10 Things WWE Fans Should Know About The Smoking Gunns Tag Team

Wrestling fans know Billy Gunn for his legendary WWE Attitude Era tag team The New Age Outlaws with the Road Dogg, or his modern exploits in All Elite Wrestling with his sons The Gunn Club and The Acclaimed. But before all that, he had a different successful tag team: The Smoking Gunns, with kayfabe brother Bart Gunn.

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The Smoking Gunns were winding down as a duo as the New Generation Era was giving way to the Attitude Era, so fans might not be too aware of the team and its accomplishments. Let’s take a look at the Gunns’ entire time together, from their origins to their breakup and beyond.


10/10 Met While Training

The Smoking Gunns

Bart and Billy Gunn actually met surprisingly early in their careers. Billy Gunn had debuted in 1989 and Bart Gunn in 1991, but at one point in the early ‘90s they met in a training school run by “The Continental Lover” Eddy Mansfield, whose biggest claim to infamy was revealing some of wrestling’s secrets to John Stossel on 20/20.

Attendance at the school was low, and according to Billy Gunn, he and his future tag team partner just taught one another techniques by watching whatever wrestling was on TV and then trying to recreate it in the ring.

9/10 Teamed As The Long Riders In IWF

Billy Gunn and Bart Gunn as the Long Riders in IWF

Eddy Mansfield also had his own promotion in the early ‘90s called the International Wrestling Federation, notably credited for being the first wrestling show to be produced at Universal Studios, where WCW, Impact, and later AEW would tape. The future Smoking Gunns wrestled for IWF as well, teaming as Kip Winchester (Billy) and Brett Colt (Bart) under the tag team name The Long Riders.

The cowboy theme would certainly carry on to WWE, as would their championship accomplishments, as The Long Riders held the IWF Tag Team Championship during their time with the promotion.

8/10 Signed To WWE In 1993

Smoking Gunns backstage in WWE

The Long Riders got their big opportunity to impress WWE officials — and fans — at a taping of Wrestling Challenge in early April 1993. In their tryout match, which was untelevised but later released on the DVD WWE Unreleased: 1986-1995, Kip Winchester and Brett Colt took on Barry Horowitz and Reno Riggins.

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Coming out victorious in front of what was likely the biggest crowd The Long Riders had ever wrestled in front of, the duo also managed to score a WWE contract out of it, as they were hired on the spot.

7/10 Won The Tag Team Titles In 1995

The Smoking Gunns

The Smoking Gunns made their official televised WWE debut a month after their tryout and spent the rest of 1993 and 1994 squashing jobbers and taking on more notable opponents in pay-per-view matches.

In late January 1995, the Gunns got their first televised shot at the WWE World Tag Team Championships, defeating Bob Holly and the 1-2-3 Kid on Monday Night Raw. This inaugural tag title run would last 69 days, ending at WrestleMania 11 at the hands of Owen Hart and Yokozuna.

6/10 Gained Sunny As A Manager

Smoking Gunns with Sunny

Bart and Billy Gunn won back the Tag Title from Hart and Yokozuna, but after a 143-day reign, the duo had to vacate the belts, so Billy Gunn could receive much-needed neck surgery. Once Billy recovered, the Gunns returned to the ring and won the championship for a third time when they defeated The Godwinns in May 1996.

But in winning the belts, they also won over The Godwinns’ manager, Sunny, who decided to ditch her old clients to manage the new tag team champions.

5/10 Sunny Caused Chaos In The Smoking Gunns

Sunny White Top

While gaining a manager seems like a sign of success, it would prove to be The Smoking Gunns’ undoing with Sunny. It appeared a romance between Billy Gunn and Sunny was blossoming, much to the chagrin of Bart Gunn.

Matters would come to a head at In Your House: Mind Games when the Gunns lost the Tag Team Championship to the team of the British Bulldog and Owen Hart. In the post-match, Sunny walked out on the Gunns for losing the belts.

4/10 The Break-Up Feud

The Smoking Gunns have an altercation at ringside

A full-on feud between Billy Gunn and Bart Gunn ensued, starting with Billy walking out in the middle of a tag team match on a late October 1996 episode of Superstars and then having an altercation at ringside on the following Raw.

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Their first major encounter would be at the Survivor Series 1996 pre-show in mid-November, competing on opposite teams. A month later, the two would compete in a short one-on-one match on Raw, ending with Billy Gunn sustaining a neck injury that took him out for a few months.

3/10 Had One Final Singles Match

Billy vs Bart Gunn

Billy Gunn and Bart Gunn never really got to have their big one-on-one breakup match, but they did have one final singles match in WWE. In the spring of 1997, Billy Gunn returned to WWE television from his aforementioned injury, eventually gaining The Honky Tonk Man as a manager and getting repackaged as “Rockabilly.”

After a few months, Rockabilly and Bart Gunn would meet in a singles match on an early June 1997 episode of Raw, with Rockabilly getting the win in what would be Bart Gunn’s last televised match for the company for nearly nine months.

2/10 Moved On To New Tag Teams After Breaking Up

Billy Gunn and Road Dogg in The New Age Outlaws, WWE.

By the fall of 1997, Rockabilly struck up a partnership with another directionless, musically-inclined singles wrestler, Jesse James, becoming “Badass” Billy Gunn and The Road Dogg, The New Age Outlaws. In the spring of 1998, Bart Gunn returned to WWE as Bodacious Bart, half of a revived Midnight Express as part of an NWA invasion angle.

While the invasion storyline was ultimately forgettable, the two former partners did end up clashing at King of the Ring ‘98 as the Express failed to capture the Outlaws’ WWE World Tag Team Championship.

1/10 Billy Tried To Keep Bart Out Of The Brawl For All Tournament

Bart Gunn Knocks Out Dr Death Cropped

Later in 1998, Bart Gunn would achieve infamy in WWE history by taking part in Brawl For All, an ill-conceived tournament that featured WWE’s midcard and below competing in legitimate shootfighting.

According to Billy Gunn himself, he was fully aware that his ex-tag team partner was surprisingly formidable in a fight, and warned management backstage that Bart would probably win the tournament. Billy’s prediction came true, as Bart Gunn scored several surprising upsets, including one over “Dr. Death” Steve Williams, who WWE was expecting to win Brawl For All.

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