Billy Jack Haynes (born William Haynes, Jr.) started wrestling on August 10, 1982 after quitting his janitorial job at the age of 28. He trained in Stu Hart's infamous "Dungeon" and briefly wrestled in Hart's Stampede Wrestling under his given name, initially serving in a non-wrestling capacity as a bodyguard for veteran manager JR Foley before breaking away from Foley's Army and forming a tag team with Bruce Hart to battle the Foley Dynasty.
After his wrestling education, Haynes headed home to Portland and began wrestling as Billy Jack. Billy became involved in a long and brutal feud with Rip Oliver and the clan. He became the Northwest champion and one half of the tag team champions with Stan Stasiak. Billy's breakout match was against Ric Flair for the National Wrestling Alliance World heavyweight title, the match was a 60-minute draw. This drew the attention of Eddie Graham who toward the end of 1983, asked the rookie Haynes to further his career by venturing to the Florida territory.
Florida, New York, Texas
Billy Jack turned heads on his debut in Florida and immediately engaged in a feud with Superstar Billy Graham and Dory Funk Jr. His stay while successful, was a short one as he received a call from the WWF. Unfortunately this was an aborted stay due to his father's poor health. He left abruptly and a returned to Portland to be with his family.
Soon World Class Championship Wrestling came calling and plans were made to bring in Billy Jack as "Billy Von Erich", this was shelved. But the name dramas were not over as Tom Laughlin (who starred in the movie Billy Jack and owned the franchise) threatened to sue him over copyright violation. A compromise was made when Billy added his family name to his existing ring name and Billy Jack Haynes was born, he also became the World Class Television champion.
Florida and the NWA
He returned to Championship Wrestling from Florida, this time Florida was a failing territory and not the successful one he first wrestled for a year or so before.
He immediately formed a tag team with Wahoo McDaniel and they quickly captured the NWA United States tag team title. They took the titles to Jim Crockett Promotions where they feuded with Ole and Arn Anderson. They lost the title in an unification match and Wahoo returned to Florida without Haynes. Billy had just begun a feud with The Barbarian over who was the strongest man in the territory, when he confronted Jim Crockett in his office which became physical. Haynes was fired on the spot and was due to return to Florida, but surprisingly the WWF called again.
Return to the WWF
In 1986, Haynes re-entered the World Wrestling Federation with a convincing on debut victory over Jimmy Kent. He then feuded with "Macho Man" Randy Savage over the Intercontinental Title and then with Hercules Hernandez over who was strongest man in the WWF. Their feud in the culminated with what was dubbed "The Battle of the Full Nelsons" at WrestleMania III, where the two men battled to a double count-out. He then went on to tag team with Ken Patera and feud with Demolition.
His departure from the WWF has been a subject of controversy considering the dramatic changes in the story every time Haynes tells it. In one version, he says he quit the WWF after refusing to do a lose in his hometown of Portland, Oregon. Another account of the same incident reported that he actually wrestled the match with the finish reworked and then fired afterwards. Finally, in a shoot interview, Haynes claims the WWF wanted him to do the job in Portland because he put in his notice to the company some time before and the Portland match was to be his last for the company. So instead of doing the job, he simply walked out.
On his return to Portland, Oregon he opened his own gym (which went broke due to lack of interest) and his own promotion, Oregon Wrestling Federation, which also went under. He then returned to Don Owen's Portland Wrestling, where he turned on Larry Oliver in a tag team match.
Billy went crazy on an interview saying that he was formerly of Portland, that Portland sucked and that his gym failed because Oregonians were lazy good for nothings. He swore over the house mic and became the most hated man in Portland.
World Championship Wrestling came calling with the concept of a masked executioner from France named Black Blood. Haynes jumped at this and reunited him with his old Florida booker, Kevin Sullivan. He was released by WCW after a severe knee injury during a match a Center Stage in Atlanta.
After a year of rehab he returned to the Northwest territory where he feuded with top babyface Steve Doll. He also spoke out against Vince McMahon and the WWF in 1992, when McMahon was indicted on steroid charges. Haynes stated that the working conditions were terrible and about how ruthlessness of McMahon. His next port of call was Memphis, where he feuded with Brian Lawler and became embroiled in the USWA vs Smoky Mountain feud. Haynes departed the United States Wrestling Association in late 1995 and retired in early 1996.
In 2006, Haynes ended up in a hospital when he was attacked outside a body shop on Southeast Foster Road in Portland. This was due to Haynes' skimming off the top while being a mule in a marijuana smuggling operation some years ago after finding out that he was being underpaid and lied to. Unbeknownst to him, he was transporting cocaine and not marijuana. Haynes himself admitted the motivation behind the attack on his person since the statute of limitations on the laws he broke had run out.
In March 2013, Haynes was hospitalized with an aortic aneurysm, failing kidneys and liver issues.
In October 2014, Haynes filed a lawsuit against WWE in federal court for “egregious mistreatment of its wrestlers for its own benefit, as well as its concealment and denial of medical research and evidence concerning traumatic brain injuries suffered by WWE wrestlers”. Haynes has had at least 15 concussions, suffers from depression and shows signs of dementia as a result of the time he worked for WWE the lawsuit says.
Championships and accomplishments
- Championship Wrestling from Florida
- Oregon Wrestling Federation
- OWF Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Pacific Northwest Wrestling
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI Most Improved Wrestler of the Year award in 1984.
- PWI ranked him # 143 of the 500 best singles wrestlers during the "PWI Years" in 2003.
- Served in the United States Army in the Vietnam War in the early-1970s.
- Was briefly married to Jeannie Clark aka Lady Blossom in order for her to continue to work in the United States.
- Haynes often wore a T-shirt on TBS during his time in Jim Crockett Promotions that said "Women Prefer Haynes", a play on his last name and the slogan of Hanes brand panty hose.
- During his stint in the WWF in the 1980s, Haynes usually wore yellow and green - the school colors of the University of Oregon - and his trunks and boots often sported the outline of the state of Oregon.
- He wrestled a then unknown Shawn Michaels in 1985 while part of WCCW. The match can be seen on the "The Shawn Michaels Story: Heartbreak & Triumph" DVD
- Haynes worked with Raven, then known as Scotty the Body in Portland. Raven stated in a shoot interview that because of Haynes no one was allowed to do color (wrestling jargon for bleeding) in Oregon because of an unspecified incident involving Haynes.