“Ebony & ivory fit together in perfect harmony.” – Stevie Wonder & Sir Paul McCartney.
With Survivor Series having just taken place, I feel that a certain aspect of the big time main event tag team match between The Rock & John Cena vs. Awesome Truth had been overlooked due to the magnitude of this somewhat-epic tag team match. That aspect? That this was the biggest match ever to take place between two teams consisting of ebony & ivory tag team partners.
In a sport (entertainment) rife with cultural/racial stereotypes, people often overlook the importance and impact such tag teams have on professional wrestling, and society as a whole. You’ve heard the stories about how sacred kayfabe was back in the day, right? Well, back then, wrestlers could only tag with wrestlers from their own cultural background. It wasn’t enough that their outfits had to match, their skin tone had to as well. Tag teams like Prof. Tanaka & Mr. Fuji, Rocky Johnson & Tony Atlas, and The Wild Samoans were all pigeonholed in this spot. How this protected the business, no one knows for sure.
But We’re talking about ebony & ivory here! Black & white, or the other more common variation, white & black. So, here at Old School Jabronies, we figured we’d take a trip down memory lane and take a look at some of the greatest ebony & ivory tag teams in wrestling (mostly WWE) history.
10. Fire & Ice
If there were any wrestlers that were mirror opposites of each other, it was these two dudes. Ice Train was the black version of Scott Norton, and Scott Norton was the white version of Ice Train. WCW didn’t really do much with them except for putting them together and giving them a name. Did they have potential? Maybe. Check for yourself I’m too tired.
9. Marcus Bagwell & Too Cold Scorpio
Ah, Marcus Bagwell. Was there ever a tag team offer he didn’t accept? Even when he decided to channel his inner-douche bag (or rather incorporate his real-life persona) and finally hit on a gimmick that worked for him, he was still stuck in tag team mediocrity. Vicious and Delicious anyone? And Too Cold Scorpio came in a couple of months too late after the WCW light heavyweight title jumped the shark once Brad Armstrong won it. They could’ve rebuilt the entire division around him. Eh, at least he got a rap video out of it. Oh, and Bagwell & Scorpio won the WCW tag straps as well.
8. Triple X – Christopher Daniels & Elix Skipper
With the X Division being the main thing that originally set TNA apart from the WWE, besides that horrible six-sided ring, it was only natural that there be a stable within that division. Enter Triple X. Christopher Daniels & Elix Skipper (which also included Low-Ki for a short while). Triple X will always be somewhat remembered for their feud and subsequent cage match against America’s Most Wanted, in which Skipper performed a huracanrana from the top of the cage. Other than that, nothing really noteworthy.
7. Owen Hart & the Nation of Domination
Granted he mostly tagged with The Rock, but the fact that Owen was accepted by the Nation of Domination, no questions asked, speaks volumes in terms of just how bad-ass Owen Hart was. Dave Chappelle said it best with regards to all-black crews having one white member. “Ain’t no telling what they’ve done to get them black dudes’ respect .” Perhaps it was the fact that Owen decided to stay in the WWE after they screwed Bret. Or it just made wrestling sense in order to continue Owen’s feud with Triple H and DX. Either way, his involvement paved the way for one of the funniest WWE parodies of all-time.
6. High Energy
Another fine example of a makeshift tag-team lurking underneath the matching outfits of a real tag team. Outfits leftover from the New Foundation no less. Yeesh. What they lacked in wins, they made up for in longevity. Putting this tag team on the shelf as soon as it was evident that they would not be able to live up to the standard previously set by the aforementioned New Foundation. Or any lower-card tag team for that matter. The decision proved to be fruitful, as Owen Hart went on to give us one of the best feuds of the 90’s against his brother Bret.
5. Air Boom
Meet the poster boys for what some political pundits call, Post-Racial America. Something we’re apparently in right now. We like to refer to them as this era’s Strike Force. Yeah, they’re pretty exciting together, but once they disband it’s back to making other wrestlers look good. Here’s hoping the new era of WWE tag team wrestling can be built around these two guys. Or not. Either way, we’ve already made our peace with it.
4. The Acolytes/APA
Speaking of poster boys, why the WWE never jumped on the opportunity to have the APA shill Budwesier, or any other beer for that matter, will always be a mystery to me. A Texas cowboy redneck and former black militant/futuristic gladiator co-existing, nay, tolerating each other, over their love of beer? You bet. Beer’s selling point shouldn’t be babes in bikinies brawling, or beachfront views. It should be racial harmony.
3. Rock & Sock Connection
The WWE tried to milk this duo’s popularity as recently as a week ago. It wasn’t quite the same, but we wrestling fans are suckers for nostalgia. This is why Kevin Nash got a big pop at this year’s Royal Rumble. Now purists might discount this entry due to The Rock’s tendency to sway Samoan, but let’s face it, his swag came from his African-American roots. After all, Samoans didn’t invent Rock & Roll. And Mick Foley’s lack of swag was the perfect yin to The Rock’s poon-yang. (Yeah, even I cringed a little after I typed that).
2. Team 3D/Dudley Boyz
Dudleyville’s own pride and joy. The Dudleyz won every title from every major wrestling federation (yes, we’ll count the bastardized WCW version too). The Dudleyz are probably the most decorated tag team in the last decade. Together they’ve always worked well, separately they’ve given us Reverend D-Von, and now, Immortal Brother Ray. We could fault them for that, but it wouldn’t be fair if only single wrestlers’ legacies whittled away every year they stayed past their welcome.
1. Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin
Can’t say the WWE didn’t try with them, but with a fledgling tag team division they could only get so far in displaying their talents. Had they come in a few years earlier during the “Attitude Era”, things might’ve been a bit different. Although I’m sure Charlie Haas would’ve still been unable to get over even back then, but I’m sure it being the “Attitude Era”, the WWE would’ve been able to come up with something. Hey, they got Steve Blackman over with Head Cheese.
Honorable Mention: Twin Towers
Big white men don’t come any whiter than the Big Boss Man and the One Man Gang. A Southern cop and a white-trash biker. But once the One Man Gang became a born-again brotha’, thanks to Slick, Akeem was born. Hey, if Steve Martin could pull it off in The Jerk, why not the One Man Gang? And thus, we got the Twin Towers tag team. Never Forget, indeed.
When not toiling away in day job obscurity, writes unproduced screenplays. Obsessed with professional wrestling, film, TV, music, and comics. And yes, in that order. Doesn’t mind spoilers. Follow him on twitter @cheapopculture.
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