Remembering Pro Wrestling’s Original Fun-Loving Pretty Boys, The Fabulous Ones

The United States in the early 1980s was a wet fever dream of money, drugs and good, old-fashioned American sunny optimism. Reagan was in office. We had beat the Russians in hockey at the Olympics. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial had made it home.

Steve Keirn and Stan Lane were hip to the zeitgeist in America, and proceeded to invent and popularize the now standard-issue gimmick of “Fun-Loving Pretty Boys” in the form of The Fabulous Ones. The gimmick went on to be utilized by such legendary wrestling talent as The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express, The Rockers (with some dude named Shawn Michaels), The Fantastics, The Dynamic Dudes, and The Thrillseekers.

In the 1980s, WWE had “Rock ‘n’ Wrestling,” but the territories had The Fabulous Ones.

I mean, just look at the perfect early-1980s world-class filmmaking right there. Shot by Jim Cornette in Jerry Jarrett’s house, this clearly MTV-inspired music video to announce The Fabulous Ones’ arrival in the Continental Wrestling Territory and get them over with the crowd was one of the first of its kind. Here at With Spandex, we’re constantly giving love to WWE’s post-production crew (and deservedly so), but you have to remember that in 1982 video had just very recently killed the radio star, and videos like this were brand new to wrestling television.

A few highlights for me:

  1. Jim Cornette is obviously a huge Luchino Visconti fan, because this thing has more zoom shots than all of Death In Venice. More shots of wrestlers holding wine glasses and being very still, please.
  2. The part at the end where they are clearly in the same room but changing into their gear at different times features some jump-cut editing genius that would make Godard weep.
  3. It’s ironic that Nightchurch’s Daniel L. Emmons is a great photographer, a funny comedian and a dead ringer for Sweet Stan Lane. It’s like this video became sentient and moved to Los Angeles.

First honorable mention goes to the special window this little time capsule affords us by giving us an unfiltered look into what a nouveau-riche wrestling promoter’s interior design choices were in the 1980s. Johnny Depp’s house in Blow was less ostentatious, and he played a drug kingpin.

Second honorable mention goes to the synchronized dance at the end that looks like two male strippers tried to record a ZZ Top parody birthday greeting and ended up looking like the dudes from “Everybody Wants To Rule The World.”