Saturday, February 24

Ever Member Of The Midnight Express, Ranked Worst To Best

When discussing the greatest tag teams of all time, fans may bring up modern favorites like The New Day and FTR or nostalgic options like The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express or The New Age Outlaws. But one tag team that needs to be in the conversation is The Midnight Express, who dominated divisions and collected belts primarily in WCW, but also branched out to other promotions.



RELATED: 10 Things WCW Fans Should Know About The Midnight Express

But The Midnight Express didn’t just change companies. Over the course of nearly 20 years, The Midnight Express evolved quite a bit, changing lineups, managers, and even number of members. Let’s take a look at every member of The Midnight Express, starting with the worst ones.


11 Bombastic Bob Was In The 1998 WWE Version

This Forgotten Member Later Became Hardcore Holly

Tenure

Promotions

Notable Titles

1998

WWE

NWA World Tag Team Championship

In 1998, WWE kicked off an invasion storyline with the National Wrestling Alliance, itself a shell of the far-reaching organization it once was before the 1980s. To give the NWA an old-school flavor, WWE resurrected The Midnight Express name, populating the rebooted tag team with WWE stars Bob Holly and Bart Gunn. Best known as WWE journeyman Hardcore Holly, back then Holly had already worked his “Spark Plug” racecar driver gimmick and held the World Tag Team Championship once, which all felt about as notable as this Midnight Express stint.

10 Bodacious Bart Was Also In The WWE Version

Bodacious Bart Is Better Known As Bart Gunn

Tenure

Promotions

Notable Titles

1998

WWE

NWA World Tag Team Championship

If the 1998 New Midnight Express already didn’t feel like a dashed-off concept with the presence of Bob Holly, his partner didn’t inspire any further confidence. Bodacious Bart had already been a three-time Tag Team Champion alongside Billy Gunn, but was left in the dust after The Smoking Gunns broke up. During their time together as the New Midnight Express, Bart Gunn and Bob Holly held the NWA World Tag Team Championship, but ended up losing it at an NWA show five months later. After the NWA angle was put to bed, Bart Gunn continued on to greater infamy when he won the infamous Brawl 4 All Tournament and was fed to Butterbean for his efforts.

9 Ron Starr Was A Member Of Midnight Express When It Was (Briefly) A Stable

Starr Was One Of The Great Heels Of The Territory Era

Ron Starr

Tenure

Promotions

Notable Titles

1983

SECW

NWA Southeastern Tag Team Championship, Stampede International Tag Team Championship

For a brief period in 1983 in the Alabama-based and NWA-affiliated Southeastern Championship Wrestling, the Midnight Express expanded its ranks to incorporate the tag team Devastation Inc. — the duo of Ron Starr and Wayne Ferris.

RELATED: 10 Things You Should Know About The Midnight Express’ Wrestling Careers In The 1980s

Modern fans may be unaware of him, but Ron Starr was considered one of the great heels of the territory days. During his time in SECW, Starr, Ferris, and the rest of the Midnight Express feuded with The Armstrongs, often over the NWA Southeastern Tag Team Championship.

8 Wayne Ferris Was Also A Member of The Early 1980s Stable

Ferris Later Became Honky Tonk Man In WWE

Tenure

Promotions

Notable Titles

1983

SECW

NWA Southeastern Tag Team Championship, Stampede International Tag Team Championship

Ron Starr’s Devastation Inc./Midnight Express partner Wayne Ferris is also likely someone that modern fans wouldn’t know by name — at least that name. A few years after his stint in the Midnight Express, Ferris would end up signing to WWE and adopt the name Honky Tonk Man, eventually racking up one of the longest reigns with the Intercontinental Championship. While his time in the Midnight Express was brief, Ferris and Starr ended up moving on to Canada’s Stampede Wrestling and winning tag titles there.

7 Norvell Austin Was The First Wrestler To Join The Midnight Express

Austin Was The Express’ Only Black Member

Tenure

Promotions

Notable Titles

1981-1983

SECW

AWA Southern Tag Team Championship, CWA World Tag Team Championship

By the early 1980s, Norvell Austin had a degree of notoriety in Southern wrestling — as a heel, he teamed with trailblazer Sputnik Monroe as one of the only mixed-race tag teams in the early 1970s. By the early 1980s, Austin was working as a babyface in SECW against Dennis Condrey and Randy Rose, who had already formed the Midnight Express when he turned on partner Brad Armstrong to join the bad guys. As a result, the underrated Austin defended the tag team championships alongside Condrey and Rose by using the Freebird Rule.

6 Randy Rose Is A Founding Member Of The Midnight Express

Rose Is Relatively Forgotten In The Group’s Overall History

Tenure

Promotions

Notable Titles

1980-1983, 1987-1989

NWA, SECW, AWA, WCW

NWA Southeastern Tag Team Championship, AWA World Tag Team Championship, WCW World Tag Team Championship

When Randy Rose’s run in SECW as the masked babyface The Super Pro ran its course, the now-unmasked Randy Rose was paired with Dennis Condrey, and the original Midnight Express was born. Along with Condrey and later Norvell Austin, the Express dominated SECW’s tag team division, proving to be vicious heels rather than cowardly cheaters, feuding with opponents like Bob and Brad Armstrong and the team of Robert Fuller and Jimmy Golden. When the original Midnight Express reformed to take on the new version in WCW, it was Rose and Condrey who represented the originals.

5 Paul E. Dangerously Managed The (Reunited) Original Midnight Express In The Late 1980s

Dangerously Is Better Known As Paul Heyman

Tenure

Promotions

1987-1989

AWA, WCW

Before he was the head honcho of Extreme Championship Wrestling in the 1990s, Paul Heyman was Paul E. Dangerously, who managed various heels to victory and dominance in promotions like WCW and AWA. During the late 1980s, one of his biggest clients was The (original) Midnight Express.

RELATED: The Midnight Express Vs. The Midnight Express: How A Dream WCW Feud Never Reached Its Full Potential

Reuniting Dennis Condrey and Randy Rose, Dangerously reunited the original Midnight Express to take on the then current lineup, Bobby Eaton and Stan Lane. While he was great in the role, Paul Heyman ultimately wouldn’t be the most well known manager of any version of the Midnight Express (see below).

4 Dennis Condrey Was An Original Founding Member Of The Midnight Express

Condrey Was The Longest-Tenured Member

Tenure

Promotions

Notable Titles

1980-1989

SECW, NWA, AWA, WCW, MSW

NWA Southeastern Tag Team Championship, AWA World Tag Team Championship, WCW World Tag Team Championship, Mid-South Tag Team Championship

While fans might be unaware of Randy Rose and Norvell Austin as Midnight Express members, they should at least be aware of Dennis Condrey, who was not only a founding member, but stuck around with the group throughout much of its existence in the 1980s. A standout tag team wrestler in the Southern territories, Condrey hit a whole new level when he was paired with Randy Rose to form the Midnight Express, and his departure from Southeastern Championship Wrestling in 1983 signaled the end of the first phase of the group.

3 Jim Cornette Was The Midnight Express’ Iconic Manager

Cornette Managed Multiple Versions Of The Team

Tenure

Promotions

1983-1990, 1998

MSW, NWA, WCW

One of the most crucial aspects of The Midnight Express’ act was their manager, legendary loudmouth heel and current Internet curmudgeon Jim Cornette. First managing the team in 1983, Cornette was a terror at ringside during the Express’ matches, proving no stranger to illegally using his signature tennis racket to help his clients win matches. Being a heel manager, he also took active part in many matches during his time with the Midnight Express, getting beaten up on their behalf.

2 Stan Lane Joined Up In The Late 1980s

Lane Replaced Dennis Condry

Tenure

Promotions

Notable Titles

1987-1990

NWA, WCW

NWA United States Tag Team Championship, NWA World Tag Team Championship

A late addition to the tag team, the Ric Flair-trained Stan Lane entered the picture when Dennis Condrey quit Jim Crockett Promotions (later known as WCW). Lane was no stranger to tag team success, having previously teamed with Steve Keirn as The Fabulous ones in other territories. As part of the Midnight Express, “Sweet” Stan Lane proved to be a suitable replacement for Condrey, giving the tag team a bit of an athletic flair as he and Bobby Eaton dominated WCW’s tag team division.

1 “Beautiful” Bobby Eaton Is The Best Member Of The Midnight Express

Eaton Was A Legendary Tag Team Specialist

Tenure

Promotions

Notable Titles

1983-1990

MSW, WCCW, NWA, WCW

Mid-South Tag Team Championship, NWA American Tag Team Champion, NWA World Tag Team Championship, NWA United States Tag Team Championship

A deal between Mid-South Wrestling’s Bill Watts and Continental Wrestling Association’s Jerry Jarrett resulted in Bobby Eaton and Jim Cornette being traded to Mid-South from the Memphis territory, and so the two were grouped with Dennis Condry as a rebooted Midnight Express. As they moved from territory to territory before ending up in WCW, Eaton more than proved himself as one of the best tag team specialists ever, putting on classics with teams like The Fantastics, The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express, and even The Four Horsemen.

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