too. But we’ll make it there faster if we do it together.’ Then, we picked up Buddy Roberts two years later and Jimmy Garvin along the way. And we rock-n’-roll all over this world.”
The Freebirds were pioneers of the wrestling world, with many believing that the first time the trio walked out to the strains of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Freebird’ was the first time theme music had been used in wrestling. While that is debated to this day, what isn’t debated is the effect of the ‘Freebird Rule’ that is still in use today.
The rule came into force when the Freebirds won one of many of their regional tag titles during their run. The rule stated that any two men from the three-man group were eligible to defend the titles on any given night. Thus all three men in the Freebirds were credited with the title reign. The rule has benefitted teams ranging from the first iteration of The Midnight Express to Demolition to the five-man Spirit Squad to most recently in WWE, The New Day.
Hayes revealed during the conversation who it was that had the idea for the Freebird Rule:
“I’m still glad it’s impacting the business. It was actually – this is really hard to say – not my idea or Terry or Buddy’s idea. It happened to be the guy that sold us from Billy Watson in Louisiana and took us to Georgia Championship Wrestling, the guy by the name of Ole Anderson. That was his idea.”
Anderson was one of the original Four Horseman alongside namesake Arn, Tully Blanchard, and Ric Flair. Ole Anderson also was one of the founders of Championship Wrestling From Georgia and would briefly be put in charge of WCW in the early nineties.
Michael Hayes alongside the only other living member of The Fabulous Freebirds Jimmy ‘Jam’ Garvin accepted their induction on behalf of all four men to the WWE Hall Of Fame in 2016.