The New Midnight Express

The New Midnight Express

Let it be known that 9 out of 10 times, a “new” incarnation of a previous wrestling gimmick or angle sucks. One need look no further than the 57 nWo reunions, with each have less impact than the one before.

Therefore, it is a bit surprising that one tag team duo, in this case, the Midnight Express, underwent several changes before finally coming up with a winning formula. Depending on who you speak to, the original Midnight Express consisted of Dennis Condrey and Randy Rose or Condrey and Bobby Eaton. Regardless, the Express underwent a bit of tweaking before its most famous incarnation – that of Eaton and “Sweet” Stan Lane – came about.

And make no mistake about it – Lane and Eaton were without question one of the greatest tag teams in the history of pro wrestling. Guided by Jim Cornette, the Midnights had heated rivalries with the Rock & Roll Express and the Fantastics that are still talked about today by hardcore fans of the sport.

The Midnight Express was everything a heel tag team should be – mean, funny, skilled, and could get heat just by looking at a fan in the crowd. They won numerous tag title belts, including being the first team to ever win both the US and NWA World titles simultaneously. During this period, they would often bring out the belts in a wheelbarrow, as it was simply too much gold to carry!

In the late 90’s, the WWF had opened a talent exchange with the NWA, who had meant almost nothing to wrestling since Ted Turner split from them in the early 90’s to form WCW. It was a really silly “invasion” – a bunch of has beens and no names coming into the WWF making all kinds of noise, not unlike the nWo had done to WCW.

The difference, of course, was that making the nWo players had name value. Everyone knew who Kevin Nash was. Everyone knew who Scott Hall was. The NWA group featured folks like Barry Windham (who was at least 10 years past his prime) and the Rock & Roll Express, who were simply a shell of their former selves.

The crem de la crap, though, would be the reformation of the Midnight Express, with workers who had no history with the group whatsoever – the WWF simply pulled two guys for whom they had no other plans and slapped “ME” tights on them.

And thus we had the New Midnight Express: “Bodacious” Bob Holly and “Bombastic” Bart Gunn. Holly, of course, is well known to WrestleCrap fans as auto racing wrestler Sparky “STP” Plugg, while Gunn was best known to that point as the forgotten half of the Smokin’ Gunns (as his ‘brother’ Billy went onto fame as half of the New Age Outlaws with the Road Dogg).

The duo was teamed up with long time Midnight manager Cornette, who was either appalled by the idea (with the rumor being that Vince Russo put the new Midnight gimmick together as a slap in James E.’s face) or loved it (with the rumor being that he came up with it). While we don’t know exactly which side is to blame, the fact remains that someone was, and they are hereby inducted into WrestleCrap’s WWF wing.

To be fair, the duo wasn’t the worst combination in the world, but they were nowhere near worthy of carrying on the Midnight Express lineage. In fact, other than being called the Midnight Express, they had absolutely nothing in common with them, and as a result, were shelved shortly after their debut.

Bob Holly went through another couple of modifications before becoming the Hardcore Holly of today. Bart actually went onto some degree of fame, winning the infamous Brawl for All shoot fight tourney in the WWF. Of course, he then got obliterated by Butterbean in a similar match at WrestleMania XV.

Some guys just can’t buy a break.

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