Lord Alfred Hayes

Name: Lord Alfred Hayes
Year Inducted: 2014

Lord Alfred Hayes

“Judo” Al Hayes was one of the greatest wrestlers ever to come out of the United Kingdom. After mastering judo, Hayes studied wrestling with Sir Atholl Oakley, and the tall, slender grappler would win the British heavyweight title in 1952.

Arriving in North America, he became “Lord” Alfred Hayes, a top-notch heel wherever he wrestled in the 1960s and 1970s, including the AWA, Florida, the Central States territory and Texas. He was usually billed as being from Windermere, England. One of his most notable feuds was a battle with Dory Funk Jr. over the NWA world title, as Hayes claimed he knew how to break the champ’s spinning toe hold.

Hayes was also a heel manager in the American Wrestling Association. “I did some managing that I didn’t really want to do, but I did it up in Minneapolis. Verne Gagne persuaded me to,” Hayes said in a 2000 interview with Wrestling Perspective. “I said to him, ‘No, I don’t want to be a manager because when you’re a manager, you go in and you do the main event and the wrestler gets the money and you who do all the work and all the talking get nothing.’ So he said, ‘I’ll pay you what the main event gets.’ So that’s how much he wanted me to manage.” Some of the names he managed included Billy Robinson, Nikolai Volkoff, Chris Markoff, Masked Superstar (Bill Eadie) and the Super Destroyers (Bob Remus, a.k.a. Sgt. Slaughter, and Don Jardine).

Pat Patterson was one of Hayes’ close friends. “He was easy to be with. He liked to have a few drinks. He was fun to be with, just the way he talked, you just laughed so much. He never swore. He’d get mad, but when he’d get angry, he’d say, ‘I’m so angry at you, Pat,’” Patterson recalled for SLAM! Wrestling afters Hayes’ death on July 21, 2005 at age 76. “I taught him how to play golf, and he would talk to the ball and he’d also talk to the club. ‘Okay, my trusty nine-iron, please go where you are supposed to go.’ It was so fun. If I would miss a putt, he’d say, ‘Pat, a noble effort.’”

That fun aspect of Hayes was spotlighted in the WWF/WWE, as a commentator, backstage interviewer, and as a co-host of the Tuesday Night Titans talk show. Hayes, with his “Masterpiece Theatre diction” served as a second banana to Vince McMahon on TNT.

“Lord Alfred Hayes was a very, very good friend of mine,” Heenan told SLAM! Wrestling’s Bob Kapur. “I never heard the man say a mean word, I never heard him swear. If he hit a golf ball and it went wrong, he would say, ‘that beastie little thing.’ He was just a true gentleman.”

After his time in the WWF came to an end in 1995, he faced a number of health challenges, including arthritis and was confined to a wheelchair.

“In the later years, his body kind of broke down, but he always had a quick mind. He had a heart of gold,” said legendary announcer “Mean” Gene Okerlund. “He was one of the most entertaining men in the history of the business. I’d put him in the same league as Bobby Heenan or Roddy Piper.”

 

- Greg Oliver



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