There has been no other faction in the world of professional wrestling like The Fabulous Freebirds, and no one can ever duplicate Michael “P.S.” Hayes, Terry “Bam Bam Gordy” or Buddy “Jack” Roberts.

At least, not in the squared circle.

On the silver screen, three individuals come close in the biopic The Iron Claw: Brady Pierce, “Thrillbilly” Silas Mason, and Danny Flamingo. Mason is part of the NWA, and Pierce and Flamingo are currently both part of Luke Hawx’s Wildkat Sports Wrestling promotion based in New Orleans.

The Fabulous Freebirds of The Iron Claw with their acting reference Luke Hawx -- Thrillbilly Silas, Danny Flamingo, Brady Pierce and Luke Hawx. Facebook photo

The Fabulous Freebirds of The Iron Claw with their acting reference Luke Hawx — Thrillbilly Silas, Danny Flamingo, Brady Pierce and Luke Hawx. Facebook photo

As for getting the right people to portray the former Georgia heel stable was the result of Hawx, who worked alongside Chavo Guerrero, Jr. as the stunt coordinator and wrestling trainers on the set with the likes of Zac Efron, Jeremy Allen White, and Harris Dickinson. “When I was breaking down the script, and when you read the Freebirds, I was like, ‘Who do I have that fits?'” Hawx remembered. “So, I called all of them up to see if they were available, and I said, ‘Hey, you guys wanna audition to play these characters?’ I asked them to send me their headshots and then I passed them on to the director and the producers I also passed them to Chavo because Chavo was the coordinator on it.

“We auditioned them and they did great and obviously they booked the role,” he said. “I was really proud of them.”

So let’s meet the thespians in question, who dared to walk down Badstreet, USA.

Danny Flamingo

Danny Flamingo

Danny Flamingo (Devin Imbraguglio) has wrestled for almost ten years, mostly for Wildkat Sports. For many who have never seen the six-foot, 195-pound Flamingo wrestle, he described himself: “Danny Flamingo believes he is the next best thing to slice the bread,” he laughed. “You can write it down because it is definitely a beautiful thing.”

Flamingo has wrestled in other promotions as well. “I wrestled for DragonGate. I wrestled with FTW. I’ve worked for WWE, and there’s been times where Wildkat ourselves, we have branched out across the country,” he boasted. “We’ve been in San Diego. I’ve wrestled all across Florida because of professional wrestling, I’ve done some of the coolest things and wrestled in some of the coolest places.”

Add to that his role as Roberts in The Iron Claw among the coolest things he’s done. So how did Hawx pitch the role to him?

“It’s funny,” Flamingo recalled. “There was no pitching it. He called me and he’s like, ‘Hey, I think I got a part for you.’ He says, ‘Be ready to answer your phone when a producer calls.’ (Laughs) ‘Yes sir, no problem.’ Oh, that was… yeah that was it. I didn’t even know he was in town. I didn’t know what he was working on. I didn’t know nothing. Luke is a very, very busy man.”

As for the Louisiana-born Flamingo’s experience on-set, he told this great story involving Jeremy Allen White. “We were going over a spot and we’re teaching him a headlock and I tell you what, that guy might be a smaller guy but I tell you what, man, he has got a death lock like nobody’s business.

“He’s got me in the headlock, man. He ain’t working, he’s shooting, he’s… he’s grinding it in and he’s not doing it intentionally,” Flamingo continued. “He doesn’t know any better. So Luke finishes the spot and is coaching him on what we want him to do, and this and that. And, when he let me go, Luke says what he says, and talks about him. And then Jeremy looked at me and I said, ‘Hey, man, let me tell you … flex, don’t squeeze.’ He looked at me and his eyes got really big and he was automatically mortified because I mean, both sides of my head are red from him putting a headlock on me. And Luke’s like, ‘Yeah; flex, don’t squeeze.'”

Flamingo laughed at the memory. ‘He’s like, ‘Man, I’m so sorry.’ I was like, ‘Hey, man, I’m a pro wrestler. I’m not a stunt guy. Like, I’m a professional wrestler. This is what I do.'”

"Thrillbilly" Silas Mason as NWA National champion. NWA photo

“Thrillbilly” Silas Mason as NWA National champion. NWA photo

“Thrillbilly” Silas Mason is no stranger to, and we caught up with the NWA National Champion “Big Daddy Thrill” at NWA 75 about how he came to fill the big shoes of Terry “Bam Bam” Gordy, and Mason gave a story as only he could.

“Well, you know, my close personal friend, Zac Efron, he called me. And he said, ‘Thrill’ — he calls me ‘Thrill’ — he was like, ‘Man, there’s only one guy I need to co-star alongside me, and that’s you, brother.’ And I said, ‘Well, you know, Zac, I’m not used to the whole acting thing and I’m not used to pretending and faking it.’

“So I told him, I was like, ‘I’m gonna come at you and I’m coming hard.’ He said, ‘Thrill, I know you always come hard,’ and I said, ‘You know, I do come hard, Zac,'” Mason chuckled.

But in actuality, this is how it happened. “This guy Luke Hawx hollered at me and said they were looking for stunt people,” Mason said, “and then they got the pictures of me, saw my size, and I saw how well I can act.

“You know, I used to be in theater,” Mason said matter-of-factly.


“I was on the wrestling team. I was in theater, and I was in a band –not [a marching] band. Me and Billy Corgan were played on the same radio station.” Mason then quickly added, “Okay. I was on the local hour [in Tennessee, but] still technically counts.”

As for being on set, Mason gave this recollection after Hawx suggested he play the role of the Freebird enforcer. “He called me up and we went down there and went over it. It was really cool, man. [I] got to meet Chavo Guerrero. It was sick, and I just like the way they do it.”

As for how they filmed the shots as The Freebirds faced down The Von Erichs was also eye-opening for him as well. “It’s so crazy because they’ll just move the crowd around to look like it’s just full of people.”

Brady Pierce as the Wildkat Heavyweight Champion in January 2023. Facebook photo

Brady Pierce as the Wildkat Heavyweight Champion in January 2023. Facebook photo

Brady Pierce (Michael Proctor) has been wrestling for 12 years, but this isn’t his first foray behind the camera.

“I guess it was right after the COVID era in 2019,” the six-foot-four, 235-pound Pierce recalled, “when everything kind of shut down when Heels came about. I got the call from Luke Hawx to come double as Ace Spade for Heels and that catapulted me into a career that I never thought was for me. If anybody else to that point asked what I was going to do with my life, it was always just wrestling and, you know, even though it is still entertainment-based, I never dreamed to be in the movies.”

He does have the credits that speak to that. If you look up Pierce’s credentials on under his ring name (not his shoot name of Michael Proctor), he’s done My Best Friend’s Exorcism, stunt work on The Walking Dead, a luchador on Disney’s UltraViolet & the Black Scorpion, and he even dropped this tidbit: “I’m going to be in Bad Boys 4 next year.”

Going back to The Iron Claw, he was almost up for a different role in the movie. “Prior to all that ever happening, my agent actually sent me the audition for Ric Flair,” Pierce said. “So I originally auditioned for Ric Flair, and then I didn’t hear anything back from that.

“In this world, you rarely get a ‘yes’ or ‘no,'” he explained. “I sent it in, a couple of weeks went by, never heard anything. So I was like, ‘Well, that would have been cool but, you know, on to the next.'”

Then came the call. “Luke Hawx messaged me out of the blue and he was like, ‘Hey, if you can record this little skit for me and then send it to me, I’m gonna put this in the production.’ It was for the role of Michael Hayes,” he said. “I did the deal and I sent it to Luke and again, I didn’t hear anything for two weeks. Then out of the blue, Luke calls me and goes, ‘Hey, they’re really interested in casting you as Michael Hayes. Can you be here tomorrow?’ and it was filmed in Baton Rouge. So I was like, ‘Uh yeah, sure. Let’s do it.'”

How much research did Pierce put into portraying the “Purely Sexy” Hayes for the movie? “As soon as I got the opportunity, I looked up every single Michael Hayes match that I could find, and my main thing was studying his movements,” he said. “Even the smallest detail, like how his mouth was when he did his little cocky grin and how he walked and how he talked. The little things that you necessarily wouldn’t look into.” If you’ve seen the stills from the movie, Pierce is almost a dead-ringer for the Freebird, much like his co-stars embodied their roles just as convincingly.

Like Flamingo, Pierce also has his share of stories during filming, and this one involves Zac Efron when he was in his Kevin Von Erich role doing a shot that made the cut in the movie. “Zac Efron kicks me in the stomach so hard and literally knocks my breath out,” he laughed at the memory. “And it’s funny because Zac Efron… I come from a world of professional wrestling, so that stuff happens all the time. We get hit and it’s like one thing. I know he didn’t mean to do it, but the dude was so apologetic afterward. Like just literally, ‘Dude, I am so sorry. If you need to hit me…’ and I’m like, ‘I am not going to hit you.’ But that’s how those guys thought about it and they took it very seriously.”

They truly were afraid of getting a receipt back? “Yeah, exactly. Yeah. He was like, ‘Man, if you have to hit me…’ like, ‘Uh no, no, it’s fine,'” he laughed.

Pierce was also complimentary of his Freebird castmates and how he and they embodied their roles. “Silas Mason is Terry Gordy. Like… he lives it. That is the most perfect choice for casting,” he said. “Now, I don’t look like Michael Hayes but you throw that blonde wig on me and let me grow my body hair out. Yeah, I look just like Michael Hayes. Movie magic.”

TOP PHOTO: “Thrillbilly” Silas Mason as Terry Gordy, Michael Proctor/Brady Pierce as Michael Hayes, referee James Beard, and Devin Imbraguglio/Danny Flamingo as Buddy Roberts.