Wrestler of the Day – December 22: Dream Team

We’re looking at one of the forgotten tag teams of the 80s today with the Dream Team.

The Dream Team was comprised of Greg Valentine, Brutus Beefcake and manager Luscious Johnny V. Eventually Dino Bravo would replace Beefcake to form the New Dream Team and I’ll be looking at both combinations here.

We’ll start things off against a fairly good dream team in their own right on April 21, 1985.

Dream Team vs. Tito Santana/Ricky Steamboat

This is in Toronto. My goodness that’s quite a face team. Ricky vs. Beefcake starts us off. The ring is quickly cleared and Ricky hits what we would call a springboard forearm to take over. Off to Tito as the camera stuff is really all over the place here. Jesse sounds like he has a sore throat. Valentine and Santana stall a lot so Brutus slams Tito and then brings in Greg.

Valentine misses an elbow and it’s back to more stalling. I can barely recognize Jesse’s voice. That’s how messed up it is. Big clothesline puts Valentine down but the Figure Four is broken up. Greg takes over and works over the arm. Off to Bruti who can’t do much more than choke at this point. This is before the Expresses established the tag team formula so things are a bit different here.

Tito grabs an armbar but his back is to the wrong corner so he can’t get anything going. Back to Beefcake in control via a headlock. In a nice sequence, Beefcake points at Steamboat to distract the referee and Valentine gets in a shot to the back of Santana. With Ricky trying to get in, Santana gets on all fours and tries to bob and weave, eventually diving through Beefcake’s legs for the HOT tag to Steamboat.

Sleeper goes on Beefcake but he pretty easily breaks it up. Valentine comes in to hammer on Ricky and an eye rake slows the Dragon down. The Dream Team (not sure if they’re named that yet or if Steamboat is the Dragon) works him over and Valentine starts loading up the Figure Four but Steamboat small packages him for two. Steamboat fights out of the corner and makes ANOTHER hot tag to Santana. The forearm gets two on Valentine and everything breaks down. Ricky is sent to the floor but he comes back off the top to take Brutus out. Santana counters an atomic drop, hooks the leg and the Figure Four ends this.

Rating: B. Great old school tag match here and more proof that you don’t need some big long back story to have a great match. These four had no history together outside of Valentine beating Santana for the IC Title and that was like 6 months prior to this. Very fun wrestling match here and we didn’t need Teddy Long to book it.

They picked up the Tag Team Titles from the US Express and defended them against the British Bulldogs on September 10, 1985.

Tag Titles: British Bulldogs vs. Dream Team

Wrestlemania preview if you want to really stretch things. Dream Team has the belts. Valentine vs. Dynamite to start. Dynamite sends him flying to start and into the corner where he rams into Beefcake. Double tag brings in Smith and Bulldog. The Dogs speed things up and work over the arm. Davey fires off dropkicks for everyone but double teaming takes him down.

Not that it matters as he makes a tag just a few seconds later and Dynamite beats on the champs for a bit. Backbreaker gets two on Valentine. Dynamite goes up for presumably the Swan Dive (not called that yet) but Luscious Johnny V shoves him off the top for ANOTHER lame DQ finish.

Rating: C-. Same explanation as the previous tag match: these teams can have a good match if you give them the time but they cut it short here with the DQ ending. They would have by far and away the best match of the night at Wrestlemania. Beefcake wasn’t much at this point which is why they put him in there with Valentine who could more than carry a match.

Here’s their first televised defense at Saturday Night’s Main Event #2.

Tag Team Titles: Dream Team vs. Tony Garea/Lanny Poffo

Garea is an old timer and five time Tag Team Champion. Poffo is more famous as the Genius and Randy Savage’s brother. Valentine easily slams Lanny down and works on a headlock before tagging in Brutus. Poffy quickly fights back and drops both guys before getting two off a moonsault to Beefcake. The champs work over Poffo in the corner but he finally dives over and tags in Garea. Tony speeds things up for a bit and takes over until Beefcake gets in a cheap shot from the apron, allowing Valentine to put on the Figure Four to retain the titles. Windham and Rotundo didn’t do a thing.

Rating: D+. Total squash again here with the champs never being in anything resembling danger. Then again they were in there against a couple of jobbers so the ending never was in much doubt. The division was about to take off in another year or so with the Dream Team being one of the last teams of the old era.

Here’s a rematch with the former champs on November 9, 1985.

Tag Titles: Dream Team vs. US Express

This is the Rotundo/Spivey version. The Dream Team has the tag titles but I don’t think they’re on the line here. Ok so they are. That works too. Rotundo gets beaten on by the champions but he speeds things up to get out of trouble. He gets his knees up in the corner and works over the arm. The good guys do the blind tag thing because faces in wrestling are usually evil. As Spivey gets beaten down the Dream Team tries the same thing and get thrown out. See? Heels aren’t heels because they’re evil. They’re heels because they get mistreated.

Rotunda vs. Valentine at the moment with Mike missing an elbow to give the champions the advantage. Valentine beats on him a bit until he gets caught in the Arn Anderson holding the arm down to the mat then jump crotch first onto the knees spot. Was that a Mid-Atlantic thing? Beefcake gets a sleeper on Mike but it gets countered pretty quickly. Greg breaks up the tag attempt and goes after the leg.

Now I know the Figure Four was a Mid-Atlantic thing. I’m still not sure on the crotching spot but you see it enough that it almost has to be. We finally get the hot tag when the Figure Four doesn’t work so it’s off to Spivey to clean house. For some reason the challengers tag twice after Spivey comes in. To no shock Rotundo got beaten up quickly so it was back to Spivey. The champs try to cheat but it can’t get the pin. Beefcake counters a rollup into a very sloppy looking one, grabs the furry boots (What is with those? So many people use them and I still don’t get the point) and gets the clean pin.

Rating: C-. The match was ok but I have no idea what the point was in having the challengers get beat that cleanly. It looked pretty bad as Spivey pretty clearly could have kicked out but didn’t. There was something a few seconds earlier though that looked a bit botched, so maybe that wasn’t the planned ending.

More ex champions on December 14, 1985.

Dream Team vs. Iron Sheik/Nikolai Volkoff

Both teams here have lost the tag titles at Mania so they have that in common. Also this is the rare heel vs. heel pairing. This might be in Philly but Im not 100% sure. Oh ok this is before Mania 2 so the Dream Team (Beefcake/Valentine) are the champions. Off to Beefcake who gets caught in the other evil corner. Nikolai hammers away on him and wins a brief power struggle.

I think the champs are the de facto faces here. Valentine has a little bit better luck against the Russian so its off to Sheik. He hooks an abdominal stretch and Gorilla still finds something to complain about with it. The Sheik goes aerial with a dropkick of all things and gets two. Brutus gets the tag and this match is boring me to death. The not yet Barber misses a middle rope fist to Volkoff and its time for a bearhug to waste more time. Camel Clutch by Sheik is broken up and Valentine comes in, as does everyone else. And theres the lame double DQ. At least its over.

Rating: D-. This was one of the lamest matches Ive seen in years. Just boring all around and the whole thing didnt work at all. The Dream Team was straight up boring but would be together until Mania 3 because the fans hadnt suffered enough I guess. Just a horrible match and terribly boring.

We need another Bulldogs match! From Saturday Night’s Main Event V.

Tag Team Titles: British Bulldogs vs. Dream Team

The Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid, managed by Lou Albano) are challenging and the Dream Team comes out to We Are The Champions. We get a quick pre-recorded bit from the Dream Team, who say the Bulldogs’ recent non-title victory doesn’t mean anything. Thankfully Vince pointed out that it was pre-recorded because I never would have figured out how the team could be in the ring and on the arena floor at the same time.

Davey atomic drops Valentine to start and a Dynamite headbutt gets two. A suplex brings Greg back inside for the same and the Bulldogs are rolling early. They drag Beefcake in to work him over as well, including Davey lifting him up by the arm in a nice power display. A gorilla press slam gets two and Dynamite’s belly to back suplex gets the same. Greg tries to fight back but eats a dropkick to put him right back down. Everyone heads outside for a staredown and we take a break.

Back with Beefcake getting trapped in the Bulldogs’ corner again for a missile dropkick from Davey Boy. Brutus pounds him down though and gives it back to Valentine to try the Figure Four but Dynamite makes a quick save. The Bulldogs are in trouble for the first time and a shoulder breaker gets two on Dynamite. Beefcake comes in for two of his own and gets frustrated when he can’t get a pin. Kidd sends Beefcake into the corner and nails a missile dropkick for two and everything breaks down. In a smart finish, Valentine and Dynamite collide but Valentine’s leg lands on top for a pin to retain.

Rating: C+. This was one of the better matches in the series so far with both teams getting to look good and the ending protecting the challengers. The Bulldogs are one of the most revered teams of all time and their day would be coming soon. It’s a good match but the rematch at Wrestlemania would be even better.

And now for a six man on March 16, 1986.

Luscious Johnny V/Dream Team vs. Lou Albano/British Bulldogs

This is in MSG again and a few weeks before Mania II. Hammer vs. Smith to start us off. Atomic drop by Smith lets Albano get a shot in. Off to Dynamite and Valentine is in trouble. Back to Smith as its all Valentine for his team so far. By that I mean hes the only one getting beaten up. Off to Brutus as I say that who is completely inept at this point. Johnny V, the manager, comes in now and is back out again quickly.

Valentine comes in off the top and we hit the chinlock. Off to Dynamite again who hammers away with forearms. Dynamite gets two off a knee to the ribs as Valentine is beaten on even more. Now Valentine takes over and hits a backbreaker for two. Is there a reason hes doing the vast majority of the work for his team? Dynamite slams him off the top and we get Brutus for a change. Albano and Smith cheat to double team Brutus. Dynamite is double teamed at the same time so it balances out.

Brutus gets a neckbreaker on Kid for two. Suplex gets the same. Back off to the heel manager who Gorilla doesnt remember being in earlier. That could have been taken very badly. Back to Valentine as Dynamite could be bleeding a bit. Valentine gets a front Piledriver (starting position of a regular one but kneels like a Tombstone) for two.

Figure Four goes on but Albano makes the save. Smith and Johnny V now and Smith cleans some house. Powerslam to the manager gets two as Valentine saves. The managers go at it but Albano isnt legal. Falling powerslam to Valentine gets two. This is very fast paced but not in a good way. Valentine cant suplex him so Smith does it instead. He isnt delaying it yet though.

Off to Dynamite who is already hurt. Dynamite is like screw it and hammers away because he can. He hammers away and Valentine is in trouble as he has been for a lot of this match. Back off to Smith and a small package gets two for Davey. Back to Dynamite and a double clothesline gets two. Snap suplex by Dynamite and here comes everyone. Brutus, the illegal man which both commentators point out, is rolled up for the pin by Dynamite.

Rating: D. This tape is very hit or miss. The idea here was all messed up as the faces dominated for the most part here. Valiant and Albano were pretty useless in this but I think that was expected. Not a great match at all and not really entertaining. It helped set up Mania though so it did its job I guess.

They had to blow it off at Wrestlemania II.

Tag Titles: Dream Team vs. British Bulldogs

The Dream Team is Brutus Beefcake and Greg Valentine and they’re defending. For absolutely no apparent reason, the Bulldogs have Ozzy freaking Osbourne in their corner. Smith and Valentine start things off with Davey pounding away in the corner. Off to a wristlock before Dynamite comes in to send Valentine into the buckle for two. There’s the snap suplex for no cover and it’s back to Davey for the delayed vertical.

Greg gets in a few shots in the corner including a forearm to the back to take over and finally bring in Brutus. He cranks on the arm and is immediately gorilla pressed down by Smith. Dynamite comes in again and gets two off a small package. Beefcake makes a blind tag though and Valentine comes in off the top via another forearm to the back and the champions take over. Kid comes right back and pounds away before bringing Smith back in.

The Bulldogs hit a double headbutt for two for Kid but Brutus comes in sans tag to switch momentum right back. Valentine gets two off a kneeling piledriver but falls victim to the Arn Anderson self-crotching mistake. He continues the Horsemen theme by going up top and getting slammed down ala Flair as everything breaks down. Dynamite gets sent to the floor so Smith comes in with the powerslam (not yet the finisher) for two on Valentine.

Davey misses a charges into the post though and his shoulder is hurt in a hurry. Brutus comes in to work over the arm and hits a kind of hammerlock slam. Valentine hits a shoulderbreaker but pulls up before covering. In a VERY sudden ending, Dynamite gets on the top rope while still illegal and Davey rams Valentine’s head into that of Dynamite for the pin and the title.

Rating: B. It’s not a great or even a very good match but after nearly two hours of lame wrestling with nothing matches, this was a great breath of fresh air. The Bulldogs would be champions for the better part of a year while the Dream Team would survive for another year before splitting at the next Wrestlemania. Good stuff here though.

The Dream Team tried to get back on track at the Big Event.

Fabulous Rougeaus vs. Dream Team

The Dream Team is Valentine and Beefcake who Valiant usually manages. The Rougeaus are wearing red for some reason. Oh great and Valentine is too. We get an abdominal stretch and naturally Monsoon complains. The Rougeaus are one of those teams that just flows so well that it’s amazing to say the least. They’re also great high fliers that can just show off, kind of like the Hardys or something like that. Good night there are a lot of people there.

This is your standard 80s tag match which means that it’s pretty good. Beefcake just sucked back I the day though and this is no exception. He would be replaced by Bravo at Mania 3. After a very long and drawn out match which thankfully got enough time, we hit the brawl and Valentine has the figure four. In a SWEET ending, the illegal Rougeau gets a sunset flip on him as he bends over to put the hold back on for the pin. I love that.

Rating: B-. This was another fun and good match that did its job well. It’s the second longest match of the night after the draw from earlier and it’s one of the better ones on the card. It was solid but the really needed to get Bravo out there ASAP. Valiant is ticked off over that ending.

Then they tried to get the titles back at Saturday Night’s Main Event VII.

Tag Team Titles: British Bulldogs vs. Dream Team

The Bulldogs are defending and this is 2/3 falls again. Dynamite knocks Valentine around to start but Greg goes after the knee to take over. Beefcake hits a nice suplex and stays on the leg. Unfortunately he knocks Dynamite into the corner and it’s off to Davey to work on Beefcake’s arm. Dynamite quickly comes back in to face Valentine who drives in some elbows to the head and chest for two before slapping on the Figure Four. Beefcake cuts Davey off and Kid gives up for the first fall.

Before we go to a break, Gene tells us that Adonis may have separated his shoulder. We see a clip of Piper nailing him in the arm with the crutch, probably causing the injury. Back from the break with Valentine cranking on Kid’s knee even more. Beefcake draws in Bulldog with some strutting, allowing the challengers to get in some double teaming.

Greg misses a middle rope elbow though and the hot tag brings in Davey to clean house. The powerslam crushes Valentine but Brutus makes a save. That’s fine with Davey who puts Brutus in his fireman’s carry, allowing Dynamite to climb onto Beefcake’s back for the top rope headbutt to Valentine, tying things up.

The third fall starts with Valentine and a limping Dynamite with the Kid nailing his snap suplex. His knee is too banged up though and Greg drops an elbow to the back. We get the classic missed tag to Dynamite, allowing the villains to double team yet again. The Figure Four attempt is broken up and the hot tag connects, only to have Brutus take Davey down immediately. Back to Valentine for two off a suplex as the challengers keep making fast tags. A high knee gets two with Dynamite making the save as everything breaks down. Davey avoids a charging Beefcake in the corner and grabs a fisherman’s suplex to retain the titles.

Rating: B. This is the version of the Bulldogs that everyone talks about being one of the best tag teams of all time. The Dream Team was right there with them for this match though and the whole thing worked really well. They built up the drama at the end and the whole thing worked really well. Best match in the entire series so far.

Here’s another one against a fresh pairing.

Can-Am Connection vs. Dream Team

Can-Am is Tom Zenk/Rick Martel while the Dream Team is Valentine/Beefcake. Martel takes over quickly on Valentine, working the arm. Off to Zenk who works on the arm as well. We’re in MSG if you’re curious. Luscious John jumps on commentary for a second to brag. The team with the Canadian on it keeps up its advantage. Valentine manages to snake eyes him onto the top rope to take over.

Off to Beefcake and the former champs take over. Off to a chinlock and things speed up a bit. Brutus gets caught in a rollup for two. Martel starts fighting back and punches Valentine down. When all else fails, HIT HIM IN THE FACE! And never mind as the American hits an Irish on the Canadian into the corner. Suplex gets two. Figure Four is countered into a small package but Martel still can’t escape.

Back to Beefcake who manages to give up the tag. Listen to that pop for a hot tag! When’s the last time you heard something like that? Zenk cleans house and dropkicks Valentine down. Brutus takes him down again though and it’s back to the Dream Team in control. There’s an abdominal stretch by the Hammer. Gutbuster brings in Beefcake as they work on Zenk’s ribs and abdomen.

Zenk keeps bridging out of pin attempts. This match is getting some serious time. Double clothesline puts Zenk and Greg down. Valentine puts on a front facelock and Brutus distracts the referee so the tag doesn’t count. Elbow drop misses for Valentine and they do the blind tag thing again. That’s a rarity. Everything breaks down and the Dream Team hits a double belly to back suplex. There’s the Figure Four but Martel hits a slingshot splash for the totally illegal pin.

Rating: B. Long match here and it worked pretty well I thought. This is something you can’t see on TV due to the time but it worked well here. It also plays forward the whole Beefcake is the weak link idea of the team which led to their split. The crowd was way into this too. Good stuff.

Then the final match at Wrestlemania III.

Dream Team vs. Rougeau Brothers

The Dream Team is Brutus Beefcake and Greg Valentine but they’ve been having problems lately. Dino Bravo and Johnny V are with them here. Ray and Brutus start things off with Ray sending Brutus into the Rougeau corner for some double teaming. Off to Valentine as the Rougeaus tag in and out multiple times. Jacques finally sticks around for a bit and misses a cross body out of the corner.

Greg drops a bunch of elbows and puts on the Figure Four as Bobby Heenan comes into the commentary booth. Jacques gets to the rope before reversing a piledriver so he can tag Ray. Whle this is going on, Bobby and Gorilla argue about midgets. Ray puts Greg in a sleeper and Brutus’ save goes awry. Valentine gets caught in the Rougeau Bomb but Dino comes in off the middle rope though with a shot to Ray’s back, giving the Dream Team the pin.

Rating: C-. This was all angle rather than the match. The Rougeaus were a talented team and looked solid out there while the Dream Team looked like a relic of the past. Thankfully this would be the end for them as Bravo would replace Beefcake immediately, although the New Dream Team never went anywhere.

Here’s a New Dream Team amtch on June 23, 1987.

Rougeau Brothers/Brutus Beefcake vs. Dream Team/Johnny Valiant

This is a dark match from a Superstars taping in Indianapolis. Ray vs. Dino to start us off. Dino keeps running as you would expect him to. Valentine tries to cheat by holding Ray but Ray avoids the jumping knee. The place ERUPTS on something that simple. It’s amazing how you never see that anymore. Beefcake comes in and goes for Greg’s hair, resulting in the heels congregating on the floor.

Valiant, a manager remember, hides on the floor. Beefcake gets caught in the corner and even Valiant gets in some time on offense. Beefcake grabs a sleeper on Valentine but Valiant makes the save. Both Rougeaus come in and pound on Bravo as the place loses its mind. Boston Crab by Ray is broken up by Valentine, which draws Ray into the bad corner.

Back to Greg who gets a shoulderbreaker for two. In a pretty impressive power display, Ray counters a piledriver into the position for an Alabama Slam, but instead he walks towards his corner with Valentine on his back. Greg doesn’t let him get the tag but still it was impressive. Ray is on the floor and we’re clipped to a later point of him on the floor. Bravo drops another elbow and we’re clipped to Valentine in there instead.

Back to Bravo and Dino hammers away. This is the WWE 24/7 version so the big WWF Superstars of Wrestling banner is censored. Off to Johnny V and they just kind of let Ray tag in Brutus. He and Jacques clean house and it all breaks down. The heels are all thrown together and a pair of dropkicks send the non-managers to the floor. Valiant is put in the sleeper and we’re done.

Rating: C. This was fine. You never see stuff like this in modern wrestling and that’s a shame. There’s nothing too bad here and it was just a six man tag. The fans get to be happy and the faces get a win. There’s no bigger plan here and none of the guys really seem to be all obsessed about moving up the card. All that matters here is getting a win. Why can’t we see more of that?

We’ll wrap it up with one of their last matches before quietly splitting. From October 23, 1987.

Fabulous Rougeau Brothers vs. New Dream Team

In France still and the New Dream Team is Bravo/Valentine. We have 11 minutes in the tape to go. I can get through this. I know I can. Joined in progress for no apparent reason. Ray is in trouble and the fans cheer for the French boys. Valentine gets caught with a knee to the balls so Bravo comes in again. Time for a bearhug to keep the high level of this tape going. A piledriver is countered but Jacques can’t get a tag in.

Valentine mocks wanting to box Jacques for no apparent reason. The beating goes on like six minutes and Bravo hits his side suplex finisher on Ray but it’s not a finisher yet I don’t guess as Ray pops up and takes Bravo down. There’s the hot tag and everything breaks down. Sleeper to Valentine but Bravo breaks it up. A figure four is attempted but Ray sunset flips Valentine for the pin.

Rating: D. It’s a bit better, but good night would it have killed them to give us ANY bigger named team? Horribly dull match and I don’t even want to think about how much longer this could have been. Weak match but given how weak the teams were in there (bad time for the Rougeaus at this point) and a perfect ending to an AWFUL tape.

The Dream Team is an interesting combination as they’re kind of bridging two generations. Before them we had the US Express and the Soul Patrol and the Wild Samoans and teams like that. They’re talented, but things weren’t quite as polished as they were later. Then came teams like the British Bulldogs and the Hart Foundation and the Rockers who took the division to its peak. The Dream Team kind of gets lost in the shuffle, which is a shame as they were a very solid pair in their own right. If you like 80s wrestling, you’ll like these guys.

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