Sunday, May 4, 2014

Tag Team Tuesday: The Powers of Pain

Today's Tag Team Tuesday features the Powers of Pain!

The only surprise here is that I did not focus on the Powers of Pain for the inaugral Tag Team Tuesday. Long time readers know that one of my guilty pleasures in the world of wrestling is the Warlord.

Yes, he sucked as a wrestler and never really made much of a splash... but I think that had he been packaged correctly he could have been as big as the late, great Ultimate Warrior.

When the Warlord was packaged with the Togan Barbarian they should have been pushed as mega-tag monsters. The Warlord was billed at 6'5" and The Barbarian was 6'2". Together they weighed 618lbs. More than enough to be considered monster heels.

Instead they were jobbed out or immediately feuded with other monster tag teams like Demolition or the Road Warriors.

It's hard to get over when you are immediately pushed against established Taggers like the Road Warriors.

The Powers of Pain are The Warlord, Terry Szopinski, and The Barbarian, Sione Vailahi. They were originally paired in Jim Crockett's NWA territory. The PoP began a feud with the Road Warriors and during a bench press competition where they rammed Animal's head into a stack of weights causing a kayfabe eye injury (Animal had a legit injury but this allowed him to heal without losing face).

The Scaffold Match
This NWA feud saw the PoP win the World Six-Man Tag Team Championship with Ivan Koloff as their teammate against the Road Warriors and Dusty Rhodes.

The Powers of Pain were stripped of the titles when they refused to work a scaffold match. I can't blame them. Many wrestlers have refused to work this dangerous match. As an event it sucks. It is impossible to have a good match. No one looks good and someone is very likely to receive a real, career ending, injury.

The Powers of Pain soon appeared in the WWF as faces managed by Tito Santana. Santana was part of a tag team known as Strike Force. He and his partner, Rick Martel, had feuded with Demolition. Ax and Smash had kayfabe injured Martel and Satana brought PoP in as hired guns to get revenge on Demolition.

When Demolition became faces the Powers of Pain turned heel. Mr. Fuji who had previously managed Demolition switched sides to manage Powers of Pain at Survivor Series. PoP defeated The Conquistadors and won the match. They feuded with Demolition until Wrestlemania V when Mr. Fuji entered the ring and was pinned by Ax.

Powers of Pain went on to feud with the Rockers and the Bushwhackers. They were broken up in 1990. The Warlord was managed by Slick (which was always a career killer) and The Barbarian lucked out and joined the Heenan Family.

The Powers of Pain later reformed to take advantage of their WWF fame but never acheived any of their former glory. They re-united in 2012 to take part in a tag team gauntlet match in Chikara. They eliminated Demolition but were put out by the tag team of the 1-2-3 Kid and Marty Jannetty.

As mentioned before, I think a slow build would have helped the PoP, but Vince McMahon was never a fan of tag teams. Many monster heels got the slow build in singles but VKM obviously wanted them to come in and get over immediately against Demolition.

While PoP and Demolition did feud, I'm not certain that anyone was impressed with any of their matches during the year that they feuded. (Except me!)

When they went against the Rockers they were on the way out and were no longer considered a real threat.

Had VKM pushed them against the Rockers I think it could have been a real beauty and the beast event. The fans would have rooted for the smaller, underdog Rockers and the Powers of Pain could have looked really brutish as monster heels. Alas, I have no time machine to book past mistakes.

In the end I know two things...

1) Demolition has yet to be featured on Tag Team Tuesday


2) I still love the Warlord.

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