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Opinion

Cook’s Top 5: Bobby Eaton Tag Team Partners

With Bobby Eaton’s passing, Cook decides to reflect on the career of the tag team specialist! Who were his best partners? Did Cook get em right?

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You often hear people pontificate about how a recently deceased figure was such a good person that nobody had a bad thing to say about them. 99 times out of 100, that’s complete malarkey. You can always find somebody that had something bad to say about a recently deceased person. They might not say it after that person passes, since that’d be considered insensitive, but most of us have rubbed some folks the wrong way at one point or another.

When I’m dead & gone and people talk about me, if they drop the old “nobody ever had a bad word to say about him” chestnut, they’re full of it.

We see this phenomenon often in wrestling as well. One person that you absolutely use the “nobody ever had a bad word to say about him” line for passed away this week. Bobby Eaton has long been cited as the nicest person in the history of the wrestling business. You heard that from everybody that knew him before he passed, and we’re re-telling the great stories about him now. Like the one about Bill Dundee, who forbade his daughter from dating wrestlers that worked for him because…well, do I really need to explain why? She finally broke that rule & confessed to him, and Bill swore he’d fire whoever it was. Then she told him it was Bobby, and Bill responded with “Well, at least you picked the best one.” Bill eventually became Bobby’s father-in-law.

Bobby was also known as one of pro wrestling’s greatest tag team wrestlers. During an era where tag team wrestling was as good as it ever was, Eaton formed successful tag teams in different territories with a number of partners. Given Bobby’s humility & willingness to put personal glory aside for the good of the collective, I think it’s fitting that we celebrate his life by ranking his best tag team partners.

5. Lord Steven Regal

After finding success as a Television Champion in WCW, Regal wanted to shift his focus to the tag team division. His search for a partner hit some bumps in the road, but Bobby Eaton saw some potential in teaming with Lord Steven. Regal needed some convincing, largely because Eaton was a hick from Alabama with an accent that nobody could understand. After wrestling Eaton, Regal decided he could work with him. Eaton just needed to be civilized and embrace British nobility. Earl Robert Eaton & Regal had a good run in the WCW mid-card, but were unable to attain the goal of the Tag Team Championship.

They had some solid matches though, and made a heck of an in-ring team. As you would expect from a team with two workers like Eaton & Regal.

4. Sweet Brown Sugar

SBS would later be known as Koko B. Ware in the World Wrestling Federation, but at this point he was a much hyped youngster in the Memphis territory. Eaton & Sugar formed the New Wave, so named because they were young wrestlers utilizing high-flying moves that Memphis wrestling fans hadn’t seen much of in the past. They won the Southern Tag Team Championship three times and were valued members of Jimmy Hart’s First Family.

Eventually they would feud with each other because that’s how things tend to go, and Eaton defeated Sugar in a Loser Leaves Town match. Shockingly, a masked wrestler named Stagger Lee that looked and wrestled a lot like Sugar showed up not long afterward. The really weird part of how this went: Eaton turned babyface after a bit and started teaming with Stagger Lee. Things were never dull in Memphis.

3. Arn Anderson

There are very few wrestlers that can be mentioned in the same breath as Bobby Eaton when it comes to excellence at tag team wrestling. One of them: The Enforcer. Arn had championship teams with his uncle Ole, Tully Blanchard & Larry Zbyszko before hooking up with Eaton while both were in Paul E. Dangerously’s Dangerous Alliance. You had a combination of the steadiest members of the Four Horsemen & Midnight Express, and towards the end of their run Michael Hayes came in to serve as an advisor. Not that they needed much advice, they were the definition of “tag team specialists”.

It also helped that Arn & Bobby were the best of friends outside the ring. They lived in the same neighborhood, their wives were best friends, it was a whole thing.

Honorable Mention: George Gulas

George was the son of longtime wrestling promoter Nick Gulas, who ran the NWA Mid-America promotion in Tennessee, Kentucky & Alabma from the 1940s until the early 1980s. It was a tag team heavy territory, and George was heavily pushed in the division, winning the company’s top tag championship eleven times with six different partners. One of his most successful partnerships was with a young Eaton, who could do all of the work for the team.

Some credit Eaton’s storied reputation in the business to the fact that he could have good matches with George as a partner. That doesn’t sound very nice though.

2. Dennis Condrey

The Midnight Express came into being as the result of a trade of talent between Bill Watts’ Mid-South Wrestling & Jerry Jarrett’s CWA. Watts got the Rock ‘N Roll Express, who had been the #2 hot young babyface team in Memphis behind the Fabulous Ones. Watts was going to have them as his #1, but they needed opponents. He looked at a young Bobby Eaton & a veteran heel in “Loverboy” Dennis Condrey, two guys that had wrestled each other but never teamed together, and thought they would make fine opponents for Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson. Especially if they had a motormouth manager who could rile the fans up. Jim Cornette was young in the business & was a distant #2 to Jimmy Hart. A move to Mid-South with new wrestlers to manage was just what he needed.

Bobby became “Beautiful” Bobby because it went well with “Loverboy” Dennis, and the rest was history. The Midnight Express became everybody’s favorite tag team to hate. People saw they were talented, but why did they have to cheat? And couldn’t Cornette shut up for a few minutes? They served as great foils for Bill Watts & the Junkyard Dog, and their feud with Morton & Gibson didn’t really end until Eaton’s last match in 2015, a loss to Ricky Morton. They also started an issue with the Fantastics that led to classics in Mid-South, World Class & the NWA. The NWA years would also see a feud with the Road Warriors that led to one of the most famous tag team matches of all time, the Night of the Skywalkers at Starrcade 1986. They won championships & drew money everywhere they went.

Things were going along fine until Dennis had to go home. It was decided to keep the Midnight Express going with a new partner, which seemed like a difficult thing to make work. Who could fill Dennis Condrey’s shoes in the team?

1. Stan Lane

“Sweet” Stan had a pretty famous tag team of his own before being tapped to fill Condrey’s shoes. Lane & Steve Keirn (who would go on to form a team with Eaton in mid-90s WCW that sadly didn’t get a ton of attention from fans or bookers) had drawn a ton of attention in Memphis, the AWA & elsewhere as the Fabulous Ones. Keirn took some time off though, and Lane was hanging out on the Florida roster as a single when Jim Crockett Jr. bought the dying territory. I’d say that forming the second incarnation of Jim Cornette’s Midnight Express was enough to make the thing worthwhile.

Stan & Bobby didn’t win as many championships as Dennis & Bobby. They didn’t work as many places, they didn’t get the chance to draw as much money. WCW management only saw them at a certain level, which was one of the many signs of just how incompetent WCW management was. Lane & Eaton held the WCW US Tag Team Championship three times & the World Tag Team Championship once. They were out there opening PPVs with classic matches against the likes of the Fantastics, R ‘N Rs & the Southern Boys. Paul E. Dangerously brought Condrey back to WCW along with Randy Rose, representing the Original Midnight Express from back in the day. It was a nice idea, somewhat hampered by Condrey peacing out again.

So I’m doing the Internet fan thing and playing the workrate card. Many of the best tag team matches I’ve seen featured Bobby Eaton & Stan Lane. Dennis Condrey was in some too, but not as many of those made TV. Say what you will about how WCW utilized them, they did give the MX plenty of exposure. And, typically, WCW’s incompetence would light a fire under Stan & Bobby’s asses, leading to even better matches. WCW overlooked Eaton for years in the twilight of his career, which was a shame.

Beautiful Bobby might have been underrated by promoters. He may suffer in the eyes of some due to the fact he was “just” a tag team specialist. (Bobby had some great singles matches too, but the tag team division needed him more.) He wasn’t underrated by his peers, or by fans. All those people knew he was great at what he did.

And you can’t say anything bad about him. Or his tag teams.


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Opinion

AJ’s Thoughts: Five Potential Returns

With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?

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With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?

With everything going on with WWE, the one thing we have all been hyped about are all of these returns. Dakota Kai made her return at SummerSlam alongside Io and Bayley and now on last SmackDown, Karrion Kross and Scarlett made their returns in a big way against Drew McIntyre and showed the Hourglass to The Bloodline.

With all of that, there have been things in the pipeline saying Triple H’s foot isn’t off the pedal so these are 5 returns from either NXT, main roster or even Try-Outs that I would love to see happen with the new regime.

1. Johnny Gargano

Now this is a name that people have been saying, “Maybe Impact or MLW” but, what about a return? Gargano didn’t renew his contract, most likely to be with his family which is a valid and amazing reason, will never disrespect that. If he were to return, there would be a handful of great reasons. Maybe a singles run with the Intercontinental or United States but with Ciampa getting limelight in the main roster from RAW, what if we get a tag team reunion?

WWE is hurting for Tag Teams and what better than to scare off The Bloodline, loosen  the stranglehold of championships with some Do It Yourself action. DIY reunion could be amazing, especially with newer faces showing up to get championship aspirations like Kross and Ciampa. Want to break the hierarchy? Do It Yourself.

2. James Storm

This one is a little bit weird and off. On one hand, who doesn’t love the Tennessee Cowboy, Jimmy James Storm? On the other, he is 45 and getting some nagging injuries as of late. So why would I say Triple H should bring James Storm back and give him something for the main roster? One of the things I said for Gargano, we have a lack of something and The Usos might need to watch two things in the rearview.

Watch your Money and your Alcohol.

Beer Money showing up in WWE would be amazing in my personal opinion. The Bloodline jump Roode, someone in a hoodie or jacket comes up and jumps them to even the fight and as soon as one Uso remained in the ring, the figure goes down and the old stomping goes off and we hear “BEER…” and Roode looks around and gets hyped up and shouts, “…MONEY!”

3. Big Cass



Since his departure from WWE, he has done something I have said since they split him off from Enzo. Take him through the Kevin Nash School of How To Big Man. ROH and Impact are great examples that he actually cleaned up and worked on what he has to do to be good in the ring. He can work the microphone, he can work the ring so we got a new big boy to take on the WWE once again.

Now I could have said Enzo and Cass to rejoin but, I’m sure the antics of Enzo will get Cass in deep water along with the fact that I already made two tag team predictions, we don’t need another. Cass brings a lot to the table and was kind of unproven in WWE because he was just the big enforcer to the more charismatic Enzo. Give this man about six months in the ring and you have your next MASSIVE problem in the IC or US Championship scene or even more.

4. Bronson Reed



The big man from down under is a former NXT North American Champion. He looked to have a good push going with that championship but he got release. If you wonder where he went… he actually made a pit stop in Impact Wrestling as JONAH with the most fire theme song in recent history I swear… I will link the theme song and Trips… please. Get rights to this theme song. I will be a bigger Bronson Reed fan.

Bronson to me is the weird man in all of this but, I think with Triple H involved, he could get something going for him with a good singles champion run or a big threat to go through like a gatekeeper of sorts. Big boy with a great amount of athleticism? Can’t really hate on that considering the last time we saw athletic bigger people were Keith Lee and… what was that one guy? Sherman Tank with a Ferrari Engine…?

5. Bray Wyatt

And the last one is the obvious one in all of this. Yes… we have Judgment Day as the somewhat supernatural dark group but we know the true successor of the supernatural and that is “The Eater of Worlds”, “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt. This time around, I don’t think we will get the Jekyl and Hyde, Mister Rogers gimmick. I believe this time around we get full darkness and mayhem. We get the darkness and the theory of reverting back to your prime.

To make a refresher… Miz went back to being the cocky narcissist after fighting The Fiend. Finn turned back to the Prince and much more. With guys like Edge returning, maybe we see the return of the Heel Ultimate Opportunist, maybe a Fiend fight with AJ Styles to get the TN-AJ perhaps. Possibilities are endless and with a great mind like Wyatt for character and execution, I think Hunter will pick up the phone and Let Him In.

– There are clearly others that I could say, or maybe even didn’t think about, but hey, that’s the Chairshot way of Always Using Your Head. Those are just five returns that could happen and hopefully you read this before RAW or SmackDown and who knows if I get any of these right, maybe I missed an obvious one or maybe we get a giant signing that nobody thought possible. Let me and all of Chairshot know!


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Opinion

King’s Greatest Hits Of Jeff Hardy

As he battles his demons, Chris King looks at some more positive moments in Jeff Hardy’s career!

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Jeff Hardy WWE Smackdown

I’m sure by now you’ve heard the disturbing news that former WWE superstar and recent AEW signee Jeff Hardy, was arrested again for multiple charges including a DUI.  Hardy has had a hard and tragic road of recovery throughout the years in multiple wrestling promotions.

Not too long ago, Hardy walked out on WWE after they were rumored to have offered the former world champion to go to treatment for his substance abuse issues. Hardy refused and said that he was better but, as we saw the demons are still lurking and got the best of him again.

I have seen some nasty comments and even some distasteful memes about the AEW superstar and felt compelled to go against the grain. Instead of kicking a man when he’s down, I’m going to put together a greatest hits for the “Charismatic Enigma.”

Jeff Hardy & The TLC Match

Everyone can say that Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon helped innovate the iconic ladder match and you are right, but Jeff Hardy and his death-defying stunts changed the concept of the match forever. The Hardy Boyz vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. Edge & Christian and their iconic TLC match should have their wing in the Hall of Fame. The risks all six superstars took for the adoration of the crowd could have ended all of their illustrious careers. In the words of Vince McMahon, It’s such good shit!

Jeff Hardy Earns The Undertaker’s Respect

On the July 1st, 2002 episode of Monday Night Raw, Hardy delivered the performance of a lifetime nearly winning the WWE Undisputed Championship from The Undertaker in an incredible ladder match. The young up-and-comer was faced with his greatest task yet, challenging for the most prestigious title in sports entertainment. Hardy showed that without a shadow of a doubt he deserved to be in the main event scene, but came within minutes of defeating Taker. At the time of the match, Hardy was still finding his footing as a singles competitor and earned the respect of the champion and legend.

Swanton Bomb From The Heavens

When I think of the daredevil Jeff Hardy, I can’t help but think of this one crazy-as-hell stunt. At WWE One Night Stand 2008, Hardy faced off against the juggernaut Umaga in a falls count anywhere match. This match was so insane as both superstars fought into the parking lot. Hardy is one of the craziest and bravest superstars, hit a Swanton Bomb off a damn stage truck onto Umaga. It’s one of the wildest things you’ll ever see.

Hardy Wins The WWE Championship 

In 2008, Hardy finally made his way to the main event title picture alongside partner Triple H. HHH was Hardy’s mentor in some sort of way which led to the daredevil achieving his lifelong dream of becoming WWE champion. At the 2008 Armageddon pay-per-view, Hardy would face HHH and longtime rival Edge in a triple-threat match for the title. In what was a great match between all three superstars, Hardy delivered a Swanton Bomb to Edge to win the illustrious championship.

Straight Edge Problems For Hardy

The following year, Hardy found himself in the way of young-up-and-comer CM Punk who is looking to make an example out of him. Punk had won the Money in the Bank briefcase for the second year in a row and took advantage of Hardy to win the world title. What started as mutual respect between both superstars changed drastically, when Punk started throwing jabs at Hardy for his drug and substance abuse real-life issues. Punk would form his infamous stable known as the Straight Edge Society. This is a very underrated feud and you should go back and watch it in its entirety. The promos are gold.

The Hardy Boyz Return To WWE

Both Matt and Jeff Hardy found success in multiple other wrestling promotions including Ring of Honor, and TNA during their time away from WWE. Both brothers were struggling with their vices and made poor life choices but straightened up their act over the years. In 2017, the Hardy Boyz would face longtime rivals The Young Bucks in ROH. The following night the adored tag team would make their incredible return to WWE at WrestleMania 33. Matt and Jeff would be named the final team in the Fatal 4-way ladder match for the Raw Tag Team Championships. The pop these two received was insane and very much deserved. They would go on to win the match and win the titles to capitalize on their momentum.

Jeffery Nero Hardy Makes AEW Debut

From 2017-to 2022 Jeff Hardy would find himself pigeonholed in the mid-card title picture. He would have feuds with a plethora of superstars including Samoa Joe, and Randy Orton. Orton and Hardy had a nasty Hell in a Cell match back in 2018. Earlier this year, Hardy was seen running around after the 24/7 Championship, which was disappointing to see. After being genuinely unhappy in WWE, Hardy would make his AEW debut on the March 9th episode of AEW Dynamite. Hardy would come to the aid of his brother and longtime partner.

This week news broke that Hardy had been arrested for multiple charges including a DUI. While it’s easy to beat a man while he’s down, how about we uplift and try to encourage him to get the help he needs.

As a longtime wrestling fan, I have the utmost respect for Hardy and wish him the best of luck in his battle with addiction.


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