Former Fabulous Freebird Terry ‘Bam Bam’ Gordy was found dead Monday at his home in Soddy Daisy, TN. No cause of death has been established, pending an autopsy.
Terry Ray Gordy Sr. was one of the best big men ever in the sport. The six-foot-four, 289-pound Chattanooga, Tennessee native got into the sport in his mid-teens and was trained by the Mongolian Stomper. At one point early in his career, he was billed as Terry Mecca from New York City.
He became a huge star as a part of the Fabulous Freebirds three-man tag team with Michael ‘P.S.’ Hayes and Buddy Roberts.
The ‘Birds catapulted to stardom when they turned on the Von Erich clan in late 1982, when Hayes and Gordy cost Kerry Von Erich a match against NWA World champion Ric Flair. The epic Freebird-Von Erichs feud continued until the ‘Birds left World Class in 1984 for a very brief stay in the WWF.
After breaking with the Freebirds, Gordy’s found success in Bill Watts’ Universal Wrestling Federation, where he became the company’s first world champion, beating Hacksaw Duggan in a May 1986 tournament in Houston. Gordy would forfeit the title to One Man Gang later that year following an auto accident.
He also had a memorable feud there with Steve ‘Dr. Death’ Williams in the UWF.
UWF owner-promoter Bill Watts shared some memories of Terry Gordy. “He was one of the special kids that I just feel so privileged for the short, brief time that he was in my life, because he was an exciting guy. I enjoyed him in the ring, I enjoyed him out of the ring, I enjoyed being the promoter. I also was still in my career in those days, so I got to work in the ring with him, and boy, I want to tell you, he was the kind of the guy that was just a natural in there. It was just a pleasure to be in there.”
When Gordy turned his attention to primarily wrestling in Japan, he teamed in many All Japan contests with ‘Dr. Death’ as his tag team partner. They were known as the The Miracle-Violence Combination.
Gordy became known for his brutal punches, lariats, and powerbombs, but also for his high octane, southern lifestyle away from the ring.
The Wrestling Observer‘s Dave Meltzer writes that Gordy “was on the verge of being one of the all-time greats before a drug overdose left him in a coma in 1993 and he was never the same. He was only 32 at the time of that overdose and had already been a headliner around the world for 16 years.”
Gordy wrestled on occasion over the past number of years, including a less-than-impressive stint in ECW that is best remembered for the ‘Battle of the Bam Bams’ where he fought Bam Bam Bigelow.
Bam Bam was the first foreign wrestler to win the All Japan’s Triple Crown, defeating Jumbo Tsuruta on June 5, 1990 in Chiba, Japan. Gordy would drop the titles three days later to Stan Hansen in Tokyo. Gordy won it for a second time on July 17,1990 from Hansen in Ishikawa, only to be stripped later that month when he was hospitalized.
Gordy held numerous other titles: NWA American Heavyweight, Southeastern Heavyweight, Alabama Heavyweight, Mid-America Tag Team (2 Times), Smoky Mountain Wrestling, Mid-South Tag Team (2 Times), NWA/WCWA World 6-Man Tag Team (6 Times), NWA National Tag Team (4 Times), WCW World Tag Team, All-Japan Triple Crown (2 Times), All-Japan International Tag Team (8 Times), World Class Texas American.
Survivors include his son, Terry Ray Gordy Jr. of East Ridge; two daughters, Miranda Gordy and Amber Gordy of Ringgold; one sister, Marsheena Aslinger of Soddy Daisy, Parents Billy and Mildred Gordy of Rossvile; one nephew, Richard Aslinger, one niece, Candace Sutton, both of Soddy Daisy.
Funeral services will be held Thursday, July 19, 2001 at 11:00 a.m in the South Crest Chapel of Lane Funeral Home, Rossville, TN. Burial will follow at the TN-GA Memorial Park. The Family will receive friends at the funeral home Wednesday from1-4 and 6-8.
I can remember Terry Gordy when he burst onto the tag scene in Georgia Championship Wrestling with Buddy Roberts and Michael Hayes to headline the first triple threat match ever between Mr. Wrestling I & II, The Assassins, and The Freebirds. Gordy was this huge, hulking enforcer who was the perfect foil for Michael Hayes demented genius persona. Gordy’s unique ring persona helped to make the Freebird/Von Erich feud one of the feuds for the ages. His pairing with Steve Williams would later provide for some of the most exciting tag matches the wrestling world has ever seen. Gordy will be severely missed. R.I.P. big man.
I remember Terry as a very outgoing, flamboyant personality, and his presence made the Freebirds what they were. I enjoyed watching his matches in Japan, and I enjoyed following his run with Dr. Death Steve Williams when they teamed in WCW several years ago. Terry truly was one of the better big men in the sport, and certainly among the toughest. Terry will be missed here by many Nova Scotians I’m sure, and I still have my Terry Gordy AWA action figure proudly on display in my room.
What I will always remember about Terry Gordy is the matches he had with the One Man Gang in the old UWF. I look back on the matches as being full of blood and the hard hits that Gordy would slam the Gang with as he took the title from him.
As a longtime follower of wrestling over 30 yrs I enjoyed his stay in the AWA then NWA with the Freebirds. I remember all the bouts with the Von Erichs plus there wars with the Road Warriors. His bout in ECW with Bigelow! Terry may have been not on top over the last 4-5 years but he is in our memories. RIP Terry.
The first time I remember hearing about the Freebirds Hayes and Gordy came to Greensboro NC in the late 70’s to wrestle the legendary Anderson brothers Gene and Ole. The Andersons won but from what I heard it was one helluva match.
Also I remember the great feud with the Von Erichs with great fondness.
My sympathies not only to his family but specifically to his fellow Freebird partners Michael P.S.(who’s gotta be devastated)and Buddy Jack Roberts.
RIP BAM-BAM WILL MISS YOU!
Jeff F., Salisbury NC
I wanted to share a memory of Bam-Bam. Was anybody else struck by his energy? He was not a big man — he was a big force. With Gordy, you didn’t see his body, you saw his awesome motion. He was never still. Remember how far back he used to rock on one leg, one hambone cocked, the other arm thrown out in front, before he delivered a punch? His balance and mastery of his own motion were incredible — for a big man, or for any man.
I was living in Connecticut, USA, in the 80’s and 90’s — so deep in WWF territory that Dwayne Johnson was in my 7th grade art class. In ’89, the late-Crocket early-Turner NWA started coming to town under the “We Wrestle” banner, and one of the guys I got to see in person in the ring was Terry Gordy. I don’t remember his opponent, but he did that clothesline — that clothesline — whipping the guy to the buckle and following two steps behind him, so fast he looked like he would overtake the guy before he could hit the buckle, so that a half second after the poor oponent touched buckle Gordy was there with that huge, head-surrounding arm, ramming into him like an asteroid. I swear to God the whole ring moved. You could see the posts shudder.
Terry Gordy being gone, we have truly lost something, for he won’t be replaceable. Wrestling is full of heartbreaks, these days.
I’ve been a big wrestling fan, ever since I can remember. Watching in the 80’s on TV. The Freebirds, where always one tag team, that I never liked, but admired the work of all 3 members. In my opinion, Terry “Bam Bam” Gordy was the best. He always gave is 100% in the ring, and never disappointed the fans. I’ll never forget the night, he teamed with “Dr. Death” Steve Williams and defeated the Steiner Brothers to capture the WCW Tag Team titles. Bam Bam was one of the big men in the ring, and for a guy is size it was amazing to see how good he moved. I’ll never forget the name Terry “Bam Bam” Gordy, and may the rest of the wrestling never forget him either.
RIP -Bam Bam
Three years ago I moved to the Chattanooga, TN area from the North. Not having a job yet and not knowing many people in the area made for a difficult time in my life. One day while stopping for gas I noticed a pretty big guy heading my way with scars on his fore-head. As he got closer I recognized that it was Terry Bam Bam Gordy. Not really knowing what to say, I asked if he was Terry Gordy. He smiled and said he was. We shook hands and I told him how much I enjoyed his matches over the years and missed seeing him in the ring. After a brief discussion we went our separate ways.
I remember leaving with a feeling of being around someone familiar. This was very important at that time because I was not feeling very welcome by the people I had been meeting since moving here. This is a sad day for wrestling fans who long for the days of the Freebirds and the Four Horsemen. Magnum TA and Nikita Koloff. Dusty Rhodes and the Nature Boy in is prime. Rest in peace Terry, and thanks for all the memories.
I remember getting in school yard tussles as a boy and trying to throw punch’s like Bam Bam. Jesus needed a champ rest in peace Bam Bam.
I’ve known Terry Gordy since we were both eighteen. I watched his early matches here in Mississippi working for George Culkin. Then I watched the birth and development of the Freebirds in Mid-South and the UWF. When they were gone I tried promoting myself (Heritage Wrestling). The first person I instructed my booker Buck Robley to bring in was Terry, we got him between All-Japan tours. I had him four nights in October of ’89, working a young 19 year -old who wanted to work with the best. He wanted to learn from Terry-that kid was Dustin Rhodes-he and Terry gave me 4 great nights. I’ve worked on various shows with Terry over the past 12 years including one night about this time last year for the NWA -Mississippi in Greenville when I proudly accompanied big brother to the ring. Fly high my brother, for you truly were the bird they couldn’t change. It was my privilege to call you a friend.
My favorite memory of Terry Gordy was when he was teaming with Steve Williams in WCW in the early 90’s….When they jumped The Steiners, and won the WCW and NWA tag titles. They were such an awesome team, and I’ve also seen them in footage from All-Japan, and he was just as devastating. Gordy will be missed, not by just his family and friends, but by the whole wrestling industry. Rest in peace, you Fabulous Freebird.
This is what happens when 15 year olds become pro wrestlers. The travel and lure of a fast lifestyle is a force of destruction. I enjoyed Terry’s career and feel for his family.
The first time I remember ever seeing Terry Gordy was back in the early 90’s as a member of the Fabulous Freebirds. It was during their monumental feud with the Von Erichs that really got me into watching the wrestling from Texas. He had a lot of style in the ring: very fluid in every movement. I also remember seeing him in ECW back when he was the IWGP champion facing the ECW champion Raven. It was a very classic match. Gordy had a strand of barbed wire wrapped around Raven’s head and he smashed with a huge clothesline from the ropes. I thought “Man! That was brutal!” And then he applied the Oriental Spike. Had no one interfered he would have one that match.
My prayers go out to the Gordy family. I hope they realize just how much of a legend their Dad truly was. We will miss you, Freebird!
Chris Crank, Newberry Springs, California
What can be said about Terry that hasn’t already been said? Terry Gordy was one of the top 10 of all time in my book. We used to drive over to Huntington, W.VA and watch Gordy, Hayes, and Buddy Jack take on all comers.
The Freebirds will go down in history as One of the Greatest tag teams ever. In my book they are #1. I have about 16 tapes of old Freebird action from 81-95 early action up untill the last grouping of Hayes, Gordy and Garvin in Global in 95. I am at a loss first Dale Earnhardt and now Terry Gordy, heroes of mine. I am Thankful for the Great Memories that I have of Gordy and the Freebirds, even the 92 stuff with Dr Death beating those (stupid Steiners) as P.S. used to call them winning the WCW belts.
I have a young son now and my wife doesn’t want him watching Wrestling. I told her that was alright with me. Because today’s Wrestling isn’t half Good as the Good old days. I told her that I wont let him watch today’s, but that I had 16 tapes of the Greatest Tag Team EVER the FABULOUS FREEBIRDS and he will know who they are.
THANKS for all the Memories TERRY (bam bam) GORDY !!!!
RIP from all FREEBIRD fans ever where.
Mark Gullett, Lex ky
Another wrestling great has passed on. Watching the Freebirds-von Erich battles for all those years were classic. Bam Bam was a lunatic. Going to Japan was one of the best moves he made in his career. He ranks up there with Brody,Hansen,Williams ,and all the rest of the BIG, tough, brawling bad boys. He will be missed.
Terry Gordy was the essence of the Freebirds. He was the muscle behind them. His battles inside the ring were classic. As a competitor he was the best. Terry may be gone, but his spirit will be in the ring forever. Rest in peace Freebird.
Oscar R. Garcia
I was getting ready to e-mail “WWFACCESS” to ask them would they show a clip of the Free Birds. But I wanted to first find out what they was up to and I got a big shock. I found out that Terry “Bam Bam” Gordy had done passed. I am still in great shock. I began watching the wrestling at the age of nine. I remember the Free Birds whipping butts. I attended their shows and watched them on tv. This is hard to write because I am in shock. I will remember him because he is a legend.
E. Clark/St. Francisville