The New Age Outlaws have a chance to shine tonight on Monday Night Raw when they defend their WWE Tag Team Championships inside a steel cage against the team of Cody Rhodes and Goldust. The outlaws defeated the Rhodes brothers on the Royal Rumble pre-show to become six-time tag champs, further cementing their legacy as one of the best tag teams in WWE history.
If the match is given time there’s a good chance it will be special. This is definitely not the Outlaws’ first foray in a steel cage and certainly not their first marquee match. The Road Dogg and Billy Gunn have faced every big name in the sport since debuting as a team in 1997.
The Outlaws are really a great success story. Before becoming a team, Road Dogg was saddled with the horrible “Roadie” gimmick and was basically a lackey for Jeff Jarrett. After briefly leaving WWE in 1995 he returned as “The Real Double J” and began feuding with “Rockabilly,” aka Billy Gunn.
Gunn had been a member of the Smoking Gunns tag team along with Bart Gunn (no real relation), a hard-working group that had quality matches but lacked in personality. After splitting with his “brother” Bart, Gunn became Rockabilly and worked under the tutelage of the Honky Tonk Man. It was as hideous as it sounds.
But then it all changed when WWE decided to pair the two together. Road Dogg’s great charisma and mic skills combined with Gunn’s power and athletic ability was a perfect match. They also had a whole lot of attitude which fit seamlessly into WWE’s harder, raunchier creative direction. The rest, as they say, is history.
If you told me in 1997 that the New Age Outlaws would become the first team in WWE history to hold Tag Title gold in three separate decades (1990s, 2000s, 2010s) I probably would have laughed, but it’s often the fool who laughs the hardest. What this team has accomplished is a testament to their dedication to their craft as well as each other. Even after a 14-year absence from WWE they haven’t missed a beat.
The Rhodes brothers are a good team, and Cody Rhodes has the potential to be a star in WWE some day. There’s a better than average chance they take back what they feel is rightfully theirs. Call me sentimental, but I hope the Outlaws find a way to pull it out tonight.