We all love watching singles competitions – one guy against the other going blow to blow – often for some title or other. The fans get behind their wrestler, cheering every punch, drop kick, submission, and attacking maneuver until the referee counts to three and declares the match is over. But sometimes, there’s nothing better than seeing some teamwork, seeing the drama of a tag team match unfold before your eyes.
There are many wrestlers who have spent most of their careers in the tag team setup – are renowned for being part of a tag team duo -- wrestlers such as Matt and Jeff Hardy who have won titles on their own but will always be remembered for their time and success with one another as The Hardy Boyz. The Dudleyz are another tag team – kayfabe family – partnership who went on to rule the roost in the tag team division, becoming one of the most decorated tag teams in wrestling history. These guys belong together on the tag team scene.
However, sometimes you come across a really odd pairing in tag team championship wrestling – guys who don’t really belong in a tag team who have just been thrown together for the sake of competition and entertainment. These are 15 of the strangest pairings – mismatched duos – who found themselves wrestling in the tag team division at one stage or another during their respective careers.
15 CM Punk And Kofi Kingston
Aside from his outspoken, sharp-tonged and brash in-ring persona and his real life views as a straight-laced man of principals and integrity, Punk will probably be remembered for his time in wrestling for reigning supreme as WWE Champion for 434 days. With such a glittering single’s career, you could be forgiven for forgetting that once upon a time, Punk teamed up with Kofi Kingston.
They did win a Tag Team Championship together, but this was one really odd pairing; they formed a totally incompatible combination, but in the end, that was one of the draw factors.
Punk and Kingston just had totally different personalities; they were poles apart from each other – punk with his straight-edged approach and Kingston with his freewheeling spirit. But it was somewhat entertaining while it lasted in the two months before they lost their championship and parted ways.
14 Santino Marella And Vladimir Kozlov
Santino Marella compared himself and Kozlov to Rocky Balboa and Ivan Drago from the epic Rocky IV movie; their tag team matches weren’t as epic as the Rocky-Drago fight, but they still tasted a reasonable amount of success – although it was relatively short-lived – and shocked the tag team division.
There was quite a long and drawn-out backstory regarding how the duo ended up together. Initially Kozlov refused Marella’s invitation to form a tag team; Kozlov then turned face to help Marella win a mixed tag team match. Then there was a dance-off, Kozlov helped Marella win another match, this time as a referee, and then they faced each other in the ring. They eventually saw eye to eye and teamed up to win the Tag Team Championship. Marella was a scrappy competitor and Kozlov was old-school in his approach – it all made for an odd, yet pretty entertaining time in the tag team division.
13 Kane And Daniel Bryan
The menacing figure of Kane and Daniel Bryan came together to form “Team Hell No” in late 2012 – an odd tag team partnership to say the least and one that had a pretty strange backstory to it as well.
The duo started off wanting to get on AJ Lee’s good side. With two guys after one girl, there’s going to be fireworks, and that’s what happened before Lee got fed up and sent them both to work out their differences in anger management. It was here that they started to connect with each other and went on to form a championship-winning partnership. Kane with Bryan wascertainly an odd combo. What’s even stranger is that they actually hugged in the ring before embarking on a title-winning endeavor – strange times!
12 The Rock And Mankind
The Rock and Mick Foley had a pretty strange – and strained – relationship when they first began getting involved in storylines with one another in 1998. Before forming a cohesive unit, they had formed a fierce rivalry and faced each other many times one-on-one for the WWE Championship. It didn’t take a genius to figure out why they didn’t click – they were polar opposites. The Rock was well-spoken, charismatic, and had the looks, while Mankind was disheveled and unpredictable and kind of a deranged maniac.
Again, it’s the case of opposites attracting; it may not have been an instant connection, but they eventually warmed to each other and formed somewhat of a bromance during their years together as The Rock 'n' Sock Connection. They certainly formed one of the oddest duos, but their time together was hugely entertaining, and at the end of the day, that’s what wrestling’s all about.
11 Chris Jericho And Big Show
Chris Jericho’s a guy that has many strings to his bow. A wrestler, actor, musician, media personality, businessman and author, he’s achieved a lot in his 45 years on this planet, but one of his strangest has got to be his tag team partnership with the man-mountain – The Big Show.
The duo joined forces to form The Jeri-Show tag team – a partnership that was at the center of many storylines and highly promoted angles from July 2009 to January 2010. They won a couple of Tag Team Championships and were given the accolade of being Tag Team of the Year in 2009, but that’s not getting away from the fact that they were one strange pairing. It’s as if WWE management picked two names out of a hat and put them together. Still, it may have looked strange, but it certainly worked as they were a pretty successful – and much-loved – tag team.
10 Hulk Hogan And Edge
Hulk Hogan teamed up with a number of wrestlers during his long and illustrious career at the helm of the industry, and formed a number of alliances and a load of bitter rivalries along the way. His most notable tag team partner was “Macho Man” Randy Savage – they formed The Mega Powers along with Miss Elizabeth in 1987.
Edge had a pretty decent time of it in wrestling too, and finished his career in 2011 as one of the most decorated wrestlers of all time – as did Hogan.
Edge was still a twinkle in his parents’ eyes when Hogan was already well on his way to dominating the wrestling scene and carving out a legacy for himself as one of the world’s biggest ever stars. Young Copeland – like many others – was gripped by Hulkamania, so it must have blown his mind when he received the news that he’d be teaming up with Hogan. They got together on an episode of SmackDown in 2002, won the Tag Team Championship and Edge’s dream was complete. Despite being a proud Canadian, he actually joined Hogan in waving the U.S. flag in celebration – he just got caught up in it all!
9 Haku And Andre the Giant
The Colossal Connection – consisting of Haku and Andre the Giant - was one of the most feared tag teams around from 1989-1990. Both were part of the Heenan family - managed by Bobby "The Brain" Heenan – and had teamed up together here and there before they made their tag team partnership official and formed The Colossal Connection.
You probably all know about Andre the Giant, but Haku was another big guy, and together they demolished everyone standing in their way.
Haku and Andre the Giant aren’t really an odd pairing – in fact, you couldn’t think of any individuals better suited to each other – but in the late '80s, it was really strange to see mass monsters of their caliber join forces to form a tag team. Hence, they make this list.
8 Stone Cold Steve Austin And Dude Love
Just from the names of these two guys you can tell that this was perhaps one of the oddest pairings in wrestling history. It’s the type of partnership that made a lot of people cringe – witnessing Steve Austin with his “Stone Cold” persona team up with the hippie-inspired character Dude Love was certainly one of the strangest combinations -- some imaginative writing from the WWE management!
Dude Love was one of the four faces of Mick Foley -- a gimmick he began to portray in the mid-90s. Dude Love made his debut with Austin and they found success right away, winning the WWE Tag Team Championship in their first outing together. For those of you who saw them team up, we’re sure that you’d agree it was mightily strange – we’ll probably never see a tag team partnership as weird and out-of-place as this again.
7 Bret Hart And Goldberg
A lot of you probably won’t realize that Bret Hart and Goldberg were ever paired together. That’s because today, when their names are mentioned together, it’s normally in reference to the events of Starrcade 1999 – that infamous event which saw Goldberg kick Hart on the head, one that ultimately ended “The Hitman’s” wrestling career. They had plenty of animosity towards each other throughout their careers, feuding earlier in 1999. Just before Starrcade, they actually formed a tag team partnership and got together to defeat Creative Control for the WCW World Tag Team Championship.
Many people won’t recall this as their victory was overshadowed by the events of Starrcade a couple of weeks later, and because their reign as champions only lasted for six days before they lost to The Outsiders. Due to all the history between the two, it was certainly a strange pairing – it’s not a surprise that they only lasted a week together!
6 The Rock And The Undertaker
Today these two have cemented their legacy in the industry – they’re some of the most decorated wrestlers to have stepped in the ring. But once upon a time – during the Attitude Era – they were still perceived to be rookies and were still carving out careers for themselves in the world of wrestling entertainment. Mark Calaway had been around for some time but still hadn’t achieved legendary status whereas Dwayne Johnson was still a baby in the wrestling industry.
This was a strange pairing because during 2000, you just didn’t get so-called “super teams” like this. It may be a super team on paper, but together they didn’t take the world by storm. They became champions, but their time at the top was short-lived as they lost to Edge and Christian less than a week later.
5 William Regal And Tajiri
Tajiri and Regal had their first interaction when Tajiri made his debut for WWE back in 2001. He was Regal’s assistant, but formed a bond that lasted pretty much throughout their respective careers. Regal, who was the WWE Commissioner at the time, helped Tajiri – giving him plenty of opportunities – during the initial stages of his career. But they didn't get together in the ring until four years later, teaming up at the Saitama Super Arena in Tajiri’s homeland of Japan. It was during an episode of RAW that they won the World Tag Team Championship – it was certainly a memorable occasion. Tajiri had come home and it was an emotional homecoming. They entered the ring to rapturous applause, with the Japanese fans welcoming one of their nation’s favorite wrestling sons back to his home country. The celebrations were just amazing; you’d have thought the diminutive figure of Tajiri was actually The Rock or Hulk Hogan!
This one’s a strange pairing simply because Regal and Tajiri have totally different styles. Regal’s old-school in his approach, whereas Tajiri’s trained in Lucha Libre and Japanese styles of wrestling. It was certainly an entertaining partnership while it lasted.
4 Owen Hart And Yokozuna
Yokozuna’s another Japanese wrestler – well, at least he represented Japan, despite having no connections to the country whatsoever. Unlike the cruiserweight Tajiri, Yokozuna was a heavyweight in every sense of the word. He weighed 650 pounds at his heaviest – a weight that ultimately hampered his career and led to his death.
He teamed up with the legend Owen Hart shortly before he was let go from WWE due to weight issues. In the mid-90s, Owen Hart began seeking a tag team partner in an effort to defeat The Smoking Gunns – a team consisting of kayfabe brothers Billy and Bart Gunn. Sure enough, out comes Yokozuna as Hart’s mystery partner. Unlike a lot of other partnerships on this list, their success lasted beyond a week or two; they dominated for months before losing to The Smoking Gunns in a cruel twist of fate.
3 Kane And X-Pac
Waltman became known as X-Pac in 1998 due to his association with D-Generation X. Kane, at the time, was portraying a loner – an angry social outcast who barely uttered a word. X-Pac got talking to Kane, formed an allegiance with him, and they made it official by forming a tag team together and winning the coveted Tag Team Championship twice. This was a really odd couple for obvious reasons.
At the time, X-Pac was meant to be the really good guy – he even coaxed the mute Kane into uttering his first words, the “suck it” catchphrase. But the friendship didn’t last. Kane anticipated being brought into D-Generation X, but was instead betrayed by X-Pac who got with his girlfriend – Tori – just as it was gearing up to be an interesting little partnership.
2 Tripe H And Stone Cold Steve Austin
Yes, these two legends of the industry did once join forces to form a tag team partnership. They teamed up in the early 2000s to form The Two-Man Power Trip, and boy were they successful. They were as good in the ring as they were on paper, to the delight of the wrestling fans around the world.
Their teaming up doesn’t make this list because they were incompatible or anything like that; in fact, you couldn’t think of any two wrestlers more suited to each other. However, their ideologies were so different – Triple H being the company’s main villain whereas Austin had been the top face for so long. Just a few months before this partnership, Austin and The Game were in just about the most personal feud of the Attitude Era, with Triple H having plotted for Stone Cold to be run over by a car.
The villainous stable put fear into the hearts of those in the tag team division – pity it lasted for less than a year.
1 Booker T And Goldust
In at number one is the Booker T-Goldust partnership – possibly the most mismatched tag team ever. Watching these two decorated wrestlers together was comedy at its best; they formed a bromance that will live long in the memory for being bizarre but effective and mightily entertaining.
It was a strange pairing – the tough streetwise Booker T persona combined with the enigmatic, flamboyant figure of Goldust - and together they wreaked havoc in WWE. They won the World Tag Team Championship at Armageddon in 2002, but then months later, due to differences with general manager Eric Bischoff, had to split up.
Their in-ring performances were entertaining, but it was their backstage antics that really propelled them to the forefront of the tag team division – Booker T with the lightsaber, or Booker T and Goldust at the movies. Their gimmicks were strange but their work will be remembered for years to come.