Forever Heel: Furnas and LaFon The Can-Am Express

Doug Furnas, and Phil LaFaun are one of the top 5 foreign tag teams to ever hit Japan. As we all know being big in Japan can be the mark of death for wrestlers trying to make their mark in America. The American career of Doug Furnas and Phil LaFon is no different, but they had an interesting career for a team that really only lasted for two years on the national scene in America.

Doug Furnas and Phil LaFon formed a tag team called the Can-Am Express in 1989. They had a legendary run in All Japan Pro-Wrestling, before returning to America in 1996. Doug Furnas would first show up in ECW, and develop a minor feud with Rob Van Dam. After RVD beat Furnas in a match, Furnas would not acknowledge that Van Dam was the “better man”, instead Doug Furnas attacked Rob. ECW put RVD and Furnas in a tag match where each man was supposed to choose a tag partner. Doug Furnas chose his regular partner, Phil LaFon. Van Dam chose his rival Sabu, after some campaigning by Sabu. The match had a feel that Sabu was going to turn, instead this is the match that brought Sabu and RVD together as one of ECW’s greatest tag teams. Furnas and LaFon would come out on the losing end of this feud, and at the same time joined the WWE.

Furnas and LaFon debuted at Survivor Series 1996. They dropped the Can-Am Express name here. They joined the Godwinns against the WWE tag champs, Owen Hart and the British Bulldog, and their partners The New Rockers. Furnas and LaFon pretty much murdered everyone there, and almost paralyzed Owen. They were the survivors of that match. They had a sporadic feud with Owen and Bulldog until after the 1997 Royal Rumble, and were given a tag title shot against the tag champs at In Your House: Final Four. This match was won by Furnas and LaFon, but only because Owen hit LaFon with his Slammy Award. It seemed this was naturally leading to a WrestleMania blow off match, but for some reason that didn’t happen. Owen and Bulldog ended up defending their tag titles against Mankind and Vader, while LaFon and Furnas were put into a four-way tag match, which they lost. After this LaFon and Furnas would be put into a program with The Legion of Doom. Since they were facing LOD Furnas and LaFon became defacto heels. Furnas and LaFon would be away from WWE for a while because of an automobile accident. When the team returned LaFon was constantly criticizing America, while Furnas just stayed quiet. We didn’t know where Furnas stood on his partner’s opinions of America until he helped LaFon cheat to win a match. Furnas and Latin we’re now full-fledged foreign heels. They were put on Team Canada, at Survivor Series 1997 with partners Jim Neidhart, and British Bulldog. Neither Furnas, or LaFon were official members of the Hart Foundation. My theory is that they were put on Team Canada because of Brian Pillman’s death, and Owen Hart being put into a rematch with Steve Austin at Survivor Series. I believe Owen and Pillman were penciled in to be on Team Canada, and that Furnas and LaFon were taking their place. The Team America Vs Team Canada match at Survivor Series was meaningless, and LaFon and Furnas were sent to Shotgun Saturday Night, and then sent back to ECW.

In ECW Rob Van Dam had declared himself “Mr Monday Night”, and even tried to (kayfabe) get out of his ECW contract in order to join the WWE. RVD was unsuccessful at his attempt to become a WWE superstar, but it didn’t break his loyalty to Stamford, Connecticut. Van Dam would face Tommy Dreamer in a WWE vs ECW flag match. Dreamer won the match, but that didn’t stop Furnas and LaFon from Helping RVD give Dreamer a WWE beat down. Stevie Richards also helped in the beatdown along with Sabu. From here Furnas, LaFin, Droz, and Brakkus formed Team Titan, and took Vince Wright as their manager. The story being that Vince McMahon sent Vince Wright, and a small war chest of money and talent to destroy ECW. Furnas and LaFon would hold the ECW tag belts for a day before losing them to Lance Storm and Chris Candido. After their loss LaFon would leave ECW. Furnas would stay with ECW until the fall of 1998. Furnes would have a ppv match against Tanaka, and lose. He would then be relocated to beating up Tommy Dreamer with Justin Credible, Jack Victory, or whichever obscure heel wrestler joined ECW around that time. Furnas’s last big ECW match was against RVD for RVD’s ECW TV Title.

I really liked this team. A lot of fans criticize the Can-Am Express as being too vanilla for the Attitude Era. I think the real problem was that they would’ve outshined teams like the New Age Outlaws, Headbangers, and Russo’s wacky superstar tag teams. (Taker and Austin, or Mankind and Kane) The Attitude Era also had several tag teams that were so vanilla that you thought you were watching a team of plain white rice cakes. Furnas and LaFon also win points with me for being evil foreign heels, plus they were evil Canadian foreign heels. Those points are worth 5 points right there. These guy’s short two-year run was more interesting to me than a lot of other teams because they were around during some of the biggest angles in modern wrestling history. They were around for the Hart Invasion, Montreal, and a very good ECW Angle.

No Heel of the Week this week, just a classic profile of a world-class tag team.

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