The introduction of WWE’s Mixed Match Challenge gave fans a chance to finally see their favorite male and female superstars team up. Some of the duos were predictable, some were surprises, but most were lots of fun.
The second season featured a format change to a round robin competition, which allowed all the teams to stay in the tournament longer, leading to more entertaining contests. As great as it is to see stars like Sami Zayn and Becky Lynch pair up, it can also be a chore to watch the antics of less memorable partnerships. With that in mind, here are the 5 best and 5 worst teams of the Mixed Match Challenge.
10 WORST: EMBER MOON AND CURT HAWKINS
Originally Ember Moon's partner during season 2 was Braun Strowman. However, once he was hurt, she was given the storyline choice of Curt Hawkins. Since Hawkins was on a record losing streak, it was obvious what the outcome would be.
Acting GM Baron Corbin was punishing all Strowman's friends, and the War Goddess got caught up in the nonsense. Moon is such a great athlete and performer, she deserved a much better chance to showcase her skills and not just be a prop in a boring feud.
9 BEST: ASUKA AND THE MIZ
At the time Asuka was a babyface and The Miz was a heel, so this seemed like an odd pairing, but their in ring chemistry made them fun to watch. On their way to winning the tournament the pair scored an unlikely victory against Braun Strowman and Alexa Bliss.
Teaming with The Miz allowed The Empress of Tomorrow to show more of her personality and build a connection with the audience. Their best moment came when Asuka predictably got fed up with The Miz's antics and hit him with her signature strikes and kicks.
8 WORST: MICKIE JAMES AND BOBBY LASHLEY
In season 2 WWE changed up the format and brought in some new teams. Unfortunately, some of those pairs felt thrown together and it was hard for fans to get attached.
One such team was future Hall of Famer Mickie James and dominant big man Bobby Lashley. Despite the talent of the superstars, other than the two being heels, there was no story behind their partnership and no reason for fans to be interested. Perhaps season 3 will see James team up with someone who can match her personality on the mic and in the ring.
7 BEST: NAOMI AND JIMMY USO
Married superstars Naomi and Jimmy Uso were obvious choice to team up when the Mixed Match Challenge was announced. The two have partnered a few times over the years and never fail to put on an entertaining match.
Of course they have great chemistry, but it's their similar athletic in ring style that makes them so fun to root for. Their popularity means we will probably see them in the competition again, hopefully finally getting the win.
6 WORST: ELIAS AND BAYLEY
Originally Bayley was meant to team with Samoa Joe, a combination fans voted for. However, when Joe was injured, second choice Elias was picked. Their clash in characters made this an odd duo from the start.
Backstage segments made the best of this last minute change, but the duo weren't in the tournament long, losing to Lana and Rusev in the first round. Bayley suffered a similar fate in season 2 when Finn Balor was replaced with Apollo Crews. We'd like to see her get a real run with the same partner.
5 BEST: SASHA BANKS AND FINN BALOR
As two of the company's most popular stars, this was a partnership fans were really excited about. It was great to see the longtime friends having fun with each other's entrances and gimmicks.
With a similar move set and the crowd firmly behind them, they were immediate favorites to win the whole thing. Unfortunately, they lost in the quarterfinals to eventual winners The Miz and Asuka. It's a tag team we're really hoping to see again in the future.
4 WORST: LANA AND RUSEV
As a married couple who have worked together for most of their WWE careers, it was no surprise to see Lana and Rusev as a tag team.
Despite their big personalities and the success of Rusev Day, Lana's lack of ring experience always held them back from being taken seriously. Though it's expected for him to be with Lana, why not pair Rusev with someone like Natalya or Nia Jax so he can have a realistic chance at winning?
3 BEST: ALEXA BLISS AND BRAUN STROWMAN
Sometimes with tag teams the opposites attract approach works best. Pairs like Goldust and R-Truth or Daniel Bryan and Kane were so popular because fans liked the clash of styles.
This idea worked perfectly for Alexa Bliss and Braun Strowman. From their vastly different sizes to their opposing ring styles to their different characters, it was constantly entertaining. As a matter of fact, the two have continued to pop up in each other's stories from time to time because it never gets old watching them together.
2 WORST: ALICIA FOX AND JINDER MAHAL
We love a good comedy team, but at a certain point the fun and games has to be backed up in the ring. It was clear from the start that Alicia Fox and Jinder Mahal were there for laughs and to put the other teams over.
However, the schtick of Alicia butting heads with the Singh brothers got old very fast. Coupled with the fact that the two are essentially jobbers, it was impossible to take them seriously, which sucked all the fun out of their matches.
1 BEST: CARMELLA AND R-TRUTH
Every once in awhile, the unlikeliest teams will catch lightning in a bottle and captivate the audience. This is what happened with Carmella and R-Truth during season 2. Truth's commitment to his character's wackiness and Carmella getting a chance to show her fun side made them instant fan favorites.
They were such hits, the duo won the whole tournament and have continued to work as a team. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that they’re both great in the ring. Even as their singles careers have taken off, the two are always by one another's side, ready to start a dance break at a moment's notice.