Alfred Hayes (wrestler) : biography
Alfred George James Hayes (August 8, 1928 – July 21, 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. 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. Upon his return from America he turned 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)
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 an upcoming 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 defense against Wendi Richter. At WrestleMania 2, he served as commentator alongside Jesse "The Body" Ventura and Elvira for the Los Angeles portion of the event. 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. 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).
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"). 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).