THE KILLER BEES
B. Brian Blair & Jim Brunzell
Winners, The Frank Tunney Memorial Tag Team Tournament
Written by The Big Rybowski
Everybody's done it. Thought back about something they've loved so much from their childhood and thought "What the hell was I thinking?!"
When Canadian Bulldog asked me to put a few words together about some tag teams that I have fond memories of, I immediately knew who I was going to write about. Growing up as a young mark in the 80s, there was no doubt whinny favourite tag team was....... The Killer Bees.
That's right: the dynamic duo of B. Brian Blair and Jumpin' Jim Brunzell were at the top of my list in a decade that featured arguably the best tag teams in the history of the sport.
Being a kid at the time, sheer athleticism and in-ring skills were mostly lost on me. Instead, gimmicks were gold. And nothing was cooler to me than when the Bees would pull off their famous schtick "Masked Confusion". For the uninformed, this is how this all went down:
One of the Bees would be in trouble and on the verge of defeat. He would slip out of the ring and under the apron. The other Bee who was "fresh" would also go under the ring and seconds later they would both emerge wearing masks. When the opposing tag team would attempt a pin fall on the "defeated" Bee, he would be completely caught off guard by an offensive attack (usually a small package).
This would work to perfection for a couple of reasons:
1) The Killer Bees were identical when they were masked (except for their different builds, weight, and body hair. But they both wore yellow underwear)
2) It would always catch the other team off guard (even though they did it in practically every match and everyone else saw it coming when the masks came on)
But that couldn't be the whole reason I loved the Killer Bees; because of one very implausible gimmick? I went back and did some research on this iconic team to help back up my admiration for them. The biggest victory that I was able to find was a count out win against The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff.
The Killer Bees made four PPV appearances over their career. They competed in the NFL/WWF battle royal at Wrestlemania II, and completed in another battle royal at Wrestlemania IV. At Wrestlemania III, the Bees fought Sheik and Volkoff and lost by disqualification. In what could be seen as their biggest victory in the WWF, The Killer Bees were one of two teams to be sole survivors at the inaugural Survivor Series in 1987 (along with The Young Stallions).
My fondest memory of The Killer Bees has to be seeing them live in Toronto in the Frank Tunney Sr. Memorial Tag Team Tournament. The Bees took home the tourney win by defeating Kamala & Sika, King Kong Bundy & Paul Orndorff, then Demolition in the finals. The prize for winning the tournament was a shot at the titles versus The Hart Foundation.
The nine-year old version of myself was convinced that The Bees would carry their momentum and turn it into their first championship title victory (The 39-year old version of myself now knows that this would've never happened at an untelevised house show). Sure enough, with the help of crooked referee Danny Davis, The Hart Foundation proved too much for the Killer Bees.
But that night forever cemented their legacy as one of the best tag teams in the history of professional wrestling (but what did I know?!).