Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tag Team Tuesday: The Brain Busters

Today's Tag Team Tuesday chose, compared to many, is about as low key as possible. They did not have a flashy gimmick, did not wear gaudy ring attire, and weren't the biggest of fellas in a Fed that was increasing in height and size literally by the week. Ladies and Gentlemen of the internet, I give you...

The Brain Busters!

Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard were founding members of The Four Horsemen, only the greatest stable of all time! That alone makes them tag team royalty. They fact that they were able, in 1988, to jump ship from Jim Crockett Promotions and the NWA to the WWF and succeed makes them even more worthy for the Tag Team Tuesday title.

Not flashy dudes.
You see, in 1988 the WWF pushed flashy stars. 1988 saw the union of Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage as the Mega-Powers. To combat them WWF put Ted DiBiase in a sequined tuxedo and paired him with Andre the Giant as the Mega Bucks. As stated, The Brain Busters were not the biggest guys on the block. Arn was listed at 6'1" and Tully was actually listed at 5'10"... we all know that these heights are usually bumped 2". Their combined weight was 475, with Arn at 250 and Tully at 225. Not really huge compared to the Mega Powers at 533 and Mega Bucks topping the scales at 780. It was not a time for two old school wrestlers like Arn and Tully to enter and make a splash. Considering that Vince McMahon hates wrestlers that he did not create, it is surprising that these two guys got a push at all. But they did get a push and won tag team gold in the WWF.

The team made their debut in October at the 1988 Survivor Series and they lasted less than a year. On the day of the 1989 Survivor Series Tully failed a drug test and was replaced. Since Bobby "The Brain" Heenan was their manager, it was decided that he would replace Blanchard. After this fiasco Arn left the WWF in December and returned to the NWA.

During their brief stay in the WWF the Brain Busters obviously made a name for themselves. Perhaps it was the rub that Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard brought with them as former members of the Four Horsemen, perhaps not. It is likely that many of the younger viewers at the time were not aware of the Four Horsemen or even the NWA for that matter. I would like to believe that the Brain Busters made it in the WWF on their own merit.

The Spike Piledriver in action!
Using their signature finishing move, the Spike Piledriver (which seemed incredibly brutal for the time), they were able to defeat notable tag teams like The Rockers, Strike Force, the Hart Foundation, and Demolition. Their matches with the Rockers were extremely hot. Pro Wrestling Illustrated placed one of their battles on their 50 Great Matches list during PWI's 10th anniversary issue. They defeated Demolition, ending a 478 day title run, and took the belts from them. The Brain Busters were the first team to win both NWA and WWF tag team gold.

As a kid, I absolutely loved the Brain Busters. They were old school class defined in a Federation that was dominated by garbage men, matadors, witch doctors, and other growing silliness. The fact that they were coupled with one of the best managers in the history of all time... well, that really made me a mark. When the duo simply vanished I was kinda sad. At the time I was a causal  fan who had no idea there were dirt sheets. I was as in the dark as anyone. Still a almost believer that a man could really take that kind of punishment and live. Arn, Tully, a year is a long time for a kid. Thanks for the memories.

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