Wrestling 365 – 8/23

By Liam Byrne @tvtimelimit

Harlem Heat © vs The West Texas Rednecks

WCW World Tag Team Championship Match

The summer of ’99 seemed to be the time where WCW decided to explore their musical interests. On the same show that would see KISS play live and unveil the ‘KISS Demon’ who would go on to…do very little of note in WCW, they would also decide that it was the time to push the West Texas Rednecks to the tag team gold. Though it was during a time period where the belts had ceased to have the same value as they once had, it was a recognition of the talents of a stable who had managed to get surprisingly over with their ‘Rap is Crap’ song and anti-No Limit Soldiers stance.

Indeed, putting a bunch of ‘rednecks’ up against a bunch of rappers in a feud when your audience is largely from the South made you question whether WCW really knew their audience and who was likely to come out looking like the face or heel stables in that one. With poor booking and a catch song under their belt, it was not hard to see why they were so popular amongst the WCW audience. Curt Hennig, Barry Windham, Bobby Duncum Jr. and Kendall Windham, within two months of forming, were in a position to challenge for the tag team gold. Harlem Heat were the champions at the time, having just taken the belts off of the New Jersey Triad of Diamond Dallas Page, Chris Kanyon and Bam Bam Bigelow. Tasked with bringing the gold back to Texas, the Windham brothers would get the shot.

This was the highest profile opportunity for Kendall, the lesser known of the two who had often lived somewhat in the shadow of his older brother. An arrest for counterfeiting money in the early 90s didn’t help his cause much either, but with his success mainly in Florida, this was his chance to make a mark on a national, even global, scale. Older brother Barry was coming off the back of an awful run in the WWF as the Stalker and part of the New Blackjacks, whilst a knee injury had stalled his push upon his return in 98. Suddenly, the Windham boys were back in title contention and two brother teams were going to battle it out for the WCW World Tag Team Titles.

Always reminiscent of his brother in terms of looks, Kendall’s thinning hair and a slicked back do served to at least make him look demonstrably different to Barry as they squared off across the ring from the champions. In the early exchanges with Booker T, the battle of the little brothers, T would come off the better with a shoulderblock and a flying forearm. A double back elbow brought in Stevie Ray, who proceeded to give away the control with a missed elbowdrop.  However, that was short lived as he dumped Barry with a powerslam.

Neither team was able to control the bout for long as a Barry DDT would be followed up by another Ray slam. This gave Heat some breathing space as a double big boot earned them a two and T nailed his arm wringer/sidekick combination on Barry. A reversed Irish whip, a big boot and a clothesline would send Ray to the ringside floor where the number’s game threatened to cause the champions problems. Duncum Jr. took one cheapshot, but Ray was able to shrug it off as soon as he was back in the ring, dropping both Windhams with a double clothesline.

With the referee losing control, a collision between Kendall and Hennig seemed to signal the end for the Rednecks, especially after an axe-kick and a missile dropkick by T. Hennig would play a significant part in the finish, but only to his team’s benefit as he nailed T from behind with the cowbell they had brought to ringside. Three seconds later, Barry and Kendall were tag team champions.

Considering how relatively popular the stable was, it should come as no surprise that they were split up two months down the line; the Windham brothers tag title reign only lasting twenty days before losing them back to Harlem Heat at Fall Brawl and all four members had left WCW altogether by the end of the year. This wasn’t the end for the Windham team though; they’d actually win the WWC Tag Titles in Puerto Rico in 2000. I guess the best you can say is that at least that reign lasted three months.

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