It was announced on Monday that the group known as The Fabulous Freebirds will be inducted into the 2016 WWE Hall of Fame in Dallas, Texas on Saturday, April 2.
The group was formed in 1979 when Michael “P.S.” Hayes, Terry “Bam Bam” Gordy and Buddy “Jack” Roberts became a heel stable that incorporated music, entertainment and style to a wrestling business that needed at the time. In the late 1980s, they added Jimmy Garvin to the group as well.
It was one of those inductions that we knew about pretty much a year ago when WrestleMania 32 was announced for the Dallas area. The group made their name all over the United States, but they were most known in the state of Texas due to their long feud with the Von Erich family. There’s so much history there that Kevin Von Erich will be the one that inducts them into the Hall of Fame.
Hayes has been working for WWE for over 20 years. In the mid-90s WWE, he was known as an interviewer named Dok Hendriks for a few years, but everybody really knew him as Hayes. He has worked as part of the creative team in WWE and is as influential as anybody there that doesn’t have the last name McMahon. He’s one of the best talkers in the history of wrestling with a lot of stories. Look for him to have one of the best speeches in Hall of Fame history that night.
Here are some Hayes quotes from the Rolling Stone article that broke the story a shortly before WWE announced it.
“Well, I don’t know what the rush was. Every year around this time, I’d be on pins and needles, hoping we’d get in, because our career speaks for itself. We put asses in seats…and I think you could take a poll of anybody who ever paid their hard-earned money to come see us, and they’d say they got more than their money’s worth. And that was huge to us, because we were wrestling fans too.”
“I always wanted to be an entertainer, and Terry always wanted to be a wrestler, so the Freebirds were a way of doing both. We thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to come out to music? It took a lot of convincing, but finally, Jerry Jarrett bought in, and so we debuted it in 1979 at the Mid-South Coliseum. The custodian was in charge of dropping the needle on the last song on the Skynyrd album. I was like, ‘Man, we’re going to come out to ‘Gimme Three Steps’ or something.’ But it worked out, ‘Free Bird’ hit, and the whole audience was in awe.”
“Back then, the one thing you would hear over and over again was ‘Live your gimmick.’ Well, we were kind of living that gimmick anyway – we were a rock & roll band in and out of the ring. I remember one time, my niece took me and Buddy out to some bar in a college town in Pennsylvania, and as soon as we walked in, the whole place went nuts. I felt there could be some trouble, so I said ‘Buddy, I’m going to hit you with this chair.’ So I hit him right upside the head, he didn’t sell it, and we sat down, ordered drinks and no one messed with us. Because, like, if that’s how we started the night, who knew how we were going to end it?”
“I’ve never been a person who is at a loss for words, so I’m pretty sure I’ll have some things to say. They may not let me curse, but I want to pay homage to Terry and Buddy and the group, so I’m going to tell as many stories as they’ll let me get away with. Believe me, I’ve got plenty of them.”
While I admit that I didn’t grow up with the Freebirds, it’s hard to deny their place in WWE’s Hall of Fame. It’s a long time coming and it’s well deserved. They definitely waited for the right place to do the induction because they’re going to be treated like rock stars that night.