Terry Gordy
Birth nameTerry Ray Gordy
Born(1961-04-23)April 23, 1961
Rossville, Georgia,[1] U.S.
DiedJuly 16, 2001(2001-07-16) (aged 40)
Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee, U.S.
Cause of deathHeart attack
Connie Gordy
(m. 1979)
Children3; including Ray Gordy
FamilyRichard Slinger (nephew)
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)The Executioner/Forest Druid
Terry "Bam Bam" Gordy
Terry Mecca
Billed height6 ft 4 in (193 cm)[2]
Billed weight289 lb (131 kg)[2]
Billed from"Badstreet U.S.A."
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Dark Forest
New York City
Trained byArchie Gouldie
Lou Thesz

Terry Ray Gordy Sr.[3] (April 23, 1961 – July 16, 2001) was an American professional wrestler. Gordy appeared in the United States with promotions such as Mid-South Wrestling, Georgia Championship Wrestling, World Class Championship Wrestling, Jim Crockett Promotions/World Championship Wrestling and the Universal Wrestling Federation as a member of The Fabulous Freebirds. He also appeared in Japan with All Japan Pro Wrestling as one-half of The Miracle Violence Connection.

Gordy held many championships throughout the course of his career, including the Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship, AJPW World Tag Team Championship, WCW World Tag Team Championship, NWA World Tag Team Championship, UWF Heavyweight Championship and SMW Heavyweight Championship. He has been posthumously inducted into the Wrestling Observer, Professional Wrestling, and WWE Hall of Fame.

Professional wrestling career

Early career (1974–1980)

Gordy was a standout high school football and baseball player at Rossville High School, but dropped out of high school following his freshman year.[4] Trained by Archie Gouldie, he started wrestling at the age of 13 in 1974[5] as "Terry Mecca" for the International Wrestling Association.[3][4]

In early 1979, Gordy began wrestling under his real name and formed the Fabulous Freebirds with Michael Hayes, with Buddy Roberts later added to the group.[6] Gordy and Hayes had met while training in Mississippi the year prior.[5]

Georgia Championship Wrestling (1980–1982)

In 1980, the Freebirds moved to Georgia Championship Wrestling, where they won the territory's tag team championship.[2] The Fabulous Freebirds had feuds while there, including those against Tommy Rich, Junkyard Dog, Kevin Sullivan, Austin Idol, and Ted DiBiase, and became one of the first acts to use entrance music.[5] One match on the Saturday night WTBS Georgia Championship Wrestling show saw the Freebirds take on the Junkyard Dog and Ted DiBiase, where towards the end of the match, Gordy gave DiBiase 4 consecutive piledrivers, which led to DiBiase being taken away in an ambulance.[4]

In 1981, the Freebirds split up when Buddy Roberts left the area. Michael and Terry then had a falling out, which led to a feud against each other. Terry and Michael eventually put their differences aside, and reformed the Freebirds as a duo in 1982 when they feuded with Ole Anderson and Stan Hansen.[7]

World Class Championship Wrestling (1982–1989)

Gordy (left) in a 1988 match against Kerry Von Erich in San Antonio

In late-1982, the Freebirds went to the Dallas, Texas-based World Class Championship Wrestling promotion and had a feud with the Von Erichs (David, Kevin, Kerry and Mike), which kicked off when Gordy slammed the cage door on Kerry during his cage match on March 15 at WCCW Star Wars against Ric Flair, where Michael Hayes served as the special guest referee, inciting a riot among fans attending.[3] They traded the six man title back and forth a few times over the years.[2][6] Gordy was also at one time one half of the WCCW American Tag Team Champions.[2] While in WCCW, Killer Khan taught Gordy how to perform the Oriental Spike, which he dubbed the Asiatic Spike.[8]

All Japan Pro Wrestling (1982, 1983–1994)

Gordy's connection with All Japan Pro Wrestling began in March 1982, when he challenged Giant Baba for the PWF Heavyweight Championship at a Georgia Championship Wrestling show at the Omni in Atlanta. The match would air in Japan. Seventeen months later, Gordy made his debut for AJPW in August 1983. He was immediately paired with Stan Hansen and took part in Terry Funk's first retirement match on August 31, 1983.[9][4][5] It was during this time that Lou Thesz taught Gordy what would be his main move, the powerbomb.

In 1984, Gordy returned to AJPW with his Fabulous Freebirds teammates Michael Hayes and Buddy Roberts. He and Hayes would unsuccessfully challenge for the NWA International Tag Team Championship twice. On his own, he challenged Jumbo Tsuruta for the NWA International Heavyweight Championship, but got disqualified. By the end of 1984, Hayes and Roberts left AJPW, leaving Gordy on his own there. In June 1985, he would get a rematch for the NWA International Heavyweight title against Tsuruta, but got counted out. In March 1986, he got yet another rematch against Tsuruta for the NWA International title, but lost. Two months later, Gordy would got a shot at the PWF Heavyweight title, now held by Riki Choshu, but lost by disqualification. In August 1986, he began teaming with Killer Khan, who taught him the Asiatic Spike a couple years earlier, while in WCCW. He and Khan took part in the 1986 World's Strongest Tag Determination League, where they placed third with eight points.

By November 1987, Gordy reunited with Hansen for the 1987 World's Strongest Tag Determination League, where they placed second in a four-way tie with three different teams. In July 1988, Gordy and Hansen defeated Jumbo Tsuruta and Yoshiaki Yatsu to win the World Tag Team Championship, before losing them back to Tsuruta and Yatsu two days later. It wouldn't be until December 1988, that Gordy and Hansen won the World Tag Team titles for the second time by winning the 1988 World's Strongest Tag Determination League, defeating Genichiro Tenryu and Toshiaki Kawada in the finals. They would lose the titles again to Tsuruta and Yatsu two months later in a rare title change outside Japan, as the match was held in the United States. Gordy and Hansen would continue to team until June 1989. He would take Bill Irwin as his partner for the 1989 World's Strongest Tag Determination League, but the pairing didn't work, as they placed seventh with six points.

In February 1990, Gordy teamed up with Steve Williams as The Miracle Violence Connection.[10] The pairing was an immediate success. A month later, they won the World Tag Team Championship, defeating Gordy's former partner Stan Hansen and Genichiro Tenryu. Three months later, Gordy would become a double champion with five belts, as Gordy defeated Jumbo Tsuruta for the Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship.[10][3] The elation would be short-lived, as three days later, he would lose the Triple Crown to Stan Hansen. Gordy rebounded a month later, defeating Hansen to regain the Triple Crown for the second time. But two days later, he and Williams lost the World Tag Team titles to Tsuruta and The Great Kabuki.

On July 26, 1990, after returning to Tokyo from a show in Isesaki, where he and Williams defeated Stan Hansen and Terry Taylor, Gordy collapsed while drinking at a bar and was taken by ambulance to a local hospital. At one point, he had suffered a cardiac arrest. His condition was so grim that AJPW officials were prepared to announce his death. Thankfully, he regained consciousness the next day and vacated the Triple Crown title. He would return a month later, but would never receive a shot at the Triple Crown again.

A month after his near-death experience, Gordy was back, as he and Williams resumed their path of destruction. In December 1990, they regained the World Tag Team titles by winning the 1990 World's Strongest Tag Determination League, defeating Stan Hansen and Dan Spivey in the finals. They would hold onto the titles until April 1991, when they dropped them to Hansen and Spivey. Three months later, Gordy and Williams regained the titles, but lost them nearly three weeks later to Mitsuharu Misawa and Toshiaki Kawada. Five months later, they regained the titles and won the 1991 World's Strongest Tag Determination League, defeating Misawa and Kawada in the finals. In March 1992, they lost the titles to Jumbo Tsuruta and Akira Taue. It was around that time they split their time between AJPW and WCW. They took part in the 1992 World's Strongest Tag Determination League, but was placed second in a tie with the team of Hansen and Johnny Ace.

1993 saw Gordy wrestle exclusively for AJPW. In January 1993, he and Williams won their final World Tag Team title together, defeating Mitsuharu Misawa and Toshiaki Kawada. They would hold onto the belts until May, when they lost them to Kawada and Akira Taue. His final tour as an active gaijin took place in July 1993, where his last match took place on July 29, as he and Williams defeated Johnny Ace and Kendall Windham.

On August 18, 1993, while traveling from the United States to Japan to take part in another AJPW tour, Gordy took an overdose (from which he almost died of three years earlier)[5] of pain medication and slipped into a five-day coma, ultimately suffering permanent brain damage.[11] As a result, he had to relearn how to talk, walk, and wrestle,[4] but he never possessed the skills he once had.[5][9] He returned to AJPW for a single tour in July 1994, before leaving the company after over a decade.

World Wrestling Federation (1984)

The Freebirds spent a brief time in the World Wrestling Federation in 1984,[5] but were fired after missing a show and showing up late and drunk.[12]

Universal Wrestling Federation (1986)

In 1986, when the Freebirds were in Universal Wrestling Federation, the former Mid South Wrestling, Gordy became the first person to win the UWF Heavyweight Championship[3] and held it for six months,[13] before losing it via forfeit to the One Man Gang,[3][9] after an angle the same night in which Gordy was injured in an auto accident by "Dr. Death" Steve Williams, whom he feuded with.[3][6] During this time, Gordy and the Freebirds had an ongoing feud with Hacksaw Jim Duggan, in which Duggan and Gordy squared off, usually ending in a disqualification because of outside interference.[6]

Jim Crockett Promotions/NWA World Championship Wrestling (1987, 1989, 1992)

The Freebirds spent some time in the National Wrestling Alliance's Jim Crockett Promotions where they split to feud briefly, but later reunited.[14] In 1989, Gordy helped Hayes to reform the Freebirds, with Jimmy Garvin, in the NWA, which became World Championship Wrestling in 1991.[4][6][15] Later, he and Steve Williams defeated the Steiners to become World Tag Team Champions.[16]

Gordy and Williams returned to World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in 1992 and won the WCW World Tag Team titles.[10][16] At that point, they were considered the most dominant team in wrestling, making $10,000 to $15,000 a week.[2][9] They also won the NWA World Tag Team titles in a tournament at the Great American Bash card in Albany, Georgia, one week later, and unified the titles.[10] Their feud with Rick and Scott Steiner in Japan was hyped as a feud between the best foreign teams of the two top Japanese promotions (the Steiners were competing for rival New Japan Pro-Wrestling at the time).[10] Despite advances by New Japan, Gordy and Williams, out of loyalty to the AJPW founder and promoter, Giant Baba, refused to compete for the promotion (which had business ties with WCW at the time), leading to Gordy's departure from WCW before Halloween Havoc and Williams' departure after Starrcade.[10]

Various promotions (1989–1994)

After World Class folded in 1989, Gordy wrestled in various promotions. He started working for United States Wrestling Association (USWA). In 1991, he worked for Universal Wrestling Federation where he feuded with Don Muraco. In 1994, he reunited with The Freebirds (Michael Hayes and Jimmy Garvin) for Global Wrestling Federation in Texas where they feuded with Bill Irwin, Black Bart and Moadib and won the Tag Team Championship with Garvin.[4]

Smoky Mountain Wrestling (1992, 1994, 1995)

In February 1992, Gordy debuted for Smoky Mountain Wrestling, defeating Tommy Angel, but by the time the match aired, he had left for WCW. He would not come back until August 1994 at the Night of the Legends, where he unsuccessfully challenged Tony Anthony for the SMW Heavyweight Championship by getting himself disqualified. By June 1995, Gordy was back wrestling full-time for SMW, this time under Jim Cornette's Militia stable. While in the Militia, he regularly teamed up with Tommy Rich. After a brief feud with Boo Bradley over the summer, Gordy set his sights on the SMW Heavyweight Championship, now held by Brad Armstrong. Gordy won the SMW Heavyweight Championship by defeating Armstrong when he teamed with Thrasher to defeat Armstrong and the Wolfman on October 27.[2] A month later on November 23, he dropped the title back to Armstrong in a Country whipping match. Three days later, SMW folded.

Extreme Championship Wrestling (1996)

In 1996, Gordy appeared in Extreme Championship Wrestling to challenge Raven for the ECW World Heavyweight title, as the "internationally recognized #1 contender".[3] He had been working for the International Wrestling Association of Japan promotion, wrestling deathmatches. He lost, but went on to team up with Tommy Dreamer and later to reunite with "Dr. Death" Steve Williams to wrestle The Eliminators. He also wrestled Bam Bam Bigelow at Ultimate Jeopardy in what was billed as the second ever "Battle Of The Bam Bams" (The first happened on a Windy City Wrestling show), which he lost due to outside interference from The Eliminators.[3]

Return to World Wrestling Federation (1996–1997)

Gordy had a brief run in the WWF as The Executioner in 1996 and 1997, where he teamed up with Mankind, both managed by Paul Bearer, and feuded with The Undertaker.[2][8] The Executioner came to the ring under a mask and carrying an axe as Bearer's "hired assassin".[17] He made his TV debut at the In Your House pay-per-view Buried Alive on October 20, 1996, where he interfered in The Undertaker's Buried Alive match with Mankind, hitting Undertaker with a shovel and burying him with the help of Mankind and several other wrestlers.[17] However, at In Your House 12: It's Time on December 15, The Undertaker defeated The Executioner in an Armageddon Rules match, and Gordy left the promotion in January 1997.[18]

On an episode of Something to Wrestle With, Bruce Prichard claimed that the Executioner gimmick was given to Gordy because McMahon had doubts that Gordy could still compete effectively and the use of a mask was intended to protect Gordy so that if that were the case, Gordy's legacy would not be tainted. Had Gordy been able to compete at a high level then there would have been the opportunity later for Gordy to unmask. It was mentioned that the hiring was mostly done as a favor for Michael Hayes.[19]

Later career (1997–2001)

After leaving the WWF and Japan, Gordy worked in the independent circuit. On February 21, 1998, Gordy teamed with Dan Severn in a losing effort to Doug Gilbert and Dutch Mantel at the Eddie Gilbert Memorial Show for IWA Mid-South. Gordy would reunite with Hayes as they fought Glen Kulka and JR Smooth to a no contest for Power Pro Wrestling on May 28, 1999. He wrestled his last match returning to IWA Japan on February 4, 2001, with Shoichi Ichimiya, Tomohiro Ishii, Yukihide Ueno, and Yuji Kito, defeating Doug Gilbert, TJ Shinjuku, Ultra Sebun, Takashi Uwano and Keizo Mastuda.

Personal life

Gordy had two daughters and a son,[3] Ray Gordy, who wrestled for WWE as "Jesse" and "Slam Master J" before being released in 2010.[20] His nephew is Richard Aslinger, who competed for All Japan Pro Wrestling as Richard Slinger.[3][21] His daughter Miranda currently wrestles on the independent circuit and has also competed in Japan.[22] He was known for his "high octane, southern lifestyle" outside of the ring.[3]

Death and legacy

Gordy was found dead by his girlfriend at his home in Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee on July 16, 2001, after suffering a heart attack caused by a blood clot.[23][9] He was 40 years old.[4]

Following his death, the Terry Gordy Memorial Show was held in his honor on August 11 in Birmingham, Alabama.[5] Various wrestlers including Fabulous Freebirds cohort Michael Hayes and former tag team partner Stan Hansen praised Gordy for being one of the best workers they ever worked with.[5][9] In 2014, he was posthumously inducted into the Southern Wrestling Hall of Fame.[24] A year later, he was also posthumously inducted into the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum. On April 2, 2016, Gordy was posthumously inducted by his son into the WWE Hall of Fame as part of the Fabulous Freebirds.[25]

Championships and accomplishments

1Won while WCW was still affiliated with the National Wrestling Alliance and prior to the NWA and WCW World Tag Team Championships being briefly unified.
2The Freebirds' 5th reign carried over after the title's name was changed to the WCWA World Six-Man Tag Team Championship since they were the champions at the time the title was renamed.

See also


  1. ^ https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x8v37vc
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s "Terry Gordy bio". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved November 4, 2022.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Oliver, Greg (July 17, 2001). "Terry 'Bam Bam' Gordy dead at 40". Slam! Wrestling. Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved October 15, 2022.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Meltzer, Dave (2004). Tributes II: Remembering More of the World's Greatest Professional Wrestlers. Sports Publishing LLC. ISBN 978-1-58261-817-3.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Marvez, Alex (August 10, 2001). "Hayes Among The Many Who Will Not Forget 'Bam Bam'". Sun-Sentinel. Tribune Media. Archived from the original on February 3, 2013. Retrieved November 4, 2022.
  6. ^ a b c d e Greg Oliver and Steve Johnson (2005). "Top 20: 7 The Fabulous Freebirds". The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Tag Teams. ECW Press. pp. 46–52. ISBN 978-1-5502-2683-6.
  7. ^ McAdam, John (June 24, 2022). "Episode 211: Refreshments For The Less Fortunate". Stick To Wrestling (Podcast). Arcadian Vanguard Podcast Network. Retrieved October 15, 2022.
  8. ^ a b "The 25 roughest brawlers in wrestling history". WWE. June 19, 2012. Retrieved November 3, 2022.
  9. ^ a b c d e f Molinaro, John (July 18, 2001). "Terry Gordy remembered as a great talent". Slam! Wrestling. Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved November 4, 2022.
  10. ^ a b c d e f Greg Oliver and Steve Johnson (2005). "The National Era (Mid-1980s to present): The Miracle Violence Combination". The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Tag Teams. ECW Press. pp. 284–285. ISBN 978-1-5502-2683-6.
  11. ^ Foley, Mick (1999). Have a Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks. ReganBooks. ISBN 0-06-039299-1.
  12. ^ Cawthon, Graham (2013). the History of Professional Wrestling Vol 1: WWF 1963 – 1989. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. ISBN 978-1492825975.
  13. ^ Hornbaker, Tim (January 3, 2017). Legends of Pro Wrestling: 150 Years of Headlocks, Body Slams, and Piledrivers. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-1-61321-875-4.
  14. ^ Cawthon, Graham (2013). the History of Professional Wrestling Vol 3:Jim Crockett and the NWA World Title 1983–1989. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. ISBN 978-1494803476.
  15. ^ Cawthon, Graham (2014). the History of Professional Wrestling Vol 4: World Championship Wrestling 1989–1994. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. ISBN 978-1499656343.
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  21. ^ Podgorski, Alex (November 24, 2022). "For Richard Slinger, wrestling in Japan was as real as it gets". Slam! Wrestling. Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved October 15, 2022.
  22. ^ "Miranda Gordy's bio". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved August 29, 2021.
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