Wrestling One On One
Triple Threat Tag Team Mania
September 6, 2017
Every wrestling fan likes to do fantasy booking and wonder “What if?”, and I’m no exception. And one of my favorite things about fantasy booking is trying to look at stars from the past and try to figure out how they would match up against the stars of today. Well, what I’m doing today is exactly that, with a couple of twists. I’m doing tag teams from the 80’s versus tag teams from the mid-nineties versus tag teams of right here and now in 2017. It’s Triple Threat Tag Team Mania as I look at a series of three-team matches, with teams from these three eras and match them up and try to decide who I think would win each match.
To choose my teams, I decided to look back in my old wrestling magazines and use their “Official Ratings”. I used, “The Wrestler” (cover dated September, 1996 with ratings for period ending May 21, 1996), “Inside Wrestling” (covered dated January, 1983), and Pro Wrestling Illustrated (covered dated October, 2017 with ratings for period ending June 12, 2017). Here are the tag team ratings for the Top 5 tag teams as listed by each magazine.
The Wrestler – September, 1996
1. WWF Tag Team Champions: Henry & Phineas Godwinn
2. WCW World Tag Team Champions: Lex Luger & Sting
3. Skip & Zip (#1 Contenders for WWF Tag Team Championship)
4. The Road Warriors (#1 Contenders for WCW Tag Team Championship)
5. Rick & Scott Steiner (#2 Contenders for WCW Tag Team Championship)
Inside Wrestling – January, 1983
1. Mr. Fuji and Mr. Saito (WWF World Tag Team Champions)
2. Greg Gagne & Jim Brunzell (AWA World Tag Team Champions)
3. The Samoans (Afa & Sika)
4. Sweet Brown Sugar (Skip Young) and Butch Reed
5. Pvts. Jim Nelson and Don Kernodle (Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Champions)
Pro Wrestling Illustrated – October, 2017
1. Nick & Matt Jackson (ROH / IWGP Tag Team Champions)
2. Cesaro & Sheamus (WWE Raw Tag Team Champions)
3. Matt & Jeff Hardy (#1 Contenders for RAW Tag Team Championship)
4. Jimmy & Jey Uso (Smackdown Tag Team Champions)
5. Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows (#2 Contenders for RAW Tag Team Championship)
And now, let’s make some matches and figure out who would win. I’m going to do #1’s versus #1’s, 2’s against 2’s and so on. Let’s do some fantasy wrestling.
The Godwinns versus Mr. Fuji and Mr. Saito versus The Young Bucks
The Godwinns were okay as wrestlers, but were more about their gimmick as redneck good ol’ boys than any kind of major in-ring generals. I actually like the Young Bucks and their current work in Japan as part of “The Club”, but I also kind of agree with Jim Cornette that they are more spot monkeys than anything else. They have the skills and could be a top tag team, but they would rather show off than get down and dirty. I’d love to see them work as total heels and calm things down, much like the Usos have done as of late in the WWE, but they’d rather do their super-kick thing on everyone and be beloved by the fans. Saito and Fuji, at the time the WWF Tag Team Champions, were managed by the greatest tag team manager in WWF history, Captain Lou Albano and both were pretty damn good wrestlers. They relied too much on the evil Japanese gimmicks at times, but when push came to shove, they were tough as nails and could get it done in the ring. Matter of fact, Mr. Saito later went on to enjoy a run as the AWA World Heavyweight Champion. This match would be a great contrast of three different teams and three unique styles, but I think that Captain Lou outside the ring would be the determining factor. Bucks would dominate most of the match, using their speed advantage and the quick tags, but in the end, it would be to no avail as the good Captain would hand his men some vintage salt to toss into the eyes of their opponents while the Captain distracts the ref. Blinded by the salt, Fuji and Saito would double-team and manage to steal a win for their team and era.
Winners: Mr. Fuji & Mr. Saito
Lex Luger & Sting versus Greg Gagne & Jim Brunzell versus Cesaro & Sheamus
This would probably be the most evenly matched match of the night as all three teams here are above and beyond the scope of excellence. Lex and Sting worked so well together and were definitely under-rated as a tag team in WCW. If Sting hadn’t been so busy as the “face of WCW” and Luger hadn’t been so busy switching back and forth from heel to face, this team could easily have been one of the best of all time. Gagne and Brunzell, the AWA Tag Team Champions at the time, were actually damn good and set the standards for the idea of a team being better than the sum of it’s parts. Brunzell was a great in-ring wrestler and Gagne, while not as big as most of his opponents, was hampered by the name of his more famous father, who also happened to be the boss of the territory, but could also go in that ring and probably should have had a better career than he did. And Cesaro and Sheamus are a great combination and have become one of the best things on WWE TV these days. As for this match, I think that Sheamus and Cesaro are the physically toughest team and probably the strongest combination. Gagne and Brunzell have the edge over their opponents in terms of speed, in-ring wrestling and working as a well oiled machine. But in the end, especially under triple-threat rules, I have to go with Sting and Lex, mainly because it’s Sting and Lex. The chemistry that these two men shared, even though they were often on different sides of the fence, was amazing. Lex could match anyone strength for strength and Sting had a great way of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. Lex, at the time, was being managed by Jimmy Hart, who would often get involved in Lex’s matches in spite of the objections of Sting, who didn’t care for Hart’s presence. I think Jimmy would get involved, pull some sneakiness and in the end, Lex and Sting would take advantage and get the pin over Gagne.
Winners: Lex Luger & Sting
Skip & Zip, the Bodydonnas w/ Sunny, versus The Samoans w/ Captain Lou Albano versus The Hardys
Skip and Zip, aka Chris Candido and Dr. Tom Pritchard, were great wrestlers in their own right, but I really hated this gimmick and these characters. Or maybe it was just having Sunny, aka Tammy Sytch as their manager that I hated. I am not of fan of the lying, hypocritical, loveless copulating ho’ and that’s the truth. She’s a great example of everything bad about wrestling and people in general. Yes, she’s a bitch in my opinion and not in a good way. Candido and Pritchard were good wrestlers though. The Samoans were two big monsters, managed by Captain Lou, who lived up to their gimmicks. Tough, crazy and unpredictable. For the time, they were something different to be sure. But in this match, there is little doubt who the best team it. We’re talking about Matt and Jeff, the Hardy Boys. Be they extreme, as they were in the day, or “Broken” as they were a few months ago or just “Woken” as they seem to be now, Matt and Jeff are a wrestling machine, tag team and singles style. And in this match, the team work and precision of the “Twist of Fate” would allow them to score a convincing win rather easily.
Winners: Matt & Jeff, the Hardy Boyz
The Road Warriors versus Sweet Brown Sugar & Butch Reed versus Jimmy & Jey Uso
While I love the Usos and their current characters, let’s just call it like it is here. Sweet Brown Sugar, aka Skip Young and Butch Reed would be in the way for this match and would be tossed to the floor by both the Usos and Road Warriors pretty damn quickly. And the Usos are great with the speed advantage, but the team that would dominate, destroy and kick everyone’s ass, at the direction of their manager Paul Ellering, would be Animal and Hawk. And in the end, as Hawk would say, the NWA version of the Road Warriors would easily take the victory here.
Winners: The Road Warriors
The Steiners versus Pvt. Nelson & Pvt. Kernodle versus Anderson & Gallows
Nelson and Kernodle were a good team and are highly under-rated. Under the direction of then United States Champion Sgt. Slaughter, they were solid and effective and could hold their own against any regular tag team. But unfortunately for the Privates, this match wouldn’t be against any normal tag teams, but instead the Steiners and Gallows / Anderson. So take the Privates out pretty quickly because they are not going to win here. It’s not even a consideration. Gallows and Anderson are so good and so physical and are one of the toughest teams in wrestling history. None of that can be disputed. But the third team in this ring are Rick and Scott, the Steiner Brothers. Is there a more physical or dominate team anywhere? With the exception of the Road Warriors or maybe Disco Inferno and Alex Wright, the Dancing Fools (kidding), the Steiners are just too tough and too strong for anyone to physically bully and over-power. This match would be the most physical of the night and it would probably be the most stiff. All the men would be visiting the chiropractor at the end of the night. But the outcome and winners? There is little doubt. The “Dog Faced Gremlin” and “Big Poppa Pump” would be our hook-ups and take that trip to the pay window. Holla if you hear me.
Winners: Rick & Scott, the Steiner Brothers
And that’s that for now. Questions, comments and all feedback is welcome and appreciated. Let me know how I did with these fantasy matches. Did the right teams win or am I way off track with my analysis. Inquiring minds want to know. Until the next time, have a great one. I’m down and gone.