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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

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EOTR Tag Team Tuesdays: The New Age Outlaws

By @TrueGodImmortal

As soon as the opening hit of their theme graces an arena, you instantly know what's coming next: "Oh You Didn't Know.... YOUR ASS BETTA CALLLLL SOMEBODYYYY". From the inception of the New Age Outlaws, I don't think any of us would have thought that they would become one of the greatest tag teams of the Attitude Era. As 1997 was nearing the end, the official formation of the New Age Outlaws was already underway. Jesse James and Rockabilly were feuding with each other when they all of a sudden decided to team up with each other. It was an interesting move that was honestly seen as insignificant because both these wrestlers were seen as jobbers for the most part. They would begin to work together and start attacking opponents at random and you could slowly see things start to come together a bit.

Calling themselves Bad Ass Billy Gunn and Road Dogg Jesse James, the New Age Outlaws were born. They would win the tag team titles almost instantly in November 1997, defeating the Legion of Doom. After their title win, the Outlaws would go on a rampage, taking on every team in their path and from time to time, aligning with Triple H and Shawn Michaels, hinting at them possibly joining D-Generation X. With that in the wings, and more challengers arising, the Outlaws seemed focused to hold onto their titles. They would feud with Mankind/Mick Foley, who would transform back into Cactus Jack to push against the Outlaws. He would team up with Terry Funk and they would challenge the Outlaws for the titles as Chainsaw Charlie and Cactus Jack. Chainsaw and Cactus would win the titles in a Dumpster match at Wrestlemania 14, but the Outlaws would regain the titles once again the next night in a Steel Cage match on RAW with help from Triple H and X-Pac to form the new edition of DX.

With the newfound popularity in DX, the Outlaws would be more tweeners than heels and they helped to make DX the most popular faction in wrestling at the time. They would have the crowds singing along with them through their entrance, and as the Outlaws remained popular, DX began to lose steam. Eventually, the Outlaws would lose their titles and the split of DX and the Outlaws would occur. After the split, Billy and Road Dogg would feud briefly, but it didn't work. They would reunite to bring DX back from the dead in the McMahon-Helmsey era, but it was a short lived run after an injury put Gunn on the sideline and eventually Road Dogg would be fired as well.

After their departure from WWF, the Outlaws would reunite in TNA, but that period is insignificant in a major way because they weren't the actual Outlaws anymore (they were for about a few months, but that would soon change). They would then be called James Gang before going to the Voodoo Kin Mafia name and that was honestly just a terrible ripoff and a weird play on the VKM initials of Vince K. McMahon. During the TNA run, it seemed as if the Outlaws or VKM were hellbent on pissing off the WWE brass and making them angry. They would taunt and target the WWE, including their former friends, DX, when they reunited in 2006. In 2008, the VKM was disbanded when Billy turned on Road Dogg once again, and they were pretty quiet from there.

That was until 2012. 

Raw 1000 saw the return of the New Age Outlaws for a huge DX reunion and from there, it seems like the Outlaws had rebuilt their relationship with WWE and they would soon be working with the company again regularly doing house shows and teaming against Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow. In March 2013, their reunion was made official as they would end up fighting on RAW for the first time in years against Primo and Epico in a victory. After that victory, they would be used as pawns so to speak in the Triple H vs Brock Lesnar feud, getting attacked by Brock on RAW and going away for awhile.

The last hurrah for the Outlaws came in 2014, as they would turn heel and end up defeating Cody Rhodes and Goldust for the tag team titles, for their final run with the belts. After a solid rematch with Cody and Goldust, the Outlaws were now the "Corporate Outlaws" and heels who would drop the belts to the Usos before Wrestlemania. As Wrestlemania 30 approached, the Outlaws would team with Kane to stop the Shield, but the Outlaws and Kane would get squashed by the Shield and go away yet again. They would not wrestle again except once more against the Ascension at the Royal Rumble 2015, losing rather quickly. The final run for them came at Wrestlemania 31 in the form of an appearance during the Triple H vs Sting match. The Outlaws haven't made any appearances since and don't seem likely to return.

Regardless if they come back or not, the New Age Outlaws are one of the best teams from the Attitude Era and will always be remembered as such.



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