In professional wrestling, longevity is not guaranteed, as injuries, backstage drama, and real-life circumstances can curtail even the most promising careers. Longevity is even less guaranteed for any tag team thanks to the added variable of there being two people to follow, not to mention the fact that tag teams are rarely the main event.
In fact, several teams that impressed fans in the 1980s disappeared from mainstream promotions in the decade that followed, though some of them did enjoy individual careers after the fact. Let’s take a look at 10 of these teams that didn’t stick around long after 1989, including several of WWE.
10 the glamorous girls
In the mid to late 1980s, WWE boasted an underrated women’s tag team division that included Judy Martin and Leilani Kai together as The Glamor Girls. They feuded primarily with the Jumping Bomb Angels of Japan, capturing the World Women’s Tag Team Championship twice.
That last title win would be their undoing, however, thanks to the covert backstage ruses of Fabulous Moolah, who still had complete control over women’s wrestling at the time, resulting in the duo being fired. Martin and Kai mostly went their separate ways, though they briefly reunited in the short-lived Ladies’ Professional Wrestling Association.
9 the powers of pain
The rise of the Road Warriors resulted in a number of powerhouse duos in face paint, including The Warlord and The Barbarian, former rivals who teamed up as The Powers of Pain. Originally featured in the NWA as the bad guys against Hawk and Animal, The Powers of Pain ended up in WWE, where they feuded with that promotion’s attempt to cash in on The Road Warriors — Demolition.
Eventually, The Powers of Pain finally disbanded when Hawk and Animal made their way to WWE, having never captured a tag team championship in the promotion.
8 killer bees
Another memorable team that never captured a WWE title together, B. Brian Blair and Jim Brunzell were The Killer Bees, whose main gimmick involved switching places while wearing masks to confuse their opponents and the referee. They were babyfaces, by the way.
The Killer Bees quietly broke up in 1988 without so much as a post-match discussion, and both men eventually left WWE at the end of the decade. They briefly reunited in Herb Abrams’ ill-fated Universal Wrestling Federation under the name Masked Confusion, but that was it.
7 the russian assassins
WCW had no shortage of Russian gimmicks in the 1980s, with The Russians being the most famous. But from 1988 to 1989, WCW also featured a team of masked heels called The Russian Assassin, led by Paul Jones and comprised of fake Russians David Sheldon (aka Angel of Death) as Russian Assassin #1 and Jack Victory as Russian. Assassin #2. .
While they weren’t necessarily a major team, they did have two notable matches: defeating Ivan Koloff and Junkyard Dog in starrcade ’88 and losing to The Midnight Express a couple of months later at clash of champions 5.
6 the high flyers
Let Jim Brunzell have two tag teams on this list. Prior to being Killer Bee, Brunzell was part of the American Wrestling Association tag team The High Flyers alongside Greg Gagne, the son of AWA founder Verne Gagne. The two, who were teammates in college soccer before entering the ring, go on to hold the AWA World Tag Team Championship twice.
The High Flyers wrestled their last match together in June 1985, after which Brunzell left for WWE and Gagne had a disappointing singles career until career-ending injury in 1989.
5 the conquerors
Over the years, WWE had put a guy or a couple of guys in gold wrestling jumpsuits and masks (most notably Edge and Christian) as a joke, but Los Conquistadores were an actual tag team that existed in the 1980s. Composed of José Estrada Sr. and José Luis Rivera, billed as “Uno” and “Dos”, they were decidedly middlemen, but the two certainly had their moments during their careers under the golden masks.
In survival series 1988, Los Conquistadores ended up being the last team standing on their side in a 10-team elimination match, only to be eliminated by The Powers Of Pain.
4 The Fabulous Rougeaus
While only half of The Hart Foundation was Canadian, to most fans the team of Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart is he Canadian tag team. While they were sweeping the tag team division, they had rivals in the form of The Fabulous Rougeaus, made up of real-life brothers Jacques and Ray Rougeau.
Eventually, the two teams experience a double twist with the Harts turning babyfaces and the Rougeaus turning heels. But The Fabulous Rougeaus were never able to capture the tag belts, and Ray eventually retired from in-ring competition while Jacques was repackaged as The Mountie.
3 The Jumping Bomb Angels
The Glamor Girls’ rivals in WWE’s tag team division of the 1980s, The Jumping Bomb Angels, also disappeared as a duo after the 1980s.
Noriyo Tateno and Itsuki Yamazaki rose to prominence in All Japan Women’s Pro-Wrestling and thus proved to be standouts in WWE, with some of their most famous efforts including a 1987 Survivor Series women’s match and a 2/3 Falls. Match with The Glamor Girls in royal rumble 1988. However, Tateno and Itsuki stopped dating around the same time as The Glamor Girls.
2 the islanders
In 1986, The Tonga Kid and King Tonga joined forces as The Islanders, renaming them Tama and Haku, respectively. Originally babyfaces, they eventually turned heel and aligned themselves with Bobby Heenan, later gaining a third member in the form of Siva Afi. However, in 1988 the group fell apart in mid-1988 with the departure of Tama and Afi.
From there, Tama joined the Samoan SWAT team in WCW, while Haku joined a variety of teams, building a strong career as a monster in WWE and WCW.
1 the dogs of the moon
There were a couple of variations of The Moondogs in WWE, the first being Moondog Rex and Moondog King before King was replaced by Moondog Spot after about a year. Regardless of membership, they were wild hillbilly men who wrestled in tattered jeans and chewed on large animal bones. The Moondogs’ heyday was in the early 1980s, with a 126-day run with the Tag Team Championship.
After the Moondogs broke up, Rex became the original Smash in Demolition before Barry Darsow took over the role. After leaving WWE, The Moondogs continued in various small regional promotions, but never anything high profile.