Following on from our ‘Superstars of Yesteryear‘ series, we thought the next logical step would be to look at tag teams from wrestling history. So, in ‘Tag teams of yesteryear‘ which will look at the good, and not so good, tag teams from wrestling history, with today’s instalment looking at The Dream Team.
Ah, the Dream Team. Their star shone brightly for less than two years but in a decade where the company arguably had its strongest ever tag team division, the pairing of Brutus Beefcake and Greg Valentine managed a lengthy run with the gold.
The pair would start teaming together in 1985, when Valentine was still focussed on other gold – namely the company’s Intercontinental Title, as documented in the History of the WWE Intercontinental Championship.
Managers Johnny Valiant and Jimmy Hart first put the two together in May of 1985, with the pair going on to face long-time Valentine adversary Tito Santana and various other babyface partners.
When Tito Santana regained his IC title in the summer of 1985, the Dream Team turned their attentions to the then WWF tag team champions, The U.S. Express – Barry Windham and Mike Rotunda.
As the Dream Team became a more established tag team act, Jimmy Hart left the team leaving Johnny Valiant in sole charge. Initial attempts to wrestle the tag team gold from Windham and Rotunda proved to be unsuccessful with the champions reigning supreme in those early clashes.
Such underhand methods helped the team regain the titles in the subsequent feud with the British Bulldogs, with the team also winning matches against the Killer Bees – another popular 80s team – as well as the original U.S. Express and the New U.S. Express, more commonly known as American Express which featured Dan Spivey as a replacement for Windham.
The British Bulldogs, however, remained a constant threat to the Dream Team as the company headed into 1986 and the duo from the UK earned a title shot for the Chicago section of the WrestleMania 2 PPV. On April, 7, 1986, the Bulldogs, accompanied by the legendary Ozzy Osbourne and equally legendary Lou Albana, would triumph after a headbutt in the corner knocked out Valentine and allowed Smith to cover him for the three count and ended the Dream Team’s 7-month reign with the gold.
For the remainder of the year, the Dream Team, now chasing rather than defending, faced the British Bulldogs in a series of matches, including some very well regarded steel cage bouts.
However, as 1986 turned into 1987, the pairing of Valentine and Beefcake found themselves in a new programme, this time with the Fabulous Rougeaus, the team of Jaques and Raymond Rougeaus. The Dream Team would also be frequently joined by Dino Bravo for six-man tag matches, Bravo being Valiant’s newest addition to the group of wrestlers he managed.
The addition of Bravo helped exacerbate issues between the two but still, the Dream Team remained largely on course and headed to WrestleMania III to face the Rougeaus. On the night, the Dream Team won. Although victorious, as a result of Bravo coming off the top rope and hitting Raymond while he was pinning Valentine, then rolling Valentine on top of him for the win, the pair of Valentine and Beefcake argued throughout. Afterwards, Valentine, Bravo and Valiant left together leaving Beefcake alone in the ring.
In the very next match, Beefcake appeared and helped Roddy Piper cut the hair of Adrian Adonis, helping to lay the seeds of a babyface turn.
With Beefcake out of the picture, Bravo and Valentine began wrestling as ‘The New Dream Team’, feuding early on with The Islanders as well as the Rougeau Brothers. In the summer of 1986, the New Dream Team would join Johnny Valiant in six-man tag matches against The Rougeau Brothers and Brutus ‘The Barber’ Beefcake.
The New Dream Team would also challenge for the WWF tag team titles, against then-champions The Hart Foundation, but failed to achieve the same level of success as the inaugural Dream Team did.
Their last major appearance together came at the 1987 Survivor Series in the opening 20-man tag team match, where they were eliminated by Paul Roma of the Young Stallions. After this event, the team broke up quietly with much speculation focusing on a rumoured mutual dislike between the pair.
Johnny Valiant would leave the company, Greg Valentine would return to the management services of Jimmy Hart while Frenchy Martin began managing Bravo. Although Bravo would, by 1989, move to the management services of Hart, there was no full-time return of the Dream Team although the pair did appear on the same Survivor Series team later that year, with Valentine being quickly eliminated and the rest of the ‘King’s Court’ team surviving.
All other ‘Tag Teams of Yesteryear’ pieces will be found here.