When people talk of great professional wrestlers, some may look to stars like Hulk Hogan or “Macho Man” Randy Savage who ruled the singles division. However, some wrestlers also became famous for being part of a team.
For as long as professional wrestling has been around, there have been tag teams. This was especially true during the 1980s when the sport reached a new level of popularity that no one saw coming! Let’s take a look at
Who were the best tag teams of the 80s?
Just like the Midnight Express and the Rock and Roll Express, you might not remember this team if you only watched the WWF during the 1980s.
Comprised of Bobby Fulton and Tommy Rogers, The Fantastics had much success in WCW and NWA. The pair worked on and off as a team for two decades and held seven different championships.
In addition to their longevity as a team and the belts they won, their rivalry with the Midnight Express in 1988 was awarded Feud of the Year by Wrestling Observer newsletters.
Nikolai Volkoff and the Iron Sheik
A good heel draws heat from a crowd. In the 1980s no tag-team was as good as drawing heat as Nikolai Volkoff and the Iron Sheik.
Managed by “Classy” Freddie Blassie, who didn’t boo when they came down to the ring waving their flags and demanding everyone stand for the Soviet national anthem.
This team may sound like two singles who were simply thrown together, but the two had some serious chemistry in the ring. While they didn’t team up for as long as other teams throughout history, they were big enough to win the Tag Team Championship titles at Wrestlemania.
The British Bulldogs
Davey Boy Smith and The Dynamite Kid weren’t the stereotypical team of the WWF in the 1980s. They made up for it with Smith’s strength and Dynamite Kid’s technical ability.
They had legendary feuds with the Harts, The Rougeau Brothers, The Islanders, and more.
They won tag team titles in Stampede Wrestling and the World Wrestling Federation.
It is worth mentioning that Dave Boy also went on to have a successful singles career as the “British Bulldog” after Dynamite left wrestling due to injury.
The Brain Busters
Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard were one-half of the original Four Horsemen, but when they made their debut in the WWF they were branded as The Brain Busters.
While their run is not the longest on this list, they did accomplish a lot during their time, including memorable wins over The Rockers, The Hart Foundation, and even breaking Demolition’s 478-day title run.
The duo is a three-time Tag Team Champions holding gold in both the National Wrestling Alliance and World Wrestling Entertainment.
The Fabulous Freebirds
The Fabulous Freebirds are known for their tag team matches with Kevin and Kerry Von Erich.
Michael P.S. Hayes was the entertainer and talker. Buddy Roberts was a great technician and Terry Gordy was the enforcer of the Fabulous Freebirds. Later, the Freebirds would get more members like Jimmy Garvin. But fans from the south remember the original three.
The rule that allows any two members of a stable to defend tag team titles was originally called the Freebird Rule.
The Midnight Express
Jim Cornette has managed many tag teams over the years and many of those teams were successful. There were several different members of the Midnight Express, but the original three (Dennis Condrey, Randy Rose, and Norvell Austin) have won a total of 21 championships together.
The team dominated the division in several South-Western Federations in the early 80s. Cornette was the mouthpiece, but these guys proved what they could do in the ring.
Most future iterations of the stable would feature at least one of the original members. While they continued to see popularity throughout the years, none were as successful as the original group.
Some people say Demolition was created because WWE couldn’t get their hands on the Road Warriors at the time.
Regardless, Demolition has won tag team titles seven times with the original team of Ax and Smash winning six of those championships respectively.
Demolition also holds the record for most days holding the Tag Team Championships in WWE when you add their reigns together. They had the longest reign as Tag Team Champions until The New Day broke that reign with the RAW Tag Team Championships.
The Hart Foundation
Jim Neidhart and Bret Hart, and manager Jimmy Hart, were the original Hart Foundation. Most Attitude Era fans may consider Bret’s stable that was against America in 1997 as the Hart Foundation. While that was an amazing run, that stable isn’t where history began for any of the members.
The 80s tag-team division was dominated by the popular duo. Bret (considered by many to be the dest wrestler in the business) was the technician while Jim was the powerhouse.
Their chemistry was on point and they were loved by the audience. Surprisingly the pair only won tag titles in WWF twice.
The legacy of the Hart family continues with Teddy Hart, Natalya Neidhart, Tyson Kidd, and Harry Smith. These four were part of a Hart Foundation in FCW.
The Road Warriors
If you only watch the World Wrestling Federation, you know Hawk and Animal as the Legion Of Doom. The Road Warriors’ gimmick of wearing spiked shoulder pads and face paint was inspired by the Mad Max movie.
Hawk and Animal have won Tag Team Titles together 16 times across nine different companies. They also have enjoyed success teaming with different partners and are just as popular in Japan as they are in North America.
The Road Warriors’ wrestled in the main event of Survivor Series 1991 teaming with the Big Boss Man to defeat I.R.S and the Natural Disasters.
They also headlined In Your House: Canadian Stampede teaming with Goldust, Ken Shamrock, and Stone Cold Steve Austin in a losing effort to the Hart Foundation.
Rock and Roll Express
This tag team consisted of the wrestlers Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson. The two started wrestling as a tag team in 1983 and have had 40 different reigns as tag team champions across 19 different companies!
One of the longest-running tag-teams in the history of wrestling their accomplishments are too many to list. They even showed up in AEW as recently as 2019.
When you think of tag teams from the 80s, it’s not long before you think of the Rock and Roll Express. This is especially true for fans of professional tag team wrestling from the South.
While there are many different tag teams to choose from, these are ten of the best from the 1980s. Other people might have different opinions but I feel these ten were the most important to their decade.