The Ebony Experience
The Ghetto Blasters
The Black Bombers
Harlem Heat 2000
|Billed heights||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) - Booker T|
6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) - Stevie Ray
|545 lb (247 kg; 38.9 st)|
|Billed from||110th Street in Harlem, New York|
|Years active||1989-2000; 2015|
Harlem Heat was a professional wrestling tag team composed of two brothers, Booker and Lash Huffman (better known as Booker T and Stevie Ray). The team achieved their greatest success in World Championship Wrestling (WCW), where they won the WCW World Tag Team Championship a record ten times. Kevin Powers of WWE remarked: "When debating the greatest tag team in WCW history, Harlem Heat and The Steiner Brothers are more or less interchangeable."
Booker T and Stevie Ray started to team together as The Huffman Brothers in Ivan Putski's Western Wrestling Alliance after a brief feud with each other. Soon after, the WWA ceased operating and the brothers started touring the Texas Independent circuit until they caught the eye of Skandor Akbar who was involved with the Global Wrestling Federation out of Dallas in 1992. The brothers were repackaged as The Ebony Experience and quickly rose through the ranks of the GWF tag team division under the guidance of Gary Hart, defeating Skandor Akbar's "Goodfellows" ("Gorgeous" Gary Young and Steve Dane) for the GWF Tag Team Championship on July 31, 1992. Their first run with the GWF tag title lasted only a week before they were defeated by The Blackbirds ("Iceman" King Parsons and Action Jackson). Booker and Stevie Ray made a comeback and defeated the cheating birds in September.
The second run with the title lasted a bit longer than a week but was ultimately short lived as the Rough Riders (Black Bart and Johnny Mantell) won the gold on October 23. The title loss was forced due to Booker T suffering a knee injury that needed surgery and time off to recover. In early 1993 the Ebony Experience returned to action and started to chase The Bad Breed (Axl and Ian Rotten) who had won the titles while Booker T recovered. On February 26 the Ebony Experience won their third GWF Tag Team championship, becoming the only team to hold that title three times. Their third run with the title proved to be their longest as they held them until May 7 where Guido Falcone and Vito Mussolini (known as The Sicilian Stallions) defeated them for the titles. Not long after this Booker T and Stevie Ray left the GWF, having signed with World Championship Wrestling (WCW).
In August 1993, the brothers debuted in WCW as the tag team Harlem Heat, with Booker renamed Kole and Lash renamed Kane. They were then billed from Harlem. Originally, they were supposed to be a pair of wrestling prisoners won in a card game by manager Col. Rob Parker, but was changed due to racial sensitivity based on their look, coming out to the ring in wrist and foot shackles. They became heels and teamed with Vader and Sid Vicious in the War Games at Fall Brawl on September 19, 1993, against Sting, Davey Boy Smith, Dustin Rhodes, and The Shockmaster. They lost the match but were over as heels because of the caliber of faces they wrestled.
Sister Sherri began managing the team in 1994 and changed their names back to Booker T and Stevie Ray, at their request. By the end of 1994, they were already Tag Team Champions, having defeated Stars and Stripes (The Patriot and Marcus Alexander Bagwell) in December, en route to a five-month title reign. This would be their first of ten WCW World Tag Team Championship reigns together.
After dropping the title to the Nasty Boys, Harlem Heat regained the belts on June 24, 1995. Harlem Heat became tweeners and entered a feud with Col. Parker's Stud Stable of "Dirty" Dick Slater and Bunkhouse Buck, eventually dropping the titles to them on an episode of Saturday Night on July 22, 1995, thanks to interference from Parker. Parker and Sherri were carrying on a love affair and Parker eventually left the Stud Stable in favor of the Heat to be with Sherri. Harlem Heat regained the WCW World Tag Team titles from Slater and Buck at Fall Brawl 1995. Their third title only lasted one day, but the duo regained the tag team title nine days later from the American Males (Marcus Alexander Bagwell and Scotty Riggs). On the June 24, 1996 Nitro, Harlem Heat defeated Lex Luger and Sting to capture their fifth WCW World Tag Team titles. Three days after losing the tag team titles to the Steiner Brothers, Harlem Heat regained the straps from the Steiners on July 27, 1996. On September 23, 1996 Booker T and Stevie Ray were defeated by Public Enemy (Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge) but took the titles back for the seventh time on October 1, 1996.
After the loss of their seventh WCW World Tag Team Championship, to The Outsiders (Kevin Nash and Scott Hall) on October 27, 1996 they became full-fledged faces when they fired Col. Parker and beat him up. They briefly feuded against Parker's newest team The Amazing French Canadians, a feud they would win. In 1997, they feuded with Public Enemy, The Steiners, and the nWo. On the July 7, 1997 Nitro, they fired Sherri and added a new manager, Jacqueline, on the September 15 Nitro. They were briefly put out of action by the nWo, but returned to feud with the Faces of Fear (Meng and The Barbarian). Stevie then took five months off from WCW to recover from an ankle injury and Jacqueline left for the WWF while Booker made a transition to singles competition. Booker managed to win the WCW World Television Championship during Stevie's absence. Upon his return to WCW, Stevie Ray joined the New World Order, while Booker continued to be a rising singles star. Despite being on opposite sides they managed to peacefully co-exist (despite Booker expressing dismay at Stevie for joining the nWo).
By mid-1999, Booker was able to convince his brother to leave the nWo and reunited Harlem Heat once more. The two defeated Bam Bam Bigelow and Kanyon for their record-breaking eighth WCW World Tag Team championships at the 1999 Road Wild but lost them to Barry and Kendall Windham. Harlem Heat would defeat them about a month later at the 1999 Fall Brawl for the WCW World Tag Team titles. When The Filthy Animals were stripped of the WCW World Tag Team belts due to an injury suffered by Rey Mysterio Jr., the title was put up in a three-way dance at Halloween Havoc 1999. Harlem Heat claimed their tenth WCW World Tag Team title defeating members of The First Family (Hugh Morrus and Brian Knobs) and the Filthy Animals (Konnan and Billy Kidman).
In late 1999, a female bodybuilder named Midnight joined Harlem Heat. While Booker T liked the addition, Stevie Ray neglected her help and started arguing with Booker T. Ray eventually challenged Midnight in a match that would decide whether she would stay with Harlem Heat. After being defeated with a surprise small package, Stevie Ray turned on both Booker T and Midnight.
In February, 2000 Stevie Ray formed Harlem Heat, Inc. with Big T, Kash (formerly known as 4x4 from The No Limit Soldiers) and J. Biggs. Stevie Ray and Big T referred to themselves as Harlem Heat 2000.
Booker T lost the rights to his music and the "T" in his name, as it was owned by Harlem Heat and was referred to simply as Booker. Harlem Heat 2000 won the rights to the Harlem Heat name when Big T pinned Booker on February 20, 2000 at SuperBrawl 2000, and also the rights to use the "Rap Sheet" theme, as he used a cartoonish theme called "The Woodchuck's Game". Kidman and Booker defeated Harlem Heat 2000 (Stevie Ray and Big T) at Uncensored.
On February 21, 2015, Booker T and Stevie Ray reunited as Harlem Heat for one last match at Booker T's promotion, Reality of Wrestling's The Final Heat event, where they defeated The New Heavenly Bodies for the ROW Tag Team Championship.