Stan Lane - The Midnight Express

The Midnight Express

In early 1987, Dennis Condrey left JCP from one day to the next, leaving former partner Bobby Eaton on his own. Enter a man that Eaton is very familiar with and a man who is no stranger to tag-teaming, Stan Lane formerly of ‘’the Fabulous Ones’’’. Lane and Eaton knew each other well from working against each other in the past and this showed as the new version of the Midnight Express gelled from the beginning. Early on, “Sweet” Stan added a deep radio “DJ voice” for manager Jim Cornette that would enrage the crowd.

In May 1987 the combination of Eaton and Lane proved to be a golden one as they won the NWA US Tag-Team titles (a title they would win three times during their time together). A year later the team was cheered on to victory as the Midnight Express won the NWA World Tag-Team Titles from Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard (See also: Brain Busters) on September 10, 1988. This feat meant that they were the first tag-team to ever hold both the NWA World tag-team and NWA United States tag-team titles, a feat only the Steiner Brothers would go on to duplicate in 1991. The Express’ run with the belts was a short one; they were defeated by The Road Warriors in a match that marked Hawk and Animal's first title reign.

Frustrated by their inability to win the tag belts in previous years, the Warriors and manager Paul Ellering had decided to return to their roots as violent thugs who would do anything to win. This new attitude soon paid off with a title victory over Lane and Eaton. On October 29, 1988, the Midnights' reign came to a quick and violent end in New Orleans. At the beginning of the match, Ellering brutally attacked Express manager Jim Cornette outside the ring. When Lane jumped in, the Warriors battered and bloodied Eaton, leaving Lane to fight both Hawk and Animal essentially on his own. Eaton was eventually able to tag in, but was quickly overwhelmed by Animal and pinned after a vicious clothesline.

Now the fan favorites the Midnight Express soon had to contend with a blast from the past, The Original Midnight Express as it consisted of Dennis Condrey and Randy Rose, who had teamed up before Condrey and Eaton became a team. The duo was led by longtime Jim Cornette nemesis Paul E. Dangerously in the hopes of proving that the originals were better than the new version. The shock of seeing the Original Midnight Express gave Dangerously’s team the initial advantage in the feud butRandy Rose left, being replaced by Jack Victory to cut the feud short.

Due to various booking issues, Jim Cornette and the Midnight Express left the promotion for a short while, around the time that Ted Turner brought out Jim Crockett and began promoting the federation as the National Wrestling Alliance / World Championship Wrestling. When the booking issues started to clear up, Cornette and the Midnight Express returned to the federation and a very strong tag-team division. One of those teams was The Dynamic Dudes (Shane Douglas and Johnny Ace), who admitted that the Midnight Express was one of their favorite teams and asked if Cornette would be their manager as well. Cornette agreed but the Midnight Express were not happy about it at all. After arguing, Jim Cornette stopped accompanying the Express to the ring, choosing to only manage the Dudes. At the Clash of Champions IX the two teams met with Jim Cornette in a neutral corner, forced to choose between the teams. The Express started out very aggressively, especially for a team that was supposed to be fan favorites and when the night was over the Midnight Express had once again established themselves as heels with Jim Cornette in their corner; Cornette had never stopped siding with the Express.

After their heel turn, the Midnight Express started feuding with Flyin’ Brian and ”Z-Man” Tom Zenk over the recently re-activated US Tag-Team titles, winning the gold from the young team in early 1990. The Midnight Express would lose the titles to The Steiner Brothers three months later.

After appearing at Halloween Havoc 1990, the Midnight Express split up when Jim Cornette and Stan Lane left the federation, due to conflicts with Jim Herd and booker Ole Anderson. For the first time in seven years there was no Midnight Express; it was the end of an era in tag-team wrestling.

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