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D-Von, Get the Titles: History of Professional Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team

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By Jerome Wilen

Marketed as the most decorated tag team in professional wrestling, Team 3-D (Formally known as the Dudley Boyz. Brother Ray and Brother Devon debuted February 1, 1995 in then the Paul Heyman owned and operated Extreme Championship Wrestling.

The Extreme Championship Wrestling years

On March 15, 1997 at Hostile City Showdown, The Dudley Boyz then known at Buh Buh Ray (Mark LoManaco and Devon Hughes) and D-Von won the ECW tag team titles for the first time from The Eliminators (John Kronus and Perry Saturn), thus beginning a feud with this team. Later on at ECW’s very first PPV Barely Legal, The Eliminators would then recapture the tag titles. The Dudley’s would go on to regain the titles in a handicap match due to an injury to Perry Saturn.

The Dudley’s would then began a rivalry with The Gangstas (New Jack and Mustafa Saed) which resulted in yet another title win at Orgy of Violence on June 28, 1997. However, just under a month later on July 19, 1997 at Heat Wave, The Dudley’s would lose titles to The Gangstas in a steel cage weapons match. In just less than one month later, at Hardcore Heaven, The Dudley’s would yet again win back the ECW Tag Team Titles. Following the departure of Mustafa and Saturn from ECW, New Jack and Kronus formed the tag team known as The Gangstanators and defeated The Dudley’s on September 20, 1997 at As Good as it Gets.

In the summer of 1998, The Dudley’s began a feud with Tommy Dreamer and Sandman, who defeated The Dudley’s at Wrestlepalooza. Later than year, The Dudley’s would again have tag team gold back around their waste by beating Sabu and Rob Van Dam, but just one month later The Dudley’s would go down in defeat losing the ECW Tag Team Titles to Masato Tanaka and Balls Mahoney at November to Remember.

After the Sandman left ECW, The Dudley Boyz capitalized on Sabu’s ban from competing in the U.S. with D-Von beating Rob Van Dam in singles competition which would again award them what would be a sixth time title reign. In 1999, the newly formed team of Spike Dudley and Balls Mahoney would capture the ECW Tag Team Titles from The Dudley’s.

With rumors circling, that The Dudley’s would be leaving ECW for the WWF, during an ECW house show, The Dudley’s won the titles for the seventh time from Spike and Mahoney, only to lose them again at a another house show. During the second show of ECW on TNN, The Dudley Boyz won the tag team titles for a record eighth time. With threats to jump to the WWF and take the ECW tag team titles with them, The Dudley’s lost the titles to Tommy Dreamer and Raven, in what was their last match with ECW before going to the WWF.

The World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment years

In 1999, The Dudley Boyz joined the World Wrestling Federation. They requested a substantial raise above the WWF’s offer to stay with ECW, but owner Paul Heyman denied their request as he was working on negotiations with Vince McMahon to supply the WWF with ECW talent. When the Dudley’s first began in the WWF, Buh Buh Ray was renamed “Bubba Ray Dudley.” Both he and D-Von wore thick black glasses with white tape around them. Bubba would stutter during his promos, with D-Von slapping him in the back of the head to assist him in getting his words out. This same gimmick was used early on in ECW. After several weeks, the WWF dropped the gimmick and both Dudley’s began wearing camouflage ring attire.

The Dudley’s biggest claim to fame in the WWF was using their signature double-team move, the 3D to put their opponents through a table. As heels, they put several women, including Terri Runnels, Trish Stratus, Lita, and Mae Young. In mid 2000, the Dudley’s turned face after beginning a feud with D-Generation X. During 2000 and 2001, the Dudley Boyz had a three-way rivalry with the Hardy Boyz and Edge and Christian. This feud culminated into Table, Ladders and Chairs matches at Summer Slam 2000 and at WrestleMania X-Seven in April 2001.

After the WWF purchased their rival company World Championship Wrestling in 2001, the Dudley’s turned heal by joining The Alliance, a faction of former WCW and ECW wrestlers led by Shane McMahon and Stephanie McMahon in an attempt to take over their father’s company. The Dudley’s mainly acted as enforcers of The Alliance, causing interference in matches. During this storyline, they became the first tag team to have ever held the ECW, WCW, and WWF/E Tag Team Championships. At Survivor Series 2001, the Dudley’s defeated the Hardy Boyz in a cage match, thus unifying both the WWF and WCW Tag Team Titles.

Following WrestleMania X8 in March of 2002 after a court battle with the World Wildlife Fund, the WWF was renamed World Wrestling Entertainment with the roster being divided into separate brands for RAW and SmackDown! As a result of the brand split, the WWE separated the Dudley’s. Bubba Ray was sent to RAW, while D-Von went to SmackDown! Bubba reunited with Spike Dudley thus forming a new version of the Dudley Boyz, which were fan favorites. Meanwhile, D-Von on SmackDown!, D-Von’s new character was a heal like preacher known as “Reverend D-Von”

At Survivor Series 2002, The Dudley Boyz reunited when D-Von assisted Bubba in a March, thus in a trade for D-Von for the Big Show. Two years later, in March of 2004, The Dudley’s, were drafted to the SmackDown! and were reunited with Paul Heyman, thus beginning a feud with The Undertaker.

Following this feud, the Dudley’s disappeared off T.V. for an extended period of time. In July 2005, the WWE opted not to continue contract negotiations. The “One Night Stand” pay-per view event in June 2005 was their final appearance for the WWE. Just one month later, both Bubba and D-Von were issued legal notices informing them the WWE had trademarked the Dudley name thus making it impossible for them to use the name they have had since 1996. This caused animosity between the Dudley’s and the WWE. The Dudley’s were under the impression that Paul Heyman had given them rights to the name.

Total Non-Stop Action Wrestling

On September 21, 2005 Nashville based Total Non-Stop Action Wrestling made the bombshell announcement that Bubba and D-Von (now known as Brother Ray and Brother D-Von – Team 3D) signed a multi-year contract with TNA. Team 3D made their first appearance on the October 1 episode of Impact! saving the 3Live Kru from Jeff Jarrett and Team Canada. Team 3D’s first rivalry was with the heal version of America’s Most Wanted (James Storm and Chris Harris). At TNA’s “Turning Point” pay-per view in December 2005 Team 3D successfully beat AMW in a tables match. The pay-per view Final Resolution on January 15, 2006, Team 3D had a rematch with AMW for the NWA World Tag Team Titles. Team 3D won the match, but due to outside interference from Team Canada, AMW was awarded the match.

P1040119The beginning of 2007, TNA announced that Team 3D as the number one contenders for the NWA Tag Team Championship held at the time by the Latin American Xchange (LAX). After several matches leading up to all cage match “LockDown” pay-per view in April of 2007, Team 3D successfully defeated LAX in an Electrified Six Sides of Steel match thus winning the NWA Tag Team Titles for the very first time.

May 13, 2007, the Executive Director of the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) announced that Team 3D had been stripped of the NWA World Tag Team Championship due to permanent split between TNA and the NWA. However, TNA still recognized Team 3D as their first office TNA World Tag Team Champions, thus giving them brand new TNA Tag Team Title belts.

On the June 21, 2007 episode of Impact!, Jim Cornette announced a Champions versus Champions match to be held at the July “Victory Road” pay-per view, which the Tag Team Champions would face both the World Champion and X-Division Champion. After a run in by Rick and Scott Steiner, Team 3D lost the titles to Samoa Joe. On next episode of Impact!, Team 3D blamed Scot and the fans for their loss, thus the beginning of a heal turn for Team 3D.

After appearing to join the newly formed Main Event Mafia, Team 3D made a surprise face turn, thus siding with the TNA Frontline, which is a similar storyline as the New World Order (NWO) take over and the New Blood versus the Millionaires Club in the now defunct World Championship Wrestling (WCW).

On January 4, 2009, Team 3D defeated Togi Makabe and Toru Yano to win the New Japan IWGP Tag Team Championship thus making them 21-time world tag-team champions.

P1040107Following the “Against All Odds” pay-per view, Team 3D began an intense rivalry with Beer Money, Inc. (James Storm and Robert Roode). At the April 19th, 2009 “LockDown” pay-per view in a title for title Philadelphia Street Fight, Team 3D defeated Beer Money, Inc. and won the TNA World Tag Team Titles, thus now making them 22-time world tag team champions.

Team 3D is on the only tag team in pro wrestling history to hold the ECW, WWE, WCW, NWA, TNA, All Japan, HUSTLE and New Japan World Tag Team Titles.

On May 21, 2007, Team 3D opened the Team 3D Wrestling Academy in Kissimmee, Florida.

Sources: Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia and www.myspace.com/team3dacademy

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