The Midnight Express has already been in the Best 100…List at #80 in a wild brawl that never paused for breath (read my review here). This match is rather different from that one, being more focused on the actual wrestling. It’s quite a traditional tag team match that follows the usual template of a quick start, a member of the babyface team being beat down, and the eventual hot tag to his partner (who batters the heels). However, they work wonders within the confines of the template. Dean Ambrose says that “compared to what you see on TV today, The Southern Boys versus The Midnight Express is advanced trigonometry.” And when you see this brilliant tag team match, you’ll fully understand what he means!
For example, during 2015, I can count the number of tag team matches on my fingers that match the sheer quality of this one. They work together, both in teams and against each other, perfectly. I’d already seen what the Midnight Express, in the guise of Stan Lane and Bobby Eaten, can do. To be honest, I’d never heard of the ‘Southern Boys,’ comprising of Steve Armstrong and Tracy Smothers. However, much like The Fantastics, they impressed me immediately with their smooth tag team combinations. Both were teams whose components worked together like clockwork (clichéd, yes, but entirely fitting!). Put together to battle each other, they put on a great match.
You understand how the typical Raw/Smackdown tag team match will proceed, but whilst this tag team match follows a similar template, they stretch and bend it enough to have lots of fun with it. For one, they are not limited to one particular moveset, meaning that we see all sorts of wrestling moves, from underhook suplexes to double back body drops to sunset flips. They stuff the match full of exciting and diverse manoeuvres. There’s even a karate showdown between two of the competitors early on, which I can honestly say I haven’t seen before (apart from maybe a match between X-Pac and Steve Blackman?!?!?).
The Southern Boys and the Midnight Express put on a tag team match that puts most tag team matches of today to shame. For a match that is twenty-five years old, that’s saying something! For lovers of tag team matches, this is a definite one to watch. For lovers of wrestling, this is a definite one to watch. For modern tag teams, this is one to watch. Simply put, it’s one of the best tag team matches I’ve seen in 2015!
VERDICT: 9/10. A brilliant tag team match that is the zenith of tag team wrestling. No gimmicks, just pure wrestling from two great tag teams of the past!
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(Click here for my review of #73 The Undertaker vs. The Rock vs. Kurt Angle, Vengeance 2002)