When you think back on those who changed the wrestling industry, you think of Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff, Vince McMahon, The Rock, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, and so many others. But, we forget that while they may have helped change the industry as a whole, without those inside of the industry making the matches and match types special, the respective companies of all fore mentioned athletes would have been all for not.
The Dudley Boys, now known as Team 3D in TNA, include two members, D-Von and Bubba. The two names have never changed no matter where they have gone. These two helped define tag team wrestling and made it something special.
The way they came into our homes was quite comical. "Big Daddy" Dudley had many on-screen sons in ECW, more than really anyone could care to remember. It seemed every week, another son would come out. At one point, I thought the show only included Dudley brothers.
Every Dudley chased after the ECW Tag Titles, and all were heels. D-Von and Bubba battled with each other at first, but then became a team later on. They first teamed together in February of 1996. They then became the most successful Dudley brothers, They ended up dominating the tag division in ECW, and became one of wrestling's most popular tag teams.
This meant that a smart business man wanted them, by the name of Vince McMahon. After wrestling with ECW for 3 years(1996-1999) they left for the WWE. When the Dudleys departed, they had a total of 8 Tag Title reigns from ECW.
The Dudleys didn't really want to go to the WWE originally, they requested a $1 raise above the WWE's offer to stay in ECW. But, Paul Heyman denied the request because he was working a deal to supply ECW talent to the WWE at the time.
When they arrived, Bubba began wearing thick black glasses with white tape around them. He also began stuttering his promos, which was hilarious to begin with. D-Von wore something very similar, except he wore thick white glasses with black tape and slapped Bubba in the back of the head to help him get his words out.
One of the funniest moments of the stutter gimmick was when Bubba told The Rock and Makind, "You should know by now, we are the Dudududududu", then The Rock said, "IIIIIIT doesn't matter" and began attacking the pair.
After several weeks though, the gimmick was dropped and the group began wearing camouflage ring gear. The two began putting on some very good matches, some of which could be considered the best of their time.
Every match these men were in with the WWE, people expected greatness.
Every single WWE PPV that mattered seemingly, had the Dudley Boys apart of it.
We love to talk about Edge, Christian, and the Hardys when it comes to TLC, but we forget another team was involved in those matches, and it was partly because of them the TLC match was even invented in the first place.
TLC, standing for Tables, Ladders, and Chairs was a match given to make sure all elements that E&C, The Hardys, and the Dudleys could all be used. The Dudleys were world famous for their table work, while The Hardys were big because of their Ladder skills. Then you add in Edge and Christian, who could do more damage with a steel chair than anyone.
And so, the TLC match was invented. While the Dudleys never won a TLC match, they added spectacular moments at all they participated in. Not to mention, they were really the one's who began bringing weapons into the mainstream.
The WWE at the time was the biggest dog in town, and while ECW had been using weapons for years, because of it's programming, being TV-MA, kids weren't as frequent to enter the audience or watch the program, as it was geared toward an older audience.
The lack of kids, meant the lack of parents. This is why Vince McMahon decided to get the best of both worlds and add a TV-14 program, where the adults would be pleased but the kids would also have something there aswell.
This is why ECW went out of business and the WWE flourished simply enough. Now they have created such a monopoly that the product could never fully go away.
In any case, because of the WWE, the Dudleys were able to bring weapons into the limelight more. Their use of tables became legendary,when you saw Bubba push D-Von and say "D-Von" the people would know what could come next, "Get the tables".
Funny enough though, they used tables a lot, even in matches where they weren't legal. The catch phrase was just so popular, I guess they wanted it to be on TV a lot
Their move the 3D became the most popular double team move of it's time. It is still considered one of the top 10 tag team moves ever.
When they used it through a table, fans went nuts.
They didn't only do the 3D to people through tables, but also a powerbomb from the top rope. One of the most famous one's could have been their powerbomb to a still then old Mae Young. Bubba was known for liking to put women through tables, as he did it to Torrie Wilson, Trish Stratus, Lita, and their once manager, Stacy Keibler.
The Dudleys performed with the WWE for 6 years(1999-2005) and left being one of the best tag teams ever to perform in the WWE. At one point in the WWE, they were separated, In the first WWE draft in 2002, Bubba was put on RAW while D-Von went to SmackDown.
Both became mid-card stars, but only Bubba had a ton of success, as he won the Hardcore Title 11 times, not all in 2002. The only thing D-Von really accomplished as a singles performer was getting us acquainted with Dave Batista, who somehow went from SmackDown to RAW out of no where to be in Evolution.
In late 2002, the Dudleys were reunited on RAW as the fans really wanted the two back together. They remained together for the next 16 months on RAW, then were traded to SmackDown in June of 2004. They then won the WWE Tag Team Titles, and became the first team ever to hold both sets of WWE tag titles.
In August of 2005 however, the WWE did a lot of cutbacks and chose not to renew the Dudleys contracts. The Dudleys finished their careers with the WWE having held 10 tag titles under the brand, (WWE/F World Tag Titles(8), WWE Tag Titles(1), and (1) WCW Tag Titles)
While with the WWE, they had 2 consecutive PWI matches of the year (2000, 2001) for the first 2 TLC matches with Edge and Christian, and the Hardys. They were also voted PWI tag team of the year in 2001 while with the WWE.
All massive attributes earned while working with the WWE, making them one of the most decorated teams in WWE history. They were recently voted the tag team of the decade aswell. Showing how successful they have been over all others from the years 2000-2009.
After being, basically forced to leave the WWE, the Dudleys decided to move on and wrestle other places, but the WWE owned the rights to their name "Dudley". The two believed Paul Heyman owned the name, but found out later it was under the ECW banner bought by Vince McMahon.
So they changed their name to Team 3D.
They went on to Total Nonstop Action(TNA) Wrestling later in 2005. They are still there until this very day, they joined while the promotion was under the NWA banner however, but now they have separated from them.
In any case, Team 3D ended up winning the NWA/TNA Tag Gold, then later on they captured the TNA Tag Titles twice. They were also the TNA tag team of the year in 2005.
Also while with TNA they held the NJPW IWGP Tag Gold twice. It was mainly put on them to make the titles more popular and credible. Which is why it was defended on TNA iMPACT a good bit.
There was controversy when TNA booked them to lose the titles to the Motor City Machine Guns, the Guns won the titles but lost them back to Team 3D because NJPW wanted only Team 3D to hold them for their contractual time with them.
3D didn't only work with IWGP, they have worked with a few other Japanese promotions. AJPW was one of them, where they held they won the AJPW Strongest Tag Team League. They later went on to work with the Hustle promotion where they held their Super Tag Team Championship once.
PWI last year named Team 3D the team team of the year, their second time receiving the honor.
All in all, The Dudleys/Team 3D has held a record 23 Tag Team Titles, not including their Indy work. It's the most of any mainstream team.
They could end up having more by the time their careers end.
When you look at their careers, both of the Dudleys have done more than any team out there. Promotions want to bring them in just to have their names on their tag gold, something that not many other teams can claim.
This is why I feel The Dudleys are the best tag team of all time.
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