The final installment of the 2016 WWE HOF roundup is on the Fabulous Freebirds, perhaps the most overdue induction but now finally Michael Hayes can shut up about it after all this time. The Freebirds were the first great faction of the modern era and helped usher in changes we take for granted today, things like musical entrance themes and a three man unit holding the tag titles. Their story covers more than a decade and includes Hayes, Terry Gordy, Buddy Roberts, and (later) Jimmy Garvin as the base members. I’m not including the “associate” members like Iceman Parsons and Badstreet here, especially since the latter was involved way past the expiration date of the Birds.
One Man’s Opinion: The birth of the Freebirds is a little before my time but I learned a lot about the history of the group from the first episode of the Exile on Badstreet podcast, whose name is a great portmanteau of Exile on Main Street by the Rolling Stones and “Badstreet USA” as sung by the Freebirds, which would be their entrance music. (They also used the Lynyrd Skynyrd song “Free Bird” as well)
They are kings of the ultra-hot 1980s wrestling angle because they can lay claim to more than one. In Mid-South, the Birds blinded the top fan favorite Junkyard Dog with some cream. Doing it right before the birth of his daughter made it only seem more dastardly. Then they would go to Georgia and blind JYD again, but not until after they gave a piledriver to Ted DiBiase on a concrete floor. In late 1982, the group would show up in Texas as allies of the Von Erich brothers. On Christmas, Terry Gordy slammed a cage door into Kerry Von Erich’s head during a title match against Ric Flair, and the greatest wrestling war of Texas began.
After the Von Erich feud, they would bounce around: to the WWF to be part of the Rock and Wrestling Connection for about 5 minutes before Andre the Giant got sick of their attitudes; over to the AWA for a bit; back to World Class for another spell; then finally back to Mid-South, now renamed the UWF where Gordy would become the promotion’s champion for a short time. The later incarnation with Hayes and Jimmy Garvin after 1989 does not hold up quite so well, and is particularly embarrassing in 1991 with hangers-on Diamond Dallas Page, Big Daddy Dink, and Badstreet in the picture.
Most Famous Moment: The Birds are synonymous with World Class, so the winner here is the entire war with the Von Erichs. Here is a look at the entire feud as it developed.
Most Infamous Moment: In 1991, the Freebirds had a negative length reign with the WCW tag titles. How is this possible? Turns out the Freebirds lost the titles on a 02/18/1991 TV taping to the Steiners but would not win them until the 02/24/1991 WrestleWar PPV from Doom.
But the winner is unquestionably the music video that Hayes and Garvin did at the Clash of the Champions 18 in January 1992. The group was on its last legs and they decided to debut a new song. Comedy ensued. It starts at 58:18 of the Clash 18 broadcast. Just go watch it, the rest of this article can wait.
Best Match: The group was not known for its technical prowess, though Gordy was highly regarded as a solid big man worker in Japan. Going with the match with the Von Erichs from May 1984 in Texas Stadium, the predecessor to the host of this year’s Wrestlemania.
Legacy: They paved the way for all future heel stables in that they didn’t exist on their level prior to their 1979 formation. They drew big money in many different places and worked at or near the top for much of the 1980s. At least now the issue of them not being in the HOF can be put to bed, and all they have to worry about now is just hoping that Michael Hayes doesn’t use any more racial slurs in public.