THE BATTEN TWINS
WWC Tag Team Champions
WWC Caribbean Tag Team Champions
Written by Adam Zimmerman
Hailing from Mount Hope, West Virginia, Brad and Bart Batten grew up playing sports and even played some college football for rival teams. Even though the teams had a rivalry, since both twins played on the offense, they never actually competed against each other.
In 1983, after attending a few ICW shows, they decided that they wanted to try pro wrestling. ICW was run by Angelo Poffo and featured his two sons as the biggest stars; Lanny Poffo and Randy (Poffo) Savage. Bart introduced himself to Lanny Poffo after an ICW show in Beckley, West Virginia and in turn, Lanny introduced him to his brother Randy. The Poffo brothers were interested in training the twins because tag teams consisting of identical twins were (and still are) rare in the wrestling business. After the next ICW show, both twins met with Angelo Poffo and their training in the business began soon afterward.
In the old days, if you attempted to break into the wrestling business, your trainers were gonna test you at some point, whether they liked you or not. I always assumed that it's because, in a sport full of tough guys, nobody wanted to be responsible for releasing a "wimpy" trainee onto the scene. Bart says that Lanny tried to test him on the very first day of training by getting him into a "shoot" front facelock. Being a high school wrestler, though, Bart was able to reverse this and made Lanny submit to a guillotine choke.
The Batten Twins made their debut for ICW on May 12, 1983, but Brad was injured shortly thereafter. Bart then teamed with Johnny Wilhoit to win the ICW United States Tag Team Championship and stayed with ICW until the promotions closing in 1984. Eventually, the two brothers reunited as a team in the CWA and then traveled throughout many territories in the United States before eventually traveling to Puerto Rico to compete in the World Wrestling Council (WWC).
They became hugely popular in Puerto Rico but not without some controversy. The Battens were some of the few American wrestlers (along with "Hangman" Bobby Jaggers, I suppose, because he always seemed to be around the island) who stayed in Puerto Rico after the murder of Bruiser Brody. The Battens defend this by saying that they had families and couldn't afford to turn down bookings. They also say that they were friends with Bruiser Brody and they don't think he would've held it against them.
They went on to have great matches in the WWC with the likes of The Sheepherders and The Puerto Rican Express (Hurricane Castillo Jr. and Miguelito (Miguel Jr.) Perez) and they also ended up winning the WWC Tag Team Championship and the WWC Caribbean Tag Team Championship. After this, the Battens briefly had a run in WCW but they were mostly used separately and as enhancement talent. They then went on to work in Jim Cornette's Smoky Mountain Wrestling and also traveled back and forth to Puerto Rico in between SMW stints. After SMW's closing in 1995, the Battens continued to be prominent on the independent scene until they mutually decided to retire, at least as a team, in 2005. The Batten Twins were often overlooked by the bigger promotions at the time (evidenced by their treatment in WCW and lack of any sort of WWF run) but they were definitely a solid, entertaining tag team to watch!