Tag team wrestling is an extremely important facet to the history of professional wrestling. The difference in the storytelling art for tag team matches helps make it unlike the singles matches on a show. Wrestling clearly needs variety for it to work. All major promotions have been attempting to build strong Tag Team Divisions. We have witnessed many great tag teams throughout the history of wrestling. These teams found the perfect chemistry to build something special. Tag teams often have two wrestlers with completely different skill sets that sees each wrestler make up for the weaknesses of the other.
WWE recently broke up a couple of tag teams because they viewed one partner of having more potential. Big Cass turning on Enzo Amore took place because WWE thinks Cass is significantly better than Enzo. American Alpha ended because WWE thinks Jason Jordan has more potential as a singles star. History has seen a few incredible teams with similar stories of one wrestler being way better and the other being a weakest link. There are also a few special teams that defied that logic by always appearing as equals. We’ll look at both sides of history with eight legendary tag teams that had a weak link and seven that had equally great partners.
15 Team With Weak Link: The Rockers
The most popular example of a tag team with one partner being significantly better than the other is The Rockets. Shawn Michaels was clearly a better all-around performer than Marty Jannetty and WWE reacted by breaking up. Michaels throwing Jannetty through a barbershop glass window changed their careers forever. Everyone views Michaels as a top all-time WWE star and Jannetty as a joke for his ridiculous presence in wrestling today.
They made up a tremendous duo that helped take the tag team genre forward. Michaels always was the more impressive star and it didn’t take rocket science to realize he would be the better singles star. Jannetty is extremely fortunate that he was able to spend a bit of time teaming with arguably the greatest in-ring performer of all time.
14 Team With Equal Partners: New Age Outlaws
There is a lot to be said for a tag team that is smart enough to know their individual strengths and weaknesses. The New Age Outlaws proved that with each wrestler playing a different but equal role. Billy Gunn was a very athletic performer that lacked the microphone skills to truly stand out on his own. Road Dogg wasn’t one of the top in-ring performers but could talk with the best of them.
Each member utilized their strengths to make up one of the most successful tag teams of all time. The argument can be made that the New Age Outlaws were the top team of the Attitude Era. Neither man ever appeared to be a bigger deal than the other during their time together as a team. Road Dogg’s introduction as they walked down to the ring was equally important to Gunn hitting the Fameasser to win matches.
13 Team With Weak Link: The Steiner Brothers
Both Rick and Scott Steiner were talented wrestlers in different ways, but it was clear from day one that Scott was the better performer. The look and personality of Scott always stood out much more than Rick. Scott hitting the Frankensteiner move from the top rope during his prime was absolutely shocking given how large of a man he was.
WCW eventually split up the Steiner Brothers primarily to push Scott as a member of the New World Order. Scott went on to have a great singles career as one of WCW’s final big stars. You have to wonder how much success he could have had if they split earlier. Rick flopped in just about every role after the end of the Steiner Brothers tag team proving he just didn’t have the equal skills of Scott.
12 Team With Equal Partners: The Dudley Boyz
The Dudley Boyz dominated the wrestling industry winning tag titles in ECW, WWE, TNA and NJPW over their illustrious careers together. Bubba Ray and D-Von were both talented performers and were clearly meant to wrestle together. WWE tried splitting them up during the original brand split, but neither man was able to succeed without the other.
An argument can be made that Bubba was the better partner due to his charisma. Bubba did achieve more success as a singles star in TNA, but that was such a smaller sample size. During their times in WWE, both Dudley Boyz needed each other to make an impact. They will always be linked together and fans will remember them collectively rather than individually. Bubba Ray and D-Von built something special as equal partners.
11 Team With Weak Link: Los Guerreros
The short tenure of the Los Guerreros tag team on WWE television left them a legacy as a great unit. Eddie Guerrero and nephew Chavo Guerrero played the heels that loved to lie, cheat and steal. Their antics were so entertaining that fans organically loved them forcing WWE to turn them face. The reason WWE ended Los Guerreros was that Eddie was on such a different level from Chavo.
Eddie received a singles push that culminated with the late great becoming the WWE Champion. Chavo was always a solid hand in the Cruiserweight Division but nowhere near the talent of Eddie. The tag team helped them both become valuable to WWE, but Eddie was clearly the bigger asset. Los Guerreros allowed Eddie to show his personality which finally earned him the trust of WWE management to get the ball and run with it.
10 Team With Equal Partners: Young Bucks
One active tag team that has created a legendary time together outside of WWE is the Young Bucks. Brothers Matt and Nick Jackson currently dominate NJPW, ROH and PWG Tag Team Divisions. They may be the most valuable members of the highly successful Bullet Club faction as one rare act to remain in the group during the different tenures under leaders Finn Balor, A.J. Styles and Kenny Omega.
The tag team style of the Young Bucks makes them a human highlight reel every time they step foot into the ring. Matt and Nick helped usher in a new boom period for the independent circuit and now more wrestlers are making a living outside of WWE than ever before. Their key strength as a tag team is that they've always worked together. The Young Bucks have zero intentions of ever splitting up and hope to continue adding moments to their legacy as a team.
9 Team With Weak Link: Too Cool
The tag team of Brian Christopher and Scott Taylor finally took off to new heights when getting the gimmick changes to start the Too Cool faction. Now known as Grand Master Sexay and Scotty 2 Hotty, they united with Rikishi to form Too Cool and the audience loved it. The dancing and theatrics of Too Cool would receive among the biggest pops of the night during the hottest time period in WWE.
Both members worked well together, but Scotty received the biggest ovation for his antics along with the finishing move known as "The Worm". WWE ended the team when Christopher continued to make poor backstage decisions that led to his release. Scotty was still over and did a good job in the Light Heavyweight Division.
8 Team With Equal Partners: APA
The careers of Bradshaw and Faarooq in WWE saw both men struggle until forming a tag team together. WWE finally found the perfect role for each when they formed the Acolytes as the henchmen for The Undertaker. Things would only get better when they ended that gimmick to become the APA. Both men were finally able to showcase their natural personalities in the role.
The APA consisted of tough, hard hitting men working together through a mutual love of violence in the ring and drinking beer outside of it. JBL did eventually go on to have more success as a singles wrestler but they were on an even ground as a team. The successful singles run of JBL came thanks to a major character change. As the APA, both men complimented each other perfectly.
7 Team With Weak Link: The Impact Players
The Impact Players in ECW gave the company their best tag team following the exit of the Dudley Boyz. Lance Storm and Justin Credible worked together to perfection with Dawn Marie as their manager and Jason as their annoying hype man. The technical wrestling skills of Storm stood out more than anything in the company where fans appreciated the in-ring work.
Credible contributed as the violent partner of the team appealing to the hardcore audience with his kendo stick as a weapon of choice. It was obvious that Storm was the more talented half of his tag team. The Impact Players ended when Storm made the jump to WCW for a better contract. It was obvious why WCW went after him as a singles star instead of the tag team. Storm brought it in the ring at a level that Justin couldn’t.
6 Team With Equal Partners: The Outsiders
An underrated tag team in the history of WCW is Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. The two New World Order stars are remembered for their singles careers, but they dominated the Tag Team Division for a full year that coincided with the peak of WCW. Hall and Nash used their real life chemistry as best friends to become the top heel team in the industry at the time.
The Outsiders had a longer shelf life as a team, but Hall’s personal demons and Nash having main event star potential each caused them to split. As a team, they were complete equals. Both guys were extremely cool, charismatic and came off as tough wrestlers once the bell rang. Despite Nash achieving more as a singles star, they were on the same level in the division.
5 Team With Weak Link: World's Greatest Tag Team
World's Greatest Tag Team had a short run in WWE that could have lasted many more years. The combination of Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas officially became a unit as Team Angle working under Kurt Angle’s guidance. Their backgrounds in amateur wrestling brought them together and made them the best tag team going during their peak.
Benjamin always showed more potential than Haas and WWE noticed it. World's Greatest Tag Team split up prematurely so Benjamin could move from SmackDown to Raw for a singles push. The talent of Shelton clearly was on a higher level than Haas. Benjamin won the Intercontinental Championship numerous times and had many memorable moments as a singles star. Haas predictably struggled to find a role before getting released. The fact that Shelton is still on the rumor mill to return to WWE and no one even thinks about Haas says it all today.
4 Team With Equal Partners: Rock 'n Roll Express
The legendary Rock 'n Roll Express recently got credit for their contributions to the wrestling business when WWE inducted them into the Hall of Fame class of 2017. Robert Gibson and Ricky Morton both wrestled together for three decades. Their peak came in the 1980s as legends during the era of territories. Rock 'n Roll Express won titles in Jim Crockett Promotions, Mid-South, CWA, NWA and other promotions.
Both members worked to exude the strengths of each other. Their careers would remain tied together through it all. Most teams to reach their success would split up to try to extend their individual careers since it is hard to work to keep your business attached to another person for that long. Rock 'n Roll Express however were a true tag team in wrestling history with Gibson being the first thought when someone mentions Morton and vice versa.
3 Team With Weak Link: Harlem Heat
Harlem Heat deserves to be mentioned among the greatest tag teams of the 90s. The real life brother combination of Booker T and Stevie Ray worked together to perfection in WCW. Harlem Heat would capture the WCW Tag Team Championship a record breaking ten times. Booker was however starting to improve dramatically as time went on.
WCW managed saw what any educated wrestling fan would as Booker was ready for a singles push. Stevie sadly was never as talented as his brother and found his name left behind. Booker moved to the top of the card as WCW’s final top star. WWE viewed him as a major player for many years as well during his Hall of Fame career. There’s a reason Stevie never joined WWE and the company was never interested in a Harlem Heat reunion. Stevie just wasn’t on the level as Booker.
2 Team With Equal Partners: Legion of Doom
Whether you know them as the Legion of Doom or the Road Warriors, they're regarded as the greatest tag team of all-time. Animal and Hawk were very similar wrestlers with power and strength that made them look superhuman in that wrestling ring. Factor in their cool entrance music, gear and face paint, and you could argue they were the closest thing to wrestling superheroes at the time.
Legion of Doom did everything together from the territories to WCW to WWE finding success everywhere in a major way. Any time a company tried to use either as a singles performer, it led to failure. Animal tried to continue his career after the death of Hawk and it sadly just wasn’t the same. Both wrestlers were meant to work together and fans only viewed those two as a team no matter what else they tried in their careers.
1 Team With Weak Link: The Hart Foundation
The Hart Foundation stood out in the late 80s and early 90s as a breakout tag team for WWE. Bret Hart and brother-in-law Jim Neidhart helped create a boom period for the Tag Division. Bret’s incredible technical wrestling skills and Jim’s power made for a great dynamic. However, it was obvious that Bret was the better wrestler with more skills, a better look and the ability to connect with the fans.
Vince McMahon believed in this enough to split up The Hart Foundation and push Bret into the main event picture. The rest is history as Bret became one of the biggest stars in wrestling history while Neidhart was an afterthought on every roster he was a part of. As great as they were together, Jim just didn’t have the overall skills to succeed without Bret. In comparison, Hart thrived and improved on his own to become a legend.