Demolition: The Greatest Tag Team of All Time Part 1: The Birth

Aaron LiebmanAnalyst IMay 4, 2009

22 years ago, the tag team of Demolition made its debut in the then-WWF.

21 years ago, Demolition won its first tag team title at Wrestlemania IV, which they held for a record 16 months.

20 years ago, Demolition defeated their former manager, Mr. Fuji, and the team he jilted them for, the Powers of Pain, in a 3-on-2 handicap match.

19 years ago, Demolition three-peated at Wrestlemania VI.

18 years ago, they wrestled their last match as a tag team, but not as the same pair that made the team famous.

In the mid-80’s, the hottest tag team in wrestling were the Road Warriors, who wore face paint, shoulder pads with spikes on them, and were modeled after characters from the Mel Gibson film of the same name.

During this time, World Wrestling Federation president Vince McMahon Jr. was looking to take wrestling to a national level.  Already having secured Hulk Hogan, he attempted the ultimate poaching by getting the Warriors.  But the pair declined his offer.  Instead, Vince decided he would create his own team of the same mold.

The characters would be Ax and Smash and they would make up a team called Demolition.  Like the Road Warriors, they painted their faces, and arrived to the ring in spikes. 

But going a step further, the tag team wore helmet/masks and dressed in S&M gear.  What started out as a ripoff would transcend wrestling and even overshadow the Road Warriors themselves.

Just prior to Wrestlemania III, Bill Eadie and Randy Culley debuted as Ax and Smash.  However, some fans were able to recognize Culley as his former persona of Moondog Rex.  It wasn’t long before the character of Smash was replaced with Barry Darsow.

Portrayed as heels, Ax and Smash took on the “devious one” Mr. Fuji as their manager and quickly gained immense popularity.  Even if you didn’t like the team, you had to love their theme music sung by Rick Derringer.

Although they were supposed to be “bad guys”, when they walked to the ring to challenge for the tag team belts at Wrestlemania IV, they got a bigger ovation than that of the good guy champions, Strike Force.  Demolition would win the match, but they still hadn’t peaked yet.

Demolition kept getting over with the crowd.  No matter who they faced, and they were the favored team.  To contrast them, McMahon brought in the Powers of Pain, who also wore face paint and beat down their opponents. 

It was planned that the Powers of Pain would take over as the tough guy team.  Instead, the situations became reversed.

Seeing Demolition’s popularity and the Powers of Pain’s lack of a following, McMahon decided to do a double-turn, meaning that in one instant, the teams would switch from good guys to bad guys and vice versa.

It was now that Mr. Fuji was the manager of the Powers of Pain and now it was okay to root for Demolition since they were now good guys.  Their toughness did not diminish, nor did their style...

(Part 2 to come tomorrow)