Jump to content


Photo

Ranking the US 80s Teams


  • Please log in to reply
97 replies to this topic

#1 JerryvonKramer

JerryvonKramer
  • DVDVR 80s Project
  • 11332 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 15 January 2013 - 08:30 AM

We got into this recently talking about The Fantastics. Chad said he'd rank them probably over all of the WWF teams of the era, with the possible exception of The Rockers. Let's say youwere going to make a list of the Top 10 Tag Teams of the 1980s, how would you rank it? Can go 20 if you want, but 10 seems manageable. Here is a list of teams to consider (categories are just as they came to mind, not instructive or exclusive): NWA/ Territories The Midnight Express (Condrey and Eaton) The Midnight Express (Eaton and Lane) The Original Midnight Express (Condrey and Randy Rose) The Fabulous Freebirds (Hayes and Roberts) The Fabulous Freebirds (Hayes and Gordy) The Fabulous Freebirds (Gordy and Roberts) The Fabulous Freebirds (Hayes and Jimmy Garvin) The Rock 'n' Roll Express The Fantastics The Minnesota Wrecking Crew (Arn and Ole) The Brainbusters (Arn and Tully) The Sheepherders The Road Warriors Chavo and Hector Gurrrero The Garvins (Ron and Jimmy) Doom (Ron Simmons and Butch Reed) The Steiner Brothers The Super Destroyers (aka Scott and Bill Irwin) Chris Adams and Gino Hernandez Tommy Rich and Eddie Gilbert ("Fargo's Fabulous Ones") The Fabulous Ones (Stan Lane and Steve Keirn) Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood Wahoo McDaniel and Mark Youngblood- Sgt. Slaughter and Don Kernodle The Russians (Ivan and Nikita Koloff) Manny Fernandez and Rick Rude The Varsity Club (Rotunda and Williams) The Blade Runners (Sting and Warrior) Sting and Lex Luger Kevin and Kerry von Erich The Zambuie Express (two big fat black dudes) Ted DiBiase and Dr Death Steve Williams Jerry Lawler and Bill Dundee Ray Stevens and Greg Valentine America's Team (Dusty Rhodes and Magnum TA) The Super Powers (Dusty Rhodes and Nikita Koloff) WWF Mr. Fuji and Mr. Saito Dick Murdoch and Adrian Adonis The Briscos The Funks The Hart Foundation The Rockers The Orient Express (Sato and Tanaka) The British Bulldogs The Islanders The Fabulous Rogeous Brothers The Killer Bees The Powers of Pain Demolition Strike Force (Tito and Martel) Rick Martel and Tony Garea The Dream Team (Beefcake and Valentine) The Collosal Connection (Haku and Andre) Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff The US Express (Rotunda and Windham) The Mega Powers (Hogan and Savage) The Twin Towers (Bossman and Akeem) Power & Glory (Herc and Roma) AWA The High Flyers (Greg Gagne and Jim Brunzell) The East-West Connection (Adrian Adonis and Jesse Ventura) The Sheiks (Patera and Blackwell) Buddy Rose and Doug Summers The Destruction Crew (aka The Beverley Brothers) The Pretty Young Things (Koko Ware and Norvell Austin) That's a lot to chew on. I will have a think. I am genuinely interested to see how guys rank this. ONLY 80s runs should be considered. No point trrying to include, for example, Gene and Ole because they had a few matches in the early 80s or Patterson and Stevens because they had a few matchs in 1980. Likewise, stuff from the 90s including The Rockers vs. The Orient Express shouldn't be considered. 1980-1989 on US soil only. Obviously it would be great if reasoning could be provided. The best case scenario would be a team-by-team analysis but we all have jobs to do and lives to lead.

#2 khawk20

khawk20
  • DVDVR 80s Project
  • 2352 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 15 January 2013 - 08:45 AM

Badd Company did their thing in the AWA in 88-89, I'd include them. Ditto to the run of the Fabulous Ones (not just in the AWA, of course). Memphis, all by itself has a lot of teams that deserve a ranking, I would imagine. .. also wondering about the inclusion of Power and Glory, I have it in my head that they were a 90-91 entity and only scraped the back end of 1989, if anything. I could be wrong as the years tend to jumble sometimes.

#3 Loss

Loss
  • Admins
  • 43648 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 15 January 2013 - 08:48 AM

I'll cross-post what I just put in the podcast thread, then come back to do rankings later:

The Fantastics are likely better than every tag team in WWF history. So are the Midnight Express, Rock & Roll Express, Chavo & Hector Guerrero and the Fabulous Ones.

I don't think there was a single great WWF tag team match in the entire 1980s. The WWF tag team division meant nothing to the success of the promotion, and I think most fans saw the teams as interchangeable. Were any teams (except *maybe* Demolition) more noticeably over than others? They were the equivalent of cruiserweights in late 90s WCW -- they existed in a separate bubble from the rest of the promotion and sometimes their matches got over, but it wasn't often that people truly cared about the performers themselves. They didn't touch main events like the Rock & Rolls, MX and Road Warriors did in Crockett. They are only remembered fondly because (1) there were so many of them and (2) most of them had matching outfits. How's that for absolute and contentious statements? Sorry if I feel strongly about this.

To further elaborate, to blame blowjob tag teams for backlash after a couple of years is not to understand wrestling fans in the 80s. It happened to every blowjob tag team at the time. Teams like that fared better in territories where they could work for 1-2 years, then go somewhere else and be fresh. The backlash was a result of the pretty boy image, where male fans eventually start booing wrestlers marketed to women because they saw them as threatening. It didn't happen in the WWF because at the time, the WWF didn't market itself to your average 20-something guy who would take his girlfriend to watch wrestling. The wrestling infrastructure collapsed that allowed blowjob teams to have a run and move on (and possibly return for a second run after absence made the heart grow fonder), and I don't think it's fair to blame the teams themselves for that, especially not the Fantastics when it even happened to the Rock & Rolls by 1987 in Crockett.



#4 Matt D

Matt D

    4:40

  • Members
  • 10531 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 15 January 2013 - 08:52 AM

You had tag champs anchoring B WWF House shows. I nominate John to look at that and attendance figures.

#5 JerryvonKramer

JerryvonKramer
  • DVDVR 80s Project
  • 11332 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 15 January 2013 - 09:05 AM

Badd Company did their thing in the AWA in 88-89, I'd include them. Ditto to the run of the Fabulous Ones (not just in the AWA, of course).

Memphis, all by itself has a lot of teams that deserve a ranking, I would imagine.


.. also wondering about the inclusion of Power and Glory, I have it in my head that they were a 90-91 entity and only scraped the back end of 1989, if anything. I could be wrong as the years tend to jumble sometimes.


Thought they had their main run 89-90, but turns out they debuted July 90, so not valid for this thread.

I am interested to see if anyone will rank "outside bet" teams like The Russians who had a really good run if you think about it.

This is one of those instances where WWE dominance comes to the fore on the wide-world internet, as a cursory google search reveals 100s of lists topped by Demolition with one or two NWA teams thrown in to make it look like they know what they are talking about. No offense to anyone affiliated with it, but this is probably my least favourite site on the internet and its terrible for shit like that.

#6 Loss

Loss
  • Admins
  • 43648 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 15 January 2013 - 09:14 AM

Just so it's clear where I'm coming from, Ricky Morton headlined NWA World title matches against Ric Flair and was involved in some of the most memorable angles a national promotion did during that timeframe. But he wasn't a star on the level of Jim Neidhart, to pull someone randomly, because Neidhart had the bigger stage. The WWF was a more successful promotion than the NWA, so that's a gimme. So if we're looking at overall stardom, the WWF teams win out. If we're looking at relative importance to the promotion and ring work, that's where I think WWF tag teams suffer.

#7 soup23

soup23
  • Moderators
  • 10491 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 15 January 2013 - 09:21 AM

Dammit didn't see this thread either: I will need to rewatch both the Fans stuff from Midsouth and Texas and the Rockers from the AWA to decide for sure but I may have the Rockers slighly ahead of them. After the RNR, MX, Tully and Arn, maybe the Fabs, and maybe the Rockers though I would slot the Fantastics for tag teams of the 80's. I say this to as someone that has not seen the High Flyers stuff.

#8 ohtani's jacket

ohtani's jacket
  • DVDVR 80s Project
  • 5813 posts

Posted 15 January 2013 - 09:58 AM

The WWF tag teams were over as performers. Just about every person on the roster was over as a performer. The old adage that "everybody is somebody's favourite" has never been truer than when it comes to WWF tag teams. I don't know if there was a great WWF tag match during the 80s or not. I've heard good things about the Briscos/Murdoch & Adonis handheld and I quite like the match where The Dream Team win the titles from The US Express. I also don't know that it's fair to say that because Ricky Morton wrestled Flair for the title that the WWF tag teams weren't important. Did Morton wrestle Flair out of necessity (challengers) or because he was super over? Why would Vince have run Hogan/Michaels? The roster would have had to have been a lot smaller for that match-up to headline anything.

#9 Matt D

Matt D

    4:40

  • Members
  • 10531 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 15 January 2013 - 10:09 AM

Part of me feels like this note is a dastardly JvK trap for me, so I am keeping a cautious distance.

#10 Loss

Loss
  • Admins
  • 43648 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 15 January 2013 - 11:10 AM

I also don't know that it's fair to say that because Ricky Morton wrestled Flair for the title that the WWF tag teams weren't important. Did Morton wrestle Flair out of necessity (challengers) or because he was super over? Why would Vince have run Hogan/Michaels? The roster would have had to have been a lot smaller for that match-up to headline anything.


Morton was very over. Check out the crowd reaction to some of those early angles. Flair also drew 15,000 when Road Warrior Hawk challenged him on the Great American Bash tour in Philly. Vince didn't need to run Hogan/Michaels. Both were babyfaces. Bret vs Savage is really the closest a tag team wrestler got to interacting with the top singles stars in the era, and that only happened one time. The point was that the NWA treated their tag teams as stars on the same level as their singles performers, where in the WWF, they were an isolated division. I'm not saying it's not without its own set of flaws, but I am saying that the NWA would have suffered more from the loss of the Road Warriors or Rock & Roll Express than the WWF would have from the loss of the Hart Foundation or British Bulldogs.

#11 Matt D

Matt D

    4:40

  • Members
  • 10531 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 15 January 2013 - 11:19 AM

I also don't know that it's fair to say that because Ricky Morton wrestled Flair for the title that the WWF tag teams weren't important. Did Morton wrestle Flair out of necessity (challengers) or because he was super over? Why would Vince have run Hogan/Michaels? The roster would have had to have been a lot smaller for that match-up to headline anything.


Morton was very over. Check out the crowd reaction to some of those early angles. Flair also drew 15,000 when Road Warrior Hawk challenged him on the Great American Bash tour in Philly. Vince didn't need to run Hogan/Michaels. Both were babyfaces. Bret vs Savage is really the closest a tag team wrestler got to interacting with the top singles stars in the era, and that only happened one time. The point was that the NWA treated their tag teams as stars on the same level as their singles performers, where in the WWF, they were an isolated division. I'm not saying it's not without its own set of flaws, but I am saying that the NWA would have suffered more from the loss of the Road Warriors or Rock & Roll Express than the WWF would have from the loss of the Hart Foundation or British Bulldogs.


There are some examples.

Hogan and Savage had the Twin Towers angle. Hart wasn't just involved with Savage in a match but also in the angle where they helped Honky to set up the Mega Powers in the first place. Hogan+Demolition+Jake was a pretty high level Survivor Series team. But yeah, in general, it was just not the way WWF operated. They booked long term programs in very stultified ways.

On the other hand, I actually think that by running multiple tours, the top tag teams might have been more important. I'd love for someone better at it to run the numbers, but I think the Bulldogs were draws. I think US Express was a draw. Or Demolition. Or the Harts. How often did they helm B and C shows? How did those shows do. Those are my questions.

#12 JerryvonKramer

JerryvonKramer
  • DVDVR 80s Project
  • 11332 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 15 January 2013 - 11:25 AM

Should be mentioned too that the angle where Morton got his nose broken by the Horsemen WAS quite a big deal for Crockett and it did put Morton over pretty big, so he was arguably "super over" in that time. Loss is absolutely right also that the NWA used to main event shows with tag matches quite a lot, not Hogan and Savage vs. Andre and DiBiase type matches, but matches featuring the Midnights, Rock n Rollers, Arn and Tully, the Road Warriors or even The Russians. I think the tag division was a bigger deal in Crockett than it was in WWF. If you had to pin point biggest drawing acts for the promotion in any given year, for WWF after Hogan you are typically looking at singles guys either in the main event picture or in the IC division. THEN at the tag teams. In Crockett, the US title is almost on par with the World title at times, there's a much bigger sense of the US title guy being someone who is going to go on to face Flair at some point. The tag titles were a massive deal and you get matches like The Midnights vs. Flair and Windham which put over the idea that the best tag team COULD beat the best two singles stars. Now imagine The Hart Foundation or Arn and Tully taking on Hogan and Warrior. In WWF, the IC title didn't have that feel. The IC division had IC guys in it, typically smaller more technical guys: Bret and Perfect felt self-contained on that level in 90-91. The tag division was also a self-contained entity and was typically your number 4 or even number 5 feud in the promotion*. There was also much less cross pollination, which is why it feels so extraordinary for certain unlikely combinations to square off in the Royal Rumble. Partly this is to do with roster size (WWF maintained a roster of 60+ guys, Crockett more like 30), partly it is to do with booking philosophy. And Matt D - no trap, buddy. Whichever measuring stick you want to you, rank the teams. That's all. * To verify this. Pick a year (90) and typically there's your main event feud (#1 Hogan / Warrior), an upper-mid card feud given a lot of air time, sometimes there are two of these (#2 Jake / DiBiase, #3 Dusty / Savage), the IC title feud (null and void because Warrior was IC champ, we'll say one of the other feuds replaces that) and THEN your tag feud (#4 Demolition / Colossal Connection). Go down any WWF card from that time frame and you can pick those feuds out. The situation with NWA/ WCW was not the same.

#13 shoe

shoe
  • Moderators
  • 9127 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 15 January 2013 - 11:55 AM

Doesn't this belong more under the microscope section of the board?

#14 Loss

Loss
  • Admins
  • 43648 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 15 January 2013 - 12:00 PM

Well, it's not so much about one specific tag team, so we can keep it here.

#15 shoe

shoe
  • Moderators
  • 9127 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 15 January 2013 - 12:02 PM

OK

#16 Dylan Waco

Dylan Waco
  • Moderators
  • 10193 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 15 January 2013 - 02:08 PM

On the other hand, I actually think that by running multiple tours, the top tag teams might have been more important. I'd love for someone better at it to run the numbers, but I think the Bulldogs were draws. I think US Express was a draw. Or Demolition. Or the Harts. How often did they helm B and C shows? How did those shows do. Those are my questions.


There really isn't anything to it. The information is out there and easy to get. The trick with 80's WWF tag teams is analyzing it in the context of a promotion where everything was over.

#17 thebrainfollower

thebrainfollower
  • Members
  • 1256 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Central MA
  • Interests:Doctor Who, Star Wars, classic horror, politics, history, theater, and that wrestling thing we are here for.

Posted 15 January 2013 - 02:14 PM

Fascinating discussion. I grew up on 80's WWF and I would agree 100% that tag teams were never treated as important in the WWF as in JCP sure. Those house shows in 1990 main evented by Harts-Demos in the summer of 90 bombed (whether that's their fault or a side effect of Hogan being out and Warrior as champ I'm not so sure) but I don't feel comfortable ranking tag teams in importance at the time since my JCP, AWA, WCCW, Mid South etc viewing is after the fact. Instead I'm going to use a strange criteria. After finding matches to add to my collection and watching them once how often have I gone back and rewatched said matches with tag teams? As an experiment, I actually made a list of every movie, tv show, wrestling match and show I watched in 2012 as the year went along so this isn't that hard to do. BTW I don't think the Orient Express wrestled in the 80's in the WWF at all, or if they did it was 1-2 TV squashes to introduce them. The first major match I remember them having is vs. Demolition at the pre WM VI MSG show in Feb. The Brainbusters The Midnight Express - Condrey and Eaton The Rockers The Hart Foundation The British Bulldogs The Midnight Express - Eaton and Lane The Rock and Roll Express The Road Warriors Ted Dibiase and Dr. Death Steve Williams The Rougeau Brothers The Minnesota Wrecking Crew and the Islanders just missed the list. The only obvious biases I see in this list is that my collection of competitive pre Dusty JCP matches is pretty low and the AWA tends to help me fall asleep. And the only PYT match I have is them against the Fabs on Wrestling Gold so I am in no way qualified to comment on them as workers. I would say in general I need to be better at wanting to rewatch pre 84 US stuff. BTW off topic but is there a proper place to introduce yourself on this forum? I got in today and feel weird not at least doing so somewhere.

#18 tomk

tomk
  • DVDVR 80s Project
  • 1365 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 15 January 2013 - 02:57 PM

On the other hand, I actually think that by running multiple tours, the top tag teams might have been more important. I'd love for someone better at it to run the numbers, but I think the Bulldogs were draws. I think US Express was a draw. Or Demolition. Or the Harts. How often did they helm B and C shows? How did those shows do. Those are my questions.


There really isn't anything to it. The information is out there and easy to get. The trick with 80's WWF tag teams is analyzing it in the context of a promotion where everything was over.



Maan, I was going to WWF house shows in both the Cap/Us Arena in Landover as well as the Baltimore Arena in the 80s, and the idea that the WWF was a promotion where everything is over doesn't feel the least bit accurate. Vince may claim that all of his wrestler's where "WWF superstars" but that's not the way the shows were booked. I remember going to a show in Baltimore (about a month before the combined AWA/NWA fed tried to break into the market) where yes I was really enthusiastic about the work in the Scott Mcgee v Tiger Chung Lee match, but we may have been the only people enthusiastic about that match. For everyone else, Hogan was over and Jyd was over---the rest of the card was a good time to buy Hogan merch. I think one of the points from Krisz's "Vince v the World" thread was the WWF wasn't a fed where everything was over, people came to see Hogan.

They were the equivalent of cruiserweights in late 90s WCW -- they existed in a separate bubble from the rest of the promotion and sometimes their matches got over, but it wasn't often that people truly cared about the performers themselves.


I think this is slightly overstating things, in that the WCW cruiserweight division was horribly booked. WWF tag division was somewhere between the WCW cruiser division and Jimmy Valiant v Paul Jones Army well booked midcard feud.

The WWF tag titles regularly changed hands in Allentown, PA which is essentially a TV studio match ( while the IC or world title change would take place in MSG).

Meanwhile JCP is headlining its shows with the Steamboat/Youngblood v Slaughter/Kernoodle feud.The Final Conflict card in Greensboro main evented by Steamboat/Youngblood v Slaughter/Kernoodle drew record attendance supposedly caused traffic jams and layed the inspiration for Starcade supercard.

The difference between a title that changes hands in TV studio matches and one that changes hands as main event of a supercard is huge.

#19 Childs

Childs
  • Moderators
  • 4480 posts

Posted 15 January 2013 - 02:58 PM

I thought the Bulldogs were really over during their initial rise to win the tag titles. Their matches don't hold up very well, but when I'd go to house shows, they seemed like bigger stars than the Killer Bees, the Hart Foundation, etc. I completely agree that tag wrestling was more emphasized, both as a draw and as a craft, in Crockett, AWA and most of the territories. But it's amazing that, crappy as it usually was, '80s WWF tag wrestling was so much more emphasized than WWE tag wrestling is now. At least the teams had real identities and mid-card feuds that were a notable part of the product. Bryan and Kane are probably as over as any WWE tag act in awhile and yet, do we have any expectation that they'll be a team in six months? (Not that I want them to be, given Bryan's greatness as a singles wrestler.) Overall, I'd say Vince's disdain for tag wrestling has been bad for the art.

#20 Matt D

Matt D

    4:40

  • Members
  • 10531 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 15 January 2013 - 03:01 PM

Well there's the story that London and Kendrick tell. About how they got to visit Titan Towers with Snitsky and they're walking with Shane McMahon who's super happy to see Gene, and as they walk by the LOD photo on the wall, Shane looks to them and goes "this is the last time tag team wrestling mattered to me." or something like that.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users