Top 50 Wrestlers Of The 1990s: #30 - The New Age Outlaws
WrestleMania 34 is coming up, and being a wrestling fan, I tend to get a little more nostalgic for them olden days of when wrestlers didn't have scripts with WWE verbage in front of them. DeLorean back to my early days of fandom during the 1990s and you had a product that was hotter than any Seth Rollins theme song (you know, ”Burn It Down?” Okay, I’ll see that bad joke right out the door).
So from now up until "The Grandest Stage of Them All" (with a little help from Wikipedia to fill in the blanks), I will release my Top 50 wrestlers of the 1990., factoring in their impact from the kid-friendly first half to the cuss-ridden, beer drinking second half to determine where exactly your favorite heel or face fall in rank.
#30: The New Age Outlaws
Hailing From: Orlando, FL (Billy Gunn) & Marietta, GA (Road Dogg)
Finisher: Spike Piledriver
Overall, tag team wrestling wasn't booked as a popular act in the 90s, but the New Age Outlaws were one of the few to go against the grain. The tandem of Billy Gunn and Road Dogg Jesse James didn't begin until late 1997. Both were floating in WWF purgatory before that. Billy Gunn was a three-time WWF Tag Team Champion with his brother Bart (kayfabe) as a member of The Smoking Gunns and Road Dogg only had notoriety as a roadie for #48 Jeff Jarrett. All that changed with a change in Attitude.
Billy was floundering with the Honky Tonk Man as Rockabilly and the Road Dog wasn't even featured on television. Come Shotgun Saturday Night where Honky Tonk accidentally costs Billy a match and it's on Shotgun Saturday Night where the hottest tag team during the Attitude Era began.
First feud? Why not the hottest team of the 80s in the Road Warriors? The act of Hawk & Animal had seen their glory days at this point, but they were still Hawk and Animal and had plenty of rub to give. And to give a young tag team the opportunity to square off against established legends that those spiked-shoulder padded killers is one to take advantage of. The NAO won their first tag straps with nefarious means against the LOD on a November 1997 of Raw.
It wasn't until right before WrestleMania XIV until the duo joined DX, but it was right in-between a well-constructed story brewing amongst them and the hardcore pairing of Cactus Jack & Terry Funk (but Chainsaw Charlie in this regard).
Some may say otherwise, but pairing the Outlaws with DX added a fresher, brighter paint job to an already hot stable.
The forming of factions were the hot thing to do in the later part of the decade, and having a group of unruly outlaws run amok was something to give a dulling product some sharper edges. Heck, from black power groups to biker gangs, when you consider all the gangs running around WWF at the time, building DX up made plenty of sense. Gunn & Road Dogg further established DX with the likes of memorable factions like the Four Horsemen, The Freebirds & the N.W.O.
If we didn't get the New Age Outlaws, DX wouldn't be in the conversation. With HBK's injury, their run would have been a hot one, but not as impactful. Also, adding them added to Triple H's star power. He started out as a leader in DX, transitioned that into The Game and eventually found his place as Executive Vice-president of Talent, Live Events and Creative of the entire company. Two words for ya: upward mobility. I say thank Road Dogg & Billy (again, kayfabe.)