Being a member of a tag team that suddenly catches fire can have dozens of pros and cons for the two wrestlers within that unit. Chances are it was their cohesion as a team that propelled both wrestlers to stardom and yet the industry standard means eventually one of the two will become more popular than the other. Typically, the one who stands out does so in such a brilliant manner the other member of the team is tossed to the wayside, either instantly, gradually, or perhaps worst of all, through the benefit of retrospective history. Fast or slow and regardless of how popular the team once was, when they split, this contrast can often mean the weak link in the team is completely forgotten.
Obviously, simply being the lesser member of a duo is hardly enough to blink someone entirely out of existence. Most wrestlers careers exist long before and even longer after they were members of a famous tag team, even if one’s career wound up more impressive than the other. In certain cases, merely being the former partner of a future star was enough to keep both members of the team relevant for some time. More often than not, though, the star shone so brightly his partner was lost in the glare and moderate careers are getting ignored because of it. Keep reading to learn about 15 forgotten members of your favorite WWE tag teams.
15 15. Air Boom – Evan Bourne
The whole purpose of this list is wrestlers overshadowed by their tag team partners at some point in their careers and yet Evan Bourne still stands out as a particularly unlikely superstar for the fact he was practically written out of history while still a member of the team. Granted, it was entirely Bourne’s own fault, as he was suspended with a violation of the Wellness Policy while he reigned as WWE Tag Team Champion with Kofi Kingston in late 2011. Kofi held the belts on his own without defending him for slightly over a month, and the team even managed to keep them for an additional month after that when Bourne returned. However, at that point Bourne failed his second drug test and earned another, longer suspension. Air Boom lost the titles to Primo & Epico before Bourne started his suspension and by the time he came back, Kofi had more than moved on. Bourne was released from WWE in 2014, around the same time Kofi started reinventing himself as part of an even greater tag team, The New Day.
14 14. Men On A Mission – Mo
Vince McMahon has never been one to understand popular trends, as evidenced by Men On A Mission being his best representation of hip-hop culture in the ‘90s. Mabel and Mo started as monster heel known as Nelson and Bobby, The Harlem Knights. Vince thought it would be a better idea to have them dress in bright purple and dance their way to the ring with a mediocre rapper named Oscar. Silly as it sounds in retrospect, it worked, and M.O.M. quickly became one of the most popular tag teams in WWE. They rode this popularity to one quick reign as WWE Tag Team Champions in 1994, after which Mo was taken off television to test Mabel’s strength as a solo star. He must have passed, because next year he won the King of the Ring tournament and entered a top feud with Diesel. Mo returned as Mabel’s lackey during this period, making it clear how secondary he was to the real star. Once King Mabel bombed as a heel, he took a few years off and returned as Viscera, this time without Mo.
13 13. Londrick – Paul London
Brian Kendrick’s comeback story is fresh enough that it might prove any living superstar on this list has a chance of reinventing himself. Still, it seems incredibly unlikely WWE will ever start acknowledging Paul London again any time soon, considering London is open and honest about his severe hatred of WWE COO Triple H. This is despite London and Kendrick achieving incredible success as a team, having held the WWE Tag Team Championships for nearly a full year from May 2006 to April of 2007. The two kept teaming for roughly a year after losing the belts, at which point London was released from his contract. Kendrick moved on to feuds for the WWE Championship, although he too would be fired by 2009. London had previously earned a reign as WWE Cruiserweight Champion, a title that Kendrick has since won after it was revived in 2016, when he made his WWE return.
12 12. Too Cool – Grandmaster Sexay
At first, fans thought Scott Taylor calling himself “too hot” and Brian Christopher calling himself “too sexy” made both of them Too Much. Once they ditched the pretentiousness for over-the-top goofy dancing, however, the WWE Universe warmed considerably on the idea they were actually Too Cool. Brian Christopher, aka Grandmaster Sexay, actually has the greater lineage in the wrestling industry, although it hardly endeared him to the wrestling audience. Christopher is the son of Jerry Lawler and Lawler’s bald-faced inability to admit this fact hurt the reputation and integrity of both men in a manner the younger Lawler never quite recovered from. Sexay’s only real achievement in WWE was winning the World Tag Team Championships with Scotty 2 Hotty in 2000, while Scotty himself also won the WWE Lightheavyweight Championship and a second Tag Team Championship with Rikishi a few years later. Since Too Cool’s heyday, Sexay’s only solo contributions to the sport have been in relation to his father, often embarrassing them both once more when the WWE Universe makes it clear they don’t care about either one of them when their together.
11 11. The World's Greatest Tag Team – Charlie Haas
It takes some serious courage and credentials for a duo to refer to themselves as The World’s Greatest Tag Team while still competing. If any two superstars could live up to the moniker, it would be two former protégés of Kurt Angle, Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin. The two made their WWE debuts together in late 2002 as Angle’s lackeys, quickly rising to fame and winning the WWE Tag Team Championships only two months later. They traded the belts with Eddie Guerrero and various partners throughout 2003, and the next year they split, with Benjamin drafted to Raw and Haas to SmackDown. While Benjamin almost immediately established himself as a potential solo star, Haas meandered with random partners in the tag team division. WWE put the team together only to split them apart again and both were fired in 2010. Benjamin was poised to make his WWE return in 2016, but Haas is unlikely to join him, having reportedly retired in 2013.
10 10. Los Guerreros – Chavo Guerrero, Jr.
Just like every tag team is bound to have a weaker member, every famous wrestling family will inevitably produce a member not quite as talented as the rest of the brood. In the case of the Guerrero family, the most naturally gifted progeny of Gory Guerrero was paired with perhaps the least, when Eddie and Chavo started calling themselves Los Guerreros in 2002. The two had formed a tenuous connection while in WCW throughout the late ‘90s, but it wasn’t until the original WWE roster split that they turned into a regular tag team. Whether merely connected or actually teaming, it was always clear that Eddie was the greater athlete of the two, such to the extent this vast contrast in abilities generally formed the basis of every storyline and angle the two were apart of. In fairness, Chavo is one of the most visible “forgotten” wrestlers on this list, not to mention one of the more talented. Nonetheless, in comparison to his uncle, there’s no question who the more memorable star was and always will be.
9 9. Mr. Fuji & Prof. Tanaka – Professor Toru Tanaka
Most old school tag teams are exempt from lists like these, thanks to the passage of time meaning almost every wrestler over a certain age has to some degree been forgotten. The one exception is wrestlers whose careers stretched into the modern era, such as Mr. Fuji, an integral part of WWE from the early 1970s all the way to the mid-‘90s. While modern fans are more familiar with Fuji’s managerial career, he was actually a member of two of the most feared and destructive tag teams his era had ever seen. Fuji’s first team was with Professor Toru Tanaka, and the second Mr. Saito, earning three WWE Tag Team Championships with the former and two with the latter. When Fuji left wrestling behind to focus on managing, his partners both faded into obscurity. Though Fuji was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2007, neither of the men he won championships with have so much as been mentioned on television since their teams fell apart.
8 8. The Corre – Justin Gabriel
Technically, The Corre was a group of four wrestlers, so to be clear, we’re talking about the tag team within a team, Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel. The two started teaming while The Corre were still part of The Nexus, continuing their team past the break up of either stable. The team found success regardless of their affiliation, winning the WWE Tag Team Champions as conduits of both groups. It wasn’t long after The Corre broke up that they parted ways, though, and Heath Slater started his path towards becoming a living meme while Gabriel slowly faded into the undercard. Gabriel stayed on the WWE roster for nearly four full years after he and Slater last teamed together, until he couldn’t take the downward spiral anymore and asked for his release. Recently, Gabriel has started to piece his career together with a run at Lucha Underground, although this hardly compares to Slater’s career revitalization when he began teaming with Rhyno.
7 7. The Bodydonnas – Zip
Truth be told, The Bodydonnas may be one case where both members of the tag team were totally forgotten and overshadowed due to their manager. That said, the specifics of the situation and who that manager was meant one of the team members would be remembered through proxy, thanks to the fact she and he were dating. The she and he in question were Sunny and Chris Candido, known at the time as Skip, and the man they left behind was Tom Prichard, aka Zip. Prichard actually has the longer tenure in WWE and the wrestling industry in general, as a member of The Heavenly Bodies with Jimmy Del Ray and a trainer in NXT and other WWE developmental territories for decades. Regardless, Candido still became the bigger deal as far as wrestling fans are concerned, due to his successes in ECW and WCW, plus the fact he was simply a better wrestler than Prichard in just about every way.
6 6. MNM – Joey Mercury
From the day MNM made their debut, Joey Mercury felt like more of a means to an end than an actual part of the team. Unlike most on this list, Mercury was only one-third of the team to begin with, sharing the honor with John Morrison and Melina. Morrison so perfectly fit the image of a sexy movie star who felt entitled to wrestling success because of his good looks that he’s been playing variations on the character everywhere he went and Melina was his even sexier girlfriend justifying his hubris. Mercury was a decent wrestler, but not quite good looking enough to fit the gimmick, nor as flashy an athlete as Morrison or even Melina. Coincidentally, Mercury had previously been the standout in a team with Christian York during the dying days of ECW. Ultimately, Mercury could even end up the higher profile name in WWE, as a member of J&J Security, although once again he was the less flashy and more forgettable member of that group. While Lucha Underground and indy success might mean Morrison is less notorious altogether, at least the people who know him appreciate his talents more than Mercury’s.
5 5. Money Inc. – Irwin R. Schyster
For whatever reason, most fans forget about Money Inc. when discussing the greatest WWE tag teams of all time. Perhaps the reason stems from the fact one-half of the duo, Ted DiBiase, had already achieved a great deal of fame as one of the most hated villains wrestling ever created by inventing The Million Dollar Man persona. Even so, the success of DiBiase’s team with Irwin R. Schyster was nothing to scoff at and it could be argued he was more successful in the tag team division than he ever was as a solo act. DiBiase’s only solo championships were the short-lived North American title and his own Million Dollar Championship, while Money Inc.’s three reigns collectively amounted to more than a full year as WWE Tag Team Champions. It wouldn’t be fair to say IRS has completely been forgotten, as his dated gimmick is often remembered in retrospectives. Nonetheless, in no way is he viewed on the same level as DiBiase, who was inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame by himself, in 2010.
4 4. The Smoking Gunns – Bart Gunn
Given his status as one of the wrestling world’s predominant “tag team specialists,” it was inevitable that one of Billy Gunn’s many teams would wind up on this list. His best team was probably The New Age Outlaws with The Road Dogg, one of his few former partners to stay relevant once the team broke up. There’s also Chuck Palumbo, who helped Billy achieve his penultimate glory as Billy and Chuck. Last but not least, and in fact first chronologically, is Bart Gunn. Bart stuck around post-breakup longer than Palumbo and yet he still managed to accomplish almost nothing as a solo wrestler. Bart Gunn’s one slice of fame came when he won the Brawl For All tournament and earned a shoot fight against Butterbean at WrestleMania XV. Butterbean knocked Gunn out in a manner of seconds, pretty much ending his American career overnight. While Bart managed a moderate amount of success in Japan, Billy’s two future teams plus many championships as a solo wrestler make him significantly more memorable to the average member of the WWE Universe.
3 3. The Hart Foundation – Jim Neidhart
Let’s face it: Jim Neidhart never had a chance. Although Jimmy Hart managed Neidhart as a solo act before his brother-in-law Bret Hart joined the fray and appropriated Jimmy’s Hart Foundation so he and Neidhart could form a tag team, Bret was the streets ahead standout from the day he made his debut. The Hart Foundation dominated as a tag team for some six years, twice winning the WWE Tag Team Championships and holding them for significant stretches, but it would be impossible to argue these accomplishments are anywhere near what Bret Hart achieved when he went solo. Within months of the team going their separate ways, Bret was feuding legends like Mr. Perfect and Roddy Piper over the Intercontinental Championship, while Neidhart almost immediately disappeared. The more Bret succeeded the further Neidhart receded, only reappearing in WWE to serve as Bret or brother Owen’s lackey from that day forward.
2 2. The Headshrinkers – Samu
Unlike most tag teams on this list, there was never really a standout in The Headshrinkers when the two were together. Fatu is more memorable in retrospect, thanks to his later success as Rikishi, winning the WWE Intercontinental and Tag Team Championships with three separate partners en route to the Hall Of Fame. Samu was cast aside while Rikishi was still Fatu, replaced in The New Headshrinkers by Sione, although that team too dissipated in short order so Rikishi could start his solo career. It took Rikishi some time to find a gimmick that actually resonated with fans, but he nonetheless always stayed a step ahead of Samu, who never wrestled for WWE again after the team broke up. Samu did make a handful more non-wrestling appearances, followed by a brief stint in ECW, although neither was in any way notable.
1 1. The Rockers – Marty Jannetty
No wrestler better exemplifies the concept of this list quite like Marty Jannetty, who has been used as a metaphor to represent underachieving tag team partners since he and Shawn Michaels first started rocking together in the 1980s. At the time the two were still teaming as The Midnight Rockers, many insiders considered Michaels and Jannetty equal talents, and some even predicted Jannetty would be the one to change the business once the two went solo. Instead, Michaels turned on Jannetty and became one of the biggest WWE superstars of all time, while Jannetty spiraled into drug use and obscurity within a manner of months. Jannetty did manage one reign as WWE Intercontinental Champion, defeating Michaels for the belt as poetic justice for breaking up the team, but this hardly compares to HBK’s four WWE Championships, or dozens of other achievements in wrestling. Even during Jannetty’s various attempts at comebacks in WWE and on the indy circuit, he was always intrinsically linked to Michaels, never even given the chance to stand on his own. In all fairness, his substance problems meant he might not have been able to if given the chance.
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