Wrestler of the Day – August 28: Billy Gunn

Today we’ll look at another tall blond in Billy Gunn.

Billy would spend a few years on the indy scene before heading to the WWF as one half of the Smoking Gunns tag team. They would get started in early 1993 and we’ll pick things up at King of the Ring 1993.

Steiners/Smoking Guns vs. Money Inc./Headshrinkers

Well, talk about a tough act to follow. This is nothing but filler here as I don’t think there’s any kind of a point to this match other than to give the crowds a chance to restart their hearts. There’s no story here that I can think of other than you have two face teams and two heel teams going at it. The Guns are about as new as possible at this point.

Ross says he doesn’t want to disrespect this match, so therefore we’ll be lucky to hear who wins. It simply can’t be worse than WCW was though. I will never forget a match between Ultimo Dragon and Steven Regal where literally over the entire course of an eight minute match there was not a single mention of either guy or the match itself until the very end where Tony said 2, 3 (he missed the one) we have a new Television Champion!

Yes, in a match not only on television, not only a title match, but a match where the title CHANGED HANDS, thereby making history as Gorilla liked to say, we have eight minutes of people talking about the NWO and not a word about the two guys in the ring. That’s just pathetic. Anyway, rant over. Scotty and Ted start us up so there we are. To say Heenan is happy is an understatement.

Now remember, we’re NOT going to talk about Yoko and the title match out of respect here. If we don’t talk about them anymore I’m going to scream from hearing about them too much. Ross is at least talking about the match so there’s that. DiBiase beats on Billy and hooks the Dream. Heenan says that Billy is fading into obscurity. I have too many jokes to pick from here. Billy gets a roll up out of nowhere to get the pin and the big brawl starts to the Guns’ awful music.

Rating: C. Eh what do you expect here? This was six minutes of just filler and it’s the absolute best thing they could have done here. No one was going to care about anything after what they just saw, so there we are. This meant nothing at all and it wasn’t supposed to. The wrestling is about what you would expect at a house show, but it wasn’t horrible or anything. This was much more about giving the crowd a breather instead of a real match, and there’s not a thing wrong with that.

Onward to Summerslam 1993 for a little six man tag.

Smoking Guns/Tatanka vs. Headshrinkers/Bam Bam Bigelow

Aren’t cowboys and Indians supposed to fight? The heels have Afa and Luna Vachon with them. The Samoans run over the Guns to start and we have Bigelow vs. Tatanka to get us going. Tatanka fires off a shoulder block and a dropkick followed by an impressive backdrop. Both guys try cross bodies and Tatanka actually gets the better of it. For a gimmick wrestler Tatanka had some good success around this time.

A double tag brings in Billy vs. Fatu (Rikishi) with the Samoan hitting a quick superkick. Billy comes back with a top rope clothesline as Vince tells us Billy went to college on a rodeo scholarship. That actually exists? Another superkick from Samu knocks Billy into the tag to Bart who is slammed face first into the mat for his troubles. Bigelow comes in with a dropkick for two before it’s back to Fatu for a wicked powerslam. The Samoans take turns double teaming Bart with headbutts and chops as the heat segment goes on for a good while.

Bigelow misses a charge and hits the post, allowing Bart to make the hot tag off to Tatanka. The Indian chops every heel in sight and takes Bigelow down with a DDT and a high cross body for two. Tatanka goes on the war path but walks into an enziguri from Bam Bam. Sometimes there’s no better solution than to kick a guy in the head. Everything breaks down and Tatanka is left all alone against the three monsters. A TRIPLE HEADBUTT puts Tatanka down and all three go up for a triple flying headbutt, but Tatanka rolls away and rolls up Samu for the pin.

Rating: B-. Where in the world did this come from??? This was a shockingly good tag match with everyone moving fast and some great looking spots from Bigelow. Tatanka was one of those guys that the fans just liked and there’s no way you can fake that. Good stuff here and a very nice surprise.

Why not another six man from September 27, 1994?

Shawn Michaels/Diesel/Tatanka vs. Smoking Guns/Lex Luger

This has to be after Summerslam 94 but before Survivor Series 94 as Tatanka is a heel and in the Million Dollar Corporation here but Diesel and Shawn are still tag champions. Luger is the Rebel here, meaning he means absolutely nothing here because his main push is long since over. DiBiase isn’t here for some reason.

Gorilla is all over Tatanka for selling out to DiBiase. Shawn vs. Luger to start us off. I don’t remember any feud with the champions and the Guns but there likely was one. Luger destroys Shawn to start and the good guys clear the ring in a hurry. It’s so strange to see Billy Gunn as a worthless cowboy. Off to Bart vs. Diesel now which is rather amusing indeed. Why is it amusing? I’m not sure but it just is.

Diesel thankfully destroys that mullet wearing twerp and brings in Tatanka. Bart fights back but kind of messes up a dropkick as Tatanka is too close to him. The Guns hit a modified Sidewinder (side slam mixed with a top rope leg drop) to Tatanka and we go back to Shawn vs. Lex again. Luger still wants the stereotype but can’t get him since that’s the big segment of the match probably.

Luger stays in for all of 6 seconds before bringing the tired Bart back in. Did he tick someone off to deserve this? Bad armdrag brings Shawn down but Diesel pulls the top rope down to give the evildoers the advantage. Bart gets beaten down for awhile as we’re just waiting on the big brawl segment to end the match.

Shawn comes back in and we hit the chinlock. Stan Lane is blowing Gorilla away on commentary here. Shawn calls spots to Gorilla so Gorilla covers for him by saying he’s taunting. That makes sense if nothing else. A mat slam gets Bart out of trouble and the FEARSOME Billy comes in and Shawn cowers in fear which I think is a cover for wanting to laugh.

Billy gets the Texas Special (bulldog) off the top on Shawn for two and here’s the big brawl. The feuds (I guess) split off with Luger and Tatanka on the floor. Shawn gets tied in the ropes so Diesel hits the Jackknife on Billy (serves him right) and Shawn covers for the academic pin.

Rating: C-. Pretty boring for the most part but nothing too bad. It’s about what you would expect for the main event of a comp tape as Shawn steals another pin. Decent little match for the most part with not a ton of people caring but it wasn’t supposed to be anything epic. Not bad.

In case you haven’t had enough already, here’s another multiman tag match from Survivor Series 1994.

Million Dollar Team vs. Guts And Glory

Tatanka, King King Bundy, Bam Bam Bigelow, Heavenly Bodies
Lex Luger, Adam Bomb, Mabel, Smoking Gunns

This is DiBiase’s team (DiBiase had hurt his neck and had to retire) vs. Luger in a continuation of a long feud. DiBiase had said that Luger had sold out and Tatanka, Luger’s friend, believed DiBiase. This led to a match at Summerslam where it turned out that TATANKA had been bought off in a swerve I liked a lot. This is Luger’s chance for revenge again.

Luger and Tatanka start things off, much to Tatanka’s surprise. Tatanka takes over to start and chops away but the ones to the chest don’t work on Luger. Does no one watch the NWA around here? Lex no sells a suplex and pounds away with all his usual stuff. A clothesline puts Tatanka on the floor so here’s Del Ray to be beaten up too. Mabel and Bundy come in but it’s just a staredown as it’s back to the starters. Now it’s officially Mabel vs. Prichard (the Bodies are Tom Prichard and Jimmy Del Ray) with the big man missing an elbow. Prichard pounds away but a middle rope cross body (Mabel weighs 500lbs) kills him dead.

It’s 5-4 now and Del Ray comes in for some dropkicks which have no effect. A Boss Man Slam takes Jimmy down so it’s off to Bundy vs. Mabel. They collide a few times until Mabel runs him over. Off to Bigelow who gets beaten down and Mabel goes up, only to get slammed down in a cool visual. Bigelow goes up for a sunset flip but Mabel sits on his chest for no cover. A Cactus Clothesline sends them both to the floor and Mabel can’t beat the count back in to tie things up.

Off to Billy Gunn vs. Del Ray which goes nowhere so here’s Bomb vs. Bigelow. This takes about 30 seconds with Bomb hitting a slingshot clothesline but getting hit in the head by Bundy. A moonsault takes Bomb out and it’s 4-3. Luger comes in immediately and tries a rollup but it just gets two. Off to Del Ray who hits a fast superkick to take Lex down. After some right hands from Jimmy, a running forearm smash catches him in the head and Luger ties it up.

It’s Tatanka/Bigelow/Bundy vs. Luger/Smoking Gunns. It’s Bart vs. Tatanka before Billy comes in for a double Russian legsweep for two. The Gunns pound away on Tatanka for a little while with Bart and his mullet of death hitting a monkey flip for two. The Sidewinder (side slam from Bart with a legdrop from Billy) gets two and it’s back to Bart, who like an IDIOT, tries a crucifix on a guy whose finisher is a Samoan Drop. Later Bart and it’s 3-2.

Billy vs. Tatanka goes nowhere so it’s back to Luger. Billy comes in and hip tosses Tatanka for two and an elbow drop gets the same. Luger and Gunn take turns on Tatanka’s arm until Billy gets caught in a powerslam. Off to Bundy who hits a splash and elbow to get us down to Luger vs. Bigelow, Bundy and Tatanka. It’s Luger vs. King Kong now but Lex goes after Tatanka because he’s A FREAKING MORON.

Luger gets caught in the evil corner and we play the numbers game for awhile. Luger hits a forearm to Tatanka but only gets two. A sunset flip almost gets a pin on Tatanka but a tag was made on the way down to bring in Bigelow. Bundy drops an elbow for two and Lex is in trouble. Bigelow drops a headbutt for a VERY fast two. DiBiase talks trash as it’s off to Bundy for more fat man offense.

Bundy drops an elbow for two as we’re reenacting the main event of the first Survivor Series, complete with two of the original people in it. Back to Tatanka who gets two off a powerslam and drops a bunch of elbows. In a stupid looking yet still good ending, Luger gets a fast small package for the pin on Tatanka, then lays down on the mat so Bundy can splash him for the final elimination. That looked stupid.

Rating: C. This wasn’t that bad actually and the ending was a nice surprise. There was no reason to have Luger come back here and having him lose was the right move. The feud didn’t really go anywhere after this and was more or less the ending of it. Luger’s collapse after Summerslam 1993 is a sight to see given how hot he was during the summer after his face turn.

Here’s a regular tag from Summerslam 1995.

Blu Brothers vs. Smoking Gunns

The Brothers are Jacob and Eli but are more famous as the bald Harris Brothers (also known as DOA, Creative Control, the Bruise Brothers and about ten other names over the years). Their manager is Uncle Zebekiah, who is currently (as of July 2013) Zeb Colter in WWE. Jacob elbows Billy down to start before it’s off to Eli for a slam and some elbow drops. Billy gets a quick two count on Jacob before it’s off to Bart for some arm work. Jacob whips Bart into the corner before bringing Eli back in to get caught by a cross body for two.

The Gunns get a near fall off some double teaming but Billy walks into an H Bomb (double powerbomb) to stop the momentum dead. Eli puts Billy in the Tree of Woe but tags in Jacob instead of doing anything about it. Jacob draws in Bart to allow for more double teaming and Eli gets two off a powerslam. Billy comes back with a face plant to Jacob and makes the tag off to Bart. Everything breaks down and the Blus are sent into each other, allowing the Gunns to hit the Sidewinder (side slam/guillotine legdrop) on Eli for the pin.

Rating: D. This wasn’t so much bad as it was completely uninteresting. That’s the problem with so many parts of 1995 WWF: the people just weren’t interesting at all and there was no reason to care about a lot of the matches. All you had here was a midcard tag match that ran about six minutes. It wasn’t any good and there was no story to it, so why was I supposed to care?

The Gunns would win three Tag Team Titles. Here’s a title defense at King of the Ring 1996.

Tag Titles; Smoking Guns vs. Godwins

These two are fighting for the tag belts so it must be the mid 90s. The country boys bring animals with them. Geez Hillbilly Jim was an awesome character. We go to the back where the Guns and Sunny are with Doc. We see a clip of the Body Donnas and their new manager who is a guy in drag named Cloudy. Sunny is dressed as a cowgirl and that’s all you need to know. The Guns are the champions here.

These were some of the weakest gimmicks of all time. The Guns are going heel here as Ross insists he saw them turn down autographs for some kids earlier at the hotel. Well at least the fans weren’t at an airport asking about the NWO. Phineas likes Sunny here too. Billy implies he’s screwed Sunny, which he likely did since he was in the WWF in the 90s. We cut to a random interview with Cloudy who can’t even fake a girl’s voice.

This is Vince’s weird idea of humor I think. It lasted all of a month I think. The match is boring so it doesn’t mean anything. These two fought so many times and while it was ok, it was never really all that great. This match just isn’t that entertaining. Henry puts an arm lock on Bart who taps like crazy but that wouldn’t mean anything for about two more years. So this goes for about ten minutes and nothing of note happens.

I kept looking for something to talk about but this is just ten minutes of pure unadulterated average wrestling. It’s not that good and it’s not that bad but it’s not interesting or anything. It would be fine on any TV show or house show but on a PPV, I doubt it. We of course go to a massive brawl that ends with Bart hitting Phineas with something that resembles a cowboy boot but it’s not entirely clear for the pin.

Rating: C. That’s the epitome of what this match is: average. It’s just there. It’s not bad, it’s not good, it’s just a ten minute tag match where the faces acted like faces and the heels acted like heels. There was no appeal to this match at all. These two teams feuded for what seemed like ever and it never went anywhere. The tag division was more or less dead until 99 when the Hardys and Edge and Christian became the answer to the cruiserweights.

Here’s a fourway Tag Team Title match from Summerslam 1996.

Tag Titles: Smoking Gunns vs. New Rockers vs. Bodydonnas vs. Godwinns

The heel Gunns are defending and this is under elimination rules. The New Rockers are Marty Jannetty and Leif Cassidy (Al Snow) and the Bodydonnas are Skip (Chris Candido) and Zip (Tom Pritchard). Skip is in a neck brace here due to a potentially broken neck but he’s wrestling anyway. The Gunns have Sunny who looks GREAT as a cowgirl. Billy Gunn starts with Henry Godwinn with Hank throwing Billy around with ease.

A wheelbarrow slam sends Billy out to the floor and it’s off to Phineas vs. Zip. After a comedic feeling out process it’s off to both Gunns at the same time. Zip and Phineas strut across the ring for no apparent reason as the Gunns freak out about having to fight each other. The referee says either make contact or be disqualified. After no contact, Bart tags in Zip so the crowd can have something else to be bored by. Jannetty trips Zip and Billy gets an easy pin so the Bodydonnas don’t have to be out there long.

Henry comes back in to crank on Billy’s arm but Billy quickly tags out to Jannetty. Marty slowly pounds on Henry and plays to the comatose crowd. Leif gets the tag but quickly brings in Billy to work over Henry. The Rockers have a miscue with the Gunns and Henry gets two off a side slam on Billy. Marty’s save results in an elbow drop on Billy as everything breaks down. Henry kicks Marty into Leif and hits the Slop Drop (reverse DDT) on Cassidy for the elimination.

We’re down to the Godwinns vs. the champions and it’s Bart in for the first time. Henry explodes out of the corner with a clothesline to put both guys down. Bart breaks up a tag attempt as this match is dragging terribly. Billy comes in and the place is so silent you can hear the insults between the wrestlers.

Back to Bart to pound away on Henry for a few moments before bringing Billy back in. Henry catches a charging Billy in a World’s strongest Slam and there’s the lukewarm tag to Phineas. He cleans house and everything breaks down with Phineas hitting the Slop Drop on Billy, only to have Bart blast Phineas from the top for the pin to retain.

Rating: D-. This was so boring I could barely keep my eyes open. The tag title scene was so barren at this point that there were practically zero interesting acts at all. That would be the case for over a year when the New Age Outlaws FINALLY brought the division back to life for a few years. Terribly boring match.

Now we’ll get to a very important phase of Billy’s career. He would ditch the Smoking Gunns team and become a dancing cowboy named Rockabilly. This led to a series of matches against one Jesse James, including this one at In Your House XIV.

Jesse James vs. Rockabilly

Oh let’s get this over with. Jesse James is the returning Roadie, who was revealed as being the voice that Jeff Jarrett was lip synching to. The debuting Rockabilly is Billy Gunn, but now as a dancer under Honky Tonk Man’s tutelage, following months of Honky looking for his new protege. It’s even more confusing since Billy punched Honky two weeks ago. Billy kicks away at Jesse’s ribs and comes back with a dropkick, sending Billy to the floor. A clothesline off the apron takes Billy down and Jesse says he’s coming for Honky next.

Back in and Billy scores with a dropkick of his own before posing a bit. The match slows down a lot as Billy is more interested in dancing than going for a win. Now it’s off to a chinlock before Billy rakes the eyes to slow James down. A corner splash misses and Billy hits the post and eventually James gets up to pounds away in the corner. Billy sends him to the floor before bringing it back inside for more dancing. As usual this goes badly as his suplex is countered into a small package by Jesse for a fast pin.

Rating: D. Egads this show has been horrible so far. This is another feud that went on for months with no one caring, though in this case there would be something good to come out of it. We’ll get to that later, but for now there was nothing to see here and no one was interested in these two at this point.

The guys got tired of fighting each other and became a team called the New Age Outlaws. Here they are in action at Survivor Series 1997.

Team New Age Outlaws vs. Team Headbangers

New Age Outlaws, Godwinns
Headbangers, New Blackjacks

The Outlaws I’m sure you know, the Godwinns are evil here and are Henry and Phineas, the Headbangers are Mosh and Thrasher, and the Blackjacks are Barry Windham and Bradshaw. Windham (looking FAT here) starts with Phineas, the latter of which is immediately knocked to the floor with a shoulder block. This is when the Outlaws are a new team of jobbers who would soon shock the world and win the titles from the LOD.

Off to Bradshaw who looks skinny here by comparison to what he would become. Phineas gets a boot up in the corner as the evil ones take over. The Outlaws don’t want to come in so it’s off to Henry instead. Bradshaw gets two off a legsweep and puts on an abdominal stretch before falling back and rolling up Henry for the pin. Back to Windham to face Phineas, with Barry hitting a gutwrench suplex and a lariat for two. Phineas comes back with a clothesline of his own for the elimination and to tie it up at three.

Mosh comes in to take over on Phineas with a devastating armbar. It’s off to Billy who beats down Mosh and receives homophobic chants in his general nature. Or maybe it’s something in French. We get down to some basic wrestling and the fans go SILENT. Mosh tries a bulldog but Billy shoves him off and gets the pin for a quick elimination. It’s Thrasher/Bradshaw vs. Phineas/Outlaws.

Thrasher (trivia for you: Thrasher had a big hand in training Big Show) comes in and works on the arm but Phineas takes him down in return. The action in this match is really dull so far. Thrasher goes up and hits the Stage Dive (top rope seated senton) for the pin to make it 2-2. Off to Bradshaw vs. Road Dogg with the future JBL pounding away. A gutwrench powerbomb puts Dogg down but a Billy distraction lets Roadie get a school boy to pin Bradshaw.

Thrasher pounds on Dogg but walks into a pumphandle slam. He counters into a cover on the Dogg, but Billy comes off the top with a legdrop. Now when I say legdrop, I mean he literally is a foot away from Thrasher but gets the pin anyway. This looked so bad that even though I had seen it before, it still made my jaw drop. The Outlaws survive.

Rating: F-. The ending alone makes this a failure, but on top of that, the best worker in this match by far was Thrasher. Let that sink in for a minute. The Outlaws had only been the Outlaws for a month and a half or so at this point so no one cared about them, the Godwinns are as interesting as corporate accounting, the Blackjacks are the Blackjacks, and the Headbangers are barely interesting at all. This was a horrible match and an even worse choice for an opener.

The Outlaws would shock the world and beat the Legion of Doom for the Tag Team Titles. Here’s the rematch from Royal Rumble 1998.

Tag Titles: New Age Outlaws vs. Legion of Doom

The Outlaws make fun of the 49ers who lost in the NFC Title game recently to the Packers. The LOD says that Animal’s back is fine and they’re putting the Outlaws on ice tonight. The Outlaws jump the challengers which goes badly in a hurry, as Animal powerbombs the Dogg. The champions try to walk out but get thrown back in so we can start with Hawk (who had one mohawk shaved off earlier in this feud) vs. Roadie.

Off to Animal as Road Dogg’s mouth is bleeding. The pounding continues so here’s Hawk for his one wrestling move in the neckbreaker. Gunn gets the tag and Hawk hits a freaking Lou Thesz Press of all things so he can pound away some more. Animal powerslams both Outlaws down and it’s off to a reverse chinlock on Gunn. Hawk comes in for his second surprise move of the match in an STF.

That goes nowhere so it’s back to Animal, who is tripped up by Roadie. They head outside where Animal is sent into the steps to finally switch the momentum. Hawk gets double teamed in the ring but clotheslines both Outlaws down (Animal is still legal) but charges into the post. Dogg finds some handcuffs and attaches Hawk to the post, making it a handicap match. Animal makes a comeback with a double clothesline, but Dogg hits him with a chair for the DQ.

Rating: D. So with an injury AND his partner tied up on the floor, Animal STILL couldn’t lay down for a pin? Seriously? This match sucked and would have been just slightly better on Raw with less time. The LOD was nothing at this point while the Outlaws were finally starting to turn some heads. Until this point though, they were two jobbers with the titles who kept escaping with them. Brighter days were coming.

Time to change history. From Raw on March 30, 1998.

Tag Titles: Cactus Jack/Chainsaw Charlie vs. New Age Outlaws

Road Dogg is wearing a JOB Squad t-shirt for some reason. The old guys jump them as they get in and the fight is on. Funk has a BAD bruise on his back/hip. Gunn gets suplexed into the cage and is hung upside down from the top of the cage. There are no tags in this. This is a total mess but that’s supposed to be the point so it works.

Funk is tied to the cage with something. Cactus manages to get a double DDT but it’s a handicap match now. Funk gets an arm free but can’t untie himself. He’s tied by his throat. Jack and Gunn go up to the corner and Billy gets crotched. DX comes in and Pac blasts Cactus with a chair and a spike Piledriver onto said chair gives the Outlaws the titles again.

Rating: C. Call this right in the middle because it was a big mess, but that was the idea here. Also the whole point of this was to show that DX had fresh blood in it as the Outlaws are officially part of DX now. This was a perfect fit as they were all about the lack of respect and all that jazz. They worked rather well in that role too.

We’ll jump ahead to Survivor Series 1998 with the Outlaws defending the Tag Team Titles.

Tag Titles: New Age Outlaws vs. Headbangers vs. D’Lo Brown/Mark Henry

The Outlaws are defending of course. This was set up on Raw with both challenging teams doing something that I can’t remember to earn the shot. Billy and Brown start things off but Mosh comes in off a blind tag to try to steal a pin on Billy. Mosh hits a running body attack in the corner on Gunn before diving at Brown as well. This is pretty messy so far. The Outlaws pound on the former Nation guys in opposite corners before the Headbangers double team Roadie.

Brown and Mosh trade pin attempts on Dogg. This is the old triple threat tag match rules where there are three people at a time in there which I’ve always preferred. Off to Henry for a bearhug on Roadie until Mosh makes the save. Off to Brown, Thrasher and Dogg as this continues to be ugly stuff. Gunn gets in a LOUD argument with the referee as Brown ranas Thrasher off the top.

Roadie pounds on Brown and Thrasher but Henry takes his head off with a clothesline. Brown’s running powerbomb to Thrasher is countered into a sunset flip for two. A Henry legdrop gets the same on Dogg, followed by the Headbangers double teaming Roadie for the same. Brown offers a pact with Mosh but gets kicked in the balls for his efforts. JR can almost be heard moaning at how bad this match is. Roadie finally escapes the beating for the hot tag to Billy. The fans LOVED the Outlaws so at least they’re reacting here.

Brown hits the Sky High on Billy but since everyone is out of position, it takes forever to start the count. Jesse Ventura would have a field day with this. To further the stupidity here, Billy hits a Fameasser on Mosh but Henry makes the save with a splash, also hitting Mosh. Mark just stays on top of Mosh for a cover, but after two finisher it only gets two. That Mosh man, he’s TOUGH. Billy finally piledrives Mosh to retain the titles.

Rating: F. This was terrible and there’s no other way to put it. They were all over the place and no one was even reading the same book out there. The referee had to count very slowly so the saves could be made and there was no flow to this at all. Just awful and JR’s commentary makes it even funnier, but in a kind of sad way.

We’ll even get in a singles match on Raw from January 25, 1999.

Billy Gunn vs. Goldust

Gunn’s ankle is still messed up from last night. HHH says no catchphrase tonight, because he wants Rocky right here. He doesn’t think Rock made Mankind say I Quit and he knows Rock can’t make him say I Quit. HHH remembers the last time they fought for a title when HHH took the IC Title off Rock, but for once, be a man and accept the challenge.

Oh yeah we have a match here. Goldust jumps Billy from behind and tries for Shattered Dreams about a minute in. Billy counters by mooning Goldie, making him miss a cross body. Now Goldust’s music and pyro go off, and the Blue Freaking Meanie comes out dressed as Blue Dust. Billy gets two off a rollup and three off a piledriver after Blue Dust hit Goldie with the Head. Angle advancement here.

The team would split in 1999, setting up this match at Over the Edge 1999.

Road Dogg vs. Billy Gunn

You can tell Roadie is extra hyped up here. Gunn cuts a pretty bad promo, saying he carried the team. Just based on the opening here, we have a far better match here than we had in 2008. For one thing it’s 9 years younger and they can actually move out of the ring which helps a lot. Road Dogg is face here mind you. Billy hits the Jackhammer which is called a vertical suplex here.

They’re far more energetic this time too and the crowd is more into it. Also there’s no cage which is helping a lot. Lawler is back to himself now. I think the idea of out of sight and out of mind is helping here. I think Gunn wins the award for world’s worst sleeper ever. We get the comeback and it’s a pretty decent one.

The fans are freaking responding to this. On the floor Gunn hits Roadie in the head with the timekeeper’s hammer. Yeah this is over. Oh dang I would have bet on that being the finish. Gunn gets a shot to the throat with some tape before the Famerasser ends it.

Rating: C+. FAR better effort here. This was a pretty good match I thought and at least the ending worked pretty well. It’s not great but it’s not bad at all. Roadie’s energy was off the charts as always and it worked pretty well. The crowd was into it also so I can’t complain and the wrestling was bearable.

Billy would take part in the 1999 King of the Ring. He would win the tournament but the semi-final and final are so bad that we’ll look at his quarterfinal match instead.

KOTR Quarterfinals: Ken Shamrock vs. Billy Gunn

Billy beat Viscera and Shamrock beat Jarrett to qualify. Gunn has a tag belt but isn’t a champion in a way too complicated storyline that was shockingly a Russo idea. He won one of the titles or something like that in a 6 man but it was never official and the APA got them back in a few days. Yeah it was pointless. Gunn says get out here and forfeit. Shamrock beats up the EMTs and comes out anyway to a nice pop but no music until it comes on as I’m typing that and I’m too lazy to fix it.

Teddy Long, the referee here says that Ken is too hurt to fight but he rings the bell anyway. Gunn is actually smart here and pounds on the chest and ribs and nothing else. Shamrock actually gets a quick ankle lock but a shot to the ribs gets Gunn out of it. You can more or less see the ending coming from miles away. Shamrock starts a comeback and drops a ton of F bombs while spitting up pink blood that’s staining his skin.

I like the blood from the mouth but Vince, you’re miles ahead of everyone in the wrestling world. Buy good fake blood. Shamrock tries a hurricanrana but it’s countered into a powerbomb and the blood flow causes the referee to call it due to the injuries. Also, blood doesn’t hang off the lip like a string. Long takes the safest through the ropes bump I’ve ever seen.

Rating: C+. Although it’s three minutes long, this was actually decent. In those three minutes, we have psychology in the chest/rib work, some decent shots, a decent performance from Shamrock, and an ending that makes sense. It’s weak, but it makes sense. They have way too many matches here so we have three matches and no regular endings yet. That can’t be a good sign.

Here’s a dream match from Unforgiven 1999.

Tag Titles: Edge/Christian vs. New Age Outlaws

Edge and Christian are young faces here and asked for a title match on Heat. How weird is it that Edge and Christian would be light years ahead of the Outlaws at the end of the day? The Outlaws are freshly reunited here and the pop is noticeably quieter. And I’m wrong as they’re WAY into the Road Dogg entrance stuff. Edge and Gunn start us off. Korderas is refereeing again which is good as there shouldn’t be any drama here.

This was when Gunn was still bearable in the ring so this is decent to start off with. Edge and Christian were young and awesome at this time so this is a fun match on paper. More or less no way they were going to win though as the Outlaws had just won the belts recently. Lawler asks Ross if he likes it doggy style. That’s just wrong. The Outlaws are showing off here which you NEVER see. It’s not bad actually. Edge is WAY into steroids here as he’s ripped as all goodness.

I don’t know if I believe this but I think the Outlaws are having a good standard tag match here. What in the world am I watching? You could tell that the challengers were going to be awesome at some point in the future. What would be called Poetry in Motion when the Hardys used it misses.

Gunn gets the hot tag and he just starts cleaning house. NICE powerslam. This is a solid match actually. And here are the Hardys and Gangrel. They beat up Edge and Christian so the Fameasser ends it. Screw this good match thing! We want RUN INS! Russo was gone but still being felt at this time I guess.

Rating: B. Solid stuff here as they went back and forth with the Outlaws showing that they could go when they wanted to. This of course makes me want to know: why didn’t they do it more often? It’s a shame they didn’t as this was awesome. Of course Edge and Christian would have their time.

Billy would be out of action for a big chunk of 2000 with an injury but would come back in the fall as a singles act. Here he is getting an Intercontinental Title shot on Smackdown, Novmeber 23, 2000.

Intercontinental Title: Eddie Guerrero vs. Billy Gunn

Before the bell, Billy quickly takes him to the floor and hammers away before dropping him face first onto the barricade. They head inside for the opening bell and both guys try a cross body for a big collision. Eddie brings in the title belt and a ref bump lets him drop Billy face first onto the belt for two.

The Frog Splash gets the same and Eddie is livid. Back up and a powerslam gets two for Gunn and the tilt-a-whirl slam gets the same. A Jackhammer plants Eddie for no cover but the Fameasser gets another near fall. Gunn tries it again but Eddie sends him into the ropes for a breather. Eddie goes up but dives into the One and Only (sleeper slam) for the pin and the title.

Rating: D+. You think we had enough kickouts from finishers here? It’s a five minute match on Smackdown, not the main event of Summerslam. The match was decent enough and a good way to get Billy over, even though he lost the title less than a month later. Eddie breaking up with Chyna made this as easy a match as you could ask for. Nothing special but the kickouts were pretty odd.

The Invasion didn’t go well for Billy but here’s a match against a future star on Raw, June 25, 2001.

Edge vs. Billy Gunn

Fast paced stuff to start but Billy heads to the floor. Baseball slide puts him down and a missile dropkick gets two back inside. Billy hits a spinebuster for no cover. Out to the floor with Billy in control. There’s a guy in the crowd doing a Hogan impression and since we’re watching a Billy Gunn match, the fans cheer for Hogan.

Edge spears him down and makes a comeback until Christian accidentally hits him. Billy gets two off a rollup and Jackhammers Edge for two. There’s a boring chant. Who thought giving BILLY GUNN a long match in 2001 was a good idea? Billy loads up the Fameasser but Christian comes in with a backbreaker so Edge can Impale Billy for the pin.

Rating: F+. And 99% of that is for Gunn. What in the world were they thinking by pushing him OVER AND OVER AGAIN??? I mean he just kept getting time on TV and less and less people cared every time until he owed the people some caring for the interest getting so low. Terribly uninteresting match and the crowd turned on it. Why is Edge facing Billy Gunn anyway? He beat Kurt Angle last night to win the King of the Ring and now he’s got Billy Gunn?

Billy would hook up with Chuck Palumbo for the gay (literally, as in they had a wedding ceremony) tag team of Billy and Chuck. Here they are defending the Tag Team Titles at Wrestlemania X8.

Tag Titles: Dudley Boyz vs. Hardy Boyz vs. Billy and Chuck vs. APA

Saliva plays the Dudleyz to the ring which gives us the VERY nice image of Stacy in the Dudley attire dancing to the song. I’ve always thought she never looked better than she did in those outfits. Billy and Chuck are defending and this is elimination rules. Bradshaw jumps Chuck to start but Billy saves him from the fallaway slam. Instead it’s Billy taking it as it’s all Bradshaw so far.

A big belly to back suplex puts Chuck down again and it’s off to Faarooq. The crowd is eerily silent for this. Chuck clips Faarooq in the jaw with a right hand and it’s off to Billy for some choking. Billy loads up the Fameasser but gets caught in a wicked powerslam. Back to Bradshaw as things break down a bit. Billy tags in D-Von but the APA breaks up a 3D attempt. Faarooq hits a spinebuster on Chuck on the floor and there’s the big Clothesline to Billy, but Bradshaw walks into the 3D for the elimination.

The Hardys and Dudleys start fighting for old times’ sake before Matt and Jeff start beating on Chuck. The Dudleys load up a table but the Hardys dive on them to slow it up. Back in and there’s the Whisper in the Wind to Bubba. Stacy gets up on the apron and pulls up her shorts to distract Jeff, only to get spanked and kissed. A Bubba Bomb slows down Billy before Bubba chokes on Jeff with his shirt.

Things finally calm down a bit until we get to Jeff vs. Bubba again. With D-Von’s help, Bubba manages a backdrop to put Jeff down again and puts on a chinlock. D-Von comes in and runs over Jeff before pounding away in the corner. A belly to back suplex gets two and it’s back to Bubba. Having a regular tag match between these two is probably the best idea given how lame Billy and Chuck were in the ring. Bubba stands on Jeff’s crotch in the Tree of Woe before tagging in D-Von for some choking.

A clothesline by Jeff allows for the hot tag to Matt, only to see him immediately run over by Bubba. The backsplash misses of course though and Matt tries to speed it up a bit, only to get caught in What’s Up. Before D-Von can dive though, the champions remember they’re in this too and shove D-Von through the table on the floor. Matt pops up and it’s the Twist into the Swanton for the pin on Bubba, leaving us with Billy and Chuck against the Hardys.

A Side Effect puts Billy down and there’s Poetry in Motion for good measure. Chuck gets the same along with a Twist of Fate. Jeff adds in the Swanton but Billy sneaks in with a Fameasser on Jeff but Chuck can only get two off o it. Instead it’s a belt shot to Jeff’s head for the pin by Chuck to FINALLY end this.

Rating: D. This was only thirteen minutes long but MAN ALIVE was this a chore to sit through. There was no need for this to be on the card and everyone from the commentators to the fans had no interest in it. The only good thing about this was how insanely hot Stacy looked. This could have easily been cut and made this already bloated show a bit easier to sit through.

Billy would miss some time due to an injury but come back in 2003. Here he is at Vengeance. If he loses, Torrie has to sleep with Jamie Noble against her will, because that kind of stuff can be wagered in wrestling matches.

Billy Gunn vs. Jamie Noble

Jamie brings a briefcase with his “stuff” in it. They actually open it which is creepy. Jamie’s girlfriend Nidia comes out and is mad at him over this clearly. See the criticisms of soap opera stuff that WWE gets? Noble works on his knee so his regular stuff can’t work. Gunn busts out a random Diamond Cutter for two. Didn’t see that one coming. Noble hooks a DDT from the second rope. I liked that.

Nidia puts his foot on the ropes though since she doesn’t want Torrie sleeping with Noble. That makes sense at least. Both girls beat him up. Billy gets rammed into Torrie and gets rolled up for the pin. Torrie says Holy censored and it’s rather amusing. Cole shouting NOBLE GETS TO SLEEP WITH TORRIE cracked me up. He wants to watch. Oh dear.

Rating: D. Bad match on top of a bad angle doesn’t help. Naturally it didn’t happen and Noble and Gunn started teaming together because it’s professional wrestling and of course it doesn’t make sense. Torrie looked hot though so I can’t complain much there. Still though, stupid angle and a stupid match.

Billy would be used very infrequently around this time but we’ll look at one more WWE match from Judgment Day 2004.

Smackdown Tag Titles: Charlie Haas/Rico vs. Billy Gunn/Hardcore Holly

Charlie/Rico are the champions here and it’s another oddball team. Rico is fully embracing his gay side here and the only good thing is Jackie Gayda looking incredible. However, Billy Gunn and Hardcore Holly? Bart Gunn wasn’t available to reform the New Midnight Express? The challengers argue over who starts first so Rico slaps/grabs their rumps. Wouldn’t Billy be used to that?

Ok officially we start with Haas vs. Holly. After a brief feeling out process Holly grabs a headlock and it’s technician vs. power brawler to start us off. Off to Rico who slaps Haas’ chest to come in. Rico touches the redneck Holly and it’s off to the former groom as Rico does a cancan. Rico kisses his hand and puts it on Billy’s face to really mess with Gunn. We have butt slapping and some rodeo before Rico kicks Billy who falls onto his knees in front of Rico. Yep we’re in a comedy match.

Gunn finally gets ticked off and drills Rico, and by that I mean he punches him you sick freaks. Holly vs. Haas now with Holly getting a suplex for two. We hit the chinlock before Gunn comes in and hammers away. Rico: “Don’t you hurt my Charlie!” Holly’s kick between the legs (to the stomach) gets two. I missed a Rico likes hardcore joke in there somewhere.

Holly goes to the middle rope and does the jump into the boot of a guy in a move where the only reason I went to the top was to jump into the boot because a double clothesline is beyond my intelligence spot. Haas gets the tag (moderate temperature) and Rico cleans house (no French Maid outfit?) but gets caught in a Fameasser. There was a blind tag to Haas though so no cover. Alabama Slam is caught by a superkick from Rico lets Haas get a sunset flip on Holly to retain.

Rating: C-. Just a tag match based in comedy here. Nothing worth seeing at all as Jackie looking good was a regular occurrence. Not a bad match or anything mind you, but when the biggest star is Billy Gunn and he’s a glorified jobber who would be gone in six months, the same week as Rico actually. Nothing terrible, but just there for the most part.

It’s off to TNA now, starting at Destination X 2005.

Outlaw vs. Kevin Nash

This is first blood. No particular reason for it but whatever. Oh he’s Kip James apparently. Seriously is Kip James the best name you could give him? Honestly? Let’s remind us that Nash has won a bunch of titles in WCW and WWE, but never the NWA Title. Oh dear. Wait, according to Vince that’s the same thing so whatever.

Nash still has the really short hair here and looks like an idiot because of it. James is working on the knee which at least makes sense here. Wait a minute, no it doesn’t. It’s FIRST BLOOD. Why wouldn’t you go after the head? Oh that’s right: It’s Billy Gunn in TNA. Hey, let’s try to drive a screwdriver into the head of a man. That’s not bad at all.

Gunn goes with a chair instead. Well at least he’s trying to kill him with a less violent method. Gunn stops the offense to use wire cutters to cut a turnbuckle pad off. The referee goes down but I have no idea how that happened. Oh never mind. I just don’t care.

Nash hits Snake Eyes onto the buckle and there’s no referee so cue up the screwjob music. Jarrett runs out and nails Nash with the belt and the physician or someone runs in to clean things up. An attorney made him I think. Oh good night this is dumb. West isn’t helping at all either. Yep there’s the bell and Nash loses.

Rating: D+. It’s not bad but I just didn’t care at all. No one cares about Gunn anymore and no wrestling company accepts that. First Blood matches tend to suck anyway but they’re easy ways to get cheap heel heat I guess. Not that anyone can tell the difference in TNA though between faces and heels.

From Final Resolution 2006. You knew this wouldn’t take TNA long.

Diamonds in the Rough vs. James Gang

It’s Elix Skipper/David Young and this is the return match for the James Gang. BG and Skipper start things off. Skipper shoves him down and it’s a very slow start. Skipper suplexes BG over and works on the arm for a second. BG comes back with the dancing punches and shaking knee drop for two. David and Kip come in for a few collisions that go nowhere.

The Diamonds try some double teaming but get caught in a double Japanese armdrag by Kip. They get sent to the floor and the Gang beats on them on the floor. The fans chant for the Outlaws but BG walks into a spinebuster from Young for no cover. There’s a reason the guy lost like 86 matches in a row. Skipper pounds on BG for a bit before it’s back to Young who covers, only to have Kip distract the referee. David misses a moonsault and it’s hot tag to Kip. Skipper clotheslines him down and everything breaks down. Young breaks up the pumphandle slam but Kip hits the cobra clutch slam for the pin on Elix.

Rating: D. You know there’s a running theme with these New Age Outlaws matches: they’re not that good. These guys were never known for their in ring work and it’s pretty clear why. The matches just aren’t any good with the action being generic the whole way through. There was nothing to this and it was a horrible return for the James Gang or whatever they’re called this month.

Then they turned into the Voodoo Kin Mafia which is some shot at Vince. I don’t get it either. From Slammiversary 2007.

Voodoo Kin Mafia vs. Damaja/Basham

At least we can look at Christy’s hottness. Big brawl to start and no one is really all that interested. Christy is chased into the ring and oh hey there’s the bell. Basham (Danny) vs. Road Dogg to start us off. Roadie gets beaten down and it’s off to Kip. He gets double teamed as well as the Bashams set for a double suplex. Roadie spears one of them and Billy gets a small package to Basham for the pin. This was NOTHING, not even lasting three minutes.

One more showdown for old times’ sake. From Lockdown 2008.

BG James vs. Kip James

Seriously, how has this match not happened before? This started as Roadie won a tag title shot in Feast or Fired and had his 60+ year old father be his partner of all things. No one bought it and this is what it was setting up. This should have been the finals of the 99 KOTR but that would have made sense so there we go.

Billy breaks out a Diamond Cutter of all things to counter the punches of Roadie. Sorry, I refuse to call him Kip James. Roadie is easier to type than BG James also, even though that really is closer than Jesse James. The problem with this whole PPV shows up again: while this could actually be a decent feud/match, the first match of it simply doesn’t belong in a cage as it’s just a regular match but in a cage.

A Fameasser gets two and then a low blow has both guys down. Naturally the finish sucks: Billy stomps his foot three times before going for a splash which misses and Roadie rolls him up for the pin. They do the reunion for about two seconds and Kip does the heel turn which no one cares about but of course it’s evil and no one saw it coming. After a bad and short feud with Matt Morgan, Billy would be Cute Kip to just end any shred of credibility he had.

Rating: D-. What was the point of this again? Actually that’s not a fair question. This match actually had a point. However, giving them seven minutes in a pointless cage match is just freaking stupid by TNA as they throw away a potentially kind of big match with no time and a terrible finish. Makes sense at least.

Then at Genesis 2009, he was brought in as the surprise main event replacement because TNA doesn’t know how wresling works.

Main Event Mafia vs. Front Line

It’s Booker, Steiner and a mystery partner here vs. AJ, D-Von and Foley but I just felt like trying to make it seem more important. Booker is Legends (Global/TV) Champion here. He’s also the British version here. The suitable replacement is of course Cute Kip. As in Kip James. As in Billy Gunn. As in the “he’s gay but we’re not going to say he’s gay because it would likely get us in trouble” character.

Fans are SILENT when he’s announced. This was a one shot deal for the Mafia and everyone just freaked out when they picked him, as no one bought him as anything but a joke. Tenay of course mentions DX and the Outlaws because we have to remind people of that instead of his success in TNA. Gunn lists off his WWF accomplishments and says he really is a tough guy. This is about a minute after Booker introduced him as the Cutie.

This is Foley’s return to the ring. AJ is still the awesome face at this point and the most awesome wrestler in the world. Him without the robe works MUCH better than with it. Foley is apparently wearing the flannel to be like Brother Ray. That’s so stupid I can’t even make a joke about it. I guess Foley is the big draw here. Steiner cusses out West before the match starts.

We leave the ring immediately and it’s a huge mess. Foley goes up for the elbow but the heels all move. We finally get things back to at least close to calm and start doing some tagging. That’s a pretty good lineup of tag wrestlers on the Mafia side actually. On the other side it’s not bad either I guess, but seriously, D-Von Dudley is in a main event in 2010. What sense does that make?

It’s just a six man tag though. There’s nothing on the line and there’s nothing of importance here. After this match no matter who wins or loses things will be exactly the same. Why should I want to watch this match? Better yet why would I pay to see this match? That’s the issue I have with tags ending PPVs: they accomplish nothing. AJ fights out of trouble with a Pele.

Fameasser misses and Kip takes the Pele. Hot tag to Foley who beats up Kip James. They head to the floor and brawl a lot….and there’s the bell? It’s a double countout but Cornette comes out and says restart it just because I guess. Booker says Cornette doesn’t have the authority to do that. Foley says he does though so it’s restarted, also making it a hardcore match.

Everything goes nuts of course as everyone is fighting in the aisle with weapons etc. The fans want tables. Foley goes onto the announce table via Booker. After some more skirmishing, Foley tells D-Von to get the tables. Booker is put on a regular table and out of NOWHERE comes AJ with a huge dive to crush Booker and take out everyone but D-Von and Steiner.

Top rope headbutt to Steiner and Foley busts out Socko. It’s in Booker’s mouth but Steiner saves. Everything goes insane and Steiner takes a double arm DDT onto a chair from Foley to get pinned. As the Front Line celebrates, Tenay talks about how the Mafia won tonight. Uh, yeah sure they did dude. Just glad this is over.

Rating: F+. I know I’ve said this a lot but Kip James and D-Von Dudley were just in the main event of a PPV. Add in that to the fact that it was a meaningless six man tag with nothing on the line and that we stopped for a promo series in the middle and that the hardcore stuff was weak and why should this get anything above failing? Just a bad match to main event a PPV with to put it mildly.

Billy would head back to WWE for a bit as a nostalgia act in 2014. From Raw on January 20, 2014.

Billy Gunn vs. CM Punk

Road Dogg is on commentary and says the Outlaws turned on Punk for the publicity which has gotten them a Tag Team Title shot. Punk sends Billy to the floor and into the apron but stops to yell at Roadie. Billy gets in a cheap shot and we take a break. Back with Punk putting on a sleeper but getting suplexed down and put in a chinlock. Billy slams Punk down and finally takes his shirt off, only to be knocked to the floor again.

Punk loads up a suicide dive but instead goes to the floor to beat up Road Dogg. The knee in the corner looks to set up Punk’s bulldog but a Dogg distraction lets Billy hit a tilt-a-whirl slam for two. Punk comes right back and loads up the Macho Elbow but Dogg pulls Gunn to the floor. Not that it matters as the GTS connects for the pin on Billy a few seconds later for the pin at 8:57.

Rating: C. I’m not a big Billy Gunn fan but this worked well enough. There was no way you put either Outlaw over Punk and having them double team him was the only way to make the match even the slightest bit competitive. This was more about advancing the Punk vs. Authority story and there’s nothing wrong with that.

And one more as the Outlaws won the Tag Team Titles and defend them at Elimination Chamber 2014.

Tag Titles: New Age Outlaws vs. Usos

The Usos are challenging. Jimmy shoves Billy around to start and some armdrags and hiptosses send Gunn outside. The Usos load up their double dive but the Outlaws move before the jump. Back in for Dogg vs. Jey with the champion’s headbutt hurting him instead of Jey. A hiptoss sends Jey into the corner and he looked to injure his knee or leg. The shaky kneedrop gets two and it’s back to Gunn for a two count.

The CM Punk chants start up as Dogg shrugs off some right hands and knees Jey down again. We hit the chinlock for a bit until Jey fights up and superkicks Jey back down. Hot tag brings in Jimmy to speed things up leaving Jimmy vs. Gunn in the ring. Road Dogg pulls his partner away from the running Umaga attack but Jimmy dives onto Roadie. Back in and a superkick gets two on Gunn but Jimmy has to go after Road Dogg, allowing Billy to grab a rollup for the pin at 8:34.

Rating: D+. This is more about frustrating booking than a bad match but the wrestling was nothing great either. I’m not sure if the Outlaws are holding the belts because they’re friends of HHH or because this company thinks there’s more to nostalgia than anyone else, but I don’t get the appeal of the Outlaws getting clean pins on top tag teams.

Billy Gunn is a guy that had the look and the athleticism, but he never made it work as a singles guy. At the end of the day, the guy just didn’t work out without Road Dogg there to compliment him. There’s nothing wrong with being a tag team wrestler though and Billy was part of three very good teams. That’s quite the accomplishment and something most people can’t claim.

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