Welcome to the first 10 Count! on Adventures in Poor Taste, a new feature for the site where we count down the best and worst of pro wrestling. With Extreme Rules being less than a week away and the anticipated showdown between the reunited Evolution and The Shield, it seemed only fitting that that the first 10 Count! looked at the best three-man teams in wrestling history…
…But where’s the fun in that!? Granted, there’s enough to make up a list of ten, but for every Shield there’s at least five 3MBs; a forgetful trio that made little to no impact on the world of professional wrestling. And it’s about time we shed some light on these terrible triumvirates.
10. The Original Nation of Domination
According to Ernest Hemingway, “the first draft of anything is shit.” And this pre-cursor to the Nation of Domination that gave us The Rock, was indeed shit. The concept was cool, and it did already have D-Lo Brown as a minor, background character, but the logic behind the partnership was dumb as hell, even for pro wrestling logic. A black man, a white ex-con, and a husky Puerto Rican walk into a bar and apparently came out a black militant group. How does that make any sense?
The Nation mainly feuded with Ahmed Johnson and his occasional partners the Legion of Doom. It was the only time Faarooq was given a main event spot as he wrestled The Undertaker for the WWE Title at 1997 King of the Ring. He lost and decided to fire Crush and Savio Vega and put together a “Bigger, Badder, Better and Blacker” version of the Nation. He delivered on all accounts.
9. The Jersey Triad
They had a nice little run with the WCW Tag Team Titles that involved them invoking the Freebird Rule in which any two members could defend the titles. They even switched members during their actual matches without having to resort to “twin magic” like Demolition did, mostly because none of them looked alike. They fought off Chris Benoit and Perry Saturn, but eventually lost the titles to Harlem Heat.
If anything, The Jersey Triad served as a side project to keep Diamond Dallas Page busy while he patiently waited to get back into the world title picture. Unfortunately for Bam Bam Bigelow, it was the last time he was involved in any kind of a storyline. As for Chris Kanyon, he later feuded with DDP as Chris “Champagne” Kanyon, which was a parody of DDP’s character. All in all, as talented as they were, the collective group didn’t amount to much.
8. 3 Count
WCW had a potential Hardy Boyz on their hands and in true WCW fashion, decided the best way to get them over was with a boy band gimmick. Shane Helms and Shannon Moore came up with the Hardy Boyz in their indie fed Omega Championship Wrestling and employed the same type of high-flying wrestling style the Hardyz were known for. Oh and for some reason, Evan Karagias was thrown into the mix. Thus, 3 Count was born.
They did help pump even more New Blood into WCW’s ever expanding cruiserweight division. Their feud with the Jung Dragons was an exciting spot-fest that included ladder matches in hopes of replicating the same success the WWE was having with the Hardys and their ladder matches. But as exciting as they were, they weren’t as memorable as the WWE’s version. Both the ladder matches and 3 Count.
7. The York Foundation
From the barnyard to the modern, computerized age of the 90’s, The Red Rooster got serious and along the way formed himself a stable. A stable that turned perennial babyface in distress, Ricky Morton into Richard Morton, and puzzling one-time NWA World Champion Tommy Rich into Thomas Rich. Yes, these guys were serious businessmen, and we all know businessmen use their full names.
The stable was actually created by their manager Alexandra York (AKA Marlena AKA Terri Runnels AKA Goldust’s ex-wife) and was run on the basis of a computer program she had on her state-of-the-art 1991 laptop. A computer program that could easily analyze the York Foundation’s opponents and help them win their matches. Unfortunately, the success rate of that program was, like, 45%. They did however capture the oddly-named WCW Six-Man Tag Team Championship Titles (it clearly should’ve been called the three-man tag team titles). And it was the last time any wrestling company really tried to do anything with Terry Taylor. Aside from giving him countless jobs as a backstage producer/road agent.
6. The Mexicools
Insanely racist gimmick aside, I was excited for The Mexicools. I was well aware that they wouldn’t exactly take the wrestling world by storm, or even take over the WWE, the way the New World Order did with WCW, but they added new life to the WWE’s cruiserweight division.
The best part? They had two of the top players from the WCW’s successful cruiserweight division: Psicosis and Juventud Guerrera. Throw in the Extreme Luchador, Super Crazy, and you have a pretty decent cornerstone to a division. A division that was consistently treated like a red-headed stepchild by the WWE. Yes, Juventud did win the Cruiserweight Championship, which added some clout to the trio, but did little to elevate the division and Juventud was eventually let go due to Juventud being Juventud. Psicosis and Super Crazy’s mental instability prevented them from going forward as a tag team, but after Psicosis was released, Super Crazy did enjoy some time on the roster for another two years before leaving. Even though originally parodying Mexican stereotypes, it was still refreshing to see that even in the 21st century, the WWE wheelhouse of gimmicks is still very one-dimensional when it comes to luchadores.
A stable where X-Pac is the leader of the group? Pass.
A stable that comes out to a theme song made by Uncle Kracker? Double Pass.
X-Pac, for all intents and purposes, worked fine as a sidekick, but never as a top tier player. Surprisingly though, he spearheaded this stable into winning some gold, including the WWE Light Heavyweight Title (X-Pac) and the Intercontinental Title (Albert). Justin Credible was just lucky to have a job. They didn’t develop any real long-lasting feuds with any other wrestlers, but they did prove that The Alliance storyline wasn’t all bad as it was the catalyst that broke up the group when Justin Credible decided to join his former ECW comrades. So, that kind of makes up for Booker T and the rest of The Alliance being horribly booked during the entire angle. Kind of.
4. 3 Live Kru
Despite them all living in perfect racial harmony, unlike say, the original Nation of Domination, 3 Live Kru was a desperate attempt to combine some of the magic Konnan and Road Dogg had from their respective DX and nWo stables. But their schticks were pretty much tired at this point, and this is back in 2003, mind you.
Ten years later, and all these guys, including Ron Killings AKA R-Truth, are still doing the same character. Granted, when you find something that gets over in wrestling, you tend to stick to it and ride it out for as long as you can sell some merchandise.
Case in point, 2014’s Road Dogg. At least it makes more sense seeing him inside a WWE ring, alongside Billy Gunn. The bastardization version of him and Konnan pairing with R-Truth because they all happened to like hip hop a lot was just one of the many attempts TNA made to cash in on former WCW/WWE glory. Sure, their group lasted a while, and actually led to R-Truth winning the NWA World Title, but just that sentence alone should put into perspective the state of TNA at that point in time. People argue that TNA is shit right now, and booking wise, that’s a correct assumption, but at least their talent pool has grown by leaps and bounds since 10 years ago. How else can you explain R-Truth, NWA World Champion? That alone is enough to rank 3 Live Kru as one of the worst three-man teams in wrestling history.
3. The Three Faces of Fear
Before The Faces of Fear was just Meng and Barbarian as a tag team, it was a trio consisting of Kevin Sullivan, The Butcher AKA Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake and Avalanche AKA Earthquake.
To illustrate just how bad a shape WCW was in in 2001 when it folded, this group was the top heel faction in WCW for the better part of 1994 and 1995 and, yet, somehow WCW went on to see a 1996. To further emphasize this point, WCW’s last Starrcade in 2000, which obviously wasn’t great, still had Kevin Nash, Rey Mysterio, Lex Luger, and Goldberg on the undercard (granted the main event of Sid Vicious vs. Scott Steiner didn’t help), whereas Starrcade 1994 saw Hulk Hogan defend his WCW Title against The Butcher in the main event! That’s right, Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake headlined WCW’s version of WrestleMania against Hulk Hogan.
How WCW didn’t go under by 1995 is still a mystery to me. The Three Faces of Fear battled Hogan, Savage, and Sting at multiple pay-per-views and Clash of the Champions, so in terms of booking they were probably the most successful trio on the list. It probably didn’t hurt that Butcher and Avalanche were pals of Hogan. They disbanded for a short while but came back even stronger and more ridiculous as the Dungeon of Doom, because that’s where the real money was for WCW and Hulk Hogan, not with Ric Flair or with Big Van Vader. Seriously, how did WCW make it out of 1994 as a profitable company?
2. The Oddities
Thanks to RD Reynold’s Wrestlecrap book, we at least knew that John Tenta AKA Earthquake AKA Avalanche had a good sense of humor regarding the horrible gimmicks he was saddled with during his many years as a professional wrestler. Oddly enough, him as Golga was probably still better than his Shark character. At least Golga was never intended on being taken seriously as a threat. In fact, the entire Oddities trio, which included 7’3″ Giant Silva and 6’10’ Kurrgan, seemed to exist solely as a sideshow act and a reason to have the Insane Clown Posse appear on WWE programming. Their most noteworthy feuds were against Kai En Tai and The Headbangers. That’s right, I just typed noteworthy and The Headbangers in the same sentence. Thank you, The Oddities.
1. The Truth Commission
These guys came around at the right time, during the Monday Night Wars, when the WWE was still on the losing end and was throwing everything against the wall to see what stuck. Surprisingly, a White Separatist group from South Africa was not one of those ideas that took off. But at the time, stables with running themes were a thing in the WWE. And we can thank #10 ranked Worst Three-Man Team, the original Nation of Domination for spawning spin-off groups like The Disciples of Apocalypse and Los Boricuas.
But the worst one was the Truth Commission. Although their original manager was replaced by The Jackyl, who would occasionally wrestle but was mainly the group’s mouthpiece, the Truth Commission was comprised of full-time three wrestlers: Recon, Sniper, and The Interrogator. And they feuded with… nobody really. They were pretty much filler at a time when both WWE and WCW were bloating themselves up with huge rosters. The Interrogator was later known as Kurrgan as part of the aforementioned Oddities trio, and apparently the one-third of the Truth Commission worth keeping on TV. So that should give you a good indication on how bad this team was. Recon was later repackaged as Bull Buchanan, after spending a year back down in OVW. Sniper, on the other hand, was never heard from again.