RICK & SCOTT STEINER
1988 - 2008
WWF World Tag Team Champions
WCW World Tag Team Champions
WCW U.S. Tag Team Champions
IWGP Tag Team Champions
Written by Canadian Bulldog
Partially due to overstaying their welcome as a duo, and partially due to the runaway success of Scott's singles run as Big Poppa Pump, the team of Rick and Scott Steiner largely gets forgotten when the greatest tag teams in history are discussed. But perhaps they shouldn't be.
Scott Steiner first began teaming with older brother Rick around the end of 1988, right as Rick was coming into his own in NWA/WCW as a wacky, unconventional babyface. Scott's collegiate ability and hard-hitting style was a perfect complement to Rick's suplex-based moveset and the two quickly became THE team to beat in WCW.
The Steiner Brothers captured the WCW World Tag Team Championship twice from The Fabulous Freebirds between 1989 and 1991 (the second time, in a bizarre "only in WCW" story, took place on a television taping before The 'Birds had technically captured the tag team titles). They had fantastic matches in this era against the likes of Doom, The Midnight Express and even against Japan's Hiroshi Hase and Kensuke Sasaki, which gave them the IWGP Tag Team Championship.
One of the few acts to survive in the K. Alley Frey/Jim Herd/Bill Watts era of WCW, The Steiner Brothers quickly rose to the very top of the promotion, both in prominence on the card and in marketing plans. They shared the spotlight with fellow babyfaces Sting and Lex Luger, and their inevitable match at SuperBrawl was one of my favorite WCW matches of all time, and one that was WAY ahead of its time.
The success of The Steiner Brothers meant it was only a matter of time until they were recruited by the WWF. I was beyond stoked for their PPV debut at the 1993 Royal Rumble and remember actually cursing our cable feed when it began cutting in and out during the show's opening match between The Steiner Brothers and the (kayfabe) Beverley Brothers. While the feed restored partway through the match, I remember thinking the match was good but not great.
That actually characterized The Steiners' entire WWF run -- good but not great. They defeated The Headshrinkers at WrestleMania IX and eventually captured the WWF Tag Team Championship from Money Inc., but they were never a top attraction in the company the way they were in WCW. Oddly, their finest hour there was another face vs. face match matchup - this time against Bret and Owen Hart filmed for Coliseum Home Video. But the brothers never seemed to get further in the WWF than "that flashy team with explosive moves."
The Steiner Brothers left the WWF about a year later and, following brief runs in ECW and Japan, they returned to WCW in 1996. To say that the bloom was off the rose by that point was an understatement. Rick and Scott became just another team, feuding with the likes of Harlem Heat, Kevin Nash & Scott Hall and a reunited Road Warriors. They even battled Sting and Lex Luger on Nitro... but the old magic wasn't there.
Finally, the brothers broke up at SuperBrawl VIII in 1998, when Scott turned on Rick and joined the nWo. While it seemed silly at the time (WCW was known for "heel turns for the sake of heel turns"), it definitely worked and laid the groundwork for Scott's innovative run as the foul-mouthed, overstuffed Big Poppa Pump character. And while they would reunite several times after that, in WCW, TNA and elsewhere, it was quite never the same.
I don't want this Spotlight to seem overly negative, because it isn't. Rick & Scott Steiner should be remembered as one of the greatest tag teams, not only in WCW history but overall. Their style was incredible, their look was unique and, save for perhaps The Hardy Boyz, they can lay claim to being one of the most successful (legitimate) sibling pairings ever.