Where Wrestling's Regional History Lives!
- Charles Laffere
UNIVERSAL 'BIRDS II
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 USA,” as performed by the velvet-voiced
Michael Hayes from the “Off the Street” album.
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.
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.
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.