Booker T and Test: Short Term, Historic Team
There have been a select few teams in the history of pro wrestling that have held tag team championships in multiple major promotions together. The Legion of Doom was the first team to hold the AWA, NWA, and WWF Tag Team championships. The Dudley Boyz was the first team to hold the WWE, WCW, ECW, IWGP, and TNA Tag Team championships. The Hardy Boyz are the second team to hold WWE, WCW, and TNA Tag Team championships together. The Steiner Brothers held the WWF, WCW, and IWGP Tag Team Championships. And the Nasty Boys, Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard, and Kane and the Undertaker have also held the WWE and WCW Tag Team championships as a duo.
Now, I know the final team mentioned was never in WCW, yet thanks to the purchase of World Championship Wrestling by the WWF in 2001, the Brothers of Destruction were able to do that feat. Yet, one other team also procured this feat as well during the WWF vs WCW/ECW Alliance rivalry. Do you remember it?
Obviously, by the title of this blog, you now know the answer. BOOKER T and TEST is the answer. But those two men making history as a tandem is a little stunning. Not many fans remember this unit winning both the WWF and WCW Tag Team Titles.
Booker T was already apart of tag team history before this happened. Teaming with his brother Stevie Ray, Harlem Heat was the first team in wrestling history to have the most reigns with one tag team championship together, as they held the WCW Tag Team Championships 10 times within a 5 year period. As WCW started to invade the WWF in July 2001, Booker T simultaneously held the WCW World and United States championship at the same time. Once he gave his United States champion to Chris Kanyon for being the MVP of the Invasion pay-per-view, he then lost his WCW championship to the Rock at SummerSlam one month later. Booker T was title-less for 38 days.
Meanwhile, Test joined the Alliance after being excommunicated from the WWF in August 2001. Rumored to be a mole for several of the WCW talents invading WWF programming due to his friendship with Shane McMahon, the WWF locker room beat down Test in the ring, leaving him lying. Proven wrong, the APA gave a half-hearted apology to the one-time Motley Crue bodyguard. After a few weeks, Test finally snapped and joined his good friend Shane-O-Mac, defecting to WCW.
The tandem of Booker T and Test formed and, within a 2 month span, won two sets of tag team championships. People always forget this feat, because of the overall calamity that the WWF/Alliance story brought, as the hodge-podge of championships, performers, and direction allowed for lightning quick ideas to go in and out and lead the mainstream fan base to lose track of everything that was going on. In spite of all this, I remember 3 tidbits that go along with this history making team that not a lot of people remember.
Without further hesitation, here are 3 stats about Booker T and Test and their run to two sets of tag team championships within 45 days.
HONORABLE MENTION: UNOFFICIALLY KNOWN AS “TNT”: The one little item that I love was that Booker T and Test, during promos with one another, were calling themselves TNT. Even though the official team name never stuck, I thought and think it was genius. I mean a WCW affiliated tag team calling themselves TNT while invading the WWF? To me, using those letters, mixed in with the fact that TNT was the channel that hosted Monday Nitro, which beat WWF in the ratings for 84 straight weeks, was awesome! Again, I’m a nerd for subliminal messaging, but I digress.
THEY WON THE WCW TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP ON THEIR FIRST NIGHT AS A TEAM: On the September 27, 2001 episode of SmackDown, Booker T and Test started teaming up and, thanks to the fact that the WCW Tag Team Championships were under the jurisdiction of Shane and Stephanie McMahon, they faced current champions Kane and the Undertaker. Days after a successful title defense against Kronik, the Brothers of Destruction were sore but not out. “TNT” had some growing pains, but they instantly gelled as a team, thanks to the tag team specialist Booker T. However, the Undertaker was well-underway to pinning Booker, when Shane McMahon interjected a steel chair into the match. One chair shot to the head of the Undertaker later and Booker and Test won the WCW Tag Team championships. For a first time team to beat a pair of stalwart WWF guys, by hook or by crook, is an incredible statistic. (Here is the proof of that. Thanks Cagematch!)
THE FURTHER CATALYST BEHIND THE FURTHERING OF THE ROCK/CHRIS JERICHO RIVALRY: During the tail-end of the Alliance involved in WWF programming, Booker T and Test found themselves in a return match for the WWF Tag Team championship against the Rock and WCW World Champion Chris Jericho on the November 1, 2001 SmackDown. On Raw the previous Monday, Jericho and Rock, in the middle of a big rivalry over the WCW championship, showcased a lot of miscommunication in their victory over “TNT”. The feud began truly at No Mercy on October 21, when thanks to Stephanie McMahon’s distraction, Jericho became a World champion for the first time.
In this return match, Jericho and the Rock got along better against the seemingly cohesive duo of Test and Booker T. However, during the end of the match, Jericho accidentally nailed the Rock with a missile dropkick. After being dumped to the floor, Test gave Rock a big boot to the mush and pinned him for the victory and the WWF Tag Team championship. Within 35 days, Booker T and Test made wrestling history, by becoming the quickest formed team to win two major tag team championships. THIRTY-FIVE DAYS was all it took! However, thanks to the miscommunication and the loss of championships to a common enemy in WCW, Jericho and the Rock took their rivalry to the next level, almost forcing the WWF to go out of business at Survivor Series with Jericho’s blind hatred of the Rock. What a way to make history!
BOTH TITLE LOSSES WERE TO THE HARDY BOYZ: The crazy part about this history between Booker and Test were the fact that both times they lost their championships, it was to Matt and Jeff Hardy both times! It seemed that Team Extreme were an unfortunate Kryptonite to the Alliance in 2001. The first time, on the October 8 edition of Raw, Booker T and Test, still in the middle of their rivalry with the Brothers of Destruction, were well on their way to a victory when the Undertaker came out and gave a Last Ride to Booker, costing “TNT” the WCW Tag Team championships. The second time was on the go-home Monday Night Raw on the road to Survivor Series, November 12. While the referee was distracted on the arena floor with Test and Matt Hardy fighting, Lita nailed a Litacarana on Booker, allowing Jeff to roll up the 5-time WCW champion and loss of the WWF Tag Team Championships. Shenanigans!
As a passionate historian of the business, it stinks sometimes to see memories fade quickly because of the fast world of wrestling and the ability to go from one thing to the next without a care in this ADD culture. To me, the Alliance story in the WWF will go down as one of the most botched ever. And yet, history was made during this time. Booker T and Test, I will remember “TNT” forever. And thanks to the WWE Network, I can now always remember this forever.
Booker T and Test was a rare kind of duo. So rare, it was gone in the blink of an eye. However, they are one of the rare teams to hold both the WCW and WWF Tag Team Championships. They made history. And in the Professional 3, they will NEVER be forgotten.
Jon Harder firstname.lastname@example.org @TheJonHarder