1998 was a hot year for wrestling; the NWO was in full effect in WCW, DX, the Rock and Stone Cold helped usher in the Attitude Era in WWF, and ECW was supplying hardcore, technical and lucha libre style wrestling to the masses.
I'm not here to talk about good wrestling though, this series is about failure and how you can't catch lightning in a bottle twice, so I present WWE New and Unimproved, Pt. 2: The New Midnight Express.
The New Midnight Express debuted during the horrid NWA invasion angle, they kicked the Rock 'n' Roll Express out of the NWA stable for losing the NWA tag titles to the Headbangers. Comprised of Bob Holly and Bart Gunn or Bombastic Bob and Bodacious Bart as they were now known as, two men, both on the verge of obscurity, they both needed a boost to their sinking careers, but this would not be that great push that they needed as many saw this as nothing more than a rib by Vince McMahon on Jim Cornette.
Cornette hated the idea and didn't consider this version to be a continuation of the Midnight Express name, he considered Holly and Gunn glorified jobbers and I bet he wasn't alone on that one. It didn't take long for this express to derail as they're only highlight was winning the NWA tag titles from the Headbangers and having a short feud with the New Age Outlaws for the WWF tag titles, they went their separate ways and back to jobbing after the feud with the Outlaws fizzled out.
So why does one team have success while this version fell flat on their face like a Ric Flair bump?
The original Midnight Express, whether it be Stan Lane and Bobby Eaton or Randy Rose and Dennis Condrey were two southern boys; that drove women crazy with their looks and charisma, fans awe in excitement over their double-team moves, and rarely had a match that didn't tear the house down. They were a staple of the South and with Cornette or Paul Heyman as their loud mouth manager, they racked up tag gold everywhere they went and are considered one of the best tag-teams ever.
The New Midnight Express, much like the New Blackjacks, were two guys paired together in the hopes that it would cause nostalgia and draw fans of the original Midnight Express and NWA fans. They were just two stiffs packaged to be something they weren't.
Bart went on to get knocked out of the WWF by Butterbean, wrestled in Japan, and is now fixing electrical problems in Florida.
Bob formed the JOB Squad-an article in the works—got his neck broke by Brock Lesnar, and is probably stiffing or potatoing someone as I type.
Jim Cornette is currently in Ring of Honor and is more than likely cursing about McMahon, Russo, Dixie Carter, etc.
All feedback welcomed.
Coming soon: Factions that failed Part 2: NWA stable of 98. My final look at a forgettable angle.
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