Michael Hayes Discusses Fan Criticism Of WWE’s Product, Freebirds/HOF, More

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In an interview with Ric Flair for WOOOOO! Nation, Michael Hayes spoke about the WWE Hall of Fame induction of The Fabulous Freebirds, along with his thoughts on fan criticism of the WWE product. Here are highlights:

On the Freebirds being passed over for Hall of Fame in Wrestlemania 27: “Back about five years ago when WrestleMania was in Atlanta [Georgia], and before that, I used to sit on pins and needles wondering the whole time if this was the year. ‘Will this be the year we go in the Hall Of Fame?’ And when it didn’t happen in Atlanta, it just broke my heart. I just couldn’t believe it. And was like, ‘really?’. It was just a cutoff point in my life because, from then on, I didn’t worry about it. I just didn’t. I became numb to it. I didn’t hate it or anything of that ilk. I was just in a mindset of, like, ‘okay’ because I was always like, ‘if we don’t get in, fine. Our career validates itself. When you put asses in seats and you give people more than their money’s worth, you are Hall Of Fame material, no matter what Hall Of Fame that is.’ But then, of course, I found out from my job on the inside that [WrestleMania in] Dallas [Texas] was on the horizon and those feelings started coming back. And when Triple H told me some months ago, ‘oh yeah, you guys are going in’, I was like, ‘oh, man.’ And all these memories come flooding back in and all the times we had. Just unbelievable times back then.”

On being happy for his stablemates: “It’s awesome. I’m so happy for Terry [Gordy] and Buddy [Roberts], you know how I feel about those guys, and Jimmy [Garvin] too, don’t get me wrong, those guys are so deserving. They did so much. A lot of the time, people tend to look at a lead singer of the band, if you will, and not realize he is only as good as the band is. And that was the case with me and The Freebirds. I’m happy for them [and] their families. Terry’s son is going to speak about [Terry Ray Gordy]. Buddy Roberts, Jr. is going to be talking about his dad. Yeah, that’s going to be super emotional, as you can imagine.” Hayes added, “I wished Terry and Buddy would be there and I know they will be there and playing ribs on me all night long, but the recognition, it’s cool.”

On Brian James: “If you want to talk about the transformation and the 180 [degree turn] that Brian James, The Road Dogg, has done, it’s not to be believed. It’s a testament to anybody out there that thinks they have a monkey on their back that they can never get off. That’s not the case if you really want to [change]. There are people out there that will help you do that and the biggest person that will help you do that is the person inside you. I mean, Brian has done so many great things. And I knew him when he was in a state of he didn’t even know where he was. And that’s not the case right now.”

On fans criticizing WWE: “When you’re the big dog, which, obviously, WWE is, then, you’re on the pedestal, so people just want to knock you off. And, quite frankly, a lot of the criticism people have for us, some of it’s valid. I’m not going to lie and say it’s not, but what makes me so proud every day to get up and work for WWE is everybody that works for WWE, and I’m talking about everybody, from the guy in the mailroom, everybody from everywhere, everybody’s goal, and it sounds like such a cliché term, is to put smiles on people’s faces all across the world. That is what we do! There are so many things that we do as a company for people that nobody knows about. There are so many things the McMahon family does to help people, on a personal level, that nobody knows about because we don’t toot our horn on that. But there is this overwhelming swell of pride for the things that we do do. And, no, we don’t get everything right. And, no, guess what? No, we are not always going to get everything right. We have a pretty good batting average and that batting average is going to hit the ceiling again the first weekend of April.”

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