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New Age Outlaws (The Road Dogg & Billy Gunn)

The Road Dogg

Real Name - Brian Gerard James

Birthdate - 5/20/70

6'4" 240 lbs. - Marietta, GA

Athletic Background - n/a

Teacher(s) - Bob Armstrong

Professional Background - Indies(`93), WCW(`93), SMW(`94-`95), WWF(`94-`95), USWA(`95-`96), WWF(`96-`01), WWA(`01), NWA-TNA/TNA(`02-`11)

Aliases - Brian Armstrong, Dark Secret, The Roadie, Jesse James Armstrong, Brian Jesse James, "Double J" Jesse Jammes, BG James

Groups - S.E.X. [Sports Entertainment Xtreme], 3 Live Kru

Billy Gunn

Real Name - Monty Sopp

Birthdate - 11/1/63

6'4" 268 lbs. - Austin, TX

Athletic Background - n/a

Teacher(s) - Jerry Gray, Harris Brothers

Professional Background - Indies(`93), WWF/WWE(`93-`04), Indies(`04-`12), TNA(`05-`12)

Aliases - Kip Sopp, Kip Winchester, Brett Colt, Rockabilly, Mr. Ass, Billy, The New Age Outlaw, The Outlaw, The G-Man, Kip James, Cute Kip

Professional Background (together) - WWF(`97-`00), Indies(`05-`12), TNA(`05-`08), WWE(`12-)

Groups (together) - DX (Degeneration-X), 4 Live Kru, James Gang, VKM (Voodoo Kin Mafia)

Peak Years - `97-`99

Finisher(s) - 

- Double-Team Hot Shot

- Pumphandle Slam [Road Dogg]

- One and Only (Cobra Clutch Slam) [Gunn]

- Fame-Asser/Famouser (Rocker Drop) [Gunn]

- Gunnslinger (Swinging Spike Slam) [Gunn]

Favorites -

- Jackhammer [Gunn]

- Press Slam [Gunn]

- Tiltawhirl Slam [Gunn]

- Jabs and Haymaker [Road Dogg]

- Big Boot [Road Dogg]

Ringwork Rating - 

 Move Set4/6

Intangibles Rating - 


Place in History - The formula was nothing new to pro-wrestling - take two floundering midcarders, put them together, give them a fresh coat of paint that highlights their strengths and let them loose.  In 1997, the WWF was in a transitional phase from the camp of the previous five years to the edginess of the Attitude Era, this allowed unlikely talents to emerge and become top stars during the company’s hottest period.  “The Real Double J” Jesse James was a country-crooning babyface after being Jeff Jarrett’s lackey.  Rockabilly was an athletic stud who after years as half of the Smokin’ Gunns babyface tag team had turned heel and was paired with the Honkytonk Man.  These dead-end gimmicks, their placement of the cards and their limitations as singles wrestlers were overcome almost instantly.  Acknowledging their shared plight (despite being rivals), they dumped their respective acts and became a heel tag team.  The Road Dogg was the mouth and “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn was the muscle.  They took elements of their previous country-western cowboy personas and added some headbands, dew rags and colorful language to become the “New Age Outlaws.”  They were given free reign to taunt their opposition and establish their act.  Going over in a feud with the Road Warriors allowed them to establish themselves as a credible top tag team.   They refined their act and became distinctly different personalities within their team.  Road Dogg had a Southern white trash quality to him with his sleeveless t-shirts revealing his undefined arms spotted with trashy tattoos, he had hair extensions and took lines from rap music.  The character was a updated version of the loud mouth chickenshit heel and he worked it well.  Billy Gunn slowly morphed into “Mr. Ass,” a sort of high school quarterback/frat boy/male stripper.  The “Oh You Didn’t Know” entrance, their self-introduction and cool heel antics eventually turned them babyfaces.  The Outlaws were a hot commodity during WWF’s Attitude Era, but when split up, the parts did prove to be equal to the whole.  Both were pushed strong, but their limitations became very obvious.  They reunited for time, but Billy Gunn went down with an injury and the Road Dogg was fired after repeated drug problems.  While both had success with tag teams after the Outlaws, it was never the same.  Road Dogg (as BG James) established himself in TNA and Bill Gunn (eventually as Kip James) joined him.  The James Gang, while past their primes, had their strengths and a legacy.  Unfortunately, they chose to go down a bad road when they began working a shoot - they quit, they came back as the oddly named Voodoo Kin Mafia (a play off on Vince McMahon’s initials) and did some grandstand challenges to the reformed DX in the WWE.  The angle did not play out positively and was scrapped and the two had an even more forgettable break-up.  The two were brought back by the WWE, first as agents, then as in-ring performers.  The New Age Outlaws are now working with the next generation of talent and will hopefully renew their legacy as one of the premier tag teams of their era.  Tag team wrestling is so essential to pro-wrestling and they were both masters of it and examples of its importance.  Within the structure of a pair, the Road Dogg and Billy Gunn were able to highlight their strengths, hide their weaknesses, create two contrasting and complementary characters and find success as a result.