Wrestling Tag Teams Of The 80s

Matt Kasper


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wrestling tag teams

The eighties were considered the “golden era” in professional wrestling where many of the most iconic names like Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant were born. What goes overlooked is how many amazing WWE Tag Teams existed in that decade that to this day still hold up as some of the best characters and gimmicks ever created. In no particular order here is the list of WWE Tag Teams from the 1980s that helped shape the WWE or back in those days WWF landscape.

The British Bulldogs

british bulldogs tag team

Members: Davey “Boy” Smith, The Dynamite Kid
WWE Debut: 1983
Sidekick: Matilda the Bulldog
Tag Team Titles Won: One (1986)
Finishing Moves: Running PowerSlam, Diving Headbutt

The British Bulldogs were a tag team made up of wrestlers David Smith (Davey Boy) and Tom Billington (Dynamite Kid). They were real-life cousins who were both born in Wigan, England. The tag team was hugely popular in the ’80s and had a longtime rivalry with the Hart Foundation.

The Hart Foundation

the hart foundation tag team

Members: Bret “The Hitman” Hart, Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart
WWE Debut: 1985
Manager: Jimmy Hart
Tag Team Titles Won: Two (1987, 1990)
Finishing Move: Hart Attack (Running Clothesline)

The Hart Foundation was undoubtedly one of WWE’s greatest tag teams of all time. Composed of Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart they were the ultimate heels back in the eighties and had great rivalries with the British Bulldogs and the Killer Bees. You couldn’t miss them with their hot pink attire and their finisher move is maybe the most iconic tag team finisher ever with the patented Bret Hart running clothesline while The Anvil held the opponent in the air.


demolition tag team wwe

Members: Ax, Smash
WWE Debut: 1987
Manager: Mr. Fuji
Tag Team Titles Won: Three (1987, 1990)
Finishing Move: The Demolisher

When you heard this line, “Here comes the Ax, and here comes the Smasher”, you knew that one of the most intimidating tag teams ever was on their way to the ring. That line comes from Demolition’s famous theme song which was composed by Rick Derringer. They hold the record for the single longest reign with the Tag Team titles at 478 days. Ax and Smash were a force in the WWE with spiked metal ring attire and some of the best face paint back in those days. Their finisher move looked so devastating for that era as Ax would drop an elbow from the second rope as Smash held the opponent over his knee.

The Killer Bees

the killer bees tag team

Members: “Jumpin” Jim Brunzell, Brian Blair
WWE Debut: 1985
Manager: None
Tag Team Titles Won: None
Finishing Move: Double Dropkick

The Killer Bees were kind of a bland tag team with one small gimmick that upped the ante. They would pull out matching bee-striped masks during the match, which they called “Masked Confusion.” The key to the masks was once they put them on you couldn’t tell which member was which and they could easily switch in and out between the two of them. They never won a Tag Team title although they were likely deserving as they had a long 4 year run in the WWE and went over quite well with the fans.

The Bushwhackers

the bushwhackers tag team

Members: Butch, Luke
WWE Debut: 1989
Manager: None
Tag Team Titles Won: None
Finishing Move: Battering Ram

If you are looking for the ultimate “gimmick” tag team of the eighties, The Bushwhackers may be it. They portrayed backcountry simpletons who liked to lick each other, yep you read that correctly. They were total babyfaces and some of the fans got a kick out of them. The funny thing is Jonathon Boyd (Butch) and Rip Morgan (Luke) had a long, successful wrestling career before the Bushwhackers and were a violent, hardcore team. Ultimately, their WWE gimmick was awful and they will never be thought of as a memorable tag team of the ’80s.

The Fabulous Rougeaus

fabulous rougeaus tag team

Members: Jacques Rougeau, Raymond Rougeaus
WWE Debut: 1985
Manager: Jimmy Hart
Tag Team Titles Won: None
Finishing Move: Cannonball Crash

The famous “Frenchmen” of the eighties the Fabulous Rougeaus had a long run in the WWE from 1985 to 1990. They may have flown under the radar for most fans but they were a very talented duo who performed many high-flying acts. They were at their best in the heel role where they would taunt the American fans by waving tiny American flags and trying to start “U S A” chants.

Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff

iron sheik nikolai volkoff tag team

Members: Iron Sheik, Nikolai Volkoff
WWE Debut: 1984
Manager: “Classy” Freddie Blassie
Tag Team Titles Won: One (1985)
Finishing Move: Camel Clutch, Iranian Drop

Even if you were not a big wrestling fan back in the 80’s you almost certainly have seen the Iron Sheik at some point, one of WWE’s most iconic characters. When Vince McMahon paired him up with Nikolai Volkoff he created perhaps the most hated tag team in WWE history. The pro-American crowd back in the eighties despised the Iranian, Russian combo which made them the perfect heels. I loved this tag team known as the “Foreign Legion” and even though they weren’t the most talented in the ring their persona’s more than made up for it outside of the ring.

The Dream Team

the dream team tag team

Members: Brutus Beefcake, Greg “The Hammer” Valentine
WWE Debut: 1985
Manager: Johnny Valiante
Tag Team Titles Won: One (1985)
Finishing Move: Figure Four Leg Lock

The Dream Team was a classic 80’s heel tag team in the WWE. Greg Valentine played the role perfectly and this may have been Brutus Beefcake’s best role in the WWE. They had some great matches with the Killer Bees and British Bulldogs over the years and a long title reign that lasted 226 days back in 1985.

The Islanders

the islanders tag team

Members: Haku, Tama
WWE Debut: 1985
Manager: Bobby Heenan
Tag Team Titles Won: None
Finishing Move: Savate Kick, Diving Headbutt

No not the NHL hockey team, back in 1986 The Islanders debuted in the WWE as babyfaces. Besides their standout floral pattern tights, The Islanders never really had a big impact during their run. They got lost in an era where the WWE was full of great tag teams. Bobby Heenan joined them eventually and they did a heel turn which was the highlight of their time together.

Los Conquistadores

los conquistadores tag team

Members: Conquistador #1 & #2
WWE Debut: 1987
Manager: None
Tag Team Titles Won: None
Finishing Move: Slingshot Catapult Clothesline

Only diehard wrestling fans will remember the cult classic team Los Conquistadores. Played by Jose Estrada & Jose Luis Rivera they may have been the originators of the spandex bodysuits. The outfits were everything for this duo as they really didn’t have any success in the WWE as they played the role of the constant “jobbers”. More recently in the 2000s, tag teams like Edge and Christian brought back the Conquistadors outfits to provide some comedy and nostalgia for the fans.

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The Mega Bucks

the mega bucks tag team

Members: Ted DiBiase, Andre The Giant
WWE Debut: 1988
Manager: Virgil
Tag Team Titles Won: None
Finishing Move: Nothing Specific

Two iconic wrestlers joined forces for a brief period of time back in 1988 to form The Mega Bucks. Andre and DiBiase were created after a long-running story between Ted DiBiase and Hulk Hogan. Eventually, Macho Man Randy Savage would get involved and the ultimate Tag Team Match was set between the Mega Bucks and the Mega Powers (Hulk Hogan and Macho Man). I think the most memorable thing to come out of the Mega Bucks was their appearance in the now-cult 1989 arcade game WWF Superstars.

Powers Of Pain

powers of pain tag team

Members: The Barbarian, The Warlord
WWE Debut: 1988
Manager: Mr. Fuji
Tag Team Titles Won: None
Finishing Move: Running Powerslam followed by a Diving Headbutt

The Powers of Pain debuted in the WWF in 1988 and you could clearly tell their look was inspired by the Road Warriors. The team consisted of two huge monsters the Barbarian and Warlord and were managed by Mr. Fuji. They were a powerhouse team that got a decent run but never achieved great success despite their physical prowess.

The Young Stallions

young stallions tag team

Members: Jim Powers, Paul Roma
WWE Debut: 1987
Manager: None
Tag Team Titles Won: None
Finishing Move: Flying Cross Body

A rather forgettable tag team of the eighties that never really took off. Paul Roma was the stand-out of the two muscle men as Jim Powers lacked the charisma to be a star. They had a couple of title shots vs the Hart Foundation but lost every match.

Road Warriors

road warriors tag team

Members: Animal, Hawk
WCW Debut: 1988
Manager: None
Tag Team Titles Won: Seven (1983,1984,1985,1988,1989)
Finishing Move: Doomsday Device

Most consider The Road Warriors one of the best tag teams of all time. The Road Warriors had it all for their time – Face Paint, Outfits, Intimidation, Theme – they were the main draw for the NWA organization for many years. Unfortunately they never quite had the same impact when they made their way to the WWE in the ’90s but their impact will never be forgotten among die-hard wrestling fans.

The Mega Powers

mega powers tag team

Members: Hulk Hogan, Macho Man
WWE Debut: 1987
Manager: Miss Elizabeth
Tag Team Titles Won: None
Finishing Move: Leg Drop, Flying Elbow

For a brief period of time, the WWF universe was turned upside down when the two biggest stars at the time joined forces to create The Mega Powers. Hogan and Savage will always be remembered as one of the very first Super Teams and they created one of the best storylines of all time. Ultimately, Savage would turn on Hogan of course out of jealousy because of the lovely Miss Elizabeth.

Strike Force

strike force tag team

Members: Tito Santana, Rick Martel
WWE Debut: 1987
Manager: None
Tag Team Titles Won: One (1988)
Finishing Move: Figure Four Leg-Lock

The team of Tito Santana and Rick Martel was your classic babyface tag team of the 80’s. They had some outstanding in-ring ability and were talented performers. They had one long title run but ultimately Strike Force was a nice launching pad for both their single careers after the team broke up.

The Bolsheviks

bolsheviks tag team

Members: Nikolai Volkov, Boris Zhukov
WWE Debut: 1987
Manager: None
Tag Team Titles Won: None
Finishing Move: Bearhug

The Bolsheviks are one of the least remembered tag teams of the eighties and for good reason. They were rather boring and just trying to copy the success of Volkov’s former tag team with the Iron Sheik. They were more of a comedy duo who are most remembered for singing the Russian national anthem before each match.

The Rockers


Members: Shawn Michaels, Marty Jannetty
WWE Debut: 1988
Manager: None
Tag Team Titles Won: None
Finishing Move: Rocker-Plex, Double Superkick

The Rockers were the tag team where it all started for Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels. The tag team themselves had a good run in the late eighties and were a fan favorite for many years. They will forever be remembered more for how they broke up, however. Shawn Michaels throwing Marty Jannetty through Beefcake’s barbershop window is one of the more legendary moments in wrestling history and launched Shawn Michael’s career as a single performer.

Brain Busters

brain busters tag team

Members: Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard
WWE Debut: 1988
Manager: Bobby Heenan
Tag Team Titles Won: Three (1988, 1989)
Finishing Move: Pile Driver

Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard basically carved the blueprint for what a heel tag team looks like. They could do it all back in the eighties from mic work to getting heat and cheating every inch of the way.

Looks-wise they embody the 80’s. The dad bod vibes with all too tiny trunks. They are most known for their work in the WCW but had a run in the WWF that started in the late eighties. Most diehard wrestling fans will have the Brain Busters in their top ten.

American Express

american express wwf

Members: Danny Spivey, Mike Rotundo
WWE Debut: 1985
Manager: None
Tag Team Titles Won: None
Finishing Move: Nothing Specific

If you don’t remember this tag team, don’t worry you are not alone. The American Express featuring Mike Rotundo and Danny Spivey was a failed attempt at re-making the successful tag team known as the U.S. Express.

They had a chance to compete early on as they were put in house matches vs the Dream Team who were the current Tag Team Champions at the time. The crowd never took to them and they eventually fizzled out after 2 years.

Colossal Connection

colossal connection tag team

Members: Andre The Giant, Haku
WWE Debut: 1989
Manager: Bobby Heenan
Tag Team Titles Won: One (1989)
Finishing Move: Nothing Specific

The Colossal Connection was a very brief tag-team partnership between Andre The Giant and Haku. The tag team was mainly created as an attempt to extend their career of Andre as his health was quickly diminishing at this point in 1989. Both wrestlers were a part of the Heenan Family Stable and thus the pairing together. They did manage to hold the Tag Team Titles for 1 month before ultimately losing to Demolition at Wrestlemania VI.

Twin Towers

twin towers wwf tag team

Members: Big Boss Man, Akeem
WWE Debut: 1989
Manager: Slick
Tag Team Titles Won: None
Finishing Move: Sidewalk Slam, Splash

The Twin Towers were just that, two massive-sized men paired together with a combined weight of over 700 pounds. The most well-known of the two was The Big Boss Man who had a long successful singles career. Akeem was a gimmick character who never went over and thus their pairing together was rather forgettable. They never won any titles and only lasted one year together but they did have some funny on-mic moments at the time.

Jumping Bomb Angels

jumping bomb angels wwf

Members: Itsuki Yamazaki, Noriyo Tateno
WWE Debut: 1988
Manager: None
Tag Team Titles Won: One (1988)
Finishing Move: Flying Knee, Front Body Splash

You may not remember these two ladies who hailed from Japan but they were the high flyers of the ladies’ division back in the eighties. They were fearless in the ring and two of the most talented women wrestlers of all time. They had a long title reign lasting 136 days back in 1988 and are inducted into the Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Rhythm And Blues

rhythm blues tag team

Members: Honkey Tonk Man, Greg Valentine
WWE Debut: 1988
Manager: Jimmy Hart
Tag Team Titles Won: None
Finishing Move: Figure Four

In 1988, the WWF decided to pair two of the eighty’s most hated villains into a power tag team named Rhythm and Blues. Honkey Tonk’s character stayed the same but Greg “The Hammer” Valentine drastically changed his image, most notably his blonde locks became jet black.

Ultimately, the duo was just thrown together and didn’t really work. Honkey Tonk was his entertaining self but this gimmick for Valentine just didn’t fit. He was always a way better heel on his own.

The Glamour Girls

glamour girls wwe

Members: Judy Martin, Leilani Kai
WWE Debut: 1985
Manager: Jimmy Hart
Tag Team Titles Won: Two (1988)
Finishing Move: Front Suplex

Some wrestling fans consider the Glamour Girls the greatest women’s tag team in history. They had a good run in the WWE from 1985 to 1988 winning two tag team titles. They faced a lot of jobber opponents but that is because the Woman’s division wasn’t very talent-heavy back in the eighties. They are one of the first women’s tag teams to get real heat from the crowd which was a big accomplishment and helped push the division forward.


moondogs tag team wwf

Members: Randy Colley (Rex), Sailor White (King)
WWE Debut: 1980
Manager: Captain Lou Albano
Tag Team Titles Won: 1 (1981)
Finishing Move: Backbreaker or Bear Hug

If you remember the Moondogs then you are a diehard WWE fan for sure. These guys were barely memorable and barely watchable for that matter. Their image was that of two slobs and that’s the way they wrestled, very sloppy. Amazingly, the WWF at the time did give them a run as Tag Team Champions in 1981 which lasted 45 days. They only lasted 1 year in the WWE as a tag team but each had many gimmicks in their singles career.

Can-Am Connection

can am connection tag team

Members: Rick Martel, Tom Zenk
WWE Debut: 1986
Manager: None
Tag Team Titles Won: None
Finishing Move: Double Dropkick

This was Rick Martel’s first tag team before his Strike Force days with Tito Santana. Rick and Tom worked very well together and were very gifted athletically. The crowd loved them and they were true baby faces. Despite working well together in the ring they had a rather short stint as Tag Team partners and never got a title push. It is said they would have had a bigger push but outside the ring, the two did not get along.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Express

rock n roll express tag team

Members: Ricky Morton, Robert Gibson
NWA Debut: 1984
Manager: None
Tag Team Titles Won: 36 (NWA Tag Team Titles)
Finishing Move: Double Dropkick, Double Elbow Drop

The Rock N Roll Express is best known for their work outside of the big wrestling organizations but they were staples on the independent scene. In the eighties, they were all over the place and became one of the best “Babyface” tag teams of all time. The crowd absolutely loved this fast-paced team and they cut a great promo. They eventually made it to WCW and WWF in the 90s but they will always be known for their work during the eighties. Their longevity was unmatched and these continued to wrestle well into their sixties.

Strongbow Brothers

strongbow brothers tag team

Members: Cheif Jay Strongbow, Jules Strongbow
WWE Debut: 1982
Manager: None
Tag Team Titles Won: 2 (1982, 1983)
Finishing Move: Sleeper Hold

Chief Jay Strongbow was the main attraction of this team and the more notable wrestler for the WWE. At the time of this pairing, it was near the end of Chief Jay’s career so it was more a swan song for the fan favorite. Jules did most of the in-ring wrestling and they did actually have a decent run with a great winning percentage. Jay Strongbow’s celebratory dance was the highlight of most matches.

The Wild Samoans

wild samoans tag team

Members: Afa, Sika
WWE Debut: 1979
Manager: Captain Lou Albano
Tag Team Titles Won: 3 (1980, 1983)
Finishing Move: Front Splash

One of the most important tag teams in WWF history as far as influencing a generation of Samoan wrestlers. Overall I think the duo of Afa and Sika go underrated in the history of tag team greats. They had charisma, unique moves, and some of the best facial expressions ever. Will they ever make a Top Ten list of tag teams, likely not, but during the 80s they were one of the more enjoyable teams to watch night in and night out.

King Kong Bundy & Big John Stud

bundy stud tag team

Members: King Kong Bundy, Big John Studd
WWE Debut: 1985
Manager: Bobby “The Brain” Heenan
Tag Team Titles Won: 0
Finishing Move: Front Splash, Bear Hug

Both Bundy and Stud are best known for their single careers but for two years during the eighties, they were put together to form the ultimate big-man tag team. In my opinion, they were both better as single wrestlers but in their first year together they were the impossible team to beat because of their combined size. They never got any title runs but had some good matches vs Andre The Giant and various partners.

The Funk Brothers

funk brothers tag team

Members: Terry Funk, Hoss Funk
WWE Debut: 1986
Manager: None
Tag Team Titles Won: 0
Finishing Move: None

The Funk Brothers are a legendary tag team and one of the few real-life sibling teams. They were great in-ring personalities and unfortunately only around in the WWF for a short stint. They are most well-known for their days in the NWA and the Japan wrestling circuit. The matches vs the Iron Sheik and Abdullah The Butcher still hold up today.

The Shadows

the shadows wwe tag team

Members: Moondog Rex, Jose Luis Rivera
WWE Debut: 1987
Manager: None
Tag Team Titles Won: 0
Finishing Move: None

This is one of the most obscure tag teams of the eighties. This was your classic “jobber” tag team that had almost no success in their matches and their main purpose was to build up other up-and-coming tag teams. They mainly fought and lost against the Killer Bees and the Young Stallions. Jose Rivera would actually go on to be a part of a very similar gimmick in the Los Conquistadores tag team shortly after The Shadows broke up.

Midnight Express

midnight express tag team

Members: Bobby Eaton, Stan Lane
WCW Debut: 1988
Manager: Jim Cornette
Tag Team Titles Won: 4 (NWA)

The Midnight Express, consisting of Bobby Eaton and Stan Lane and managed by Jim Cornette, was a standout tag team in America during the late 80s. They were exceptional heels and a staple of the NWA, known for delivering memorable matches against other teams of their era. As three-time NWA United States Tag Team Champions and former NWA World Tag Team Champions, their influence extended beyond their title reigns, setting a high bar for future tag teams to strive for.

The Midnight Express captivated fans with their exciting in-ring performances and Cornette’s entertaining antics, though they never quite reached the pinnacle with a signature run for the major belts. They are considered by many as one of the top tag teams of all time, with an incredible chemistry and work ethic that made their matches unmissable events. Their complete in-ring skills, story development, and viciousness when needed made them a legendary team with a lasting impact on the wrestling world.

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