Fabulous Freebirds
Left to right: Gordy, Hayes and Roberts, circa 1985
MembersMichael Hayes (leader)
Buddy Roberts
Terry Gordy
Jimmy Garvin
Name(s)The Freebirds
The Fabulous Freebirds
Years active1979–1994, 1999–2000, 2017 (reunions)

The Fabulous Freebirds were a professional wrestling tag team who 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. The Freebird lineup of Hayes, Roberts, and Gordy was inducted into the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2015, and members Hayes, Roberts, Gordy, and Garvin were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2016.[1]


The Fabulous Freebirds started performing together in 1979 when Mid South Wrestling promoter Bill Watts put together the duo of Michael "P.S." Hayes and Terry "Bam Bam" Gordy. Though originally meant to be a tag team, he soon added former Hollywood Blond Buddy "Jack" Roberts into the mix, and they became a "three man gang" type of tag-team—an unusual concept at the time. They invented a concept that is now called the "Freebird Rule" in their honor, in which any two of three members can defend the team's championships. They usually worked as heels, but also had several face runs as well.

After wrestling for Watts in Mid South, they worked for Memphis based Continental Wrestling Association (CWA) where they feuded with Jerry Lawler and Bill Dundee.

In late-1980, the Freebirds moved to Georgia Championship Wrestling, where they won the National Tag Team titles in the Omni, from Mr Wrestling 1 and 2. Throughout the first half of 1981, the 'Birds had some of the biggest feuds and most legendary matches in the history of GCW. In one famous match shown on WTBS, (Now known as the piledriver match) Terry Gordy gave Ted DiBiase four consecutive piledrivers, which led to Dibiase being taken away in an ambulance. In mid 1981, Buddy Roberts left GCW. Terry Gordy and Michael Hayes then had a falling out, and a subsequent feud against each other, with Hayes as the hero, and Gordy as the villain. Hayes and Gordy eventually patched up their differences, and reformed the Freebirds as a duo. They feuded with Ole Anderson and Stan Hansen over the NWA world tag team titles, throughout the summer of 1982.

The group next wrestled in the Dallas-based World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW) territory, where they had a legendary feud with the Von Erichs (David, Kevin, Kerry, Chris and Mike).[2] This feud was ignited by an infamous incident in which Terry Gordy slammed Kerry Von Erich's head in a steel cage door, inciting a riot. During this feud, as the Von Erichs would wave the flag of Texas, the Freebirds started using the flag of Georgia, which contained the Confederate battle flag, as a group symbol to counter it.[3]

They also performed in the NWA-affiliated Georgia Championship Wrestling (GCW) and World Championship Wrestling (WCW), the American Wrestling Association (AWA), and the Oklahoma-based Universal Wrestling Federation (UWF). 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 (WWF) 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,[4] but soon left the promotion after an altercation with André the Giant, who was upset when the Freebirds arrived late to a show.[5]

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. When Gordy lost the title to One Man Gang, the Freebirds feuded with Gang's stable, General Skandor Akbar's Devastation, Inc. After JCP purchased UWF in 1987, Hayes wrestled for JCP, teaming with Garvin and Sting at Starrcade '87 to wrestle Eddie Gilbert, Rick Steiner and Larry Zbyszko to a draw.

The rest of the Freebirds went to World Class intending to continue their feud with the Von Erichs. When Hayes arrived in the territory in early 1988, he announced his intention to bury the hatchet with the Von Erichs, putting himself at odds with Gordy, Roberts and their new ally, Iceman Parsons. After Gordy interfered to help Parsons defeat Kerry Von Erich for the World Class championship after the Dallas Sportatorium lights mysteriously went out, Hayes wrestled Gordy in a hair vs hair match at the 1988 World Class Parade of Champions. Gordy won, but afterwards refused to cut Hayes hair and instead turned on Roberts and cut his hair. This left Roberts, alongside Parsons, feuding with Hayes, Gordy and the Von Erichs. In retaliation, Roberts brought in the Samoan SWAT Team to eliminate his former fellow Freebirds. Gordy also wrestled on the independent circuit and 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 Brad Armstrong (under the name Badstreet) and managers Diamond Dallas Page, Big Daddy Dink, Little Richard Marley and Precious (Garvin's real-life wife and longtime valet). The Freebirds were last together when Hayes, Gordy, and Garvin worked for the Global Wrestling Federation (GWF) in 1994,[6] ending the group after 15 years.

In 1999, Gordy and Hayes reunited as they fought Glen Kulka and JR Smooth to a no contest for Power Pro Wrestling on May 28, 1999.[7] On January 21, 2000, Gordy and Hayes wrestled for Oklahoma Pro Wrestling when they lost to The Hardy Boyz.

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 67, of pneumonia and on November 1, 2012, Armstrong died of a suspected heart attack making Hayes and Garvin the only living members of the Freebirds.[8][9] 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.

On April 2, 2016, The Fabulous Freebirds (Hayes, Gordy, Roberts, and Garvin) were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by The New Day.

Entrance music

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". The Freebirds are sometimes credited as the first wrestlers to use entrance music for their entrances, although others including Gorgeous George's use of "Pomp and Circumstance," Big Daddy's use of "We Shall Not Be Moved" and Chris Colt's use of "Welcome to My Nightmare" by Alice Cooper all predate the Freebirds.

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, as well as a cameo by a young Jim Ross. 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

During the Freebirds' career in the NWA, they won several of its regional tag-team championships. While holding the title, promoters added a sub-gimmick to the team – "The Freebird Rule" – which allowed any two of the three members of the team to defend the title on any given night.[10]

This rule has been re-used by a number of other companies when a three (or more) member team captures a tag team championship.[11] Examples include:

In some cases, the Freebird Rule has been applied to singles titles:

A slight variation of the Freebird Rule exists where a team or stable declares themselves as co-champions but the promotion only recognize the individual(s) who won the title as the official champion:



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

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

The original three Freebirds briefly appear in a match against Greg Gagne, The Tonga Kid, and Jim Brunzell during the opening sequence of the 1986 fantasy film Highlander,[21] which occurs at a show in Madison Square Garden (although the scene was actually filmed at the Brendan Byrne Arena across the river).

Members and incarnations

Championships and accomplishments

Freebirds as NWA Georgia Tag Team champions, circa 1981

See also


  1. ^ a b The Fabulous Freebirds join the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2016, retrieved 2021-06-30
  2. ^ Cohen, Daniel; Susan Cohen (October 1986). Wrestling Superstars II. Simon Pulse. p. 88. ISBN 0-671-63224-8.
  3. ^ "Michael Hayes Explains Why The Fabulous Freebirds Used The Confederate Flags". WrestlingNewsSource. 2016-03-09. Retrieved 2017-11-04.
  4. ^ a b Cohen, Daniel; Susan Cohen. Wrestling Superstars II. p. 89.
  5. ^ Greenberg, Keith Elliot. "Remembering Andre the Giant's Larger Than Life Career and Complexities". Bleacher Report.
  6. ^ New Wave Wrestling, February 1995 issue, number 15, p.42.
  7. ^ "Matches « Terry Gordy « Wrestlers Database « CAGEMATCH – The Internet Wrestling Database". Archived from the original on 2020-07-06.
  8. ^ "411MANIA". Kevin Von Erich Comments on Buddy Roberts’ Passing.
  9. ^ "WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross comments on the death of Buddy Roberts, wrestlers need to "create their push"". prowrestling.net.
  10. ^ Oliver, Greg. ""Crush" Brian Adams dead at 44". SLAM! Sports. Archived from the original on July 16, 2012. Retrieved 2007-10-16.((cite web)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  11. ^ "The Fabulous Freebirds". WWE.
  12. ^ a b c d "Teams that used 'Freebird Rule': photos". WWE.
  13. ^ Crush feature, WWF Magazine September 1990
  14. ^ Wrestling 93: Rulebreaker, Spring 1993 issue, p.10.
  15. ^ Wrestle America, June 1993 issue, p.60.
  16. ^ "New Day – WWE.com". Archived from the original on 2015-05-02. Retrieved 2015-04-30.
  17. ^ Barnett, Josh (October 12, 2017). "Bullet Club vs. The Kingdom: 10/12 ROH Global Wars in Buffalo, NY report". Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved October 13, 2017.
  18. ^ "Main Event Signed for ROH Elite in Ft. Lauderdale". Ring of Honor. 30 October 2017. Retrieved November 26, 2017. The trio defended the ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Titles, officially held by Adam Page and the Young Bucks, under "Bullet Club Rules", allowing any three members to defend the titles.
  19. ^ Powell, Jason (March 5, 2024). "NXT TV results (3/5): Moore's review of NXT Roadblock with Carmelo Hayes vs. Tony D'Angelo for a shot at the NXT Title, Kabuki Warriors vs. Lyra Valkyria and Tatum Paxley for the WWE Women's Tag Titles". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved March 6, 2024.
  20. ^ "NXT Heritage Cup". WWE. Retrieved 2024-03-06.
  21. ^ Difino, Lennie. "Catching up with Buddy Roberts". WWE.com. Retrieved 2007-10-16.
  22. ^ https://www.wrestlingdata.com/index.php?befehl=bilanzen&wrestler=6222&jahr=1990&monat=3
  23. ^ https://thehistoryofwwe.com/wcw-results-1990/
  24. ^ Matt Mackinder (January 17, 2008). "Sir Oliver Humperdink recalls career of yesteryear". SLAM! Wrestling. Archived from the original on June 29, 2012. Retrieved 2008-04-04.((cite web)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  25. ^ Davies, Ross (August 2001). Diamond Dallas Page. Rosen Publishing. p. 31. ISBN 0-8239-3493-4.
  26. ^ "N.W.A. National Tag Team Title". Wrestling-Titles.com. Archived from the original on 2007-12-18. Retrieved 2007-10-16.
  27. ^ "N.W.A. Georgia Tag Team Title". Wrestling-Titles.com. Retrieved 2007-10-16.
  28. ^ Oliver, Greg (2014-11-26). "Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame Class of 2015 announced". Slam! Sports. Canadian Online Explorer. Archived from the original on November 30, 2014. Retrieved 2014-11-28.((cite web)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  29. ^ "Pro Wrestling Illustrated Award Winners: Tag Team of the Year". Wrestling Information Archive. Archived from the original on 2008-05-16. Retrieved 2007-10-16.
  30. ^ "Pro Wrestling Illustrated's Top 100 Tag Teams of the PWI Years". Wrestling Information Archive. Archived from the original on 2008-06-16. Retrieved 2007-10-16.
  31. ^ Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2006). "(Dallas) Texas: NWA American Tag Team Title [Fritz Von Erich]". Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. ISBN 978-0-9698161-5-7.
  32. ^ "N.W.A. American Tag Team Title". Wrestling-Titles.com. Retrieved January 19, 2020.

Further reading

Fabulous Freebirds on WWE.com