SLAM! Sports SLAM! Wrestling
   September 02, 2014



News & Rumours
Bios
Obits
Canadian Hall of Fame
WrestleMania 30
WrestleMania 30 photos
Video
Movie Database
Minority Mat Report
Columnists
Features
Results Archive
PPV Reviews
SLAM! Wrestling store
On Facebook
On Twitter
Send Feedback




Photo Galleries

SummerSlam


Kevin Steen


Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Legends Fan Fest


Raw in Miami


Tragos/Thesz Hall of Fame inductions


WWE Battleground


ROH in Detroit







SCOREBOARD
PHOTO GALLERY
VIDEO GALLERY
COMMENT





Kip James

Billy Gunn

REAL NAME: Monty Sapp
6'5", 268 pounds
BORN: November 11, 1963 in Houston, Texas
NICKNAMES: Kip Winchster, Rockabilly, "Bad Ass", Mr. Ass, the New Age Outlaw, the Outlaw, Billy G, the One, Kip James

When he was released by WWE in 2004, Billy Gunn had one of the longest tenures of any superstar at the time. He would win the WWE Tag Team title a total of 10 times with three different partners: Bart Gunn, the Road Dogg and Chuck Palumbo. He would even earn a mention in Time Magazine over his doomed "wedding" to Chuck. But Gunn would also carve out a successful singles career, winning the Intercontinental and Hardcore Championships. Currently known as Kip James, he continues to make headlines, only now it is in NWA-TNA.

Not a lot is known about the early career of Monty "Kip" Sopp. Trained by Jerry Gray, he made his wrestling debut in 1992. As Kip Winchester, he would team with future Smoking Gunn Tag partner Mike Barton, who wrestled as Brett Colt, in Florida with the pair winning the IWF Tag Team Championship.

By 1993, Sopp, know wrestling as Billy Gunn and Barton, dubbed Bart Gunn were WWE-bound and became better known as the Smoking Gunns. With their cowboy gimmick in full force, the Smoking Gunns would initially have to play second fiddle to the Steiner Brothers, and would have to wait for their turn at the top of the WWE Tag Team scene. Meanwhile, they would face the likes of the Headshrinkers, the Quebecers and the Heavenly Bodies.

That would change in January 1995 when the Gunns defeated The 123 Kid and Bob Holly to win their first WWE Tag Team Championship. That first title reign would come to an end at Wrestlemania XI when Owen Hart unveiled his mystery partner Yokozuna and defeated the Smoking Gunns to win the championships.

A second reign as WWE Tag Champs would begin on September 25, 1995 as Billy and Bart defeated Yokozuna and Hart to regain the titles. That second reign would see the Smoking Gunns defend the belts against Razor Ramon and the 123 Kid, Public Enemy and the Bodydonnas before a neck injury to Billy forced the WWE to strip the Gunns of the titles in February 1996. Shortly after his return, the Gunns once again won WWE gold, taking down the Godwinns.

However, shortly after their loss to Davey Boy Smith and Owen Hart, the Smoking Gunns split up. The split had been coming for some time, and it began when the Gunns took on Sunny (Tammy Lynn Sytch) as their manager. Sunny came between the two brothers and they soon found themselves battling each other, most notably at the 1996 Survivor Series.

Billy Gunn disappeared from WWE, to be replaced by Rockabilly. In early 1997, Rockabilly was courted by the Honky Tonk Man who wanted a protege to lead to the Intercontinental Championship. Instead, Rockabilly found himself feuding with Jesse James (BG James) and then, a few months later, the two men began to team together.

Dubbed the New Age Outlaws, Billy Gunn (as he was once again known as) and the Road Dogg (as James was dubbed) would net Gunn a fourth WWE Tag Team title reign, as they defeated the Legion of Doom on November 24th, 1997. Meanwhile, the New Age Outlaws were beginning to form an alliance with DeGeneration X and were certainly acting the part, going so far as to toss a dumpster containing Mankind (Mick Foley) and Chainsaw Charlie (Terry Funk) off the Raw stage.

In a dumpster match at Wrestlemania XIV, the New Age Outlaws appeared to have lost the WWE Tag titles to Foley and Funk, only to have a rematch ordered for the next night on Raw. Not only did the Outlaws regain the belts, but their allegiance with DX was confirmed, as X-Pac (Sean Waltman), Triple H and Chyna came to their aid.

Gunn helped Triple H and the rest of DeGeneration X during their feud with the Nation of Domination, but the New Age Outlaws could not overcome the duo of Kane and Mankind, losing the tag team titles. However, Kane and Mankind were not on the same page by SummerSlam '98 and the Outlaws defeated Mankind in a handicap match to regain the belts.

Gunn and the Road Dogg would continue to defend the titles throughout the fall and winter, against the Headbangers and the team of D-Lo Brown and Mark Henry before falling to Ken Shamrock and the Big Boss Man in December 1998.

With the first cracks in DX beginning to appear, the New Age Outlaws embarked on singles careers, with Gunn taking aim at Shamrock and the Intercontinental Championship, losing in one storied title shot at the 1999 Royal Rumble. However, despite Gunn chasing the Intercontinental title and the Road Dogg chasing the Hardcore Championship, Road Dogg won the I-C title on March 15, 1999, the same night that Gunn defeated Bob Holly for the Hardcore title.

Soon, DeGeneration X was in shambles, as Gunn turned on X-Pac in May and teaming with Chyna to battle X-Pac and the Road Dogg over the DX name. Gunn, in turn, had a successful singles run, winning the 1999 King of the Ring but lost to the Rock at Summerslam.

However, in September the New Age Outlaws had reunited and would win two more WWE Tag Team Championships before the year was out. This last run of the New Age Outlaws was short-lived as Gunn underwent shoulder surgery in March. When he returned, the Road Dogg was teaming with K-Kwik (Ron Killings) but the Road Dogg/K-Kwik team formed an alliance with Gunn and Chyna.

After losing the "Mr. Ass" moniker after a match with Stevie Richards, Gunn began calling himself "Billy G" and later "the One". Whatever the name, Gunn would find success, defeating Eddie Guerrero on November 21, 2000 to become Intercontinental Champion, later losing the title to Chris Benoit at Armageddon.

Gunn would briefly team with the Big Show but found a longer-lasting and much more successful partnership with Chuck Palumbo, who would be managed by Rico. With a new controversial gimmick indeed (it was insinuated, but never out-and-out said that Chuck and Billy were gay), the team quickly found success, defeating Tazz and Spike Dudley to win the first of two WWE Tag Team titles on Smackdown on February 19, 2002.

In September 2002, the in-ring wedding of Chuck and Billy attracted even mainstream media attention. The event was ruined Billy and Chuck decided they couldn't go through with the charade. Rico turned on his team and, to make matters worse, Eric Bischoff and Three Minute Warning attacked the "couple".

In October 2002, Billy injured his shoulder during a house show and was out of action until April 2003. After a rehab stint in Ohio Valley, Gunn returned to WWE action, and was paired up with Torrie Wilson. The pair feuded with Jamie Noble and Nidia only to team up with the pair after having an "interesting" night at a hotel.

Gunn would soon be out of action for more surgery on his shoulder in the fall of 2003. His return in 2004 would be short-lived as well, teaming with Hardcore Holly. In September 2004, he was sent to rehab by WWE but released on November 1, 2004.

He would arrive in NWA-TNA during the Against All Odds pay-per-view, coming to Jeff Jarrett's aid against Kevin Nash. Known as the New Age Outlaw and just the Outlaw, the former Billy Gunn would team with Jarrett and Monty Brown against Jarret foes like Nash, Sean Waltman and Diamond Dallas Page in TNA.

The "Outlaw" tag would not last long, however. Taking aim at 3 Live Krew and especially his former New Age Outlaws partner, BG James, Monty Sapp became Kip James, a nod to both his original Kip Winchester gimmick and a shot at the former Road Dogg. Kip James defended the name change, saying that he and BG James were once as close as brothers.

Those days seemed over, however, as Kip James and Monty Brown defeated Konnan and Ron Killings at the TNA pay-per-view No Surrender, with BG James at ringside. And then, at Sacrifice BG James, serving as a special referee, helped Konnan and Killings defeat Kip and Monty Brown.

The New Age Outlaws did reunite for a UXW card in September, but back in TNA, Kip James continues to try and mend the fences between he and his former tag partner, even appearing in 3 Live Krew's corner for their bout against Team Canada at Bound for Glory.

With Konnan apparently convinced of Kip James' good intentions, he allowed James to join the group and 3 Live Krew became 4 Live Krew. But it wouldn't last, as Konnan attacked both Kip and BG James during an 8 man tag match against Team Canada at Turning Point.

While Killings washed his hands of the whole deal, Kip teamed with BG and the former New Age Outlaws reunited as the James Gang.

The James Gang defeated Diamonds in the Rough at Final Resolution and Konnan's Latin American Exchange at Against All Odds.

KIP JAMES STORIES

  • September 10, 2010: Rants of Billy Gunn's lover go viral
  • Mar. 28, 1999: Outlaws have different takes


    Visit the SLAM! Wrestling store!


  • Billy Gunn Shoot Interview DVD-R


    --- compiled by John M. Milner