Ranking The Top 50 Tag Teams: The PWI Years (50-35)
In 2003, Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) compiled a list of the top 100 tag teams during the "PWI Years", which originated in 1979.
For some uncanny reason, approximately 40 percent of the teams on the list competed mostly in Japan, including ten of PWI's top 20 teams.
I decided to only list the teams which wrestled in North America.
Below are the top 50 tag teams that competed in North America in the order listed by PWI.
50 - Moondogs
Though they won the WWF Tag Title in 1981, Spot and Rex quickly became a team who's role was to enhance the young tag teams (e.g. British Bulldogs, US Express, Killer Bees) that were entering the WWF in mid-1980s.
They did obtain success after their stay in the WWF while competing in USWA. The Moondogs won the USWA tag titles fourteen times and participated in a long feud with Jeff Jarrett and Jerry Lawyler, which was named Feud of the Year by PWI for 1992.
For those who don't know, Randy Colley (Rex) was the original Demolition Smash, but was quickly replaced by Barry Darsow.
49 - Robert Fuller and Jimmy Golden
This is one of the tag teams which I don't agree should have made the list. They never made any impact in the "Big Three" and the tag titles they held were not even from popular regional organizations, like Mid-South, Florida and Georgia.
48 - Ole and Arn Anderson
Martin Lunde competed as Super Olympia before joining Jim Crockett's Mid-Atlantic organization to become Arn Anderson and re-create the Minnesota Wrecking Crew with Ole Anderson. The team went on to win the Georgia's NWA National Title in 1985.
The funny thing about Martin Lunde becoming an Anderson is that Ole Anderson's real name is Alan Rogowski. Earlier in his career he too was kayfabe into becoming an Anderson to fiight with Gene Anderson after Lars Anderson left Mid-Atlantic.
47 - Jerry Lawler and Jeff Jarrett
This team held the USWA Tag Titles four different times and, as mentioned earlier, was part of the biggest feud in the early 90s against the Moondogs.
46 - Masked Superstar and Super Deystroyer
Though they beat the Armstrongs to win the NWA National Tag Title, this team does not deserve to be on this list. They simply did not fight together long enough to be credited with a top 50 spot.
Masked Superstar went on to become Demolition Ax in the WWF and Super Deystroyer became Scott Irwin after taking their masks off.
Masked Superstar is credited for being the first to bodyslam Andre The Giant.
45 - Dusty Rhodes and Magnum TA
This team had some success together in Florida but would become a major force in Jim Crockett Production.
In 1983, Magnum TA and Midnight Rider defeated the Fabolous Kangaroos to win the NWA Florida Global Tag Title. This was a minor title which only existed for one year.
In 1985, "America's Team" formed again to fight the Four Horsemen and the Russians in JCP. It was one of the more dominant tag teams in the promotion until 1986, when Magnum's career was ended in a car wreck.
44 - Ken Patera and Jerry Blackwell
Prior to becoming a fan favorite, Blackwell was part of Sheik Adnan-Al Kaissie's Army and teamed with Patera to form The Sheiks.
The Sheiks feuded with Verne Gagne, as well as The High Flyers (Greg Gagne and "Jumpin" Jim Brunzell) over the AWA Tag Team Titles. The Sheiks beat the High Flyers for the tag team titles and remained champions eleven months before being dethroned by The Crusher and Baron Von Raschke.
43 - Rick Martel and Tony Garea
Garea won the WWWF/WWF World Tag Titles five times with four different partners (Haystacks Calhoun, Dean Ho, Larry Zbyszko, and Rick Martel [twice]).
Teaming up Martel was Garea's most successful, and most popular tag team. They defeated the Wild Samoans in 1980 and then regained the belts from the Moondogs in 1981. They lost the belts for good in the fall of '81 to Mr. Saito and Mr. Fuji.
In 1982, Martel left for the AWA to win its World Title and Garea became an enhancement jobber for the up-and-coming stars.
42 - Heavenly Bodies
There were different variations of the team, which consisted of Tom Pritchard, Stan Lane, and Jimmy Del Ray. The team was led by Jim Cornette.
In 1992, Tom Pritchard and Stane Lane were the first to form the team in Smoky Mountain Wrestling (SMW), winning the tag titles five different times.
Their major feuds were with The Fantastics and Rock N' Roll Express.
After Lane left the team and was replaced by Jimmy Del Ray, the team competed in the WWF, ECW, and USWA which saw them continue their feud with the RnR Express and create a new feud with the Smoking Gunns.
The new variation won SMW Tag Titles on three occasions, and won the USWA Tag Titles once.
The team disbanded after SMW went out of business in 1995.
41 - Arn Anderson and Bobby Eaton
This is the second of three times that Arn Anderson will appear and the first of three for Bobby Eaton.
As members of Paul Heyman's Dangerous Alliance, Eaton and Anderson defeated Ricky Steamboat and Dustin Rhodes to win the WCW World Tag Titles.
These two guys were naturals and wrestled together as if they were partners for years.
40 - Sheepherders (Bushwhackers)
This team's debut was in 1964, when they were known as the Kiwi Sheepherders.
The Sheepherders initially fought in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Canada and won the region's tag titles during the '70s.
In 1981, the Sheepherders were brought to South Eastern Championship Wrestling to compete against the Fuller Family. For over a year, the Sheepherders would defeat all tag teams which Robert Fuller threw at them.
After leaving in 1982, the Sheepherders would compete in one region after another, making a name of themselves as one of the toughest teams at that time and continued to win title after title.
In 1989, the Sheepherders became the Bushwhackers and debut in the WWF as idiots who would lick their partner's heads. The Bushwhackers became one of the most popular tag teams during the '90s but were not able to win the tag titles.
I actually chose them to be on the list of wrestling stars who the WWF ruined with their gimmicks (e.g. Dusty Rhodes and Terry Taylor).
39 - Strike Force
The team formed after Tito Santana, who was doing commentary in the Spanish broadcast booth, helped Rick Martel fight off the Islanders. They feuded with the Islanders until they received a shot at the World Tag Team title, which they won by beating the Hart Foundation.
They held the belts for approximately five months, before losing them to Demolition in Wrestlemania IV with the help of Fuji's cane.
38 - East-West Connection
The "connection" were Adrian Adonis and Jesse Ventura, who held the AWA World Tag Titles for nearly a year in the early '80s. Their main feud was with Greg Gagne and Jim Brunzell who defeated them to win the titles.
After losing the titles, the duo moved to the WWF. They were not able to win the tag belts but became single contenders to Bob Backlund's title.
37 - Chris Adams and Gino Hernandez
Aside from the Von Erich, these to men were the most important wrestlers in World Class. They were know as The Dynamic Duo.
Prior to Brutus Beefcake, the "Duo" were known to cut the hairs of its opponents.
WCCW reaped many rewards from the Dynamic Duo feud with the Von Erichs.
Unfortunately, tragedy struck and Gino Hernandez died after overdosing on cocaine. Though known to be a heavy user, people believe foul play was involved.
36 - Ivan and Nikita Koloff
The former WWWF (defeated Sammartino in '71) was instrumental in training and enhancing his "nephew" Nikita Koloff into becoming a popular star in JCP.
They captured the NWA Tag Titles by defeating Dusty Rhodes and Manny Fernandez in early-'85. Afterwards, they entered into a feud with the Rock N' Roll Express which they lost the titles to later on in the year.
In '86, Nikita turned on his "uncle" and allied himself with Dusty Rhodes. This led to a feud between the Koloffs, which Ivan would partner himself with various heels to fight the new team of Koloff/Rhodes.
35 - Fantastics
This is a team I would have placed much higher. Looking at the list, I would have placed them in the top 20.
Bobby Fulton and Tommy Rogers were extremely popular and successful in all the organizations they fought in.
Their first tag titles were won in their rookie years of 1984 by defeating the Long Riders (Bill and Scott Irwin) for the WCCW (World Class) belts.
In 1986, they defeated the Sheepherders to win the UWF belts. They would continue to feud with the Sheepherders and against Eddie Gilbert's Hot Stuff, Inc during the year.
They swapped titles with Gilbert and Sting during their feud, but lost the titles for good to the other team in the Stuff, Inc. Jack Victory and John Tatum.
They returned to Texas, in 1987, to win the WCWA belts and engage in a feud with the Rock N' Roll RPM (Mike Davis and Tommy Lane) in a scaffold match.
In 1988, the Fantastics joined Jim Crockett Promotions and continued their feud with the Midnight Express, which started in their rookie year in Texas. This feud was voted the best of the year by PWI.
The two teams exchanged the NWA United States Tag Titles during this feud.
In 1989, the team left the NWA and Rogers went to Japan while Fulton continued wrestling under the Fantastics name with his brother Jackie. This team was underrated, despite accomplishing so much in a short time.
I will continue the list shortly and appreciate your interest.
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