In professional wrestling, not all of the greatest wrestlers can be found among the list of world heavyweight champions. That’s because there is something unique and special about having a great tag team with two wrestlers who work well with near perfect fluidity. Many times, tag teams are usually formed before debuting on television and never stopped from there.
Other times, a great tag team might sometimes involve taking two superstars who each are missing something and are matched that create one effective whole as a unit. Currently in the WWE, The New Day (consisting of Big E Langston, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods) have shown fans what a great tag team is capable of between entertaining matches and equally enjoyable promos.
Now The New Day still is young in terms of being a tag team, so they aren’t ready to be placed among the top 10 tag teams. There have been a number of great teams in the history of professional wresting history that have established themselves on this list.
At the same time, one has to recognize that there will also be a fair share of tag team busts and there have been just as many rotten eggs as there have been golden ones. To go along with the best tag teams of all time, it’s also a good time to recognize the worst of the worst. Some horrible teams were just given a bad gimmick while others were terrible simply because they were paired randomly without taking their possibly chemistry into consideration. Either way, here are the 10 best and 10 worst tag teams of all time.
20 Best - 10. Paul London and Brian Kendrick
While Rey Mysterio showed us that someone who isn’t the tallest or the biggest can be a World Heavyweight Champion in WWE, Paul London and Brian Kendrick showed us that tag teams do not have to have a combined weight going 500 or 600 pounds to be an effective team. With their respective high-flying abilities and great teamwork, winning the WWE Tag Team Championship that went from May 2006 to April 2007 – the longest reign since the SmackDown-exclusive titles were debuted in 2002.
The team also won the World Tag Team Championship for a brief time when they were drafted to the Raw brand of WWE later that year, which showed the company considered them one of the best at the time despite combining for a total weight of 385 pounds. With the current rumors that the WWE is looking to bring in older veterans as part of filling out the eventual brand split rosters, maybe a London and Kendrick reunion is possible.
19 Worst - 10. High Energy
Owen Hart built quite the legacy of his own during his professional wrestling career. Maybe not as great as his brother Bret’s, but respectable in his own right. But when one looks at the picture of him and Koko B. Ware from their tag team of High Energy, it just doesn’t feel quite right. The team debuted shortly after WrestleMania VIII in 1992 because his former tag team partner in Jim Neidhart left the WWE.
The two were great mid-card talents, but just didn’t get a lot of support from the fans as they only had one pay-per-view match together – a loss to the Headshrinkers at Survivor Series 1992. The end of High Energy was very quiet as they both branched out to their own singles careers. Probably for the best considering Owen Hart looked better without the black and white checkers. He also looked awkward going the bird dance with Ware.
18 Best - 9. New Age Outlaws
It was mentioned earlier that great tam teams are often built when two separate superstars who have their own specific weaknesses are brought together and are like two puzzle pieces being fit together. “Road Dogg” Jesse James was very talented when it came to talking on the microphone and Billy Gunn (known originally as Rockabilly) had the looks of a top-tier talent. Both struggled on their own initially before they were formed as a tag team in 1997.
What made this team great was that they were brought into the D-Generation X stable and rebranded as The New Age Outlaws – one of the great tag teams during the WWE’s Attitude Era in the 1990s. Fans who watched in the 1990s can recite how Road Dogg would introduce the team with the trademark phrase “Oh you didn’t know?” And in case you didn’t know, they had five championship reigns between 1997 and 1999; they also a short run in 2014 with the current incarnation of the WWE Tag Team Championship.
17 Worst - 9. Legion of Doom II
While Road Warrior Animal has earned plenty of respect among wrestling fans, one can’t help but wonder why he would be okay with idea of having a second version of the Legion of Doom. And if they were going to go that route, couldn’t they have found someone not so awkward? The signature Doomsday Device didn’t have the same execution as the old days.
It’s never been a great idea to try and do a version 2.0 because fans who remember the original team of Hawk and Animal will always criticize the new version as being inferior to the first Legion of Doom. Consider the criticism as that of the fans who remember watching the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers from the 1990s and have seen the images of upcoming movie.
Heidenreich as a Road Warrior is like the new costumes for the Power Rangers and not living up to the expectations set by the past. It felt more like they were trying to help boost Heidenreich instead of honoring the legacy of the Legion of Doom.
16 Best - 8. Steiner Brothers
When Scott and Rick Steiner reunited together in June 2013 during a show with Preston City Wrestling in the United Kingdom, the Steiner Brothers won the company’s tag team championships for a special win. Now it was only a one-day reign as the titles have since been held by “Team Single,” the two have won championship gold in the United States with WCW, WWE and the NWA, as well as two three title reigns in the early 1990s with New Japan Pro Wrestling.
They are considered the first tag team in wrestling history to win gold for WWE, WCW and Japan. Overall, they’ve held 11 world tag team championships and both also had respective successes in their singles careers during the late 1990s with Scott winning a WCW World Heavyweight Championship and Rick having won the United States and Television championships. Since then, they made some independent appearances here and there with their most recent in a match at WrestleCade in November 2014.
15 Worst - 8. Deuce and Domino
When you think about some of the various gimmicks that WWE gives superstars, some work out and some don’t. The idea of having a 50s style tag team in Deuce and Domino come up to the main roster in 2007 might have been intriguing at first as they would win the WWE Tag Team Championships from Paul London and Brian Kendrick – breaking their nearly year-long run with the titles.
Unfortunately, the team would lose the titles after a few months and would be split up on WWE television after about a year. There was some people who felt the team didn’t get a fair shake and that might be debatable. Cliff Compton, who portrayed Domino in WWE, made a statement in a 2014 interview that despite how short the team’s run lasted, he couldn’t complain about the experience. Not sure if his comments about the team being destined for a babyface turn would have been a great idea.
14 Best - 7. Demolition
There are few teams in the history of professional wrestling that has developed as much of a dominating force like that of Ax and Smash in the late 1980s in WWE. Demolition essentially destroyed everyone after they had claimed their first reign as the WWE Tag Team Championship by defeating Tito Santana and Rick Martel in 1988 and those belts would stay in their hands for 478 days before losing to Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard (The Brain Busters) in a best-of-three falls match in 1989.
They would have two more championship runs that included a win over the team of Haku and Andre the Giant. Demolition were iconic in their own way and stood out during a time when tag team wrestling was at one of its highest peaks in history and will likely not be replicated. The only reason their height in popularity declined was when the Road Warriors joined the WWE.
13 Worst - 7. Spirit Squad
If the WWE wanted to bring one of the more annoying gimmicks in wrestling history, they gave fans the Spirit Squad in 2006. They were loud, pompous and had some qualities of good heels. But there wasn’t a lot of depth beyond that and came across more of an annoyance than entertaining by any stretch of the imagination. They did win the WWE Tag Team Championships, but were used mostly as a group that helped Vince McMahon and Jonathan Coachman.
Their finishing move as a team was essentially having all five members lift an opponent, throw them into the air and let them fall to the mat. Not necessarily a very realistically effective maneuver, but that’s what they did during the championship run. At least the team gave us the start that Nicky – known currently as Dolph Ziggler –needed to be noticed by WWE to become a great single competitor.
12 Best - 6. Hardy Boyz
First signed by the WWE when they were teenagers in 1998, Matt and Jeff Hardy won the WWF/E World Tag Team Championships half a dozen times while also holding the WCW World Tag Team Championships once. While they would often lose to the team of Edge and Christian, they were part of the triple-threat ladder match (also involving the Dudleyz) at WrestleMania 2000 and also the Tables, Ladders and Chairs match the next year at WrestleMania X-Seven.
It would be an understatement to note that both Jeff and Matt helped inspire the current generation of young wrestling stars – both in singles and tag team styles of in-ring competition. While the two have since moved on to TNA Wrestling, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the two are eventually inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame when all is said and done.
11 Worst - 6. The Godwinns
Hillbilly Jim was definitely memorable during his time in WWE, but not even he could help put over the Godwinns in the mid-1990s. While both were large and had a different look as hog farmers, their in-ring work could have used some improvements as there were some awkward spots and pauses during their matches. Despite the criticisms, they did have two short runs with the WWE Tag Team Championships with wins over the Body Donnas and The Headbangers.
Near the final year of their run, they had inconsistent success with wins over teams like The Headbangers and the Legion of Doom mixed with losses to Doug Furnas and Phil LaFon in 1997. Shortly after WrestleMania XIV in 1998, the team left television and were rebranded as Southern Justice that debuted in August 1998. This only lasted a little more than a month, partly because the former Henry Godwinn suffered a neck and spine injury – leaving the other to become Mideon in the WWE.
10 Best - 5. Edge and Christian
Long before the days where they were the stars of their own show on the WWE Network and well before the days they both would earn the name “world heavyweight champion,” Edge and Christian made their impacts in the WWE as a tag team that had wars of various kinds against the names like the Dudley Boys, Matt and Jeff Hardy and other stars from the Attitude Era and into the new millennia.
It didn’t matter if they were members of Gangrel’s Brood, were represented by Terri Runnels, were under masks as Los Conquistadores or were dorky brothers who gave fans five-second poses for the benefit of flash photography, they were champions that helped turn the already popular ladder match and added tables and chairs in some of the best WrestleMania matches of all time – winning PWI honors for Match of the Year at WrestleMania 2000 and WrestleMania X-Seven.
Overall, they won the WWE Tag Team Championship seven separate times before splitting up to pursue singles success that some would say “totally reeked of awesomeness.”
9 Worst - 5. The Gymini
While it’s not the worst gimmick we’ve seen the Shane Twins given (you’ll see in a few moments), the WWE didn’t really give them a very exciting gimmick as bodybuilders. The duo was introduced to WWE television by the “fitness expert” Simon Dean back in January 2006. While it wasn’t the worst gimmick, it didn’t have the proper execution.
The Gymini did have a number of victories within their one-year tenure in WWE, including victories over Paul London and Brian Kendrick and the team of Scotty 2 Hotty and Rikishi, the two (much larger) wrestlers felt the need to utilize the “switcheroo” tactic when one would assume they could handle business without needing to switch out.
After spending some time at WWE’s development territory at Deep South Wrestling, the Gymini were released in 2007 as part of a large group of released superstars. Since then, they continued taking independent bookings and are back to wrestling under their real names.
8 Best - 4. The Outsiders
The team of Scott Hall and Kevin Nash in World Championship Wrestling gets included on this list for the fact that they were two-thirds of the original New World Order that helped launch the beginning of the Monday Night Wars between WWE and WCW. They were already iconic in professional wrestling back in 1996 when Nash (formerly known as Diesel) and Hall (formerly known as Razor Ramon) left the WWE for bigger contracts and were part of an invasion storyline in WCW.
Not only did the two win the WCW World Tag Team Championships a total of six times (one involved Syxx being a substitute for an injured Nash), but they were part of the most infamous scene of Hulk Hogan turning heel and joining The Outsiders at the 1996 Bash at the Beach event. It was one of the most shocking moments in wrestling history and that just boost the Outsiders’ overall legacy even more.
7 Worst - 4. "Pacman" Jones and Ron Killings
While TNA has had a history of building successful teams during their early years like Team Canada, there have definitely been some fails. The first sign of bad things to come was that TNA signed suspended NFL star Adam “Pacman” Jones to a contract and that the plans were he would be in a tag team. However, the Titans did not like that and were ready to file an order preventing him from working at TNA.
The two sides did come to an agreement, but Jones could not touch or be touched. So there goes the tag team idea, right? Nope. Here comes Team Pacman where Ron Killings was a good sport and pretty much did all of the work as they would eventually win the TNA World Tag Team Championship by defeating Kurt Angle and Sting.
The whole concept was mostly to help TNA get publicity on all of the major sports networks, and that’s all it would be considered – a failed publicity stunt.
6 Best - 3. The Dudley Boyz
Every promotion likes to have a list of their greatest tag teams of all time, but the Dudley Boyz are the only team to have won championships for Extreme Championship Wrestling, the WWE, WCW (granted it was after the buyout to WWE), the National Wrestling Alliance and TNA Wrestling. Let’s also add tag team championship gold won in Japan and other promotions around the world.
While Bubba Ray was the better speaker – whether or not he was stuttering – the two just felt like a perfect pairing in their careers that is still going strong even after nearly 20 years after they formed. They’ve won more than 20 different world tag team championships and will likely have at least one more title run in WWE before they will eventually retire – because a team that has toured around all parts of professional wrestling should be allowed to leave the ring on top of the tag team division.
5 Worst - 3. The Dicks
During that transition period between the Attitude Era and the current PG era in WWE, there were a number of failed tag teams that probably should have never left the creative team’s brainstorming session. A perfect example involves putting two muscular guys in ring gear that looks like something out of the Chippendale’s closet – because why not add more support for those who make fun of wrestling.
After having some success as the Toland Brothers in Ohio Valley Wrestling with winning tag team gold there, The Dicks debuted on main WWE roster in October 2005. Their WWE run only lasted for about five months. It was probably for the best since the WWE didn’t really invest much thought into the team other than their gimmick. They even had a song that sounded like a WCW jobber’s entrance theme. Essentially, that’s how it was in WWE with a number of losses on Velocity.
4 Best - 2. Fabulous Freebirds
It almost feels like their induction into the WWE Hall of Fame earlier this year was a little overdue, especially when you’re impact as a tag team led to a wrestling rule that was created and named in your honor. But the team of Michael “P.S.” Hayes, Terry “Bam Bam” Gordy and Buddy Roberts were the first team to compete as a trio for tag team gold.
Because of this, the National Wrestling Alliance started the “Freebird Rule” that meant any two-man combination from the group can defend the championship. This led to a number of factions being able to do the same, including the current WWE Tag Team Champions in The New Day. The group was so close that they left the WWE in the 1980s when the powers that be wanted to split them up.
Until they did officially break up in 1994, the Fabulous Freebirds finished with more than 20 tag team titles for various territories before the WWE became the wrestling giant it is today.
3 Worst - 2. The Ding Dongs
The world of professional wrestling has always had their good, catchy gimmicks, the ones that anger the live crowds and then one that are just too annoying to even want to sit through. As an example of the latter, as a team called the Ding Dongs debuted in a tag team match against the likes of George South and Cougar Jay during WCW’s Clash of the Champions VII in June 1989.
So let’s put two wrestlers in red body suits with bells all over them and have them run down the ring ringing bells. When one was in the ring, the other rang his bell repeatedly. The fans were not a very fond of this tag team and they let WCW know about it.
This was considered a blemish on an otherwise solid card that featured the Freebirds defeating the Midnight Express for the vacated NWA World Tag Team Championships and other talents like the Steiner Brothers, Ricky Steamboat and a young Sting as the NWA Television Champion.
We might also be noticing a trend with bad tag teams having suggestive names.
2 Best - 1. Road Warriors
Essentially, the men from Chicago, Ill., were the tag team in the 1980s that established themselves even before coming to the WWE in 1990 – granted, that meant being named the Legion of Doom. Hawk and Animal were certainly a force to be reckoned with starting in 1983 in Georgia Championship Wrestling where they received a big push despite being very young. It only took half a year before they won the NWA National Tag Team Championship.
In the years that followed, Hawk and Animal would win gold in Japan and also with the American Wrestling Association and the National Wrestling Alliance, WWF and WCW with the devastating Doomsday Device finisher. Overall, the team won 15 tag team titles – regardless whether they were named the Road Warriors, Legion of Doom or even the lesser known Hell Warriors moniker. Just ignore that time Animal teamed with Heidenreich and the Legion of Doom legacy is virtually spotless.
1 Worst - 1. The Johnsons
So during the first TNA Wrestling show back in July 2002, Mortimer Plumtree brought two very large men who wore latex body suits and looked like, well, a team you would expect to be called Johnsons. It didn’t help that Plumtree held a paddle with him. Overall, it just felt like a very poor decision by the company’s creative team at the time.
They could have given men of their stature any other type of gimmick and it would have been an improvement. Hell, you could have made them bodybuilders. Wait, WWE did that when they hired the team and made them enforcers for Simon Dean (please refer to worst team No. 5). It’s a shame that they were former NWA Tag Team Champions earlier that team as the Shane Twins; only to be stripped once TNA had the exclusive rights to those belts and repackaged them as Dick and Rod.