Tag Team Appreciation Month

THE SAMOAN SWAT TEAM

Samu & Fatu

WWF World Tag Team Champions

WCCW Tag Team Champions

WWC World Tag Team Champions

1988-1994

 

Written by Canadian Bulldog

You may be wondering why I'm referring to the team of Samu and Fatu as The Samoan Swat Team (or "SST" to us cool kids) rather than the name they were better known for - The Headshrinkers.

 

Personally, I far preferred the original presentation of them before they came to the WWF and had much more success (and likely made a ton more money) under the Headshrinkers moniker. Sure, it was the same two guys -- at least initially -- but as the SST, they had something of an edge to them.

The Samoan Swat Team first showed up in WCW in 1989 (they were in World Class prior to this) as Paul E. Dangerously's replacement team for the "Original" Midnight Express, who had left the territory. 

 

Although Samu had teamed with his father Afa and uncle Sika in the dying days of the WWF's Wild Samoans, he never seemed to break out on his own. Likewise, while cousin Fatu would later become popular as WWE Hall of Famer Rikishi... the SST was really his first big break.

 

What I remember most of The Samoan Swat Team's early WCW run was their theme music... the theme from the Hallowe'en films. It was a great choice of theme song from a promotion that didn't music right all that often (WCW Slam Jam Volume 1, anyone?) and if you listen to the song carefully, the chords are actually quite similar to the current theme of another Samoan star - Samoa Joe.

With Dangerously (a/k/a Paul Heyman) as their mouthpiece, the SST fared well in WCW against teams such as The Midnight Express and The Road Warriors. By the end of the year, though, they were repackaged as The New Wild Samoans - Samu was out and The Samoan Savage (a/k/a the WWF's Tama and Tonga Kid) was his replacement. The two teamed together for a short while, including as part of Starrcade 1989's Iron Team tournament, but The New Wild Samoans weren't long for this world.

It wasn't until 1992 that Samu and Fatu would appear together again, this time in the WWF as the aforementioned Headshrinkers. Managed by father/uncle Afa, they were pretty much your stereotypical "savage" tag team, along the lines of The Islanders a decade earlier. There wasn't much substance to them, though they did have decent matches with the likes of The Nasty Boys, High Energy and The Steiner Brothers.

Their big break came shortly after WrestleMania X, when they turned face and began feuding with WWF Tag Team Champions The Quebecers. In addition to Afa, they were now being guided by The Guiding Light himself, Captain Lou Albano (who managed Afa and Sika to glory in the 1970s and 1980s) - that combination proved too much for Jacques and Pierre to overcome, and the cousins were finally tag team champions in a top promotion.

 

The Headshrinkers' title run only lasted a few months; dropping the titles to the previously unranked team of Shawn Michaels and Diesel the day before SummerSlam 1994. Instead of regrouping, Samu was once again replaced, this time by The Barbarian. Minus his trademark makeup and working under the name Sionne, The New Headshrinkers only lasted a few months before fading into obscurity.

 

There are tons of great Samoan tag teams (all from the same family, as legend has it) including The Wild Samoans, The Islanders, Three Minute Warning and more recently, The Usos. But for what they were and what they managed to accomplish, the SST hold a special place in my heart.

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