Many pro wrestlers nowadays craft their ring personalities using some mixture of barbarian aggression and homicidal machismo. But back in the 1980s, Memphis wrestlers Stan Lane and Steve Keirn found success as a tag team known as the Fabulous Ones, whose schtick was that they were happy-go-lucky men of leisure who pumped iron for the ladies.
And to reinforce this maxin'-and-relaxin' playboy persona, the Fabulous Ones posed for what are easily some of the most retroactively hilarious photographs ever taken of adult human beings.
"Saturday, Saturday, Saturday at the Clarksville Civic Center! You bring the entire family, we'll bring our dicks!"
Remember, the Fabulous Ones hailed from a gentler, more yacht-rocking era, so they were able to spin an acclaimed five-year career out of lubing up their torsos, donning bow ties, and obscuring their dongs under a tenuous veil of spandex. And during that period, the Fabs took tons of glamour shots, the likes of which make the Ultimate Warrior look downright Mennonite. Here are 10 of their finest moments, which I have taken the liberty of titling. (NOTE: All titles are also up for grabs as band names.)
Here we have two grown men wearing nothing but puce bikini briefs, assorted pendants and charm bracelets, and an entire industrial drum of canola oil. Now, note their footwear. THIS IS PROOF POSITIVE THAT FLIP-FLOPS DON'T GO WITH ANY OUTFIT WHATSOEVER.
What you're looking at here is every single one of Fred Phelps' nightmares transmuted into the corporeal realm. When he's thrashing around at night, entangled in his quilt -- which is presumably embroidered with passages from Leviticus and scenes of Lot's wife turning into a pillar of salt -- Mrs. Phelps wakes him up by shouting, "FRED, CALM DOWN. YOU'RE HAVING THAT DREAM ABOUT THE GAY WARLOCKS AGAIN."
I am so fucking disappointed that we don't live in a reality where the Fabulous Ones starred in a sitcom about two Chippendales dancers turned social workers whose penchant for pageantry brought hope to an inner-city youth crisis center. That show, by the way, would have been called Big, Big Brothers.
Sweet Jesus, gazing upon this picture for 10 seconds is like watching Road House five times in a row. If I were all about the fellas, I'm pretty sure I'd he-bop to this photograph with such unearthly vigor that my gear would eventually resemble one of those port wine cheese logs covered in slivered almonds you find at business-casual cocktail receptions.
Anyway, that season would've been vastly improved if the characters had stumbled upon a duo of unflappable pretty boys who use their Greco-Roman prowess to suplex zombies. Like, The Walking Dead's shit-smudged survivors are busy boiling their boots when the Fabulous Ones roll up in their banana-yellow pickup truck, blasting "Separate Ways" by Journey. (Sample dialogue: "Hey there, strangers! The walkers swarmed our cabana, but at least we escaped with these great hats!")
*In the course of writing this article, I found myself Googling "WALKING DEAD" + "PRODUCE" + "HERSHEL'S FARM." That's easily the dumbest Internet search I've ever subjected myself to, so according to my own canon, it's a goddamn apple orchard.
Everything about this photo is perfection, namely their poses and the jarring contrast between their bleached-white suits and their sun-kissed mullets. Their heads are so damn orange that they appear to be levitating, like they're the homecoming court of Sleepy Hollow Prep. A night of passion with the Fabulous Ones would be like getting double-teamed by Moose from Archie. (Well, Moose and his brother, uh, Elk?)
Remember that poignant-but-goofy-as-hell scene in The Wrestler where Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei accuse Kurt Cobain of ending the 1980s? Well, the above photo is what Arcade Fire would look like if Nirvana had never existed.
As you can see here, the Fabulous Ones are posing with fellow 1980s heartthrob grapplers the Rock 'n' Roll Express. WILL THEY SWAP PARTNERS? Anyone who gave this magazine but a perfunctory glance would assume that they'd stumbled upon a periodical either dedicated to exceedingly flamboyant Tennessee-area law firms or crafty swingers who make their own clothing out of old towels and wrapping paper. In any case, I'm guessing audiences packed arenas just to see if the Rock 'n' Roll Express would finally show up to a bout dressed in leotards made of Fruit Roll-Ups.
Hot damn, Lisa Turtle had a posse.
At some unknown point in the history of professional wrestling, you know a manager grimly handed his up-and-coming tag team the above photo in a 12-by-18 manila envelope emblazoned with the words YOUR NEXT MATCH in big block letters. Oh, to be a fly on the wall when that went down.
Of course, the Fabulous Ones' beefcake portraiture is only half of their legacy. The duo pioneered the use of wrestling music videos as promotional tools. And if YouTube videos that promoted neuron death were National Historic Landmarks, this shit right here would be Monticello.
What's awesome about this two-minute music video is that maybe nine scattershot seconds indicate that these dudes are wrestlers. The rest of it is mostly the Fabulous Ones expressionlessly drinking sherry in the bath or lounging in a hayloft. Anyone flipping channels in the early '80s would assume this was a paid program, jointly funded by Tennessee's influential beard, hay, and fedora lobbies.
This here's what they call "The Chattanooga Iron Triangle."
In case the plot in that music video was too hard to follow, here are the Fabulous Ones hanging out in a closet for 160 seconds with nothing but a strobe light and sequined tuxedos. If Marvel Studios had only $15 to spend on Thor: The Dark World, you can bet it would look like this.
And do you want to know the secret of the Fabulous Ones' workout regimen? It's easy! Get mostly naked and jog around an indoor track with your best friend.
And finally, it's worth mentioning that the Fabulous Ones weren't the only Memphis-area tag team to splash their thoraxes with buttermilk and stare wistfully into the horizon. Another duo known as the New Generation used this formula as well, but they incorporated topless carriage rides into their repertoire (a perplexingly long shot of such kicks off at 2:15).
And so concludes today's column. If you found absolutely none of the above titillating, my gift to you is the equally garish Playboy's Roller Disco and Pajama Party TV special, which starred flugelhorn godhead Chuck Mangione and the noted sassy ventriloquist's dummy Madame.
I could only tolerate 30 seconds of this, so it's unclear if Madame takes off her top.
You can follow Cyriaque Lamar on Twitter.