Another loss of a wrestling legend to report today as legendary member of the “Fabulous Freebirds” Buddy “Jack” Roberts (real name Dale Hey) has passed away at 65. Roberts death leaves Michael Hayes as the lone original Freebird, as Terry “Bam Bam” Gordy also passed away back in 2001.
When the Fabulous Freebirds trio formed in the early 1980’s, the formula of Hayes being the entertainment, Gordy being the big man, and Roberts being the solid in-ring veteran quickly saw the group gain fame in every area they hit. Prior to forming the Freebirds, Roberts had been working multiple territories in the 70s and had much success a member of the “Hollywood Blonds” tag team. Of course The Freebirds will best be remembered for lighting the Texas territory on fire in the early 80s with their feud with the Von Erichs in World Class Championship Wrestling. During this time Roberts also sparked a singles feud with “Iceman” King Parsons that stands out as one of the most memorable feuds in the promotion’s history that saw Roberts lose his hair, which brought much joy to Texas fans who enjoyed seeing Roberts trying to hide his bald head in the weeks that followed.
In between their multiple runs in World Class, the Freebirds also had memorable runs in the AWA, UWF (where Roberts held their Television Championship,) and even a very short stint in the WWF in 1984. In the later 80’s, the Freebirds split in different directions, and even feuded in World Class in 1988 where Roberts replaced Hayes with “Iceman” King Parsons in the group since Hayes had befriended the Von Erichs at the time. Shortly after, Roberts managed a young “Samoan Swat Team” who went on to become the “Headshrinkers” in WWF, and who “Fatu” of the team later became Rikishi. Buddy Roberts retired in 1990 and battled and beat throat cancer in later years. Robers made appearances in many autograph conventions over the years, and was seen on WWE programming in the past couple of years joining hosts Hayes and Kevin Von Erich on WWE Classics on Demand’s World Class Championship Wrestling programming.
Buddy “Jack” Roberts was a legend that was part of one of the most innovative, rebellious, and hell raising groups in wrestling history both inside and outside the ring. The Freebirds will always be at the top of any list that mentions the top groups or even tag teams in wrestling history. Hopefully in his passing WWE will finally move forward with the LONG overdue induction of the Fabulous Freebirds into the WWF Hall of Fame this year.
Here’s a classic match from AWA Superclash featuring Buddy Roberts taking on WWE Hall of Famer Mil Mascaras: