The New Age Outlaws of ‘The Road Dogg’ Jesse James and the ‘Bad Ass’ Billy Gunn were one of the most popular and successful tag teams in the World Wrestling Federation during the Attitude Era of the late 1990’s. By the turn of the century and into the 2000’s the Outlaws became exactly like their name in the WWF with drug use and being unreliable. Both Road Dogg and Billy Gunn were ultimately fired by the company at separate times….but it wasn’t the end of their story.
Brian James was the first to join the new upstart promotion called Total Non Stop Action aka TNA. A few years later, Billy Gunn would join the promotion and it seemed only natural that TNA would pair the duo up once again. Brian admitted that when he found out that Kip Sopp (Formerly Billy Gunn) was signing with TNA…..he felt an enormous amount of pressure. He felt as if he and Sopp would have to live up to their former lives as the New Age Outlaws.
When the team reunited in TNA, they were first introduced as ‘The James Gang.’ Brian was BG James and Kip changed his name to Kip James. The two found a little bit of success, but nothing compared to their days as the Outlaws. The creative team for TNA at that time consisted of Jeff Jarrett, Dutch Mantel and Vince Russo. It was Russo who approached Brian and Kip with an idea to shake up the team and do something a little different. The three men came up with the gimmick and in 2006….The Voodoo Kin Mafia was born.
The Voodoo Kin Mafia or VKM for short…was a direct jab at Brian and Kip’s former employer Vincent Kennedy McMahon. A name thought up by Russo. VKM had a gimmick where they had complete creative control over their characters and would go into business for themselves. The first order of VKM’s business was to call out McMahon and the newly reformed D-X in WWE.
While Russo created the name and the gimmick…..Brian and Kip used a lot of their past experiences in the WWF/WWE to cut scathing promos on McMahon, but especially on both Triple H and Shawn Michaels who Voodoo Kin Mafia called out by their real names. Admittedly at the time, both Brian and Kip were still using drugs in TNA and felt that WWE was to blame for them being fired and not themselves. The Voodoo Kin Mafia declared “war” on WWE and in particular D-X who VKM felt were nothing without them.
Vince Russo was always someone who liked to create “worked shoots” wherever he was writing….the Voodoo Kin Mafia storyline was no different. While it was definitely worked….most of it was based in reality….Brian and Kip’s reality. The two men really believed hey were unjustly let go by WWE and were really bitter with Paul Levesque and Michael Hickenbottom. The VKM storyline would see Brian and Kip challenge Levesque and Hickenbottom to a shoot fight. It was something they called the 1 million dollar challenge.
It also saw Brian and Kip dress up and mimic both Triple H and Shawn Michaels. They referred to D-X as “Dumb to the Xtreme.” The Voodoo Kin Mafia would also take a page out of the old Degeneration X playbook and invade WWE headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut. It was called Operation Cease and Desist….a term that Vince McMahon and his legal department have used countless times against gimmicks and storylines the WWE deem as too close to their own. The Voodoo Kin Mafia wanted Triple H and Shawn Michaels to accept their challenge for a real life fight and decided to film vignettes of them going to WWE headquarters to get the contract signed.
The vignettes were shown of Brian James using a traffic cone as a megaphone and pointing it towards Triple H’s office and calling him out. It also showed Brian and Kip sleeping by the front door of WWE headquarters waiting for an answer. While D-X’s famous line was ‘We’ve got two words for ya….Suck It!’ VKM had a similar line of ‘We’ve got two words for ya…Stop already.’ Basically calling Triple H and HBK old and pathetic.
While VKM were going on TNA television and claiming that McMahon and D-X were legitimately annoyed by their antics….the truth was Vince and WWE never acknowledged VKM or their challenges. Years later, Brian and Kip would admit in interviews that at the time it frustrated them that WWE ignored them….but now understood that was the best way to do business.
The entire war on Vince and D-X ended when Triple H suffered an injury and Russo decided to kill it because with him out of action…there was nowhere to go with it. Overall, Brian and Kip said they had a lot of fun doing the VKM stuff…but realized that fans just didn’t care about their own real life personal issues with Hunter and Shawn.