As a young man, Hayes trained in Judo alongside future stars like Steve Logan. During this time, Hayes would become the youngest person in the history of the sport, at the time, to earn a black belt. Despite this success, he would soon leave the judo world and become an apprentice to former British Heavyweight Champion Sir Atholl Oakley, 7th Baronet of Shrewsbury.
Making his debut in the 1950s, Hayes quickly became noticed for his great bouts with Dr. Death, Bert Assiratti and Mike Marino. He was also one of the pioneers of European Tag Team wrestling as he and his then partner, Ray Hunter, performed in Tag bouts around the country and became very popular. He topped this success in the 1960s by defeating his mentor, Oakley, for a version of the British Heavyweight Title and defended it throughout the 1960s (this would be known as the Southern England Title) and by defeating Mike Marino for the World Mid-Heavyweight title in 1964. During this period, he was referred to as "Judo" Al Hayes, and would join Paul Lincoln Management in a successful attempt at promoting, selling out venues across the country.
With the coming of the 1970s, Hayes decided that he had done all that he could in Britain and turned his attention to the bigger wrestling market of North America. He had a great deal of initial success in American wrestling and won a number of top titles in different promotions. This resulted in Vince McMahon signing him to a contract as a wrestler and he made his debut in the WWF as Lord Alfred Hayes. However, after only a year in the company he was forced to retire due to wrestling induced arthritis.
This was not the end of Hayes career, however, as the WWF signed him once more, only this time to be a commentator, announcer and erstwhile manager. In this role, Hayes became a stalwart of WWF TV and often the victim of slapstick humor jokes. He became Vince McMahon's sidekick on Tuesday Night Titans, he was the opening announcer for Prime Time Wrestling and was a frequent presenter of WWF videos.
In 1990, he was hit by a speeding car outside WWF TV Studios and was left with serious injuries. As a result of this incident, he had to have several vertebrae removed from his spine resulting in him shrinking from over 6 feet tall to 5 foot 6. In the mid-1990s, he retired to his ranch in Texas and lived in peaceful retirement until 2005 when he suffered a series of strokes and passed away.