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 - Charles Laffere


Did you know…?

That Buddy Roberts wrestled in Southwest Championship Wrestling as Dale Valentine, before he was a Freebird. Who was his “older brother” and manager? Johnny Valentine.

Rest in peace, Mr. Valentine.

“Badstreets, Atlanta, GA,
Badstreets in the whole USA,
Badstreets, nasty and hot,
The further down the block you went
The badder it got!”

“Badstreets USA,” as performed by the velvet-voiced Michael Hayes from the “Off the Street” album.

Hello and welcome back to another installment of my UWF memories.  I am Charles Laffere, and this week we will be continuing our look at the Freebirds’ wild flight through the promotion in 1986-7.

The last time we met, the Freebirds had begun their second tenure in Bill Watts’ Mid-South/UWF promotion. We ended that piece with one mad Oklahoman looming on the horizon-none other than the big Cowboy from Bixby, Bill Watts. Watts’ macho, tough talking persona was the perfect foil for the authority flaunting, wild-eyed Southern boy trio of Michael Hayes, Terry Gordy and Buddy Jack Roberts.

As of 1986, Hayes was one of the best heels in the business, trailing only Ric Flair and Arn Anderson in my book. Despite his lack of great wrestling skills, Hayes could stir up trouble and always have two guys to back him up. The Freebirds were undoubtedly at their collective and individual bests. They also were creating a rock and roll aura that was heretofore unseen (or unheard) in pro wrestling.

The Freebirds had all the dynamics of a rock band. A name taken from a Lynyrd Skynyrd anthem celebrating life, individuality and freedom. A charismatic front man/lead singer in Hayes. Two terrific sidemen in Gordy and Hayes. A bodyguard in the Dark Angel. A groupie, er, valet in Sunshine. All the guys were missing was a tour bus. Instead, the fellows had the legendary “Freebirdmobile,” a beat-up old junk car they would drive to gigs to shield them from debris tossed at them as they were leaving arenas.   More...

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