If you're a wrestling fan, you know all too well the mortality rate of former wrestlers. Far too often, wrestlers pass away before 40 or 50 years old due to heart complications, typically caused by steroid-related stress. Wrestlers that manage to survive into their 70s and 80s do so with plenty of bumps, bruises, and constant pain. It's tough to watch wrestlers age and wonder whether or not they'll last another year; quite simply, any time you see an aging wrestler trend on Twitter, you probably already know what happened. The Wrestler Deaths website lists thousands of former grapplers that have passed away, most of which are little-known regional wrestlers, although there's far too many well-known superstars on that list.
In fact, the list is so extensive that you can even put together a list of former tag teams in which both members have since died. And we're not talking only 1970s and 80s tag teams - you'll find late 1990s and even 2000's tag teams on this list. It's a sad state of affairs, but, at the very least, fans can rest assured that the industry, especially the WWE, is now doing its best to protect its wrestlers. Here's hoping that, within 10 years or so, we're shocked by a wrestler's death.
15 Owen Hart/British Bulldog
Because of the British Bulldog's marriage to Owen Hart's sister Diana, he was linked to the Hart Foundation for the majority of his career. He served alongside Bret as a face and teamed with Owen Hart when he turned on Bret following Royal Rumble '94. The first time they officially teamed up, however, wasn't until WrestleMania XII, when they joined forces with Vader to take on Yokozuna, Ahmed Johnson, and Jake "The Snake" Roberts. That partnership carried over to In Your House 10, when they claimed the World Tag Team Championship in a victory over The Smoking Gunns.
They held the titles until May of 1997, when they lost to Shawn Michaels and Steve Austin following a 246-day reign as champions. Hart, of course, tragically died in 1999 at Over the Edge, while the Bulldog died of a heart attack in 2002.
14 The Boss Man and Mr. Perfect
Most of the teams on this list were actually paired together for at least the better part of a year, so we'll get the little-known tag team out of the way. You might not even remember this team; in fact, you probably associate the two wrestlers as opponents as The Big Boss Man and Mr. Perfect squared off in a memorable battle for the Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania VII. In April of 2002, however, the veteran wrestlers were drafted to Raw and formed a tag team, wrestling against the likes of The APA and The Hardy Boyz.
Naturally, they lost most of their matches as they were used as enhancement talent by that point, but it's hard not to imagine what could of been had things played out differently. Mr. Perfect passed away the following year, while Boss Man died in 2005.
13 Axl Rotten and Balls Mahoney
Whereas Mr. Perfect and The Big Boss Man only competed in a handful of tag team matches together, the pairing of Axl Rotten and Balls Mahoney was a staple in the ECW and even competed in a pair of WWE Sunday Night Heat dark matches together against Garrison Cade and Trevor Murdoch, along with Damian Adams and Johnny Candido. They last wrestled together in 2010 at a JAPW event in what was their 160th match together.
Neither wrestler was necessarily in great shape to begin with, so it was hard to imagine either living long lives. But Rotten apparently battled some demons throughout his career and into retirement; he was founded unconscious on a McDonald's bathroom floor with drug paraphernalia scattered throughout in February of 2016. Just a few months later, Mahoney passed away. Both wrestlers were diagnosed with CTE.
12 Ultimate Maniacs
Most old school WWE fans think of Hulk Hogan and Macho Man Randy Savage as the company's preeminent tag team - two mega stars who were either paired together or feuding at different points throughout their time with the company. However, one tag team that we wish got more traction was the Ultimate Maniacs, comprised of Savage and The Ultimate Warrior, two incredibly over and over-the-top wrestlers with incredible energy levels.
The team was put together after Savage defeated Warrior at SummerSlam 1992 and they briefly feuded with Razor Ramon and Ric Flair until Warrior left the company prior to Survivor Series. Macho Man died as a result of a car crash in 2011, while Warrior died in 2014, one day after appearing on Raw for the first time in nearly 18 years.
11 Steve Williams and Terry Gordy
"Dr. Death" Steve Williams wrestled all over the world throughout his lengthy career in the ring and even participated in a few WWE matches, but is best known for his work in Japan, ECW, and NWA-WCW. Similarly, Terry Gordy isn't necessarily known for any one promotion; rather, he has competed all over, including successive six-year stints with WCCW and All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW).
It was with Jim Crockett Promotions in 1987 when the two wrestlers first formed The Miracle Violence Connection. They competed in only six matches, but took the tag team to AJPW, where they quickly became a force and won five World Tag Team Championships. In fact, in 1992, they returned to WCW to capture the Tag Titles and were named the Tag Team of the Year by Pro Wrestling Illustrated. Gordy passed away in 2001, while Williams died in 2009.
10 Public Enemy
No other tag team embodied New Jersey than Public Enemy. The combination of Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge helped elevate the ECW's Tag Team Division during the mid-1990s as four-time WCW World Tag Team Champions for a combined reign of 369 days and later joined the WCW, where they won the World Tag Team Championship, albeit for a brief eight-day period. They were far from the most athletic duo, but they were hardcore veterans who would do whatever it took to win a match.
They first wrestled as a tag team in 1993 and put on countless memorable matches throughout three years in ECW, before joining WCW in 1996. They had an extremely brief WWE stint in 1999, which included a World Tag Team Title challenge against Owen Hart and Jeff Jarrett, and last competed together in 2002. Rocco Rock passed away later that year, while Grunge died four years later from sleep apnea complications.
9 Dynamic Duo
The Dynamic Duo is a tag team that originated in World Class Championship Wrestling and was since been reinvented in Smoky Mountain Wrestling and other promotions. Few editions of the team were as impressive as the one that included Chris Adams and Gino Hernandez. The pair feuded with the Von Erichs in the mid-1980s before Hernandez turned on Adams in December 1985.
While the resulting feud would have been a big draw for WCCW, it never happened. Hernandez didn't show up for a house show a couple months later and never returned phone calls. He died of an overdose on February 2, 1986. He was just 28 years old. Adams, meanwhile, continued to wrestle into the late 1990s, eventually returning to WCW after a decade on the independent scene. He was shot and killed during a drunken brawl with a friend in 2001.
8 3-Minute Warning
The two-minute warning is synonymous with the National Football League as it stops play and ultimately gives teams a free timeout. In the WWE, the 3-Minute Warning often meant wrestlers battling in the ring would receive a permanent time out as Jamal and Rosey would run down the aisle and lay waste to wrestlers competing in matches Eric Bischoff deemed boring.
They first competed together in World Xtreme Wrestling and held the Tag Team Titles and later joined WWE in 1996 as silent gangsters who watched over Fatu (Rikishi). Although that didn't last long, they re-joined WWE in 2002 as 3-Minute Warning but, despite being somewhat entertaining, had limited success together. Rosey, however, won the World Tag Team Championship with The Hurricane, while Jamal became Umaga and won the Intercontinental Championship twice.
7 Chris Candido and Bam Bam Bigelow
In the mid-1990s, Bam Bam Bigelow was mostly associated with the WWE's Million Dollar Corporation, while Chris Candido was one-half of The Bodydonnas as Skip. Both wrestlers had moderate success in the WWE, but were far more successful elsewhere, including as a tag team in ECW. In 1998, Bigelow joined forces with Candido and Shane Douglas and, for the next year, competed in multiple tag matches with Candido, who he had successfully defended the ECW World Heavyweight Championship against twice the year prior.
Both wrestlers eventually left for WCW and were paired there on multiple occasions, competing against KroniK (Brian Adams and Bryan Clarke). Bigelow died in 2007 as a result of a drug overdose, while Candido died in 2005 from blood clots following surgery from a gruesome leg injury suffered during a TNA match.
6 The Executioners
Killer Kowalski was one of the premier names in wrestling in the 1960s onward and it's no surprise he's a member of the WWE Hall of Fame. We mentioned earlier he won the Tag Team Championships with Gorilla Monsoon, but he's more so known for his WWWF World Tag Team Championship reign with Big John Studd as The Executioners, which was almost a decade after his reign with Monsoon.
Kowalski began wrestling as the masked wrestler Executioner #1 and trained Executioner #2 (Big John Studd) to become his tag team partner. They won the titles in May of 1976 and held them until December of that year, when they were stripped because it was revealed a third Executioner (Nikolai Volkoff) was used in a title defense. Studd passed away in 1995 from liver cancer.
5 Yokozuna/Owen Hart
The British Bulldog wasn't the only tag team partner with whom Owen Hart had success. He teamed with his brother Bret multiple times, but the duo never won the Tag Team Championship; however, Owen won the titles with the Bulldog, Jeff Jarrett, and twice with Yokozuna. At WrestleMania XI, Owen had challenged The Smoking Gunns to a match for the titles, stating he had a mystery partner, who turned out to be Yokozuna. The duo won the match and Owen later aligned himself with Mr. Fuji and Jim Cornette as well. They held the title for five months in their first stint before losing them to Shawn Michaels and Diesel.
They later regained the titles, but lost them to The Smoking Gunns. They continued to team up off and on until Yokozuna's face turn later that year. Yokozuna died in 2000 from a congestive heart failure, which wasn't much of a shock given he was extremely overweight at nearly 600 pounds.
4 Buddy Rose and Doug Somers
While they might not be household names to younger generations of wrestling fans, Buddy Rose and Doug Somers held multiple individual championships between them and together were one-time AWA World Tag Team Champions. The tag team was first formed in 1986 and they feuded with The Midnight Rockers (Marty Jannetty and Shawn Michaels) and later defeated Curt Henning and Scott Hall for the titles.
The duo went on to hold the championship for seven months before losing them to Jannetty and Michaels. They had a few more rematches and teamed together a couple times the following year in Windy City Pro Wrestling, but disbanded by 1989. Rose died of natural causes in 2009, while Somers passed away in May of this year in his Buchanan, Georgia home.
3 Brian Adams and Steve Doll
Most wrestling fans might remember Brian Adams as WWE's Crush, one-third of Demolition who later had memorable feuds with Doink the Clown and "Macho Man" Randy Savage. Before first joining the WWE in 1990, however, he wrestled under his real name Brian Adams with Pacific Northwest Wrestling, where he won the NWA Pacific Northwest Tag Team Championship with Steve Doll, whose biggest moment outside of regional promotions was his WCW Monday Nitro match that was interrupted by the debut of Scott Hall.
Adams and Doll's partnership, however, was short lived. They won the titles from Ron and Don Harris in 1991, but Adams was replaced by The Grappler due to injury. Adams died of a drug overdose in 2007, while Doll died in 2009 as a result of a blood clot. They were 43 and 48 years old at the time of their death respectively.
2 Killer Kowalski and Gorilla Monsoon
Again, younger generations of fans might associate Gorilla Monsoon with his commentary and stint as on-screen president of the WWE. However, like most performers that take on non-wrestling duties, Monsoon had extensive in-ring experience with the company. Back when it was the WWWF and under leadership of Vince McMahon Sr., Monsoon won a pair of United States Tag Team Championships, one with Bill Watts and the other with Killer Kowalski.
They first won the titles way back in 1963 in a match against Brute Bernard and Skull Murphy, but their reign was short-lived as they would lose one month later to the Tolos Brothers. They competed together on and off for another few years before feuding in 1969. Monsoon died from diabetes complications in 1999, while Kowalski died in 2008 from the culmination of a number of health issues.
1 Chris Benoit/Eddie Guerrero
While never exclusively a tag team, Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero competed in multiple tag matches as members of The Radicalz, a four-person stable that also consisted of Dean Malenko and Perry Saturn. The group of ex-WCW wrestlers first joined forces during the January 31, 2001 episode of Raw, but didn't last long as tensions grew within the group due to varying levels of success.
However, Benoit and Guerrero wrestled together quite a bit in 2002 on Raw, but separated after joining SmackDown. However, their most memorable moment together came at WrestleMania XX, when they celebrated their individual title defenses in the ring together. Their final match against each other was at the first ECW One Night Stand event. Guerrero died later that year, while Benoit murdered his wife and son before committing suicide two years later.