Pro wrestling tag teams seem like best friends, brothers, and as close as two guys can get together without being gay. But like everything in life, all good things must come to an end. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular tag teams since the modern era (1984) and see how they broke up.
Best Tag Teams and How They Split Up
Demolition- Ax developed an allergy based on shellfish (in real life!), so Crush was brought in to tag with Smash. Ax was being phased out and was taking a more passive role in the team due to his health, and Crush and Smash became Demolition. The WWF no longer wanted Ax around, so he left for the independent circuit. Smash eventually became the Repo Man, among other gimmicks, and Crush became a pretty popular singles wrestler with different gimmicks. He died of a drug overdose in 2007. It should be noted that Ax and Smash still wrestle together on the indy circuit and legend reunion shows! So it looks like they never broke up!
Hart Foundation- Bret Hitman Hart was chosen to pursue a singles career (which turned out great). He led a Hall of Fame career while Jim The Anvil Neidhart bounced around the lower portions of wrestling cards, and tried to capitalize on the Hart Foundation name for the rest of his career. The Anvil teamed with the late Owen Hart as The New Foundation, and later returned in the 1990s to take Owen’s side against Bret. However, The Anvil joined Bret’s New Hart Foundation (a gang) in 1997.
Road Warriors- Hawk walked out on their WWF contract after being disgusted with a ventriloquist dummy being part of the Legion of Doom. Animal remained, and teamed with Crush, until he hurt his back. In Japan, Hawk formed the Hell Raisers with Kensuke Sasaki (Power Warrior), and had a great run. After Animal healed, he joined their team. Hawk and Animal went back to the states and wrestled together until they ran out of work and Hawk died. Animal created a new version of LOD.
Rock and Roll Express- Robert Gibson got injured after the Rock and Rolls were getting jobbed out in the mid-card, and Ricky Morton turned to the York Foundation as a heel. Robert and Ricky fought each other, until Gibson was let go by WCW. However, after Ricky left WCW, they became partners again all around the indy circuit, and although they occasionally teamed with other wrestlers with new tag team names, they still sometimes team up today. Their brief breakup in 1991 has been erased from history.
Rockers- Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty has the most famous tag team breakup of all time. Shawn and Marty began to squabble during some tag team matches for a while, and things finally hit the fan when they tried to talk about their differences on TV during a segment of The Barber Shop. After if seemed as if the Rockers were back for good, Michaels superkicked Jannetty and busted him wide open in the glass window. Michaels went on to become of the greatest singles wrestlers of all-time (Hall of Famer) while Jannetty suffered through injuries, drugs, and criminal issues. Jannetty was brought back several times and did get revenge on Shawn by beating him, and sometimes helping him, but in the end it was Shawn who always had the last laugh.
British Bulldogs- Davey Boy Smith and the Dynamite Kid were never friends outside the ring, although they were cousins, and actually started out feuding with each other in Stampede Wrestling in Canada. After they settled the feud, they began to team up in Japan, and came to the WWF, where they had a huge run. After injuries, steroid abuse, and bad attitudes, they went back to Japan and Stampede and Dynamite turned on Davey Boy in Canada (although they still teamed in Japan). Eventually, Davey Boy trademarked “The British Bulldog”, jumped to the WWF as a singles wrestler, and left Dynamite in Japan. Davey Boy threatened a lawsuit if Dynamite used that name. Dynamite would team with Johnny Smith before being confined to a wheelchair due to steroid abuse and sacrificing his body in the ring. Davey Boy had a successful singles career in the WWF and WCW before succumbing to injury and death.
Midnight Express- Although many teams have used this name, the “first” version to a national TV audience was Dennis Condrey and Bobby Eaton in the NWA. One day, Condrey JUST LEFT without explanation. Stan Lane was called in the NWA to be Bobby Eaton’s new partner. Condrey came back years later with Randy Rose and called themselves The Original Midnight Express and feuded with Lane and Eaton. Condrey once again skipped town before he was supposed to lose to the New Midnight Express. The end finally came when Stan Lane and their manager Jim Cornette left the NWA. Eaton became a good mid-card singles and tag wrestler. Lane formed a new tag team with Cornette as manager and became on announcer. Over the years, other wrestlers have used the Midnight Express name. Ironically, Eaton, Lane, and Rose still occasionally tag or make appearances on the indy scene and legend shows!
Steiner Brothers- Rick and Scott, brothers in real life, lasted from 1988 to 1998, until Scott turned on Rick in WCW and feuded. They were old at this time, and Scott had completed changed his style and look. Before WCW was bought out by Vince McMahon, they were both heels and watched each other’s backs. They reunited in the indy circuit, and actually went to TNA and teamed up. However, TNA released Rick. Scott is still there in 2011.
Fabulous Freebirds- Michael Hayes, Terry Gordy, and Buddy Roberts were truly wrestling’s first rock band. This trio lasted from 1979 to 1987, when due to Jim Crockett Promotions buying UWF, Hayes went to World Class (Texas), Gordy spent most of his time becoming an icon in Japan, and Roberts’ health went down the tubes. Hayes and Gordy would occasionally reunite, but Hayes and Jimmy Garvin (who knew them since 1983) became the official Freebirds. Hayes, Garvin, and Gordy last teamed up in 1994 for the GWF. Gordy has died, Roberts had throat cancer, and Hayes works for the WWE as a writer.
Hardy Boyz- Jeff and Matt Hardy, brothers in real life, have an on-again, off-again relationship. There were in the minors from 1993-1998, and then teamed up in the WWE from 1998 to around 2002, before Jeff was getting pushed as a single’s wrestler by WWE, and Matt was pushed on a B-show. So Matt turned on Jeff. Hate to say it, but trying to recount all the times Jeff and Matt either got fired, jumped to TNA, had personal issues with their female valet Lita, or teamed up and then broke up is TOO MUCH too write. This is due to the short attention span of today’s wrestling writers, bookers, and dare I say it- fans. As it stands now, if they are not in jail and if they get hired they will either team up or feud with each other. Jeff Hardy is way more popular, but both men continue to burn bridges.
So of the 10 teams, five split up because one partner turned on the other. The other five were due to bookers or contracts. At some point a whopping nine of the ten tag teams either reunited or became friends in wrestling (the only tag team that truly split for good was the British Bulldogs!)
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