I am just entering September '99 on a Montreal Aftermath game, and I'm coming up to my inaugural WWF Tag Team Classic. Here's a layout of my plan for the two-night show:
If you can't read that:
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Faces are the top team in each bracket, winners are the ones in the gold boxes. The first round matches will be on the Saturday night, the rest on the Sunday.
New Age Outlaws: Billy Gunn & Road Dogg; 1xWWF World Tag Team Champions
--They were my go-to team in the early months of my game, holding the tag titles from Nov Wk 4 '97 to Aug Wk 4 '98, where they dropped them to Memphis Wrestling [Jeff Jarrett & Marc Mero]. After failing to regain them in their rematch, Road Dogg went off to rehab from October '98 to May '99, so they are still finding their feet in a different tag team landscape and without Degeneration X.
The Godwinns: Henry Godwinn & Phin Godwinn; 2xWWF World Tag Team Champions
--Phin was one of the first people I sent away to development, though I borrowed him a lot throughout '98 to team with Henry if I was in need of a tag team to take a loss on Raw. Henry stayed as a singles guy for a few months before going down to join his 'brother'. They have both improved a fair bit but neither is really good enough to return to the main roster full time. Mainly here for their A tag experience and their history with the Outlaws.
No Fear Soldiers: Robbie Brookside & Clyde Wilson [Jonny Storm]
--These two have just made it onto the main roster, albeit on one of my 'development' brands. I changed Storm's name because I already have Lance Storm and his 'sister' Tori Storm (Terri Powers). They're both good in-rings workers but neither has enough to get to the next level so they will be at the bottom of the card until their deals come up, then I'll decide if they are good enough at making others look good for me to keep them.
Truth Commission: Kurrgan & Recon
--Both have been in development for 18 months and have developed into solid workers, particularly Kurrgan who is probably good enough that I will bring him up full-time. I might bring Recon with him as they have B tag experience now. They are established enough and big enough to be a credible threat to the Outlaws in this tournament, which is why they make it through to the second round.
The Hardy Boyz: Matt & Jeff Hardy
--Both still in development [as Surge & Willow The Whisp] and not getting called up until Matt drops his development title, which I'm not going to force. They are ready for the main roster, if not the finished article yet. I was a Hardy mark as a kid so they will likely do well on the main roster when they finally get called up, and will be made to look good even in defeat against the Acolytes.
Full Blooded Italians: Guido & Tracy Smothers
--A solid enhancement team, but Smothers is on the Time Decline list now so Guido is getting a small push in the Light Heavyweight Division and this tournament will probably be their swansong as a team, so they are doing the favours for the Hardyz.
Rock 'N' Roll Express: Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson
--A veteran team that have been training my rookies in development, brought in for a nostalgia pop. Plus they can still go, and have A* tag experience. The idea is that they will make the Acolytes look good, and will probably take a pretty savage beating.
Acolytes: Bradshaw & Acheron [Brian Lee]; 1xWWF World Tag Team Champions
--I liked the gimmick, and needed bodies for Taker's Ministry but Faarooq was on the Time Decline list. Brian Lee was the right age and size to make it work (and I liked that he was Fake Taker, although I never explored that dynamic), and he happened to have excellent chemistry with Bradshaw. They were transitional tag champs, taking the belts off War Machine and passing them to Edge & Christian. Hopefully I'll find time and plans to get the belts back on them because I like them as a team. They have just left Taker's Ministry as he goes off-screen for a few months to freshen up, so I'll probably steal from reality again and have them become the APA, because that didn't get enough love in real life.
The Last Cowboys: Donovan Morgan & James Storm
--Another development team. They won't stick around after this show because they still need work but I like the team so wanted to give them exposure on the first night of the tournament.
The Dudley Boyz: Bubba Ray & D-Von Dudley; 1xWWF World Tag Champions [current]
--The Dudleyz debuted in September '98 and slowly worked their way up the tag team ranks, getting their first title shot in May '99, before winning the belts in July from Edge & Christian. They have been one of the main teams in my tag team turmoil that built from Wrestlemania and culminated in a 10-team Tag Team Turmoil match at Summerslam, which the Dudleyz won, beating Edge & Christian who went in as champions but also as the first team. That tag team turmoil led to the announcement of the WWF Tag Team Classic, to provide a yearly KOTR-style tournament for teams, as well as the tag belts. The Dudleyz will feud with New Age Outlaws coming out of this PPV.
Pearl Slam: Joey Matthews & Dean Jablonski
--Jablonski was a truly terrible worker at the start of the game, which is why I signed him. He has progressed nicely and is now just about bottom-end of the main roster quality. If he gets his Psychology and Selling from B- to B then I'd be tempted to push him to the IC title even though his top row, entertainment and camera skills are all only D to C- except Charisma & Menace [both C+]. Joey has become a good worker and deserves to be on the main roster but I don't have space. These two have been very successful as a team in development but now I have Chet (Dean's brother) I might bring up Joey and let the brothers tag in development for a while. I like both so they get to the second night of the tournament.
Disciples of Apocalypse: Skull & 8-Ball
--Stayed on the main roster until March '99 but have spent six months in development because I had built up enough teams that they weren't needed and their ability was below the rest of the division. They have returned to the main roster better workers but starting to enter decline. They will see out their contracts and bleed any overness to new faces before being let go.
Serial Thrillaz: Mike Maverick & Shane Helms
--Another development team. They are both decent but not quite there yet. This will be a tryout of sorts, if they do well, they might just make it onto one of my development brands rather than being left in a development territory. I like how '90s their name is.
The Real Main Event: Cassidy O'Riley & Homicide
--I have 7 development territories, who are part of an alliance (which I left for reasons I now forget... I think I was getting annoyed at them borrowing Austin/Taker/etc.), which has an NWA-style alliance title. These two have both won it, as well as Homicide being a two-time champ in his territory. They have C experience and have both developed well, especially Homicide, who is probably the best guy I have in development after my latest batch of call-ups so next time round, he'll be coming up for sure, probably as part of this team.
Flash Magic: Flash Scorpio [2 Cold Scorpio/Flash Funk] & Black Magic [Norman Smiley]
--I originally made Smiley into Black Magic because I was trying to think in that time period, what god-awful gimmick would Vince McMahon and Vince Russo put on a black wrestler? But actually, I've come to like it, probably because Smiley always delivers in matches/promos. This team formed out of the demise of the Nation of Domination, as Godfather formed his own group. He is now a manager and manages Flash Magic & Truth Killings [R-Truth], who are all flamboyant, particularly Scorpio & Truth. I should give these guys more of a push but I haven't found the time/space to do it yet. It'll be easier now Godfather is a manager because he was holding them back in the ring before.
Shane Twins: Mike & Todd Shane
--A fairly new addition to my development system and still very green but good tag experience should get them through, and working with Scorpio & Smiley will be good for them.
War Machine: Bob Holly & Mike Barton; 1xWWF World Tag Team Champions
--I didn't go with Bombastic Bob and Bodacious Bart or whatever way round it was in real life but with the starting roster, there really isn't much else for these guys to do. I dropped the Bart Gunn name because 1) it sucks and 2) it separates him from Billy. I might go the Hardcore route with Holly because Bob Holly is a very bland name, and he's a bland guy. These two have been, as the name suggests, very clinical and machine-like in their approach and have been a success, dethroning Memphis Wrestling [Jarrett & Mero] and having a short reign as tag champs when I was still establishing E&C/Dudleys/Acts of God and the Outlaws were gone. They aren't good enough to trouble my best teams but they are solid and dependable, and can be relied on if I ever need a team for my champs to beat, or need a transitional team.
Headbangers: Mosh & Thrasher; 1xWWF World Tag Team Champions
--Really, really bad workers at the start of the game, again I shipped them down to development and they have both done very well and improved a lot, especially Thrasher, although he is now Flabby. They won't ever be a threat on the main roster but I can rely on them to do a job if I need a team to lose. I just don't really like them.
Haas Brothers: Charlie & Russ Haas
--Still plugging away in development and good workers but not very interesting. I will probably call them up at some point but for now they are just coming up to make Albert look good for one night.
Corporate Punishment: William Regal & Albert
--Regal joined my Corporation after his stint in rehab, and has done a great job. He previously teamed with Big Bossman but he got injured so I replaced him with Albert, who probably wasn't ready for the main roster but promos with the rest of the Corporation and matches alongside Regal and against Austin/Foley/etc. have brought him on hugely in a short space of time. He's now a genuinely good worker in his own right, probably enough that I could push him to the IC title but it would be at the expense of better workers because my roster is stacked. So he'll continue on alongside Regal as a lackey. He's the muscle to back up Regal's snivelling arrogance. Good team but mostly around to lose to Vince's enemies while they work their way up to his chosen one [currently Triple H].
Legion of Doom: Road Warrior Animal & Road Warrior Hawk; 2xWWF World Tag Team Champions
--I let these guys go when their contracts came up at the end of '98 because Hawk was in rehab and Animal was injured, and basically forgot about them as I was building other teams up. I wanted more 'legendary' teams for my first Classic and that's when they popped back into my head. They are just coming in for these shows initially but I might bring them back for another small run if they do well. They give a bit more legitimacy to proceedings.
Unforgiven: Mark Henry & Joey Abs
--Another development team, and not a particularly good one but an experienced one. They are a lot better than when they started though, so they should be fine, and with his strength, menace and star quality, I will probably bring Mark back onto the main roster soon enough and give him a push. Plus I like the guy, he seems like a nice person. Joey Abs might get lucky and come along for the ride if I do call up Mark.
Aerial Assassins: Volador Jr. & Shark Boy
--Originally called The Enforcers by their development territory, I had to change it when looking for teams for these shows because it didn't fit them at all. They are both great workers but lacking that extra something to get them on the main roster. Now my Light Heavyweight Division is gaining traction, maybe they'll get a chance. This is their moment to impress me, I guess.
Owen & Yokozuna; 2xWWF World Tag Team Champions
--Owen had a rough time until HBK left after Mania '98 because he turned everyone against Owen. I have been slowly working through fixing those Simmering Tension relationships, which haven't gone away yet despite being longer than six months. I eventually sent Owen on holiday until HBK was gone. At the time he was European Champion and feuding with Triple H, so when he returned he went after Triple H first (who by then was IC Champ) and when he beat him and took that belt, he went after the European title, held by Kurt Angle. He currently has both after beating Angle and Mick Foley in a triple threat match for both belts. He is still feuding with Angle but I am going to have him obsessed with getting more titles now this tag tournament has appeared, so he will reform his old team with Yoko (who has been going by Rodney Anoa'i in a Samoan stable that will disperse after Survivor Series) and after getting to the final of this tournament, will try to win the tag belts too. I think I'll let him get a third belt, before losing them all in one night at Armageddon, which will send him into a rage.
The Real Athletes: Steve Blackman & Jody Fleisch
--The current World Wrestling Alliance Tag Team Champions [the champions of all my development feds] but a random team and only here because of those belts. They have hardly any experience, having been thrown together for the first time the night they won the belts, and only teaming to defend them. I'm not quite sure how I would sell the Real Athletes gimmick as a face gimmick in real life, and I think Blackman & Shamrock would've been a better pairing for such a gimmick, but for one night I'll just run with it and then send them away again. Blackman is only staying until his contract is up anyway.
Acts of God: Al Snow & Christopher Daniels
--Managed by Jake Roberts, who I have managed to get clean and loyal to me, these guys are part of his Snake Pit, which also includes Charly Manson & Vampiro. I really like these guys, both are great workers, and they're developing a lot in promos too. The creepy, psychological mind games is probably better suited to ECW but would probably have held up well enough in the Attitude Era, but in the PG-era it'd come out slightly flat like the Wyatt Family or something. These guys will get the belts at some point, and I might give Jake an in-ring comeback now he's clean.
Los Gringos: Chris Parks [Abyss] & Ray Gonzalez
--A team in my Mexican development territory, who are doing very well and improving hugely. These guys will be on the main roster soon and I have high hopes for them. They aren't getting far in this but they'll be on both nights of the tournament so it's good exposure. A lot of upside to them, just not the right time for them yet.
Masters of War: Bison Smith & Chris Hero
--A fairly new team in development, only F+ experience, but one that I can already see making the main roster one day, probably after a brand split because I'm getting too many good acts being lost in the shuffle already. Big fan of both guys separately, and as a team I can really see the dynamic. I also like the random name generated for them by the game, think it fits them well. It was tough to have them lose in the first round but they have so little overness now, probably the least in the whole tournament.
The Patriots: Patriot #1 [Del Wilkes] & Patriot #2 [Mike Enos]
--I only got Enos when I bought out OMEGA and took their whole roster on as PPA jobbers. I renewed his PPA deal when it came up but I'm not planning on giving him a written deal, as he's 40. He's pretty solid in the ring though, and has excellent chemistry with Wilkes, which has probably kept them both in a job. Wilkes contract is up again soon as I only resigned him for six months because he was out injured when it expired the first time and I'm a soft touch. They've been useful to have around though so I might keep them for now.
Island Boys: Ekmo Fatu [Umaga] & Kimo Anoa'i [Rosey]
--Part of my Samoan stable, along with Yokozuna and Rikishi. They'll peacefully separate after Survivor Series, with these two being a tag team. They are both a lot better than they started after some time in development, and hopefully working with the guys on my main roster will get them to a point where they are good enough to hold the belts because I like both of them.
Edge & Christian; 1xWWF Tag Team Champions
--They totally reek of awesomeness. I want to split them and push them but I also want them to be the most decorated tag team in WWF history. I feel like they will be the cause of a lot of title switching because I want them to have a lot of runs and I have a lot of teams I want to give a run to, so the two seem to work together. I think I'll have them by my 'figurehead team' of sorts for a few years, until space opens up on the singles roster. I was always a Hardyz guy as a kid but looking back (especially with the WWE Network) and knowing more about what they are like as people, I'm a big E&C guy now.
World's Most Wanted: C.W. Anderson & Mike Awesome
--Another good name by the game, and a good partnership too. I like this team but not enough to feature them. I could see them as part of a new Horsemen if the opportunity ever arose. I have David Flair in development... hah. If I buy-out ECW and make them a brand, these guys would be a good fit there, but they just aren't quite good enough or experienced enough to challenge my big teams yet. They need me to come up with a great storyline to really kick them into gear and make them a threat.