Prior to the WWE’s 2016 brand split, the company had a wide variety of tag teams that were getting lost in the shuffle. However, once the draft had taken place certain teams were assigned to Monday Night Raw and others were made exclusive to Smackdown Live. With the introduction of Smackdown Tag Team titles, both brands are able to have champions to represent their respective brands. While multiple tag team titles help establish who the dominant force is on Raw and who the dominant force is on Smackdown, this isn’t to say that the brand split has been good for all tag teams.
There are still tag teams that are nothing more than jobbers, there are tag teams that have underwhelmed and there are those who have reached stardom or are on the cusp of it. Here, we rank WWE’s current tag teams from worst to best.
Note – NXT tag teams are not included.
15. The Shining Stars
When your gimmick is that of selling time shares, you’ve already been set up for failure. Primo and Epico have had multiple gimmicks as a tag team as they were originally simply Primo and Epico and were managed by Rosa Mendes and also as Mexican bull fighting tandem along with the masked little person, El Torito. Primo and Epico had relative success as the two had a tag team title reign in 2012 that lasted just over three months. However, it’s been practically all down hill ever since then for the two as the Shining Stars are consistently met with an agonizing “awww” by the fans that emphasizes “not these guys again”. Primo and Epico are talented inside of the square circle, but the only thing right this gimmick does is pay homage to the two’s Puerto Rican heritage.
14. The Spirit Squad
The return of the Spirit Squad in October 2016 after being disbanded on WWE programming in 2006 has proven to be largely uneventful. Unlike in the first run of the group, Nicky is no longer a member considering he’s too busy “stealing the show” as Dolph Ziggler. Former members Johnny and Mitch were not brought back and the former male cheerleader pentad has been stripped down to two as it currently features former Spirit Squad members Kenny and Mikey. The two reappeared as The Miz’s henchmen in an effort to ensure that Ziggler would lose in a career vs title match at No Mercy; ten years later and nothing has changed, the Spirit Squad failed in their efforts. They’ve been off television for the past month and it is quite possible that WWE doesn’t have longterm plans for Kenny and Mikey.
What happens when you pair a selfie loving jobber along with a dance crazed jobber? You get a jobbing tag team! Tyler Breeze and Fandango have been a tag team since May of 2016 and have never been a true threat in the tag team division as they rarely pick up victories. Moreover, if they do win it will be against other teams stuck in tag team purgatory. When the two first aligned they kept their original gimmicks, but the two have recently undergone a change. British Columbia’s Breeze and Maine’s Fandango now portray the role of the fashion police as they don vests and sport police hats. A gimmick change doesn’t necessarily result in success and the likelihood of this new gimmick doing wonders for Breeze and Fandango is relatively slim.
12. The Golden Truth
Depending on your cup of tea, the Golden Truth can be good for a laugh here and there. When the WWE aligned Goldust alongside R-Truth the company was probably hoping they could catch lightning in a bottle once again as they did over a decade ago when they paired Goldust with Booker T. R-Truth didn’t want anything to do with Goldust when the two were first featured on screen just like Booker T. Now, the two are two peas in a pod. The WWE frequently tries to feature the two in comedic segments, but they’re largely hit or miss. The duo hasn’t been a threat to the tag team titles and with Goldust nearing 50 and Truth nearing his mid forties expect these two to largely be used as they currently are as comedic relief.
11. The Ascension
Konnor and Viktor are a prime example of NXT success not translating onto WWE’s main roster. Konnor and Viktor to this day remain NXT’s longest reigning tag team champions with a reign of 364 days. Not only does The Ascension have NXT’s longest tag title reign, but they have the longest championship reign in NXT history point blank. When The Ascension debuted on the main roster their look evolved – or, to better put it, regressed. The Ascension debuted with a look similar to that of the Road Warriors which differentiated from their NXT garb. Hey WWE, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! The two have never really found their footing in WWE and have been racking up Ls left and right for close to two years now.
10. The Hype Bros
“Long Island Iced Z” Zack Ryder is an underdog that is a fan favorite due to his relentlessness to succeed in the business. His tag team partner Mojo Rawley is a bit of a quandary. For those who have watched WWE’s Breaking Ground, they may be a little more partial to Rawley as he seems like a genuinely good dude that is especially kind to the youth. But, unfortunately, Rawley’s “get hyped” persona is one that annoys more people than it excites. The team suffered a devastating setback recently as Zack Ryder was injured in a battle royal in which they had become the number one contenders to the Smackdown Tag Titles. Ryder is expected to be out of action for four to nine months with a knee injury.
9. The Vaudevillains
Aiden English and Simon Gotch endured success as both heels and faces in NXT. The two were almost always in the tag team title hunt and they had one reign that lasted sixty-one days. When the two were bought up to the main roster, it was interesting to see if WWE would push them as faces or heels. The only problem is WWE did neither; the Vaudevillains weren’t pushed as faces nor as heels – they weren’t pushed at all. Moreover, the Vaudevillains have fallen about as far as one can as the two were defeated by Breezeango in November which had them lose their spot in the five-on-five Smackdown vs Raw tag match at Survivor Series. A loss (especially of such magnitude) against Breezango isn’t “quite manly”.
8. Beauty And The Man Beast
The partnership between Rhyno and Heath Slater looks like it could be coming to an end very soon as the turmoil between the two as of late has been sky high. Yet, despite this, Rhyno and Slater have exceeded the expectations of the fans, likely have exceeded WWE’s expectations and their own expectations as well. When the two formed an alliance, it was an odd pairing. Despite this, the two became the inaugural WWE Smackdown Tag Team Champions by defeating The Usos in the tag team finals. The two would hold the belts for close to three months for eighty-four days before they would drop them to the Wyatt Family. Slater may no longer be a tag team champion but at least he’s got his contract because if you hadn’t heard, “Slater’s got kids”!
7. The Club
When Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows signed with the WWE, the two were expected to be one of the company’s upper echelon heel tag teams, if not the company’s upper echelon heel tag team. Ever since AJ Styles was drafted to Smackdown Live and the two parties went their separate ways, The Club has struggled mightily. To make matters worse Raw is clearly strapped for heel tag teams. For Pete’s sake, the number two heel tag team is the Shining Stars! Yet, The Club hits fans with the same stale promo week in and week out. Gallows will call opponents geeks or nerds with the least imposing voice you’ll ever hear in the WWE. The two are responsible for the horrible Raw segments of the Old Day and where they played doctors on multiple occasions. WWE, these guys need Styles, or Balor if you decide to go that route.
6. The Usos
Jimmy and Jey Uso are WWE’s longest tenured tag team at the moment and the two have had success in playing the roles of faces and heels. The former two-time WWE Tag Team Champions won WWE’s Tag Team of the Year award the past two years, but the likelihood of them sustaining their reign for a three peat is highly unlikely. Nonetheless, the Usos have reinvented themselves as sadistic heels after a successful run as faces. The Usos now sport beards and are no longer the happy go lucky duo they were prior as they now portray more of a sadistic and menacing look. The two have all the tools to be pivotal players in Smackdown’s Tag Team scene for years to come as the two are relatively young at the age of thirty-one.
5. Sheamus and Cesaro
The Swiss Superman and the Celtic Warrior are beloved and despised respectively by WWE fans. Cesaro is one crowds easily get behind as he can lay acclaim to being the best worker in the company. Sheamus on the other hand is one crowds like as much as they enjoy toothaches. Now, Sheamus may be a redhead but he isn’t a slouch in the ring like Eva Marie. On the contrary, Sheamus character is viewed as stale. The reception the two receive are simply polar opposite. Nonetheless, the two are the current WWE Raw Tag Team Champions as a result of ending the New Day’s record setting 483 day title reign. The merging of polar opposites has worked in the past, as Daniel Bryan and Kane were extremely over during their Team Hell No days. But, the alliance between Cesaro and Sheamus doesn’t look to be heading in that direction.
4. American Alpha
In terms of strictly in ring talent, former United States Olympian Chad Gable and former Indiana Hoosier collegiate wrestler Jason Jordan are in an elite class. The former NXT Tag Team Champions recently became WWE Smackdown Tag Team Champions by defeating the former tag champs the Wyatt Family, the Usos and Beauty and the Man Beast in a four corners elimination match. Jordan and Gable winning the titles came as a surprise to many as the angle with the Wyatt Family as tag champs with Randy Orton in their stable made for a compelling and unexpected alliance. American Alpha has been on the main roster for five months now and the two young bucks (Gable is thirty and Jordan is twenty-eight) figure to be a mainstay as fan favorites at the top of the tag division for years to come.
3. Enzo and Cass
Enzo Amore serves as the bold, brash Energizer Bunny of the duo who is exceptionally strong on the mic. Big Cass serves as the muscle of the group as he usually does the brunt of the in ring damage to the team’s foes. Enzo and Cass had formed an alliance in 2013 when the two were down in NXT. The alliance has remained in tact ever since and the two have been on WWE’s main roster for nine months now. Unlike the Ascension or the Vaudevillains the group’s popularity has translated to the main roster. The two have never been tag champs, but with these two it’s a safe bet to say it isn’t a matter of if these two grab the tag belts, but when they grab the tag belts.
2. The Wyatt Family
To see Bray Wyatt finally win gold after being on WWE’s main roster for three plus years was a sight for sore eyes. However, to see Wyatt (and the Wyatt Family’s) reign last a paltry twenty-five days was disappointing. The Wyatt Family had peaked with the addition of Randy Orton and figured to be able to dominate the Smackdown tag scene as its number one heel tag team. But, after such a short reign, it remains to be scene as to whether or not Orton will be a member for the long term or not. The likelihood is Wyatt and Orton will enter a feud that will culminate at WrestleMania. With Orton in the fold the Family benefits from stronger booking; without him they severely suffer.
1. The New Day
Were you expecting somebody else? The success rate of the New Day in 2016 (and since the start of their record setting 483-day Tag Team Championship reign) is in a league of its own. The trio of Big E, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods came out ahead against the likes of Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows, Enzo and Cass, the League of Nations and the Wyatt Family during their reign on multiple occasions. The New Day constantly receives one of, if not the biggest pops of the night whenever they are present. In 2015, PWI named the New Day the Tag Team of the Year and Rolling Stone named the trio as the Wrestlers of the Year. 2016 was even more successful then 2015 was for the New Day and the three figure to pick up even more awards for 2016.
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