Tag Team Appreciation Month

THE MOONDOGS

King, Rex and Spot

1980-1996

WWF World Tag Team Championship 

WWC World Tag Team Championship 

USWA Tag Team Championship (14 times)

Written by Mike Rickard

Some dogs are known for having a bark that’s worse than their bite, but not the tag team known as The Moondogs, three of the roughest and toughest competitors to step into a WWF ring during the late 1970’s and 1980’s. Originally comprised of the stars Rex and King, an unlikely event would see a Moondog replaced by a new and equally ferocious one. In one of wrestling’s most interesting character changes, one of The Moondogs would take on a new role but be forced to abandon it due to the fans recognizing them from their time in The Moondogs team.

 

The Original Moondog

 

Second-generation grappler Ronald “Lonnie” Mayne worked during the territory era during the 1960’s and 1970’s, eventually finding success as the rough and rugged “Moondog” Mayne. Mayne competed in various National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) territories and the World-Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF) until his death in an auto accident in 1979.

 

Following Mayne’s death, grappler Randy Colley competed in the WWF as Moondog Hawkins around 1980. Not long after, Moondog Hawkins was paired with wrestler Edward John White (a Canadian wrestler who had worked as Sailor White) and the two began competing as the Moondogs, Rex and King. The Moondogs had an exotic look with their cut-off jeans, the rawhide bones they brought to the ring (convenient for pummeling opponents), and their scruffy appearance. The Moondogs were a rugged team that had some fans wondering whether they were rabid.

 

Tag team gold quickly ended up in the Moondogs’ yard with Rex and King defeating Rick Martel and Tony Garea for the WWF Championship. Bringing dogs over international borders can be problematic with quarantine laws and other legalities making life difficult for pets and their owners. Something similar happened in 1981 when Rex and King crossed the Canadian border into the United States, with border officials refusing King admittance to the United States. With the Canadian King unable to work in the U.S., WWF officials replaced him with a new Moondog—Moondog Spot (ala Larry Booker) and subsequently announced Moondog King had been struck by a car.

 

Booker had enjoyed success in Memphis as Larry Latham, one-half of the heel team the Blond Bombers (with partner Wayne Ferris, future WWE Hall of Famer the Honky Tonk Man). The Blond Bombers entered wrestling legend when they participated in the iconic Tupelo Concession Stand Brawl against Jerry “The King” Lawler and “Superstar” Bill Dundee. Now, a new chapter began as Moondog Spot. 

Two Dastardly Dogs

 

Moondog Spot proved to be equally as vicious as Moondog King, helping Rex hold on to the WWF Tag Team Championship for another two months before the dastardly dogs dropped the belts back to Rick Martel and Tony Garea (who scored his fifth WWF Tag Team Championship with this win). While fans can only speculate whether or not Rex and King would have held the belts longer than Rex and Spot, the team of Rex and Spot actually held the titles longer than the Rex and King incarnation of The Moondogs.

 

Although The Moondogs would never hold another WWF Tag Team Championship, they continued being a force for chaos in the WWF. They also traveled outside the WWF, working in Memphis against the Fabulous Ones (Stan Lane and Steve Kerin). The Moondogs would win the AWA Southern Tag Team Championship against the Fabs, feuding with them before losing the belts back to the Memphis fan favorites. The Moondogs also battled The Rock 'n' Roll Express and The Midnight Express in Memphis, stunning both opponents and fans with their brutal style.

Singles Work

 

In addition to their tag team run, the Moondogs also worked as singles competitors. While their singles’ endeavors were less successful than their tag team experience, both dogs distinguished themselves on at least one occasion with Moondog Rex earning a WWF Championship match against WWF Champion Hulk Hogan and Moondog Spot earning a spot in 1985’s prestigious Wrestling Classic tournament. Rex bit off more than he could chew against the Hulkster (but then again so did all of Hogan’s opponents at the time) while Spot fared somewhat better, surprising Terry Funk in the first round of the Wrestling Classic and advancing to the second round where he lost to the WWF’s alpha dog, The Junkyard Dog.

 

Moondog Spot also worked with Barry O as an enhancement talent tag team (see last year’s profile on Moondog Spot and Barry O), putting on entertaining undercard matches at house shows and putting over star teams on television.

A Litter of New Moondogs

 

Moondog Rex got a chance at further stardom when he joined the Masked Superstar as the WWF’s new team, Demolition, working as Smash while the Superstar became Ax. Unfortunately, whereas the fans didn’t recognize Ax because he’d often wrestled under a mask, the fans recognized Rex from his Moondog days and the WWF replaced him with Barry Darsow (who had previously worked in Jim Crockett Promotions as Krusher Krushchev).

Undeterred, the Moondogs carried on their tradition of canine chaos as more wrestlers took on the Moondog moniker. New Moondogs such as Moondog Cujo and Moondog Spike carried on the legacy, sometimes teaming with Moondog Spot and sometimes with the new generation. Moondog Rex worked in WCW during 1990-1991 as Moondog Rex and later, as the comedic cowboy character “Deadeye Dick.”

 

In 2003, Moondog Spot was competing in Memphis, Tennessee when he suffered a heart attack in the ring and soon passed away. He was 51 years old. Moondog Rex retired is retired while Moondog King passed away in 2005 at age 56.

Works Cited

 

Oliver, Greg and Steven Johnson. The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Tag Teams. ECW Press, 2005.

 

Work Referenced

 

Wikipedia contributors. "The Moondogs (professional wrestling)." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 16 May. 2019.  Accessed 24 May. 2019.

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