Wrestling Wayback: Harlem Heat

Wrestling Wayback: Harlem Heat

    Throughout the history of WCW, there’s been many legendary tag teams.

    From The Four Horsemen to The Outsiders, WCW was never stranger to the best tag teams the wrestling industry had to offer. Whether it was The Steiner Brothers or Nasty Boys, all of the iconic partnerships in WCW history would eventually have to come face to face with one team though: Harlem Heat.

    No pair of superstars was more decorated in the history of WCW’s tag team division than brothers Booker T and Stevie Ray.

    Debuting in 1993, it would only take Harlem Heat one year to gain a foothold atop the mountaintop of WCW’s tag team division. Under the guidance of Sensational Sherri, Booker T and Stevie Ray captured their first tag team championship in 1994 by defeating the team of The Patriot and Marcus “Buff” Bagwell.

    This would be the start of a long reign as the de facto leaders of the WCW tag team division. Despite losing their title belts in the Spring of 1995 to The Nasty Boys, Harlem Heat would go on a historic run through WCW’s top stars over the next two years.

    Starting with the reclamation of their tag titles, Harlem Heat would trade wins and belts with the likes of The Steiner Brothers, Lex Luger and Sting, Public Enemy, and even The Outsiders.

    During this time, Harlem Heat entered Colonel Robert Parker’s “Stud Stable”. Under Parker and Sherri’s guidance, Harlem Heat was nigh unstoppable. The combination of Stevie Ray’s size and muscle with Booker T’s dynamic speed and athleticism led to Harlem Heat conquering most of their major rivals.

    Unfortunately, Harlem Heat’s amazing run exchanging championships with WCW’s best would come to an end after losing the belts to The Outsiders. It would be the very own manager who helped guide them to the top, Colonel Parker, who would accidentally cost Harlem Heat the tag team belts. Following the match, Booker T and Stevie Ray broke away from Parker to strike out their own path in the company.

    The following year, 1997, was a year of change for Harlem Heat. Instead of accepting advice from Colonel Parker, Harlem Heat wound up feuding with his new team, The Amazing French Canadians. After disposing of Parker’s team up of Jacques Rogeau and Pierre, Harlem Heat also broke their relationship with Sensational Sherri. In addition, the duo found themselves embroiled in a brewing feud with teams like The Faces of Fear and NWO.

    Fortune would not be on Harlem Heat’s side in these feuds. Stevie Ray soon found himself on the mend from an ankle injury. This subsequently lead to Booker T striking out on his own and claiming the WCW TV Championship.

    Upon returning from his injury, instead of feuding with the NWO, Stevie Ray ended up joining the stable. This would effectively be the end of Harlem Heat.

    It wasn’t until 1999 that the two brother’s paths would collide again. Booker T managed to convince his brother to leave the NWO to reform Harlem Heat. Just months later, the newly reunited siblings would claim their final WCW World Tag Team Titles.

    With their tenth championship reign now in the books, Booker T and Stevie Ray ensured their legacy would be written in wrestling history books for years to come. No team in WCW would ever be able to touch their record of ten tag team championship reigns,

    It was never just about the sheer quantity of titles though. Whether it be legends or up-and-comers, Harlem Heat won their gold by taking on all comers without fear. Their raw energy, magnetic charisma, and entertaining style are what truly made Booker T and Stevie Ray the legendary tag team they will forever be remembered as.

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  • Those were tough tag teams, although I wondered about the paradox that Scott Steiner was the "sane" one of that duo.
    " No team in WCW would ever be able to touch their record of ten tag team championship reigns." Of course. WCW soon went out of business.

    Mentioning The Patriot reminds me of one of Bobby Heenan's better lines. "He's from Washington D.C. It's Al Gore, or his brother E."

  • In reply to jack:

    Ha, you’ve got a good point on The Steiner Brothers. Both had more than just a hint of madness most of the time. Scott probably ended up considered the “sane” one of their original tag team run due to Rick’s role as a reluctant, somewhat dim witted character in late 80’s JCP/WCW. That’s, of course, well before Scott would develop his “Big Poppa Pump” gimmick and totally go wild.

    Also, just a fun fact about the WCW Tag Titles, they were actually defended on WWE programming for a few months in 2001. Actually, most of the WCW titles carried over for a short amount of time after WWE bought up their last major competition. The Dudley Boyz then became the last team to hold the WCW titles in WWE. They wound up unifying them with the WWF Tag Belts in a match against Matt and Jeff Hardy.

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