WWE tag team legends The Hart Foundation
Jay Ambler wrote: Kevin Sullivan developed one of the best angles in professional wrestling when he played the Prince of Darkness role on the idea he was possessed by Satan. Sullivan split from his tag team role with Mike Graham and by 1981 was using this angle that would endure for next 15 years.
His Army of Darkness included at one time or another ‘Superstar’ Billy Graham, ‘Dirty’ Dick Slater, Jesse Barr, Black Bart, Angelo Mosca, Roddy Piper, Mark Lewin as the Purple Haze, Bob Roop as Maya Singh, Jim Duggan, Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts, Ron Bass, Rick Rude, Mike Davis as ‘The Dream’, One Man Gang and the Zambaui Express. Their primary managers, at one time or another, were Sir Oliver Humperdink, Percy Pringle (Paul Bearer), Gary Hart and ‘Gentleman’ Jim Holiday. At one time rock musician and shock man Alice Cooper was employed as part of The Army’s promotion. Their primary rivals were Dusty Rhodes, Blackjack Mulligan, Mike Graham, Mike Rotundo, Barry and later Kendall Windham.
Sullivan did a series of matches in 1982-83 that pitted him against Dusty Rhodes. When Rhodes was touring in other territories on behalf of the NWA, often times this role was filled by Blackjack Mulligan. Mike Graham or Barry Windham. During a Christmas 1982 ‘loser leaves town’ match with Sullivan against Rhodes, Jake Roberts dressed as Santa Claus interferes and causes Rhodes to lose the match. Afterwards Sullivan is involved in a series of attacks against his adversaries that causes CWF president Eddie Graham to ‘suspended’ him for a year.
During 1983 Sullivan emerges as The Masked Lucifer with a black rose on his coat’s lapel. Shortly after this Rhodes comes back as The Midnight Rider and the two begin an on air war of words. This climaxes in a Halloween steel cage match where Lucifer attempts to climb out of the cage and Rider pulls him back down using his trunks, exposing his bare butt. Rider (Rhodes) wins the match and unmasks Lucifer to be Sullivan. Eddie Graham then bans Sullivan for life.
Some had very short runs. Piper wrestled in Florida for only a year at the most. The same with Mosca. During his short run, Rick Rude became the Southern Champ when he defeated Pistol Pez Whatley on television and if I’m not mistaken brought along Pringle. Abdullah the Butcher was also part of this group with Sullivan along with the Z-Express, both managed by Gentleman Jim Holiday.
Florida wrestling was some of the best. Eddie Graham had a good thing going pitting Rhodes, Mulligan, Graham, et al against Sullivan, Humperdink, et al. Florida was a place where -my opinion-guys ‘cut their teeth’ and was a proving ground before they made it to bigger promos-AWA, WWF and the NWA. Florida wrestling launched the careers of Jake Roberts, Rick Rude, Lex Luger and made Billy Jack Haynes a household name.