A good tag team can be wrestling box office gold. In Hollywood, writers, directors, and producers often try to rehash old ideas in the hopes of riding a wave of nostalgia to a box-office payday. Sometimes those ideas work, fans love it, and money is made. More often than not, however, these retreaded and repeated ideas fail miserably.
The creative minds in the world of professional wrestling often try to reimagine and rehash ideas in the hopes of touching a nostalgic nerve or attempt to catch the eyes of viewers that may have missed the first time around. For instance, many invasion angles have been attempted since the nWo ran roughshod over WCW. The evil ref gimmick is rehashed over and over again. How many times can the WWE run a brand draft? One area that often gets the old redux is once successful tag teams.
Here are our top 10 failed tag team remakes and rehashes in wrestling history.
Failed Tag Team Reboots – #10 – Demolition (Crush and Smash version)
Failed Tag Team Reboots – #9 – 4 Horsemen (1993 Paul Roma version)
Most incarnations of the Horsemen were able to have success and strike fear into the hearts of their opponents, even if they weren’t quite the same as the originals. However, from May of 1993 until December of 1993, Ric Flair and Arn Anderson joined forces with the one and only Paul Roma. With the exception of one night when they were joined by Ole, the Four Horsemen were actually only three, despite continuing to call themselves the Four Horsemen.
Paul Roma had basically been a jobber to the stars during a lengthy run in the WWF, getting a semi-push for a bit as a tag team with Jim Powers. While they did challenge for titles for a small amount of time, nothing he did up until that point screamed “Horsemen.” Long story short, Arn Anderson was stabbed, and the Horsemen disbanded for a couple of years.
Failed Tag Team Reboots – #8 – The Fabulous Freebirds (Fantasia / Badstreet version)
The Fabulous Freebirds team of Michael “PS” Hayes, Terry “Bam Bam” Gordy and Buddy “Jack” Roberts became well known as bad-asses for their time in the late ’70s and early ’80s in Memphis and the Mid-South. They became absolutely legendary after feuding with the Von Erich’s in World Class Championship Wrestling. The dudes even have their own rule named after them! The Freebird Rule is still in use today and states that any two of three members can defend the team’s championships.
The trio had success everywhere they went and even brought in “Gorgeous” Jimmy Garvin, without missing a beat, as Roberts began to wind down his career. In 1991, with Gordy wrestling mostly in Japan and Roberts basically retired, PS Hayes and Jimmy Garvin began to talk about a third masked member named Fantasia. The folks over at Disney had a problem with this, and the name was quickly changed to “Badstreet”. Badstreet was simply Brad Armstrong in a mask and covered with black feathers. The gimmick lasted for a mere five months before it was scrapped.
Failed Tag Team Reboots – #7 – “The New Foundation” with Jim Neidhart & Owen Hart
Failed Tag Team Reboots – #6 – The American Express (as Mike Rotunda and Dan Spivey)
Failed Tag Team Reboots – #5 – The New Blackjacks (with Barry Windham and Justin Bradshaw)
Failed Tag Team Reboots – #4 – Minnesota Wrecking Crew II (with The Beverly Brothers)
In 1981, Gene retired, and the team disappeared for four years. In 1985, Ole found a young wrestler, his “nephew” Arn Anderson, that was worthy enough to be called a member of the Minnesota Wrecking Crew. The team formed half of what would go on to be the Four Horsemen. The Crew disbanded in 1987 when Ole was kicked out of the Horsemen. That is 20 years of proud and successful history, so, of course, let’s try it again.
In 1990, Ole managed the “Minnesota Wrecking Crew II,” a duo consisting of masked Wrestlers Mike Enos and Wayne Bloom, later known as the Beverly Brothers. They briefly feuded with the Steiner Brothers with little success then left for Japan.
Failed Tag Team Reboots – #4 – “LOD 2005” (with Animal and Jon Heidenreich)
They bounced from promotion to promotion throughout the ’90s with varying degrees of success winning titles and squashing opponents along the way. After a run through the independent circuit in the early 2000s, Road Warrior Hawk passed away in 2003.
In 2005, looking to cash in on a bit of nostalgia, the WWE recruited Jon Heidenreich to become a member of the Legion of Doom, forming “LOD 2005” with Road Warrior Animal. The team actually won a tag team championship and had a reign of 95 days before the idea was shelved, and each wrestler was released from his contract.
Failed Tag Team Reboots – #2 – The New Rockers (Marty Jannetty and Al Snow aka Leif Cassidy)
After some backstage heat, the pair split up with one famous superkick followed by Michaels tossing Jannetty through a plate-glass window (or escape through a plate glass window, depending on the perspective). The two could have had the hottest feud of the early ’90s, but Jannetty’s demons got the best of him, and he was released (over and over again).
Shawn Michaels went on to become the Heartbreak Kid and one of the most famous wrestlers ever. In 1996, Janetty returned and formed “The New Rockers” with Al Snow, then known as Leif Cassidy. The duo basically became a comedy team, and they never made it past the lower card before the idea was flushed.
Failed Tag Team Reboots – #1 – The New Midnight Express (Bob Holly and Bart Gunn)
Under the direction of one of the greatest managers of all-time, Jim Cornette, the duo set fire to the tag team scene winning championships in every territory they went to. In 1987, Condrey left Jim Crockett Promotions and was replaced by “Sweet” Stan Lane.
The team did not miss a beat and continued winning championships throughout the remainder of the ’80s. There is often debate on which incarnation of the two teams was actually the best.
In 1998, as the WWF was in the middle of getting whipped in the ratings by WCW thanks to the nWo invasion, creative decided to come up with an NWA invasion angle of their own. During this time, The “New Midnight Express” was formed from a team of “Bombastic” Bob Holly and “Bodacious” Bart Gunn. Having Jim Cornette become their managers was no help as the fans were not buying it, nor was Jim Cornette. He has stated that he does not even consider this team to be part of “The Midnight Express” lineage. Ouch.
Failed Tag Team Reboots – Honorable Mentions – The New Rock’ n’ Roll Express
Throughout the years, whenever one or the other was not available, Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson would grab another partner and wrestle as the Rock’ n’ Roll Express. Ricky Fuji, Brad Armstrong, and Kid Cash were all, at one time, teamed with one of the members of the Rock’ n’ Roll Express. No one could ever come close to the original, however.
Failed Tag Team Reboots – Honorable Mentions – The New Dream Team (as Dino Bravo and Greg “The Hammer” Valentine)
If you enjoyed this piece, be sure not to miss the following articles on our site:
- Yokozuna and His Unusual WWF Title Reigns
- Lex Express and The Failed Lex Luger Experiment
- Marty Jannetty – His Turbulent Life After The Rockers