The Fabulous Freebirds

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The Fabulous Freebirds
Statistics
MembersMichael P.S. Hayes
Buddy Roberts
Terry Gordy
Jimmy Garvin
Name(s)The Freebirds
The Fabulous Freebirds
Debut1979
Disbanded1994
PromotionsAWA
NWA / WCW
UWF
WWF
WCCW
 
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The Fabulous Freebirds
Statistics
MembersMichael P.S. Hayes
Buddy Roberts
Terry Gordy
Jimmy Garvin
Name(s)The Freebirds
The Fabulous Freebirds
Debut1979
Disbanded1994
PromotionsAWA
NWA / WCW
UWF
WWF
WCCW

The Fabulous Freebirds were a professional wrestling tag team that attained fame in the 1980s, performing into the 1990s. The team usually consisted of three wrestlers, although in different situations and points in its history, just two performed under the Freebirds name.

History[edit]

The Fabulous Freebirds started performing together in 1979 when Michael "P.S." Hayes, Terry "Bam Bam" Gordy, and Buddy "Jack" Roberts decided to form a "three man gang" type of tag-team[dubious ]—an unusual concept at the time. They usually worked as heels but also had several face runs as well.

The group wrestled in the Dallas-based World Class Championship Wrestling territory, where they had a legendary feud with the Von Erichs (David, Kevin, Kerry, Chris and Mike).[1] This feud was ignited by an infamous incident in which Terry Gordy slammed Kerry Von Erich's head in a steel cage door.

They also performed in the NWA-affiliated Georgia Championship Wrestling and World Championship Wrestling, the American Wrestling Association, and the Oklahoma-based Universal Wrestling Federation. While in the AWA they feuded primarily with the Road Warriors, costing them the World Tag Team Titles in a match against long time Freebird ally Jimmy Garvin and his partner Steve Regal.

They had a very brief run in the World Wrestling Federation in 1984, where they were a part of the Rock 'n' Wrestling Connection period. In the WWF, they wrestled under the guidance of Cyndi Lauper's manager David Wolff,[2] but soon left the promotion when WWF officials wanted to split the team up.[3]

The group then moved on to their AWA run, returned to World Class, and then started a stint in the UWF where Gordy became the promotion's champion, Roberts held its TV title, and Hayes usually acted as their manager or served as a heel commentator on television broadcasts. After JCP purchased UWF in 1987, Hayes wrestled in World Class and several independent promotions, sometimes with Gordy, who began spending most of his time in Japan, and Roberts began to wind down his career.

Hayes and Garvin were paired as the Freebirds in WCW in 1989, enjoying several reigns as World and United States tag-team champions, and were joined by Gordy for a while as well. They later employed the services of masked third partner Fantasia/Badstreet and manager Little Richard Marley. The Freebirds were last together when Hayes, Gordy, and Garvin worked for the Global Wrestling Federation in 1994, ending the group after 15 years.

Their name was inspired by the Lynyrd Skynyrd song "Free Bird," which would be their theme song until "Badstreet USA" (sung, composed, and co-written by Hayes) replaced it in 1984. It is often claimed that the Freebirds were the first to use entrance music for their ring introductions, though this is not completely true. The Freebirds were the first to use Rock 'n' Roll entrance music. The first to use actual entrance music was Gorgeous George ("Pomp and Circumstance") in the 1940s.

Gordy died of a heart attack, caused by a blood clot on July 16, 2001 at age 40 while Roberts died on November 29, 2012, at the age of 65, of pneumonia.[4][5] Hayes (who retired from in-ring competition shortly after the Freebirds disbanded) is currently the head of the road agents/producers within WWE, while Garvin retired from wrestling shortly after disbanding and has become an Airline Transport Pilot.

Entrance music[edit]

The Freebirds concept was heavily derived from the Lynyrd Skynyrd song "Free Bird" and the image of "Southern pride" evoked by the band. For most of the team's early existence, the song was used as their entrance music, in both television and live appearances. On occasion, they would also enter the ring to Willie Nelson's rendition of "Georgia on My Mind".

During the mid 1980s, a number of North American wrestling promotions who licensed copyrighted music faced difficulties in continuing those licenses. Other promotions which did not license music were under scrutiny for the practice. Promotions began looking for solutions. The WWF, which hired Jimmy Hart and Jim Johnston in 1985, used their talents to write and produce music under which the copyrights could be controlled by the company. Around this same time, Hayes recorded the song "Badstreet USA" and released a music video, which included the other Freebird members. This song would largely be used as the entrance music for the Freebirds from that point forward, though they would use the other songs on occasion.

Freebird Rule[edit]

During the Freebirds' career in the NWA, they won its tag-team championship. While holding the title, promoters added a sub-gimmick to the team: the (unofficial) "Freebird Rule", which allowed any two of the three members of the team to defend the title on any given night.[6]

This rule has been re-used by a number of other companies when a three (or more) man team captures a tag-team championship.[7] Examples include:

In some cases, the Freebird rule has been applied to singles titles, most notably when Chyna and Chris Jericho co-held the WWF Intercontinental Championship in 2000.[8] Other such cases included when 3 Count won the WCW Hardcore Championship in 2000,[8] and when Matt Bentley and Frankie Kazarian co-held the TNA X Division Championship in 2004. In 2010, after Layla won the WWE Women's Championship, Team Lay-Cool (Layla and Michelle McCool) co-held the title. This was a slight variation to the Freebird rule, as while both divas defended the title, only Layla was recognized as the official champion. Later that year, the same rule was instituted when Michelle McCool won the WWE Divas Championship; both members of Team Lay-Cool defended the title, but only McCool was recognized as official champion.[8]

Offshoots[edit]

Blackbirds[edit]

The Blackbirds were formed in 1988 in World Class Championship Wrestling by Iceman Parsons. He had just teamed with Terry Gordy and Buddy Roberts as the "Blackbird" in their feud with Michael Hayes. He teamed up with Perry "Action" Jackson and Harold T. Harris to form the Blackbirds. They also wrestled as The Blackbirds in the Global Wrestling Federation in 1992.

Extreme Freebirds[edit]

The Extreme Freebirds were formed in NWA Wildside and the NAWA by the son of Terry Gordy, Ray Gordy. He teamed up with Tank and Iceberg in 2004 to form this group.

Other appearances[edit]

The original three Freebirds briefly appear in action against Greg Gagne, The Tonga Kid, and Jim Brunzell during the opening sequence of the 1986 film Highlander,[9] which occurs at an arena-based wrestling show in "Madison Square Garden" (the actual site was the Izod Center in New Jersey, as they didn't take the Meadowlands banners down for filming but was said to be Madison Square Garden), as wrestlers in-action.

Members and incarnations[edit]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

1Hayes' reign as NWA United States Heavyweight Champion occurred after Ted Turner purchased Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling from Jim Crockett, Jr. in 1988, which resulted in renaming the promotion World Championship Wrestling. This was also prior to the title's name being changed to the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship and prior to WCW's withdrawal from the NWA.
2During Hayes and Garvin's first reign, the titles were known as the NWA World Tag Team Championships.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cohen, Daniel; Susan Cohen. Wrestling Superstars II. p. 88. ISBN 0-671-63224-8. 
  2. ^ a b Cohen, Daniel; Susan Cohen. Wrestling Superstars II. p. 89. 
  3. ^ "Tag Team Profile: Fabulous Freebirds". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2007-10-16. 
  4. ^ Kevin von Erich comments on Buddy Roberts' passing
  5. ^ Jim Ross comments on Roberts' death
  6. ^ Oliver, Greg. ""Crush" Brian Adams dead at 44". SLAM! Sports. Retrieved 2007-10-16. 
  7. ^ http://www.wwe.com/superstars/fabulous-freebirds
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h http://www.wwe.com/classics/freebird-rule-photos
  9. ^ Difino, Lennie. "Catching up with Buddy Roberts". WWE.com. Retrieved 2007-10-16. 
  10. ^ Matt Mackinder (January 17, 2008). "Sir Oliver Humperdink recalls career of yesteryear". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-04-04. 
  11. ^ Davies, Ross. Diamond Dallas Page. p. 31. ISBN 0-8239-3493-4. 
  12. ^ "N.W.A. National Tag Team Title". Wrestling-Titles.com. Retrieved 2007-10-16. 
  13. ^ "N.W.A. Georgia Tag Team Title". Wrestling-Titles.com. Retrieved 2007-10-16. 
  14. ^ "Pro Wrestling Illustrated Award Winners: Tag Team of the Year". Wrestling Information Archive. Retrieved 2007-10-16. 
  15. ^ "Pro Wrestling Illustrated's Top 100 Tag Teams of the PWI Years". Wrestling Information Archive. Retrieved 2007-10-16. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Fabulous Freebirds's profile on WWE.com