Michael Hayes Reveals Who Came Up With “The Freebird Rule”

In honor of WWE celebrating its tag team week, Kayla Braxton, host and panelist for WWE's The Bump, sat down with Michael "P.S." Hayes, former leader of the symbolic team, The Fabulous Freebirds, to discuss his instrumental group and their profound effect on the industry as a whole. They started by talking about how their partnership began in 1979.

"Well, Terry Gordy and I were wrestling as teenagers in a territory in Mississippi. We were the only boys in a man's world," Michael Hayes began. "He [Gordy] always had the wrestling talent, and I could always run my mouth.

"I just said to him, 'You're going to make it, and I am, too. But we'll make it there faster if we do it together.' Then, we picked up Buddy Roberts two years later and Jimmy Garvin along the way. And we rock-n'-roll all over this world."

While intact, The Fabulous Freebirds were the first group to implement "The Freebird Rule," which helps teams challenge and retain their titles if other members in their party cannot do so. Although he would like to take credit for this significant tag-team concept, Hayes reveals who was the mastermind behind "The Freebird Rule."

"I'm still glad it's impacting the business," Hayes noted. "It was actually – this is really hard to say – not my idea or Terry or Buddy's idea. It happened to be the guy that sold us from Billy Watson in Louisiana and took us to Georgia Championship Wrestling, the guy by the name of Ole Anderson. That was his idea."

In 2016, after four decades in the business, The Fabolous Freebirds received their due when they were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame at WrestleMania 32. Hayes recalls that special night and when Triple H told him the good news that they were going to be inducted.

"It was very special. I really, really thought it was going to happen in Atlanta at WrestleMania 27. And then, it didn't, and I just kind of like tapped out," Hayes revealed. "Kevin Von Erich texted me, and he was wondering about coming to WrestleMania in Dallas. So, I was asking Triple H about it, and he said, 'Oh, yeah, he's going to be there, anyway, to watch you guys go into the Hall of Fame.' Tears rolled up, and he said, 'Don't tell anybody until after the first of the year.'"

Rounding out his interview, Hayes hopes The Fabulous Freebirds will have a lasting legacy in this business. Not just for jumpstarting a trend that tag teams still use today – "The Freebird Rule" – but as a centerpiece to help push and expand current and future teams towards becoming well-oiled machines both in and out of the ring; similar to what they once did for nearly three decades.

"I just hope that everybody knows how close we were and still are," Hayes concluded. "It wasn't just an act on television; we were really like brothers. That undoubtedly propelled us into the next hemisphere of being something that will be talked about long after your gone, and maybe after I'm gone."

You can watch Michael Hayes' full interview here. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit WWE's The Bump with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.