The New Age Outlaws' 6 Greatest Moments in WWE
One of the most unlikely stories of 2014 thus far has been the reemergence of the New Age Outlaws and their return to tag team glory as champions of a very good tag division.
The all-time great duo starred as one of the standout acts of the Attitude Era, bucking tradition and spitting in the face of authority as members of D-Generation X and ruling the tag team world. Their "oh you didn't know?" catchphrase popped crowds across the country, and fans chanted along with the pre-match spiel of "Road Dogg" Jesse James each and every night.
Like most great teams, they split but soon found themselves back together and once again ruled the tag team roost in WWE.
A shoulder injury to Gunn in early 2000 would bring an end to the team, however, and it would be 14 years before they achieved the same type of success they did during their prime.
Now back in the world of WWE, the Outlaws are Tag Team champions and associates of the hated Authority.
In celebration of their recent return and success, here is a look back at the six greatest moments* of the New Age Outlaws.
*Moments listed in chronological order.
Formation of the Outlaws
In many ways, the teaming of Jesse James and Billy Gunn was done out of necessity.
The change that came in 1997, with an injection of attitude, meant that gimmicky undercard characters like "The Real Double J" and "Rockabilly" would no longer thrive or survive. If James and Gunn wanted to remain on the WWE roster, they themselves needed an injection of attitude.
The decision was made to pair them together and call them the New Age Outlaws. To their credit, James and Gunn ran with the idea and made the pairing one of the most over and successful teams in WWE history.
Their dumping of the Honky Tonk Man ignited a flame that would run molten hot for nearly three years before a serious shoulder injury to Gunn split the team for good.
But the Outlaws never happen without Gunn breaking the guitar over the head of the greatest Intercontinental champion in WWE history.
Tag Team Champions
On November 24, 1997, the Outlaws achieved a goal few thought they were capable of when they downed the legendary Legion of Doom to capture the WWE Tag Team Championships.
Of course, it took a referee bump and a steel chair shot from the newly dubbed "Road Dogg" Jesse James to secure the win but it went down in the history books as a title win for the Outlaws.
The win was the first of many that saw the cowardly heels escape from a grade-A butt-kicking with the gold around their waists. Over the course of several months, they would defeat the Disciples of Apocalypse, the Godwinns, Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie and the Legion of Doom via underhanded methods.
James and Gunn were tremendously over as heels, but there was still a coolness factor to them that meant the fans were never fully capable of hating them as much as they should have.
The closest they came is the next stop on our trip down memory lane.
One of the most memorable moments in the early days of the Attitude Era on Monday nights featured the New Age Outlaws, Cactus Jack, Chainsaw Charlie and a dumpster.
And no, that is not a setup for a joke.
During a hardcore match between Jack and Charlie, the former delivered a big elbow to the latter, who was placed inside a dumpster. The Outlaws, who were feuding with both men at the time, trapped them in the dumpster and shoved it off the ramp, watching as it crashed to the floor below.
It was a despicable act that the company did an excellent job of selling, as Superstars flooded into the arena to check on the condition of Mick Foley and Terry Funk, who portrayed Jack and Charlie, respectively.
Other wrestlers threatened the Outlaws with physical violence while tears flowed down the face of Sunny, and WWE chairman Vince McMahon was spotted giving them a stern talking-to.
It was a great moment in Raw history that really put the Outlaws over. The backstage segment that followed, where Shawn Michaels and Triple H congratulate the Outlaws on their actions, was another big pat on the back of the tag team that was breaking the rules while achieving greater levels of success than anyone could have imagined.
The night after WrestleMania XIV was a game-changer for WWE.
Steve Austin had been crowned the WWE champion the night before, Shawn Michaels had wrestled his final match for four years and Triple H had assumed leadership of D-Generation X and immediately made an impact by welcoming back X-Pac to the fold.
Who else would join him in the revamped D-X?
Fans found out later in the evening, as Triple H and X-Pac aided the New Age Outlaws to victory in a steel cage match for the WWE Tag Team Championships against Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie.
What ensued after the title change was a brutal, vicious beatdown that put over the new D-X lineup and instigated a character change for Mick Foley, who let Cactus Jack go and returned to his Dude Love persona for a war with Steve Austin.
The Outlaws joining D-X did a lot to help make the group one of the most popular factions in wrestling history. Despite what may be said about Shawn Michaels and Triple H, it was the Outlaws who brought the true degenerate nature to the group. They were incredibly over in late 1997 and remained that way as the calendar changed over.
Without them, it is unknown what heights D-Generation X really would have climbed to in 1998.
Reunited and It Feels So Good
In 1999, Billy Gunn found himself on the receiving end of a singles push. He won that year's King of the Ring and even feuded with The Rock.
Unfortunately, he was never really able to seize the momentum the company had tried to manufacture for him and as a result, the push died a rather miserable death.
So, on the September 23 episode of SmackDown, he reformed the New Age Outlaws with Road Dogg and immediately challenged The Rock and Mankind for the WWE Tag Team titles.
Rock had become the most popular man in sports entertainment, and Mankind was as beloved a figure as the sport had seen since Andre the Giant. Yet the Outlaws remained incredibly over and had the crowd popping at the idea of them reuniting to win more tag team gold.
Late in the match, Gunn whipped Mankind into the ropes and the deranged one collided with Rock, knocking him off the apron. This gave Gunn the opening he needed and he capitalized, delivering the Fame-Asser to Mankind and picking up the win and the titles for he and his partner.
The match was fine enough, but the quality of the bout was secondary to the fact that the company realized that it could reunite the Outlaws out of thin air and still have an incredibly over act.
Old Age Champions
The improbable occurred prior to the 2014 Royal Rumble, as the New Age Outlaws won their sixth WWE Tag Team Championship by defeating Goldust and Cody Rhodes 14 years after their last title reign.
Road Dogg and Billy Gunn had previously received a non-title match thanks to their relationship with WWE COO Triple H and had won that match, setting them up for a title bout on the Kickoff show to one of the year's most important matches.
Just as they did when they defeated the Rock and Mankind back in 1999 for the titles, Gunn caught Cody with the Fame-Asser for the win.
To this day, the Outlaws remain a very over team, especially with the portion of the audience that chanted along with their catchphrases and cheered along with their antics over during the critically acclaimed Attitude Era.