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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

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EOTR Tag Team Tuesdays: Shawn Michaels and Diesel

By @TrueGodImmortal

When we started this Tag Team Tuesdays article series, I knew Ameen had an affinity for makeshift tag teams and singles competitors who team up, and when that became apparent, I knew this day would come. It was a must anyways. However, I didn't know when this day came that I would be the one covering the team, but this makes sense now. As a kid, the first tag team I was a fan of was Shawn Michaels and Diesel. I had just started watching wrestling at the time and though I later became aware of The Rockers and The Hart Foundation, it was Shawn Michaels and Diesel that became my favorites. They were known as Two Dudes With Attitudes, and they were positioned as the coolest team in the WWF.

The team formed in 1993, when Diesel became the bodyguard and the muscle for Shawn Michaels. The two began getting over as a unit and eventually it seemed as if they wanted to go for the tag team championships. Shawn was successful as a solo star and it seemed like they had the chemistry they needed to be successful. As 1994 began, they were on the path to greatness as we watched Shawn capture the IC Title. Diesel helped Shawn maintain that title until Wrestlemania 10 when Razor Ramon took the championship. Diesel would win the IC Title from Razor Ramon, taking the belt back and setting the tone for the future of the Two Dudes With Attitudes. It was shortly after the IC Title run that we saw seeds planted for a tag team title run and this is where everything finally came full circle.

In August 1994, we saw Shawn and Diesel take the tag titles off of The Headshrinkers. This was a short lived reign essentially, as literally the night after, Diesel lost his IC Title to Razor Ramon due to interference from Shawn and Walter Payton (no need to elaborate). During their tag team title reign, there weren't too many big matches involved, but Shawn and Diesel would win two squash tag team matches in September 1994. Their first official breakup came after Survivor Series 1994, when Diesel went off on his own and won the WWF Title from Bob Backlund. This set up the big main event for Wrestlemania 11 between Shawn and Diesel, and now the two former best friends were big rivals. This would not last long as the night after Wrestlemania 11, HBK was turned babyface after an attack by Sycho Sid and being rescued by Diesel. Still, the Two Dudes With Attitudes weren't fully back yet. Shawn was written off TV for a month or so, and when he returned, he set his sights on the IC Title while Diesel was having one of the worst WWF Title reigns I've ever seen.

In the summer of 1995, these two reunited to do battle for the tag team titles against the champions Owen Hart and Yokozuna. After a huge booking mishap by WWF, the match ended in a stupid finish that did see Shawn and Diesel win the tag titles again, but eventually the decision was changed and they were forced to forfeit the championships. After this, the two teamed sparingly through the end of 1995, but both men had their eyes squarely on one common goal: The WWF Title. Diesel lost the title to Bret Hart and began his heel turn, and dissension was teased between Shawn and Diesel yet again, but they still remained partners for the most part on TV. After some random tag team matches, the two would go their separate ways following another break up that led to HBK being Diesel's final opponent in WWF before he left for WCW. After 1996, we didn't see anything from HBK and Diesel until 2002 when they reunited for the NWO angle, but they would team up here and there in 2003 during the feud they both had with Evolution until Diesel (Kevin Nash at that time) left the WWE for a second time.

While they weren't a legendary team, together HBK and Diesel made a huge impact on wrestling and the WWF during their time as a unit, winning the tag titles twice and feuding with each other over the WWF Title. They will be remembered separately as legends, but together, Two Dudes With Attitudes were definitely fun to watch during the New Generation Era.



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