With tag teams like Demolition and The Hart Foundation, the 1980s are widely regarded as the golden era of tag team wrestling. Some of the greatest teams in the history of professional wrestling were formed in this decade, and one that doesn’t get enough credit is The Dream Team. Putting Greg “The Hammer” Valentine and Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake together with Johnny Valiant and Jimmy Hart as their managers, The Dream Team found championship success in a crowded tag team room.
The Dream Team made their debut as a tag team in May of 1985, fending off Tito Santana as he chased after Valentine’s Intercontinental Championship. Santana would capture the IC Title in a steel cage match in July, leading to the beginning of The Dream Team’s chase for tag team gold. Hart would soon leave the team and managing duties to Valiant as they began challenging the U.S. Express (Mike Rotunda and Barry Windham) for their titles.
On August 24 at the Philadelphia Spectrum, The Dream Team’s chase proved fruitful when they captured the titles from the U.S. Express, thanks to Beefcake attacking Windham with Valiant’s lit cigar. They would defend the titles against a litany of teams, including the U.S. Express, Killer Bees and the British Bulldogs. It would be the Bulldogs that proved to be the biggest challenge to The Dream Team’s reign, leading to a championship match at the following year’s Wrestlemania II.
The Bulldogs would come to the ring with Captain Lou Albano and Ozzy Osbourne in their corner, getting the crowd behind them as they took control early in the match. The two teams would trade control before Valentine hit a piledriver for a nearfall, but the Bulldogs would regain control after throwing Valentine off the top rope. Beefcake and Valentine would trade tags, looking to retain their titles before a headbutt to Valentine on the corner would allow the Bulldogs to get the pin and end The Dream Team’s only title reign.
Following Wrestlemania II, The Dream Team would find themselves chasing after the titles again, leading to a series of steel cage matches in the summer of 1986. Despite having chances to regain the gold, The Dream Team would never recapture the titles as they entered into a feud with the Fabulous Rougeaus to begin 1987. Manager Johnny Valiant would add Dino Bravo to the mix to help in six-man tag matches, leading to tension and the eventual breakup of the team following their loss to the Rougeaus at Wrestlemania III.
Despite holding championship gold only once, The Dream Team were an important cog in the early success of Wrestlemania. With both Valentine and Beefcake earning Hall of Fame inductions, their time together remains just a small part in their excellent careers. But for fans of tag team wrestling, they deserve to be remembered as one of the best.