Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Reference Points: The Usos and the Fantastics

The Usos compare favorably to a classic '80s tag team, but it's not the one you think it is
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Ever since they became a babyface tag team, the Usos have been a fascinating case study. Why, you might be asking? Because, for right or wrong, there are certain perceptions of how Samoans, or for that matter all of the South Sea Islands wrestlers, are supposed to wrestle. They're supposed to be tough and mean and most of all, big. The Usos are none of these things. In fact, in more ways than I think they would care to admit, they're not the heirs to the Headshrinkers, or even the Islanders tag team of Haku and Tama.

Truthfully, what they are is the heirs to the pretty-boy tag teams that dotted the 1980s like the guys who are aping strong-style dot this decade. And while everyone remembers the Rock N' Roll Express, and rightly so, for what they did as a tag team, I think the team that most reminds me of the Usos were always thought of as not the Rock N' Rolls. And that's not an insult to them. Because, if we're being fair, the Rock N'Rolls weren't the sole great babyface tag team of the 1980s. There were others too. And the team the Usos remind me the most of is The Fantastics.

The Fantastics, for whatever reason, sometimes get ignored. Maybe it's because they didn't have that dance partner in the same way that the Rock N' Rolls had the Midnights, or the Rockers had the Hart Foundation. The point of what they were, though, is the same. The Fantastics are a team you should be watching more of.

The stuff I chose to link you to is the stuff from Japan because, at least in the late '80s and early '90s, Japan was still thought of as the place where people went when they felt like they wanted to stretch their legs. Also, the first match is baby Kenta Kobashi and I don't think you want to miss that.