Friday, June 20, 2014

What I'm Watching: The Midnight Express vs the Rock N' Roll Express

Photo via Online World of Wrestling
For a lot of you, the WWE Network has allowed you full and unfettered access into the WWE's grand canyon-sized library of old content. In fact, I could argue that if you were the sort of person who missed entire swaths of non-WWE wrestling, the Network is the best place to start.

Why, you might be asking, am I bringing this up? Easy. The Midnight Express is why.

If you were a fan of the then-WWF in the 1980's, you might have missed out on the Midnights. You were probably besotted by the Rockers, or the Fabulous Rougeau Brothers, or the Bushwackers. I understand the fandom you have for those teams, so I hope that what i say to you next comes off less like a bitter old man hectoring you for not loving how wrestling was "in my day" and more like someone begging, and pleading, with you to catch up on this great thing you have missed out on. The Midnight Express, specifically the Bobby Eaton/Stan Lane version, smokes almost all of those teams.

(Author's note: I can't speak for Eaton/Dennis Condrey, because there isn't enough television footage on them to provide an accurate judge. But since Bobby Eaton is one of the finest tag team workers ever, I can safely assume that version of the Midnights was safely above perfectly cromulent.)

Remember how people felt about the Motor City Machine Guns from 2008-2011? Before they were swallowed up whole by shitty TNA booking? That was, and I think Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin will admit to this if you asked them about it, as close to the idea of what the Midnight Express was as anything. And that was a blast.

But, if you're in need of a starting point for watching the Midnights, where should you go? The answer to this is easy. Go to their best tag team feud, the feud that defined tag team wrestling for a generation. It still runs now at legends shows, and it's still as vital now when the players are older, slower, and heavier as it was during their primes. It's the Midnights vs. The Rock N' Roll Express.

The reason why is simple: Defined characters. You know the Rock N' Rolls are good guys because they show you, as much as tell you. You never see the Rock N' Rolls bully anyone, or act like horse's asses. Conversely, the Midnights are evil, but brilliantly so. This was a matchup that could run, and did, for years with slight changes and was great just about every time. It is also, and this might be the subject for another article, why wrestling in front of as many different audiences as you can is a great idea to be the best pro wrestler you can be. Sit and watch this. And when it's done, watch it again. You'll learn how tag team wrestling should be done.