Originally Posted by theidealstranger
A former musician and leader of the legendary heel tag faction Fabulous Freebirds who even went on to have Freebird rule for the tag titles, he started small time in local promotions with Terry Gordy as the Fabulous Freebirds soon to be joined by Buddy Roberts in Tennessee.
They joined NWA in Georgia going on to win the tag titles with Hayes moonwalking to celebrate. They went on to join WCCW where they became famous with their feud with The Von Erichs which started out in a cage match between Flair and Erich with Hayes as special guest referee in which he turned on against both one after another. The feud carried on for a good decade bringing out the best in both teams.
Being a musician, he had good mic skills and charisma which helped to put the team over. They were joined by Jimmy Garvin who was unofficially considered as the Fourth Freebird. They moved on WWF inbetween but as Vince would have it, he wanted them to split and feud within themselves for which he did not give a nod. They also had a stint and a feud in AWA with L.O.D.
He, along with the freebirds went over to UWF where Terry Gordy won the heavyweight title and they had a heel vs heel feud with Devastation Inc. Unfortunately, Freebirds had to break up and Hayes pursued successful singles career in UWF going on to become their top babyface.
He went back to WCCW where the freebirds were performing without him, he joined them, left them, feuded with them and again joined them all the while working on his music career.
He went on to JCP in NWA where he had a feud with Luger going on to win the US title losing it back before winning the NWA tag titles as a freebird.
But in 1995, he had to retire due to an injury suffered by him during his run in WCW/JCP which he left inspite of being offered 75,000 a year in contract to merely join his friends in GWF as a freebird.
He joined WWF as a manager and took care of Hardy Boys while also taking part as a commentator. He got some attention in Plane ride from Hell and wanting John Cena to turn heel on his partner Chris Benoit which miserably backfired (now we know why Cena wont turn heel) before being relegated to backstage completely.
With over 26 titles and a fabulous run as a freebird leader, he is a forgotten legend.
Michael Hayes to me had a major impact on the sport. I remember I was very young when I saw him and Gordy wrestle as teenagers in Memphis. He was one of the really early examples of a guy with all the charisma in the world with limited ring talent. Of ocurse in that era the fans did not really care. They just wanted to hate/love him.
This is what wrestling fans can attribute at least a little to the Hayes influence:
-He really popularized entrance music, although others were doing it, these guys made it cool.
-Hayes revitalized the World Class territory (alhtough Dale Hay and Terry Gordy had some impact). The Von Erichs were only over when they had rivals.
-The Freebird Von Erich war gave World Class the ability to syndicate and up their production values.
-The better production of World Class rivaled the WWF and in fact the WWF began to do some of the things WCCW was doing.
-Without Hayes; Gordy does not come to Dallas, and neither does Dale Hay (Buddy Roberts). Without Hayes Jimmy Garvin does not come to Dallas, without Garvin there is no Chris Adams fued, and possibly Adams never gets over, the same could be said about Iceman Parsons.
-"Badstreet USA" although cheesy by today's standards was revolutionary when it debuted. The other territories had made their own videos (Memphis was doing this years before MTV), but no one was doing it that well. Heck the song was not that bad.
-As far as pure charisma I rank him as a top 20 guy all time.
-The Freebirds were examples of earlier heels who were loved by the "smart" fans.
I will say I think he never could escape the shadow of Gordy. Even though Hayes was the charisma guy he and Gordy were so great together. The Garvin-Hayes Freebirds were horrible on so many levels. It's like Gordy kept the Freebirds "edgy" and when Garvin stepped in their was no one to keep the cheese level low.
As a singles wrestler he was over but his lack of a great physique, and in ring ability kept him from ever being a serious world title contender. He was an awesome territory days heel. He was not an awesome national brand face.