Lord Alfred Hayes
|Lord Alfred Hayes|
|Birth name||Alfred George James Hayes|
8 August 1928|
London, England, United Kingdom
|Died||21 July 2005
Dallas, Texas, United States
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Al Hayes
Lord Alfred Hayes
The White Angel
|Billed weight||107.9 kg (238 lb; 16.99 st)|
|Billed from||Windermere, England|
|Trained by||Sir Atholl Oakley, Bt|
Alfred George James Hayes (8 August 1928 – 21 July 2005) was an English professional wrestler, manager and commentator, best known for his appearances in the United States with the World Wrestling Federation between 1982 and 1995 where he was known as Lord Alfred Hayes. Hayes was distinguished by his "Masterpiece Theatre diction" and "Oxford accent".
Professional wrestling career
Born in London, Hayes attended the North Western Polytechnic, which was evacuated to Luton Modern School during the War. He attained a black belt in judo before training as a wrestler under Sir Atholl Oakley, Bt. Wrestling as "Judo" Al Hayes, he appeared on the British circuit from the late 1950s to the late 1970s, when he left the United Kingdom and travelled to the United States. He was a blue-eye who battled all of the heavyweight heels of his time, and held the Southern Area Heavyweight Championship for a number of years. He traded heavily on his judo background, and specialised with judo chops and nerve holds. While wrestling for Sam Muchnick in St. Louis during the mid 1970s, Hayes turned heel. Upon his return from America he remained a heel, having inherited the dreaded "American style", and fought his way through most of his former tag partners. His most famous period was when he fought for Paul Lincoln Promotions as The White Angel, with a massive feud against Dr Death. Death eventually won, and unmasked Hayes.
World Wrestling Federation (1982–1995)
Now billed as "Lord Alfred Hayes", Hayes joined the World Wrestling Federation in 1982. He was a sidekick to Vince McMahon on Tuesday Night Titans, a WWF-style talk show from 1984 to 1986. Hayes became familiar to WWF viewers as a light-spoken Englishman with an uproarious laugh. On TNT, Hayes usually was the victim of several slapsticks; some instances included getting a face-full of powder, being slopped with pumpkin-innards by "Captain" Lou Albano, drinking one of Hulk Hogan's diet shakes, then promptly vomiting, being nearly bitten by one of Hillbilly Jim's goats, and getting slapped in the face by "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. He would later become the introductory announcer on Prime Time Wrestling, on which he would give rousing and complimentary introductions to the face hosts and slightly less flattering but coolly worded intros to Bobby "The Brain" Heenan. He was once "taken hostage" from the show by Sgt. Slaughter and his "Iraqi" allies.
Hayes appeared at WrestleMania in 1985 where he was the backstage commentator introducing matches and pre-recorded comments by the wrestlers. As Hayes was announcing the upcoming WWF Women's Championship match to the TV audience, he was affectionately kissed on the cheek by his real life friend The Fabulous Moolah as she and her charge, WWF Women's Champion Leilani Kai walked to the ring for Kai's title defence against Wendi Richter (Kai also kissed a visibly blushing Hayes). Moolah would also kiss Hayes full on the lips during an episode of Tuesday Night Titans'. At WrestleMania 2, he served as commentator alongside Jesse "The Body" Ventura and Elvira for the Los Angeles portion of the event. This was the only WWF Pay-per-view on which Hayes commentated on the main event (Hulk Hogan vs King Kong Bundy in a steel cage for Hogan's WWF Championship belt). For the Coliseum Video release of WrestleMania III, Hayes briefly appeared alongside Gorilla Monsoon hyping the event.
As the WWF's video library began to expand, Hayes became a mainstay in many of the releases; such as "Etiquette With Lord Alfred Hayes", a short segment on the WWF World Tour 1991 tape, where he attempted to teach table manners to Sensational Sherri and The Brooklyn Brawler. Another great segment on the tape collections took place on the "Supertape" series when Lord Alfred Hayes would voice "The Call of the Action" in which a match or two would be slowed down and each manoeuvre named and explained (for instance, the audience could learn what a reverse crescent kick was, long before it became more famously known as "Sweet Chin Music"). It was also an example of how as late as 1990 or so, professional wrestling was still presented with "Kayfabe", the veneer of reality. He later appeared on the video releases of WrestleMania VII (where he had a corny Love Story-like part regarding the reunion of "Macho Man" Randy Savage and his former manager Miss Elizabeth following Savage's career-ending loss to The Ultimate Warrior), WrestleMania VIII, and Royal Rumble 1993 (in which he famously asked to watch Sherri put on her stockings while interviewing her in her dressing room, prompting Sherri to mockingly call him a "dirty old man"). He also appeared on some early episodes of Monday Night RAW).
Lord Alfred also appeared on many episodes of Saturday Night's Main Event, often performing silly recorded acts with fellow WWF commentator/interviewer "Mean" Gene Okerlund. One skit involved Hayes and Okerlund (referred to as "Jim" by Hayes despite Okerlund protesting his name was "Gene") taking a trip through Africa, encountering many strange sights along the way (Akeem and his manager Slick, Koko B. Ware and his parrot "Frankie", The Bushwhackers, and Jake "The Snake" Roberts and his pet python "Damien").
As a commentator, Hayes maintained his reserved mannerisms; though not specifically a heel, he would be quicker to give praise to heelish characters, though disapproving of underhanded methods (in one match, after being told by Gorilla Monsoon that the Hart Foundation had "broken every rule in the book," he replied with a conceding "yes, they've done that"). He was jokingly referred to by Hulk Hogan as "Awful Alfred" during interviews. It was during this time that his hearty uproarious laugh would become his trademark, bursting into laughter after a witty comment by his regular broadcast partner Gorilla Monsoon. He would quietly absorb criticism and insults from heel commentators such as Heenan and The Honky Tonk Man. However, toward the end of his WWF run he quietly shifted to a more heelish style, where he would be quicker to take the sides of heels (such as Owen Hart after he turned on Bret) and quicker to insult the faces (calling Paul Bearer a "little toad"). His final famous WWF promo took place in November 1994, when the Headshrinkers did a promo for "Left Guard Sport stick (a parody of Right Guard Sport Stick)" and Fatu and Sione (The Headshrinkers) ate the deodorant causing Alfred to keep telling them to stop. He would later appear as a full-on heel commentator alongside Mick Karch, calling the action in 1996 for the short-lived AWF (American Wrestling Federation).
Hayes' various roles for the WWF included co-hosting All-American Wrestling with Gene Okerlund and doing commentary for shows at Madison Square Garden with Gorilla Monsoon sporadically from 1984–1990. Hayes' most common broadcast partner was Sean Mooney, whom was paired with Hayes on Prime Time Wrestling, WWF Mania, as well as most all releases for Coliseum Video starting in 1989 until 1993. Hayes and Mooney often participated in comedic skits together, including a Star Trek parody. Hayes was also the announcer for Bobby Heenan's The Bobby Heenan Show, which aired briefly in the Summer of 1989.
At one point, he also assisted Edouard Carpentier, Raymond Rougeau and Guy Hauray as a commentator on the French language broadcasts of the WWF on RDS (Réseau des Sports) in the province of Québec and throughout Canada.
Retirement and death
Hayes ultimately retired from the WWF in 1995 after a series of pay cuts instilled by Vince McMahon due to financial issues that meant that his pay was to be drastically cut. McMahon and the rest of the office were reportedly very upset at the news as Hayes was someone that they didn't want to lose. Around this time he was also involved in a serious car accident. As a result of the accident he suffered gangrene and part of a leg had to be amputated. Hayes was a wheelchair user for the remainder of his life. He later suffered a series of strokes and died on 21 July 2005 at his home in Texas. On the first episode of Monday Night RAW to air after his death, WWE paid tribute to Hayes with a ten-bell salute and a video memorial. On 15 November 2010 "Old School" edition of Raw, his voice-over was a part of the broadcast.
- Wrestlers managed by Hayes
Championships and accomplishments
- British Championships
- World Mid-Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Central States Wrestling
- NWA World Tag Team Championship (Central States version) (2 times) – with Bob Brown (1) and Roger Kirby (1)
- NWA Western States Sports
- "Alfred Hayes". The Daily Telegraph. 16 August 2005. Retrieved 10 February 2008.
- Oliver, G. (21 July 2005). "Lord Al Hayes dead at 76". Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved 10 February 2008.
- "Wrestlers Are Like Seagulls: From McMahon To McMahon" by James J. Dillon
- "Wrestlers Are Like Seagulls: From McMahon To McMahon" by James J. Dillon
- "OWOW Profile". Retrieved 20 September 2012.
- Oliver, G. (25 July 2005). "Friends remember Lord Alfred Hayes". Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved 10 February 2008.
- Caldwell, James (26 November 2013). "News: Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame announces 2014 HOF class". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- "Pro Wrestling Illustrated Award Winners Inspirational Wrestler of the Year". Wrestling Information Archive. Archived from the original on 16 June 2008. Retrieved 27 July 2008.