The formation of the WWE The Women’s Tag Team Championships in 2019 generated a lot of praise and excitement, with fans thrilled with the continued advancement of the women’s division. However, with the situation surrounding Sasha Banks and Naomi leaving the company without reigning champions and rumors that WWE may not be bringing them back, this wouldn’t be the first time they dropped a women’s tag team division.
WWE has always had a strange relationship with history. While they established themselves as the standard bearers of the “women’s revolution”, their selective approach to the company’s history has been the subject of much criticism. In some cases, certain aspects are simply not addressed. One of these relics seemingly lost in the narrative was a creation of the company’s new management under the ownership of Vincent K. McMahon; the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships.
WWE Presents Women’s Tag Team Championships
The WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships officially began in 1983. Their time in WWE was part of a much bigger shift in the wrestling industry. After Vince McMahon bought WWE from his father in 1982, he was quick to shape the company in his image. In a bid to dominate the national scene, McMahon pulled WWE from the NWA in 1983, cutting all ties with the organization.
In 1984, two women joined WWE, Princess Victoria and Velvet McIntyre. At the time, they were the reigning NWA World Women’s Tag Team Champions, with the rights to the belts actually belonging to The Fabulous Moolah. WWE purchased the rights to the belts, renaming them the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships, separating them from their previous lineage, but keeping the physical belts the same. The NWA would no longer have its own women’s belts until a revival in 2021.
Victoria and McIntyre made their WWE debut as a tag team in May 1984, recognized as the first WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions upon their debut in the company. They pulled off several defenses on TV, but a Despina Montagas piledriver ended up breaking Princess Victoria’s neck later that year, ending her in-ring career. Velvet McIntyre was then paired with Desiree Peterson, although the belts would soon be gone.
WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships travel the world
McIntyre and Peterson only defended the belts once, defeating Peggy Patterson and Penny Mitchell in December 1984. After that, the belts were oddly absent from all WWE programming until late 1986, returning around the size of Judy Martin and Leilani Kai, The Glamor Girls. The duo supposedly won the titles at a show in Cairo, Egypt, although there are no reports of such an event. In reality, Desiree Peterson’s departure from WWE is the real reason she and McIntyre lost the belts, with WWE then doing whatever they wanted with the belts.
Reintroduced to WWE television in November 1986, the championships would become synonymous with the rivalry between The Glamor Girls and The Jumping Bomb Angels, Itsuki Yamazaki and Noriyo Tateno. First collided on an episode of Prime Time Wrestling in June 1987, The Glamor Girls vs. The Jumping Bomb Angels became a regular match on WWE house shows, as well as a few television appearances. The feud also spilled over into the Women’s 5-on-5 Survivor Series match later that year, with the championships finally being defended pay-per-view at the 1988 Royal Rumble.
The Rumble saw the Jumping Bomb Angels finally claim the belts from Martin and Kai in a 2 out of 3 falls match. The Jumping Bomb Angels’ reign saw the same as their feud with the Glamor Girls continued, so they were the only opponents the Angels had as champions in WWE. Just two months after the Royal Rumble, the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships made their final appearance on WWE programming, a successful Angels defense of Martin and Kai on the Philadelphia Spectrum. But, the belts would have one last trick.
The feud between the two teams spilled over to Japan, with one final title match between the two teams occurring in All Japan Women, the legendary joshi promotion. Both Yamazaki and Tateno had been products of AJW, and it was only right that they bring their richest prize back to their original company at least once. The match headlined an event in Ōmiya, Saitama, taped for AJW’s television release in June 1988. In just under twenty minutes, The Glamor Girls defeated the Japanese duo by countdown, beating the the referee’s split-second count, becoming the first and only two-time WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions, as well as the last champions.
The Glamor Girls, nor the Jumping Bomb Angels, would no longer be part of WWE, with the belts never appearing in WWE programming again. While the belts certainly saw some success with the feud between these two teams, their time in WWE was doomed from the start. The company struggled to maintain a presence for a women’s singles belt throughout the 1980s, so a women’s tag division had no real hope at that time.
These days, it feels like the company has failed yet again with the same concept, and the recently introduced Women’s Tag Team Championships should be scrapped. WWE is full of stories of underutilized talent and ideas that aren’t given enough time or attention. Could a women’s division become a division they drop the ball on twice?