Tag Teams in the Hall: Which Teams Should Be in Sooner Than Later
Currently only six tag teams are in the WWF/E Hall of Fame. Even though it appears the WWE is not taking the division as serious as in the past, there are so many more great historical teams which should go in as a team as their contributions to the ring have made a huge impact.
Samoans, Von Erichs, Funks, Briscos, Blackjacks, and Valiant Brothers are in the Hall. The Von Erichs are in more as a family, than a tag team.
I would not mind seeing one year being exclusive to getting some of the great tag teams in the Hall. At the very least, over the next few years, a concerted effort should be made to include at least one team in every class.
I would not mind seeing a performer such as Bruiser, Bret Hart, Crusher, or HBK being inducted as not only singles performers, but also as a tag team with their respective partners. The Rock and Roll Hall has Lennon and McCartney in as members of the Beatles and as singles artist.
The Road Warriors
Perhaps the greatest tag team in the history of wrestling opens the show. The Warriors impact in wrestling was so profound, they became the AWA number one draw in the mid 1980's.
In their early years, in Georgia Championship Wrestling, the sounds of Iron Man would blare through the crowd and the fans knew they were about to watch a beating. It is legendary lore that wrestlers would see the program sheet, notice they were to face the Roadies, pack up their bags and leave the arena.
Through the years, the Warriors fought great feuds against the Buzz Sawyer, Tommy Rich, Ronnie Garvin, the Russians, the Freebirds, Four Horsemen, and countless other tag teams. Along with their manager, Precious Paul Ellering, they teamed up with Nikitia Koloff and Dusty Rhodes to defeat the Four Horsemen in the first ever WarGames: The Match Beyond.
After successful runs in the AWA, NWA, and Japan, the Warriors decided it was time to move on to the WWF and dream match the fans wanted was about to come to fruition.
The Demolition versus Road Warriors, now known as the Legion of Doom, did not live up to the hype. L.O.D. dominated the feud, which was expected, but what was disappointing was the matches were more six man matches as the Ultimate Warrior joined the feud. Ax was having health issues and Crush was brought in to fill in many of the matches.
The Road Warriors defeated the Nasty Boys for their first WWF title and became the first and only team to ever win the World title in AWA, WWF, and NWA.
They returned to the WCW but did not capture the belts. Financial disputes with Eric Bischoff caused the team to leave to return to WWF, where they again captured gold.
The Road Warriors won titles in Georgia, NWA, WWF, AWA, and Japan. Personal demons finally caught up with Hawk. Animal went on to win a tag team title with John Heydenreich, a title win Animal dedicated to his brother in paint.
Pro Wrestling Illustrated named them tag team of the year four times; three times consecutively. The magazine also named them the greatest tag team of the PWI years.
The Road Warriors are a definite choice for the Hall of Fame.
The Fabulous Freebirds
The Fabulous Freebirds were so instrumental in wrestling that a rule was created for them. For those who do not know, the Freebird rule is when a group wins the tag team titles and any two of the group can defend the straps. Demolition used this rule as well as another Barry Darsow team, the Russians.
The Freebirds became a group in 1979. All three were excellent performers, but it was usually Michael P.S. Hayes as the mouthpiece, Bam Bam Terry Gordy as the badass, and Buddy Jack Buddy Roberts as the wrestler.
They were cheered, they were booed. The group excelled at both. Usually when entering a territory, the group would be loved, but it was only a matter of time before the threesome would beat the hell out of the local fan favorite, thus becoming hated.
Every promo delivered was must see television. The Freebirds would not come to the ring simple either. When they started, Freebird by Lynyrd Skynyrd was blasted over the p.a. system. Later, Badstreet U.S.A., recorded by the Freebirds, with Hayes as lead singer, became their entrance theme.
Not only did the group have legendary, emotional, and brutal feuds against the Von Erichs, the Road Warriors, and Bill Watts, the group would occasionally break up and beat the hell out of each other.
They won regional belts together and apart. Bam Bam and Steve Williams won the NWA tag team titles and Japan belts. Hayes teamed with Jimmy Garvin, who was referred to by Hayes as the fourth Freebird, won the WCW World and U.S. straps.
The 'Birds were rebels inside the ring and outside. When Vince McMahon finally brought them to the WWF, he wanted to break them up. The Freebirds had other ideas and soon left the area.
The team won the PWI tag team of the year in 1981 and was ranked #3 best tag team of the PWI years.
Michael Hayes is said to have some great influence backstage with McMahon, so it is a bit surprising this team is not yet in the Hall.
The Hart Foundation
This is not the Hart Foundation from the Attitude Era. This is about one of the greatest tag teams in WWF history comprising of Jim Neidhart, Bret Hart, and Jimmy Mouth of the South Hart. Though the name was first associated with the group comprising of manager Jimmy Hart, Neidhart, King Kong Bundy, and various others, later the name became the sole ownership of Neidhart and Hart.
Bret was the technician and Jim was the powerhouse. The duos first championship came thanks to crooked referee Danny Davis in a match against the British Bulldogs. The team held the belts until dropping them to Rick Martel and Tito Santana, Strike Force.
Jimmy Hart eventually betrayed Neidhart and Hart by signing the Rougeaus. The Hart Foundation then left the Mouth and kept the name. The team became fan favorites.
They teased a breakup, but came back together to win the titles from Demolition with the aid of newly signed Legion of Doom. The title change became their last as Bret Hart went on to singles glory while Neidhart went on to team with other wrestlers and stay in the mid card.
Bret is in the Hall as a singles performer, but these two as a team should be included.
The British Bulldogs
The British Bulldogs, Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid, were part of an era in the WWF when there were great tag teams. A time when the tag belts were defended regularly and not given just to push an angle. Tag teams were an important part of the wrestling card.
After Vince McMahon bought out Stampede wrestling from Stu Hart, the Bulldogs, after a tour of Japan, became WWF exclusive wrestlers.
The Bulldogs had high profile feuds with The Hart Foundation and the Dream Team, comprised of Brutus Beefcake and Greg Valentine. The Brits had a difficult time in defeating the Dream Team, mostly thanks to constant interference by Johnny Valiant, the Dream Teams manager.
In a so called final match for the belts, the Bulldogs were able to secure the win and belts at WrestleMania II. Its hard to believe that was their only title run.
After the 1988 Survivor Series the duo left the WWF. The team was never able to recapture their magic from previous years. Dynamite Kid went into semi-retirement from the ring, while Davey Boy pursued a singles career, culminating in an epic IC title win over Bret Hart. The two later joined forces as the Hart Foundation during the Attitude Era.
Though they never won a PWI tag team of the year award, the duo were so influential and great in the ring PWI named them the fifth greatest tag team.
The team only had four great years in the WWF, but those years were magical and should get them into the Hall.
The Kiwi Sheepherders
What you expected me to call them them the Bushwackers. They were more like neutered sheep when they entered the WWF in the 1980's.
Fans and the IWC believe the WWE to be PG now, just look at how Vince McMahon toned down one of the most violent tag teams in the history of the sport.
The team consisted of Luke Williams and Butch Miller. The duo formed in 1964. They also had Rip Morgan and Jonathan Boyd were also Sheepherders, but Williams and Miller were the core duo.
Their tag team matches with the Fantastics, Fabulous Ones, and Rock and Roll Express made the Necro Butchers matches today look tame by comparison. They did not need to bring in light bulbs and ladders, the duo used traditional foreign objects, chairs, and teeth to spread their style of destruction. That is how hardcore this team was in the territories.
Upon entering the WWF in the late 80's, the team was toned down and became the Bushwackers.
Though the team never won a World title in a major promotion, their long list of regional titles and innovators of tag team hardcore violence, should be enough to merit them inclusion into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Bruiser and Crusher
Keeping with a hardcore theme, the Man who made Milwaukee Famous and the Bruiser, collectively known as Bruiser and Crusher were the Road Warriors without the face paint.
The two had legendary singles careers and would team up when the other needed some help with the local fan favorite or evil manager. The two would stay together long enough to enjoy five AWA World title reigns together.
In 1972, Pro Wrestling Illustrated named the team the Tag Team of the Year.
To make their tough guy persona even more indelible, the two after beating up a tag team would start to beat up on each other.
Surprisingly, neither of these two are in the Hall of Fame as singles competitors. They should at the very least, be in the Hall as a tag team.
When Demolition first came to the WWF, they were seen as the WWF's answer to the Road Warriors. Eventually, the team made their own name as not clones, but as a great tag team.
The team started with a former Machine and Superstar and a former Moondog. Bill Eadie was known as the Masked Superstar and later as the Super Machine in a tag team with Ande the Giant. Randy Colley, an appropriate name considering he was once a Moondog, was a founding member of Demolition with Eadie. After fans recognized the former Moondog, Eadie suggested another tag specialist, Barry Darsow. The team was finally formalized as Ax and Smash.
At WrestleMania IV, the team defeated Strike Force for their first tag team titles. After holding the belts for a record 478 days, they dropped the belts to Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard, former Horsemen now being called the Brain Busters.
The team went on to win the belts two more times. Finally, with Eadie's health an issue, the team brought in Bryan Adams, known as Crush. The team used the Freebird rule to defend the belts.
They finally disbanded with Eadie going on the independent circuit and Darsow going on to forgettable gimmicks such as the Repo Man.
Demolition are three time WWF champions and should merit great consideration for the WWE Hall of Fame.
The Rock and Roll Express
The Rock and Roll Express were what the Hardy Boys became in the Attitude Era. They were loved by the teen girls and not liked by the adult men crowd, unless they were defending the honor of America. The only difference is neither Ricky Morton or Robert Gibson never had breakout singles success.
The team formed in the Memphis area in the early 1980's. They eventually made their way to Jim Crockett Promotions and the NWA were they had their greatest success. Ricky and Robert finally defeated the Russians for the NWA World titles, before dropping them again to the Commies. At StarrCade 1985, the duo defeated Koloff and Krushev inside a steel cage.
The team would have memorable feuds with Rick Rude and Manny Fernandez and the Midnight Express. The Express vs. Express made for great tag team wrestling. These two teams battle around the country and in different promotions.
Eventually after the Road Warriors and Steiners became the top teams in the promotion, Ricky and Robert decided to move on to Smokey Mountain Wrestling where they were confronted with a familiar foe, Jim Cornette. The Heavenly Bodies, Jimmy del Ray and Tom Pritchard, managed by Cornette, made the RNR Express life a living hell. The teams exchanged the belts many times.
PWI awarded the team the tag team of the year in 1986.
Occasionally, the team still tags up to this day. Their title reigns in many promotions, popularity, and longevity merit consideration for the Hall of Fame.
The Midnight Express
Here is another tag team which looked really different in their beginning than their most successful incarnations. The team started out Southeast Championship Wrestling with Norvell Austin, Randy Rose, and Dennis Condrey.
The Midnights became Condrey and Bobby Eaton upon arriving in Mid South with Jim Cornette as the manager. The team won their first title against Magnum T.A. and Mr. Wrestling II, after II turned on Magnum.
This is when and where the feud with the Rock N Roll Express started. Bookers still want the matches against the two Expresses to happen to this day. The two teams traded the NWA World tag team titles while in Jim Crockett Promotions. The Midnights were also the first team to hold the World titles and U.S. titles simultaneously, a feat later accomplished by the Steiners.
The Midnights also had memorable feuds with the Fantastics, Road Warriors, and Steiners.
When Dennis Condrey left JCP, Stan Lane was brought in to fill the void. The team went on to win a World title and U.S. titles. They actually became fan favorites when they began feuding with the Original Midnight Express consisting of Rose and Condrey with manager Paul E. Dangerously. The Original Midnights actually won a AWA tag team title before venturing to JCP to face Cornette's team. Eaton and Lane were victorious in the feud.
The team was awarded the PWI tag team of the year in 1987.
With Jim Cornette, Lane, Condrey, and Eaton should be inducted as a tag team in the WWE Hall of Fame.
One of the most successful brother duos in history, The Steiner Brothers debuted in 1989 and quickly became the top tag team in WCW.
Rick Steiner was always middling in the undercard and in tag teams with Sting and in groups such as the Varsity Club and Hot Stuff Inc. Scott seemed to have more talent and was being primed for a breakout singles career. Together they were one of the greatest teams in history.
The duo used traditional mat wrestling and powerhouse moves to move up the ranks. Their first World title came at the expense of the Freebirds, Jimmy Garvin and Michael Hayes. The brothers kept the titles until dropping them to Doom, comprised of Ron Simmons and Butch Reed.
The brothers eventually went to the bright lights of the WWF where they won the World titles from Money Inc. The team lost the belts back to I.R.S. and Dibiase, but later lost them to the Quebecers. After being relegated to mid card status, the brothers ventured to ECW.
After short stop in ECW, where they could not win the gold, the team ventured back home to WCW. There the duo won a few more tag team titles while feuding with Harlem Heat and the Outsiders, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash.
Eventually they broke up after Scott decided to become Big Poppa Pump and joined the n.W.o. The brothers reconciled later and still wrestle together in independent promotions and a few times in TNA.
The brothers were named the number two tag team of the PWI years and won the magazines tag team of the year twice. Their titles all over the world, talent, and fan following should merit this team a spot in the WWE Hall of Fame.
Mulkeymania was running wild during the 1980's on the SuperStation WTBS. Fans would chant out their names and the roof would be blown away when these two blonde brothers would enter the ring.
The Mulkeys took on anyone, anywhere, anytime; though usually on Saturday nights. They did not care if they fought the hated Horsemen, they fought the evil Midnight Express, the Mulkeys never backed down. They took on the top fan favorites, such as Magnum T.A. and Jimmy Valiant. They would fight you in singles matches or in tag teams.
For those of you that don't know, as Road Dogg once said, "Your ass betta call somebody." Those who know about the pure awesomeness and felt the power of MulkeyMania were true fans of Jim Crockett Promotion.
The Mulkeys were the next coming of the Briscos combined with the Road Warriors. Their combination of speed, size, power, mat wrestling, and mic skills..............................LOL. Yeah ok.
I had to put in a fun slide to start wrapping up this slide show.
The Mulkeys only won one match in their entire time on WTBS. They were the consummate jobbers. They could take an ass whipping like no one else. Maybe only comparable to Rocky King and Mike Jackson. The Road Warriors, the Four Horsemen, Koloffs, and everyone else who need to beat someone up, just called up the Mulkeys. And to Randy and Bills credit, they were always there to take a beating.
If the WWF Hall of Fame ever decides to open up a jobber wing, as it seemed they did with Koko B. Ware, then the Mulkeys should be the first inductions.
Some Who Will Be in Later; Some on the Borderline
Some for the future and some on the borderline, debatable:
Dudley Boyz, Hardy Boys, Edge and Christian: If ever three tag teams need to go in at the same induction ceremony, these three are future locks. These three teams careers' will always be intertwined as they had epic WrestleMania battles over the tag team titles. Each team has held multiple world titles and the Dudleys also having a few TNA and ECW title reigns.
Minnesota Wrecking Crew: They were as their name implied, a wrecking crew. They held a few tag titles in the Mid Atlantic area. While Gene retired, Ole went on to win a few titles with different partners and join this group signified by holding up four fingers.
Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard: Another great team from the great Four Horsemen had a few title reigns in the WCW/NWA and won the WWF straps as well.
Brothers of Destruction: This is debatable as to whether these two should be a Hall of Fame team. They fought each other, they won singles titles, they won tag titles; but one thing is not debatable, not since the Road Warriors had the fans seen a team destroy the competition in an utterly violent way.
New Age Outlaws: A great team from Degeneration - X. The team comprised of two jobbers going nowhere to form an outstanding, championship team.
The Midnight Rockers: As Demolition was the WWF answer to the Road Warriors, the AWA capitalized on the popularity of the Midnight Express and Rock N Roll Express to form the excellent tandem of Marty Jannetty and Shawn Michaels. The duo won a few AWA titles, but never officially won a tag title in the WWF. HBK, after superkicking Jannetty into the glass, went on to a Hall of Fame singles career and even had some tag success with Nash, Cena, and HHH. When teams break up, no one wants to be the Marty Jannetty of the team.
The Moondogs: Another team, like the Sheepherders, were neutered when Vince McMahon wanted a more family friendly program. There was always different Moondogs, such as Spot, Rex, and King. They won a few tag team titles and always carried their signature bone.
Rocky Johnson and Tony Atlas: Both of these guys are in the Hall of Fame as singles performers. What is most notable is these two greats came together to become the first African American World tag team champions. Wrestling always had backstage politics and those of color paid the price. Bobo Brazil could have been a World champion and very successful, but he was never really given the chance. They continued to pave the road, which Brazil started, for performers of color in todays wrestling.
I hope you enjoy reading as I truly enjoyed putting together a great list of excellent tag teams.