They were supposed to be the next generation of tag team wrestling for World Championship Wrestling. The next bigtime babyfaces. Their blonde hair, rugged good looks, colorful outfits and skateboards…yes skateboards…the Dynamic Dudes were ready to set WCW on fire! That didn’t exactly happen…the Dynamic Dudes became the Dynamic Duds. This is their story…
The year was 1989 and Ted Turner had purchased Jim Crockett Promotions the year prior. New management was brought in and with that, new ideas of how to improve the promotion. Shane Douglas was a young star that came into the company once Crockett bought the Universal Wrestling Federation (UWF). Management wanted to make Douglas into a huge babyface star and tried different ideas. He was managed by Magnum TA and became his protégé. Douglas was also teamed with Tim Horner to form the “New” Lightning Express. None of these ideas stuck and Douglas sat home waiting for an opportunity.
Johnny ‘Ace’ Laurinaitis was also a wrestler that WCW saw a ton of potential in. Johnny was in a tag team in Florida with his brother Marc down in the Florida territory. He was most known, however, as the flag bearer to the Sheepherders. Standing in at 6’4 and weighing close to 300 pounds…WCW management wanted to do more with him.
Enter Jim Ross…who had a big idea to capitalize on each wrestler’s potential and form a tag team with Douglas and Ace. JR felt that the duo could be the next generation’s Rock N Roll Express with their looks and youth. Ross saw the growing popularity in skateboarding and decided that would be their gimmick. This, despite Shane and Johnny having zero experience riding one. The original name for the new tandem was to be called ‘The New Generation.’
Unfortunately, that name didn’t stick around long as WCW head honcho Jim Herd changed the name to be more hip. According to Douglas, Herd conducted a survey throughout the skateboarding community to see what was the lingo that skateboarders used. The two top words were dynamic and dude. Herd decided that would be a more fitting name for their skater gimmick…so The Dynamic Dudes were born. Both Shane and Johnny hated the new name and went to then head booker Ric Flair to get it changed back to the New Generation. Flair apparently refused to help and refused to even go to bat for the team to change the name.
So Douglas and Ace got together and decided to do whatever it took to get the name and gimmick over. Jim Herd was such a believer in the gimmick, he handed Douglas and Ace two Turner company credit cards to go shopping to get outfits and skateboards for authenticity. The team saw that as an opportunity to see just how serious WCW was in pushing this gimmick. Douglas said that he and Ace went on an extravagant shopping spree. They bought the highest end skateboards and clothing and were never told no while they were spending Ted Turner’s money.
All in all, Shane claimed that he and Johnny Ace spent well over $10,000 on clothes, skateboards and other miscellaneous items. The Dynamic Dudes didn’t exactly get off to the best start. Mick Foley, who was Cactus Jack in WCW at the time, said that fans immediately saw that Douglas and Ace couldn’t skateboard and were almost immediately thought of as frauds. The Dynamic Dudes were struggling to get over as babyfaces. Douglas was becoming frustrated with the booking of the team. While they were winning matches against enhancement talent…they were losing “big matches” to established tag teams.
With the Dudes being booed more than cheered, it left both Douglas and Ace frustrated. ‘Hot Stuff’ Eddie Gilbert approached the duo and suggested that they turn heel. Ace and Douglas loved the idea and pitched it to management….but were sadly turned down. Jim Cornette who was a part of the booking committee thought he could help the team get some positive reactions if he got himself and the Midnight Express involved in a storyline.
Cornette and the Midnight Express were babyfaces at the time and were barely being used. In storyline, Cornette began managing both the Midnight Express and the Dynamic Dudes. That eventually started friction between the Midnights and Cornette. It all led to a match between the two teams with Jim Cornette in a neutral corner. The end result was Cornette hitting the Dudes with his tennis racket and he and the Midnight Express turning heel.
The idea was that the Dudes would generate sympathy from fans…instead….the Midnights were cheered loudly. The feud was supposed to last for a couple of months, but according to Cornette it was killed early due to Shane Doglas allegedly going to upper management and complaining about how he and Ace were being booked. Shane Douglas denied that he ever did anything like that…but Cornette insisted he did and cut ties with the Dynamic Dude program.
With the team going absolutely nowhere, Johnny Ace decided to spend the bulk of his time for All Japan Pro Wrestling. Shane Douglas also left WCW and went to the independents for a while. Thus, the Dynamic Dudes experiment was dead and perceived by most as a colossal failure.