Harlem Heat is coming for the WWE Hall of Fame.
Harlem Heat made their WCW debut in August 1993 under the names Kane (Stevie) and Kole (Booker). They were aligned with Sherri Martel in 1994 and saw their names changed to Stevie Ray and Booker T. During their time in WCW, Harlem Heat won the Tag Team Titles on 10 different occasions and are recognized as the most successful tag team in WCW history.
“I was speechless for a couple of seconds. The last thing I was thinking about was the Hall of Fame. I’m going to be honest with you, I hadn’t really thought about it," commented Stevie. "You know, I get the fans hitting me all the time with different things about Harlem Heat needs to be in the Hall of Fame, so on and so forth. But you never know, so I never gave it very much thought."
Booker T followed up his brother's comments by saying, “It was surprising, actually, I guess because one reason, my brother and I, we never actually wrestled in the WWE. My brother took a step aside at that point in time because he had a daughter, and he wanted to see her grow up and see her go to college. He got a chance to do that. But our career in WCW was awesome My brother and I were together for eight and a half years in WCW and together another two years prior in the Global Wrestling Federation. So we had a career as a tag team, and to be recognized as one of the great tag teams of all time…. [there were] a lot of great tag teams that we competed against back in the day, like the Steiners, the Nasty Boys and the Road Warriors, Sting and Lex Luger, Public Enemy – so many guys we got a chance to grapple with back then, and to be recognized, it’s pretty awesome.”
Bursting on the scene straight off 110th Street in Harlem, N.Y., Booker T & Stevie Ray arrived in WCW in summer 1993, bringing a streetwise, in-your-face attitude to the squared circle. They stared directly into the camera on their way to the ring, warning fans at home that they were about to bust some heads when they stepped between the ropes. And bust heads they did. Harlem Heat wasted no time in mixing it up with the top stars of WCW at the time, like Sting, Ric Flair and British Bulldog. They even joined forces with Sid and Vader to enter the unforgiving battleground known as WarGames.
It was when the brothers took on the managerial services of 2006 WWE Hall of Fame Inductee Sensational Sherri that their stars began to shine. With “Sister” Sherri in their corner, it wasn’t long before Harlem Heat captured their first WCW Tag Team Championship, defeating Stars & Stripes on WCW Saturday Night. Booker T & Stevie Ray brawled with the likes of The Steiner Brothers, Sting & Lex Luger and The Nasty Boys on their way to seven reigns as WCW Tag Team Champions.
By 1997, the two brothers went their separate ways, Stevie going on to become a trusted member of the infamous nWo, while Booker became a breakout singles star, capturing the WCW Television Title on several occasions.
After nearly two years apart, Booker T & Stevie Ray reunited and returned to a vastly different tag team landscape in WCW. However, Harlem Heat hadn’t lost a step, as they defeated The Jersey Triad to win their eighth WCW Tag Team Titles at Road Wild 1999. Before the turn of the millennium, they added two more reigns as champions to their incredible résumé, setting a WCW record that would not be broken before the company was purchased by WWE in 2001.
Though the brothers never competed as a team inside a WWE ring, there’s no denying their pure dominance of tag-team wrestling during The Monday Night War. That’s why Harlem Heat is being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
They last wrestled together in WCW on the July 18, 2000 episode of Thunder, defeating Jeff Jarrett & Rick Steiner. They reunited at ROW Final Heat on February 21, 2015 to defeat The Heavenly Bodies (Desirable Dustin & Gigolo Justin).
Harlem Heat joins Torrie Wilson, D-Generation X, and the Honky Tonk Man as the announced inductees into the 2019 WWE Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame ceremony is scheduled for Apr. 6 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY.