- Mid-South Tag Team Champions The Midnight Express vs. The Rock N Roll Express – (Mid-South Wrestling, 4/11/84)
Just ignore the date given at the beginning of the match. No one in this match even worked for Bill Watts in 1982. They were either working in Memphis or Ron Fuller down in Alabama. JR and Terry Taylor are on commentary. Jim Cornette is ‘conspicuous by his absence’ says JR. The RNR/Midnights feud had only just begun at this point and we’re only a few weeks past Cornette getting his face dunked on the cake. The RNR Express corner Eaton to start and work over his leg. Eaton stops a spinning toe hold by Gibson with an inside cradle and that allows him to break free and tag in Condrey. The same thing happens to Condrey as RNR works over his leg on their side of town. Tag to Eaton, he runs the ropes with Morton and gets caught with a dropkick. Morton makes a mistake by grabbing Eaton in the Midnights corner as Condrey tags in and puts the boots to him. Eaton keeps Morton grounded with a front headlock, but a double back elbow from the Midnights causes the match to break down. During the chaos, an old lady in a dress jumps in the ring and bashes Morton with her purse! Ref Randy Anderson saw the whole thing and calls for the bell. (5:46) As the lady climbs through the ropes showing off her stockings, Gibson comes by and pulls off her wig to reveal JIM CORNETTE. JR – “Jim Cornette has just come out of the closet!” Nice short example that shows the chemistry between these teams even very early in their run together. **½
After an awesome run in Mid-South feuding with the Rock N Roll Express and the Fantastics, Bill Watts sent the Midnight Express to work for World Class Championship Wrestling. While continuing their feud with the Fantastics was great, they soon realized that the only money to be made in WCCW was wrestling the Von Erichs and that wasn’t in the cards at the time, so they looked for work elsewhere in Jim Crockett Promotions in late 1985. They soon picked up where they left off in Mid-South with the Rock N Roll Express battling over tag team titles. By February 1986, the Midnight Express had defeated the Rock N Roll Express to win the NWA world tag titles.
- NWA World Tag Team Champions The Midnight Express (w/Jim Cornette) vs. The James Gang – (World Championship Wrestling, 5/3/86)
The Midnight Express just think this is another non-title warm-up match, but one of these masked men is the shape of Dusty Rhodes while the other guy is muscular and the exact same size as Magnum TA! Cornette knows exactly what’s going on and freaks out. Of course, Tony plays dumb to see what the Midnights can do against America’s Team. Huge brawl all over the studio to start while Cornette goes ballistic saying that Ray Charles could see who these guys really are. In the ring, Dusty and Magnum take turns twisting on Condrey’s arm. As Eaton comes in, we take a commercial break. Afterwards, Bobby leaps off the top onto Magnum to give his team the advantage. Magnum TA – or Jesse James – plays face in peril for a while. Cornette even gets a shot in with his tennis racket handle. Eventually, Eaton gets caught up top for a superplex, but then he brings up the knees to block a splash. Sunset flip by Magnum makes everything break down as Dusty and Condrey hit the ring. As Dusty makes the save, the James Gang deliver STEREO BELLY TO BELLY SUPLEXES! Double three-count on the Midnights! (7:39 shown) Baby Doll comes out and scares Cornette clear out of his mind swinging a bull rope. Unlike some of Dusty’s other masked moments, the way this was presented was never intended to fool anybody at all including Tony Schiavone. It was just a way for Dusty and Magnum to get at the Midnight Express to make Cornette insulting Baby Doll.
- NWA World Tag Team Champions The Midnight Express (w/Jim Cornette & Big Bubba Rogers) vs. The Road Warriors (w/Paul Ellering) – (World Championship Wrestling, 7/12/86)
Condrey gets knocked around by Animal to start. He bails out a few times because there’s nothing Condrey can do about it. As Cornette has mentioned, Dennis Condrey was the superior heel while Stan Lane was the superior wrestler and you’re seeing some of that here. Cornette and Eaton coax Condrey to get back into the ring. In comes Hawk, Condrey tries to intimidate with poses and Hawk shows off his muscles to prove Condrey has none. Condrey goes to the eyes and hits a piledriver, but Hawk NO-SELLS and headbutts Condrey to the floor as we go to commercial. When we come back, Eaton gives the Road Warriors a try. He avoids a shoulderblock from Hawk by heading to the floor. Eaton thinks he’s got the mental edge, but that’s when Animal walks over and tosses Eaton back into the ring only for Hawk to clothesline him to the floor. After the Midnight Express regroup, they try a double wristlock which just gets them thrown away for a double clothesline. Back in again, this time Hawk misses a flying clothesline on Eaton as he rolls out to the floor where Condrey uses Cornette’s tennis racket to whack Hawk in the back of the head. Back in the ring, Hawk gets caught in the wrong corner. Cornette sticks his tennis racket handle in his throat every now and then. Hawk reverses a whip and shoulderblocks Eaton down to make the HOT TAG TO ANIMAL! After Animal hits his signature stuff, it breaks down for real with all four men in the ring. As Animal presses Eaton, Cornette runs in and whacks Animal with the tennis racket in plain sight of the ref for the DQ. (10:25 shown) After the bell rings, Paul Ellering chases Cornette right into a punch from Baby Doll. SNAP! Big Bubba could have ended her, but the man shows some class. This was just the Midnight Express bumping around all over the place making the Road Warriors look amazing for ten minutes. **½
- NWA U.S. Tag Team Champions The Midnight Express (w/Jim Cornette) vs. The Fantastics – (NWA Worldwide – 4/26/88)
And so the Midnight Express-Fantastics rivalry have now bounced through THREE different promotions in four years – first Mid-South, then World Class, and now Jim Crockett Promotions. Bobby Fulton has Lane’s number to start. We must go to commercial! When we return, the Fantastics are giving Lane a double hiptoss. Being a tad faster than Lane, Tommy Rogers grabs an armbar. Lane fights out and makes the tag, but Eaton runs into an armbar. Backdrop by Eaton lands Rogers on his feet as the man EXPLODES on Eaton with dropkicks. Lane takes one as well as the Midnights retreat to the floor. Back in, Eaton slows down the match with an overhead wristlock, but Rogers quickly fights out and starts up again with a flying headscissors. Lane climbs up on the ropes to reach for his partner. On the other side of the ring, Fulton is bouncing on the ropes to trip him up. Fulton screws with the Midnights some more as he steps on Eaton while he’s still in the headscissors down on the mat. Commercials! We come back and the Fantastics are still in control. Rogers has Lane on the mat and grapevines the leg, but Lane fights up to his feet with an enziguri. Tag to Eaton, he again runs into some trouble as the Fantastics work the leg. Eaton claws his way out and dumps Fulton, but that proves to be a bad idea as Eaton follows him out only to get posted! Back in, Lane tries a slingshot attack and gets nailed in mid air. Meanwhile on the other side of the ring, Rogers is giving Eaton an atomic drop and follows up with a dropkick. Back inside, Eaton rakes the eyes and catapults Fulton into the corner. He tries another catapult, but Fulton catches himself on the middle rope and springs back in Eaton’s face with a back elbow for two. Hiptoss and a hurracanrana leads us into another commercial break. I believe this match takes up the whole show. AND WE’RE BACK! Rogers tries a flying headscissors and the Midnights take a page out of the Horsemen playbook and hotshot Rogers on the top rope. Lane busts out some karate and tags in Eaton for a flying fist drop to the forehead. Rogers elbows out of a hammerlock and avoids a corner charge by Lane. The Midnights still cut off the tag and regain control. Cornette gets up in Tommy’s face while he’s hanging in the ropes. That brings Fulton over to chase him off. Once he’s all the way back around the ring, Cornette gives Rogers a good slap across the face. Rogers nearly staggers into a tag, but Eaton punches him right back down. Back over to the Midnights corner, Lane hits a Russian legsweep for two. Rogers catches Lane with a crucifix as we go to another commercial break. When we return, Rogers is stuck in a hammerlock courtesy of Bobby Eaton. Rogers manages to flip out of it and dropkicks Eaton away. Eaton misses a corner charge and crotches himself on the middle turnbuckle. Rogers makes his way over to his corner and falls back into a HOT TAG TO FULTON! He knocks Lane off the apron which was a HUGE mistake as Lane grabs him by the foot to distract him. Here comes Eaton with the running knee from behind that knocks Fulton through the ropes and into a hotshot on the guardrail by Lane! That’s ART right there, folks. Back in, Eaton covers for a couple nearfalls in a row. Tag to Lane, he hotshots Fulton and AGGRESSIVELY goes for the pinfall. When he can’t get the pin, he slam dunks Fulton’s head by his hair and throws him out to the floor as Cornette makes good use out of his tennis racket. Back in, Lane still can’t get the three-count. Here comes our SIXTH commercial break. We return and Eaton is delivering a flying elbow drop for 1-2-NO! FULTON WILL NOT DIE! Eaton and Lane go ballistic firing away on Fulton in the corner, but the man keeps getting back up with his fists clinched ready to fight. Finally, he looks like he might be out on his feet. The ref backs away Lane and checks on Fulton to see if he should stop the match, but Rogers runs over and begs with the ref not to stop the match. Fulton waves the ref off too! Since beating the crap out of Fulton seems to be working, the Midnights continue to pummel him in the corner. Lane dumps out Rogers, but he climbs back up to the top and missile dropkicks Eaton into a rollup by Fulton for the 1-2-3! (23:45 shown) For the first time in 11 months and 10 days, we’ve got new NWA US tag champs. If you ask me, Bobby Fulton takes a beating every bit as good as Ricky Morton. Unbelievably great MOTYC with a wonderfully dramatic finish as it was an ‘all or nothing’ moment for Tommy Rogers. ****¾
- NWA World Tag Team Champions The Freebirds (w/Terry Gordy) vs. The Midnight Express (w/Jim Cornette) – (World Championship Wrestling, 6/24/89)
We skip ahead another year and the Midnight Express have been turned into fan favorites although I don’t think Cornette wanted it that way, but the Midnights went with the flow. The Freebirds cheated to win the NWA world tag belts a few days earlier after Terry Gordy snuck into the ring and gave Bobby Eaton a powerbomb about a month after Gordy had helped the leader of the Freebirds Michael Hayes defeat Lex Luger to secure the NWA US title back at Wrestle War in May. Of course Hayes lost the belt back to Luger in a rematch, but the point is that the Freebirds are running wild over the NWA thanks to Gordy. Jimmy Garvin gets the early advantage as he fights dirty with Stan Lane. Enough of that, Lane goes SLAM CRAZY on the Freebirds. Tag to Eaton, Garvin catches him with a clothesline and that brings in Hayes. Lane tags and goes all ka-ra-te on Hayes. Back to Eaton, Hayes counters a headlock with a headscissors and then decides to dump Eaton out to the floor and into the guardrail. While Hayes is prancing around, Eaton climbs to the top and delivers a missile dropkick. Tag to Lane, Garvin grabs a headlock. Lane fights out into an armbar of his own as we go to commercial. After the break, Hayes tosses out Lane, which just pisses him off as Lane shoots back into the ring and dumps out Hayes for a change. Back in, Lane powerslams Hayes into the Midnights corner and tags in Eaton. Hayes begs off and Eaton punches the crap out of him. Back to Lane, Garvin yanks him down from the apron as Lane comes off the ropes. The Freebirds work him over and a double-KO spot sets up the HOT TAG TO EATON! Swinging neckbreaker to Hayes! The action breaks down with all four men in the ring and the Midnight Express are in total control. Terry Gordy climbs up to the apron, but Eaton decks him on his way to the top rope. Lane grabs Hayes for the VEG-O-MATIC, but Gordy punches Eaton off the top into the guardrail! There’s no way he can continue and the Midnight Express are counted out as the Freebirds retain. (8:16 shown) Once again, the Midnight Express do a bang up job of making their opponents look like a million bucks – especially Terry Gordy. **¾
- NWA U.S. Tag Team Champions The Midnight Express (w/Jim Cornette) vs. Tom Zenk & Brian Pillman – (World Championship Wrestling, 8/18/90)
Zenk and Pillman won the US tag belts in a tournament to revive the titles after they were shelved for close to a year. The Midnight Express came a calling and took back the US tag titles for their third and final reign as the champs. Zenk delivers a hiptoss to Eaton and that throws him off his game. He catches Eaton with a second hiptoss and the Midnight Express blame the Z-Man for tight pulling. No way. Eaton nails Zenk with a series of right hands, but Zenk comes back with hiptosses. Instead of tagging out, Eaton stays determined to slow down Zenk. He goes low on Zenk and tags in Lane who runs into a hiptoss. In comes Pillman, he O’Connor rolls Lane for two. Cornette comes up onto the apron and starts tapping on the ref only to be tapped back down to the floor. Back to the match, Pillman hits Lane with an atomic drop. Tag to Eaton, he goes up top and takes a dropkick down to the guardrail. Pillman comes off the apron with another dropkick and sends Eaton into the guardrail again. Back inside, Zenk blind tags and Eaton gets caught with a dropkick from behind into a slam by Zenk! Lane comes in and stuns Pillman with clotheslines. To the floor, Lane sends Pillman into the guardrail while Cornette jabs him in the throat with the tennis racket. Back in the ring, the Midnights continue to brutalize Pillman. Cornette gets another jab to the throat with the racket. Desperation sunset flip on Lane gets broken up by Eaton. Billy Robinson backbreaker from Eaton gets 1-2-NO! Eaton one-ups himself with a slingshot Billy Robinson backbreaker. Awesome! That gets two. Lane delivers a swinging neckbreaker and then Eaton gives Pillman a suplex. He climbs up top, but Pillman manages to slam him down. HOT TAG TO ZENK! He goes crazy on the Midnights. Zenk holds up Eaton for a dropkick by Pillman. Once Eaton is set, Pillman slingshots Zenk onto him from the apron for 1-2-NO! Now it’s breaking loose! Wait a minute, here comes SID VICIOUS to disrupt the match. (14:22) He takes out everybody but Eaton who steps up to the big guy blow for blow until they break for commercial. Felt somewhat uninspired up until the last few minutes where everything picked up steam and then Sid ruined everything. This led to an Eaton-Sid match which Cornette calls one of Eaton’s worst matches at that time. ***¼
- The Midnight Express (w/Jim Cornette) vs. The Southern Boys – (World Championship Wrestling, 9/22/90)
The Steiners had just relieved the Midnight Express of the NWA United States tag titles about a month before this match took place. Winner of this match gets a US tag titles shot. Eaton and Armstrong start us off. Armstrong catches Eaton with a monkey flip and follows with a flying clothesline. Smothers looks to lock up with Eaton. They run the ropes ending with a superkick that puts Eaton down on his backside. They go again and once more the exchange ends with a superkick. Tag to Lane, he begins to stretch out to spar with Smothers. It turns out the same way it did in their Great American Bash match with Lane getting the better of him. Smothers floats over Lane in the corner and comes off the corner on the other side of the ring with a crossbody for 1-2-NO! He continues with the offense by taking out both Lane and Eaton with superkicks! He even scares Cornette with one. We go to commercial. When we come back, it appears a blind tag to Lane saved Eaton from being pinned with a butterfly suplex on Smothers. Now we see some VINTAGE MIDNIGHT EXPRESS. Drop toe hold followed by an elbow drop from Eaton gets two. Smothers gets choked in the ropes so that Cornette can sneak in the tennis racket shot to the throat. Smothers stops a double-team with a whip reversal that causes the Midnights to collide. HOT TAG TO ARMSTRONG! The man goes DROPKICK CRAZY! Once Smothers comes back in to punch on Eaton, that draws the ref away from an inside cradle by Smothers on Lane! Cornette breaks that up, which gets him beaten down by Armstrong. Out come the Freebirds as they lay waste to Smothers with a double DDT while Little Richard Marley has the ref’s attention. Once they clear out, Eaton places his arm over Smothers for the 1-2-3. (8:06 shown) Those darn Freebirds. Fun match, but nowhere near as impressive as their Great American Bash ’90 match. ***
- NWA U.S. Tag Team Champions Rick & Scott Steiner vs. The Midnight Express (w/Jim Cornette) – (World Championship Wrestling, 10/13/90)
And since the Midnight Express won that last match, they finally get their rematch with the Steiners. Rick Steiner’s face is slightly bandaged after taking a beating from the Nasty Boys heading into Halloween Havoc. Scott and Eaton start the match. There’s not much Eaton can do here. Eaton takes it to the floor where Scott flips out of a suplex and sends Eaton into the ringpost. Back in, Scott runs into an elbow in the corner, but counters a superplex and sets Bobby up on his shoulders for the STEINER BULLDOG! It’s definitely time for a commercial. When we return, the Midnights still can’t do anything to harm Scott Steiner as he slams them everywhere before Rick runs in with the double Steinerline. Eaton drops to his knees and begs Rick off, but then Rick drops to HIS knees and Steinerlines Eaton down. Rick continues to knock the Midnights around until Eaton seizes the moment and bulldogs Rick off Lane. Down on the floor, Cornette jabs Rick in the gut with the tennis racket. Back inside the ring, Rick ducks a back elbow and gives Eaton a belly to belly suplex. HOT TAG TO SCOTT! He dumps out Lane who just goes after Rick and sends him into the ringpost. That action brings Scott off Eaton as he grabs Lane through the rope, but then Eaton just nails Scott from behind. Eaton goes after the arm with an armbreaker DDT, but Scott still manages the butterfly powerbomb! Tag to Rick, he goes nuts with the Steinerlines. Eaton rolls out and as Rick reaches out to him, Cornette decks him with the tennis racket. SWING BATTER BATTER SWING! Eaton is on top of Rick for 1-2-NO! Rick blocks a piledriver and as he lifts Eaton up into the air, Scott runs by with the Steinerline! Rick rolls up Eaton for the 1-2-3! (11:31 shown) Within weeks, Lane and Cornette left WCW to start up Smoky Mountain Wrestling while Bobby Eaton stuck with WCW until the year 2000 when he was released. This was another match in a long line where you left feeling like the Midnight Express took another team and just made them look absolutely awesome. Then again, no one could touch the greatness of the Steiners in tag team wrestling by 1990. ***½
Final Thoughts: I tried to find a variety of opponents for this mixtape and I think what you find is that the Midnight Express always made their opponents appear as the top quality as they could possibly good. At one point or another, they had it all as one of the most entertaining tag teams ever in the history of wrestling. Whether it was the nasty side of Dennis Condrey, the athletic ability of Stan Lane, the speed and the precise offense of Bobby Eaton, or the mouth of Jim Cornette, there was always something to like about the Midnight Express. By the way, be sure to look up some Cornette promos if you’re not familiar with how great he was on the mic.