From Badstreet to the limelight

From Badstreet to the limelight

"Badstreet, Atlanta, G-A
Baddest street in the whole USA!"

So goes the song "Badstreet USA," and while that claim may be a little grandiose, it is safe to say that this fictitious way is the home of one of the greatest tag teams to grace the squared circle. So great, in fact, that has ranked The Fabulous Freebirds as the No. 5 Greatest Tag Team in sports-entertainment history.

Billing themselves from Badstreet, the three man unit of Michael "P.S." Hayes, Terry "Bam Bam" Gordy and Buddy "Jack" Roberts began terrorizing opponents in 1979. Sometimes loved but often hated, the Freebirds spent the 1980s as not just a dominant team, but also as trailblazing pioneers that helped shape the scope of sports-entertainment today. While their legendary rivalry with the Von Erich family in Texas' World Class Championship Wrestling promotion is one of the greatest and most intense in sports-entertainment history, that's not the Freebirds' only calling card.

Nowadays, every WWE Superstar has his or her own distinguishable theme music; in the 1980s, however, Hayes, Gordy and Roberts were credited as being the first group to fully incorporate music into their ring entrance. Fittingly, it was Lynyrd Skynyrd's classic "Free Bird" that signaled their arrival -- until the middle of the decade, that is, when Hayes also became the first to sing his own theme by recording "Badstreet USA."

No matter what you may think about Hayes' vocal stylings, the in-ring prowess of The Fabulous Freebirds and their cohesiveness as a unit were undeniably exceptional. Together, the trio captured numerous tag team championships throughout World Class, the UWF and the NWA, living up to their moniker -- and the lyrics of their theme -- by never settling in one place for too long. Their championship reigns, however, gave birth to the infamous "Freebird Rule," which allowed any two members of the team to defend the gold -- a loophole later used by such teams as Demolition and The Spirit Squad, as well as the nWo.

Even after Hayes, Gordy and Roberts went their separate ways following a decade of dominance, the Freebird name lived on. Along with Jimmy "Jam" Garvin -- long considered the unofficial "fourth Freebird" -- Hayes reformed the team in the NWA in 1990. With an entourage that included manager Diamond Dallas Page, the masked Badstreet and several others, Hayes & Garvin cemented the group's legacy by capturing both the WCW United States Tag Team Championship and WCW Tag Team Championship twice apiece before finally disbanding for good in the mid-1990s.

To paraphrase Ronnie Van Zant: If they left here tomorrow, we would still remember them, because there were few better than The Fabulous Freebirds.

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