Harlem Heat was an American professional wrestling tag team that comprised of real-life brothers Robert Booker Tio (Booker T) and Lash Huffman (Stevie Ray). One of the most dominant tag teams in the history of professional wrestling, they are considered the best tag team ever in the former World Championship Wrestling alongside The Steiner Brothers. Harlem Heat won the WCW World Tag Team Championship a record ten times together.
They were inducted in the WWE Hall of Fame on April 6, 2019, as part of the 2019 class alongside D-Generation X, The Honky Tonk Man and Torrie Wilson. Despite never having participated as a team in the WWE, their achievements in the World Championship Wrestling have earned them their place in the esteemed company. It will be a second honor for Booker T who already won his individual induction in 2013.
The two brothers from Texas started wrestling together in the early nineties, under the name The Huffman Brothers. Interestingly, the two brothers feuded each other in Ivan Putski’s Western Wrestling Alliance before teaming up with each other. After the dissolution of the Wrestling Alliance, the pair enjoyed success on the independent circuit where they caught the eye of wrestling legend Skandor Akbar who was involved with the Global Wrestling Federation based in Dallas. There he earned the name of “The Ebony Experience” and quickly rose through the ranks.
The Ebony Experience
Under the guidance of Gary Hart, they defeated Skandor Akbar’s “Goodfellows” ("Gorgeous" Gary Young and Steve Dane) to win the GWF Tag Team Championship on July 31, 1992. Their title run was short-lived as they lost the title to The Blackbirds (”Iceman” King Parsons and Action Jackson). They managed to win their title back but again lost it to the Rough Riders (Black Bart and Johnny Mantell). The title loss was forced as a result of a knee injury suffered by Booker T. They again won the title a third time, becoming the only ever tag team to do so.
World Championship Wrestling
Upon signing with the WCW, the tag team went a complete makeover. The team was renamed to “Harlem Heat” and Booker was renamed as “Kole” while his brother Lash was “Kane”. Originally, they were supposed to be a pair of wrestling prisoners who were won by manager Col. Rob Parker in a card game. But the gimmick was changed due to racial sensitivity based on their look, where they were supposed to come out to the ring in wrist and foot shackles. Sensational Sherri started managing the team in 1994, with both Booker and Lash reverting to their original name upon their request. By the end of 1994, they would go on to win their first WCW Tag Team Championship, the first of their ten titles.
Following a dispute in 1999, the two brothers disbanded from the tag team. Stevie Ray formed his own tag team called Harlem Heat 2000.
The Final Heat
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.
Championships and Accomplishments
Cauliflower Alley Club
- Tag Team Award (2018)
Global Wrestling Federation
- GWF Tag Team Championship (3 times)
Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- Tag Team of the Year (1995, 1996)
- Ranked No. 62 of the 100 best tag teams of the PWI Years in 2003
Reality of Wrestling
- ROW Tag Team Championship (1 time)
World Championship Wrestling
- WCW World Tag Team Championship (10 times)
- WCW World Television Championship (7 times) – Booker T (6), Stevie Ray (1)
- WWE Hall of Fame (Class of 2019)