Bruce Prichard was recently back on his Something To Wrestle With show and reflected on Michael Hayes as an in-ring performer. Hayes spent 22 years as an active competitor and was known to be quite stiff in the ring. Prichard mentioned that Hayes was not the greatest worker but praised his skills on the microphone, and said the man’s ability to draw was what gave him longevity.
“His working punch fu–ing hurt,” Prichard exclaimed. “Jesus Christ! I’d rather have him haul off and just punch me in the mouth as hard as he could. His fu–ing working punches were brutal!
“But look, man, Michael – we always give him a hard time. He’s not the greatest worker in the world, but he was without a doubt one of the greatest talkers in the world and had charisma out the a-s. He knew how to talk people into a building. Michael knew how to work and Michael knew how to draw; that’s the difference.”
Hayes was most famous for his run as part of the legendary tag team, The Fabulous Freebirds. Hayes was inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame in 2016. His in-ring work officially came to an end in 1999 and he has since been focused more on various backstage roles for WWE.
From 1995-1999, Hayes worked under the name Dok Hendrix and would often interview wrestlers before their matches. Some of his more memorable interviews included the famous “Austin 3:16” promo and the “Super Soaker” DX promos.
Hayes was also featured as a manager for the Hardy Boyz in 1999. He was “fired” by Matt and Jeff after being pinned by The Acolytes and costing them the tag team titles in a handicap match. Hayes spoke on this instance back in 2017, and revealed Vince McMahon just didn’t want him to be featured on camera anymore.
“I had a great run with The [Fabulous] Freebirds,” Hayes said. “I tried to recreate it, but it didn’t work so much. I tried again with the Hardy’s to start a new thing, and finally, Vince [McMahon] said, ‘No, you’re not going to do that. I don’t want you on-air.’ I thought my career was over. He asked me to be an agent. I just thought, ‘Well, kid, you’ve got to make the best of this,’ and it worked.”
He went on to say that he lives vicariously through the “big stars” when putting together their matches, and said putting together The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels match at WrestleMania 25 was one of his biggest accomplishments.
“The funnest time I’ve had – and I’ve had a lot – was the first Undertaker/Shawn Michaels matchup at WrestleMania 25 because we all had this vision and we were working on it, and it was basically heaven against hell,” Hayes said. “When I first presented it to Vince, [he said], ‘Oh God! No, Michael, we’re not going to do heaven versus hell!’ Next thing you know, Undertaker is ascending from the fires of hell. Shawn’s descending from the clouds of heaven. The match was so good! I mean, to make people think that Shawn Michaels, as great as he is, had a chance to break that streak.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Something To Wrestle With and give a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Mehdy Labriny contributed to this article.