Demolition was probably my favorite tag team when I was a child. It began with their awesome looking black leather outfit with spikes all over it that even included a sinister looking mask. To top it all off, when they took their masks off, they had awesome looking face paint!
Meanwhile, on the other side of this feud were two monsters for wrestlers: The Barbarian and The Warlord who made up the team of the Powers of Pain.
This was a very interesting feud because, as I look back on it, neither team actually dominated the feud. In no televised matches that I could find did either team have a clean victory. Even at the climax of their feud that took place at Wrestlemania V, when Demolition got the win over the Powers of Pain, they beat Mr. Fuji, allowing them to finally get their revenge on their former manager. This, in my opinion, left this feud still wide open for more, but never delivered…
The Powers of Pain made their WWF debut in June of 1988 where they would repeatable wrestle against Demolition in untelevised house shows. For the next several months, the teams would trade victories; with most of them coming by countout or disqualification. Several times, in the early months of this feud, the Powers of Pain were able to defeat Demolition in non-title matches.
The feud began to heat up at that years Survivor Series in a ten-man tag team elimination match. At this time, Demolition were considered the heels as they were aligned with the devious Mr. Fuji. During the match, Mr. Fuji decided that he thought his team could not beat the Powers of Pain and he pulled the rope causing Smash to fall through the ropes outside of the ring. Smash ended up getting counted out, eliminating Demolition from the match. Ax confronted Mr. Fuji about it, and as he turned his back to check on his teammate Smash; Mr. Fuji took this opportunity to strike Ax with his cane on the back. If Demolition wasn’t already done with Mr. Fuji for pulling the ropes and causing their elimination, the strike with the can certainly did. Demolition took out Mr. Fuji and left him lying on the outside of the ring before returning backstage. Moments later, the Powers of Pain went over and checked on Mr. Fuji; the heel-babyface switch was complete.
In a neat piece of history, on an episode of Superstars of Wrestling that aired in December but was taped prior to Survivor Series, there was an untelevised segment of the Brother Love show. During the show, Brother Love challenged Demolition stating that they couldn’t win a match without their, then manager, Mr. Fuji at ringside. This was how the match was taped where Demolition would wrestle without their manager but not give away the reason for Mr. Fuji’s absence to the fans in the live audience. On the episode of Superstars of Wrestling that aired on TV, this was simply left out and it appeared that Demolition had moved on without Mr. Fuji after the Survivor Series fiasco. Well thought out from the WWF creative team handling taped matches for their TV shows.
Following Survivor Series, the teams once again wrestled in many house shows where several were locally televised. Below is one of their matches that ended in a double disqualification after Mr. Fuji and his cane got involved.
In February of 1989 on an episode of Prime Time, the WWF Tag Team Champions defeated the Powers of Pain by disqualification when Mr. Fuji threw powder into Ax’ eyes after Ax had used Mr. Fuji’s cane behind the referee’s back attacking the Powers of Pain with it.
After many of Demolition and the Powers of Pain’s matches ending with involvement from Mr. Fuji, it was decided that at Wrestlemania V, Mr. Fuji would not just be at ringside, but be in the match in a 3 on 2 handicap match for the WWF Tag Team Championships.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, Demolition would finally get revenge on Mr. Fuji securing the victory after hitting their finisher – The Demolition Decapitation.
While I was excited for Demolition to get the big win, these two teams wouldn’t wrestle again for the championship. It feels like a let down in this feud, unlike the great feud between The Hart Foundation and The British Bulldogs where there was a change of titles and what appeared to be another change of titles in revenge, that this rivalry could have gone on a little longer with more than just disqualification victories.
Later that year in the 1989 Survivor Series, the Powers of Pain got a little revenge against Demolition when each member was able to eliminate a member of Demolition. Shortly after this, in early 1990, the Powers of Pain would cease to be a team after Bobby “The Brain” Heenan sold the Warlord’s contract to Slick leaving the two members in different manager stables.