WWE has a history of great partnerships. The Rockers, The Powers of Pain, “Mean Gene” and the SummerSlam 1989 sign. All amazing in their own right. You might notice that none of those teams were ever tag champs in WWE (amazingly, “Mean Gene” and the sign never got the title shot they so desperately deserved) and the reason I’ve selected those teams is to give you a chance to reflect; reflect on how those duos were never champions, but, somehow, these 15 were. WWE’s tag team scene has seen some real stinkers in its 45+ year existence and not even the teams wearing gold were exempt from this. Whilst the WWE and World Tag Team Championships have been held by some of the all-time greats, there are definitely some men who did not deserve to hold those legendary straps and, on this list, we’re going to find out exactly who they were.
Now, this list is not a representation of the individual wrestlers’ abilities, nor of their careers outside of the tag team division, but is based solely on their time as tag team champions; how good their act was during the reign, how memorable the reign was and how much value they brought to the tag team championships they were holding at the time. Understood? Fantastic. Let’s begin.
15 Chief Morley and Lance Storm
Don’t worry, I’d forgotten about this reign too.
Lance Storm, the world’s most fun man, and Chief Morley, better known to many as “Val Venis,” won the World Tag Team Championships on the 24th March 2003 episode of Monday Night Raw, Well, I say “won," because Morley, who was Raw’s heel “Chief of Staff” within storyline, awarded himself and Storm the titles after Storm’s former championship-winning partner, William Regal, got injured. Okay, good start. The reign would last just one week as, on the very next episode of Raw, Kane and Rob Van Dam won the titles in a three-way elimination match also involving The Dudley Boyz. What’s even more weird about this reign is that Morley and Storm had actually successfully defended the titles the night before against Kane and Van Dam... at WrestleMania!
Yes, a team that hadn’t even won their championships in a match and would only reign for a week defended WWE’s most prestigious tag team championships at their biggest show of the year. And The Rockers never even won the titles, madness. Factoring in the length of their reign, the way they won the titles and the completely pointlessness of them winning the gold, Morley and Storm might not have done much to damage the tag team championships, but their reign was still pretty terrible.
14 Men On A Mission
Oh, Mabel, you tried so hard to be good, but you just weren’t.
In 1990s, Men on a Mission was a stable comprised of Mabel (later known as Viscera/Big Daddy V), Oscar (a manager) and Mo (umm, actually, I have nothing else to add, Mo isn’t very interesting). The duo of Mabel and Mo got over thanks to their brightly-coloured outfits, positive attitudes and their rapping manager, eventually leading to a World Tag Team Championship win in 1994 at a house show in London, England. Ok, so maybe the win was on an untelevised house show in a foreign country, but it’s still impressive, right? Oh, what’s that? They lost the belts two days later at another house show, so their entire tag team title run went untelevised and largely ignored? Oh dear.
Sadly for Mabel and Mo, their entire time as World Tag Team Champions was spent off-screen and the team would never achieve enough success to be considered for another title reign. Mabel had some success as the 1995 King of the Ring winner, but the duo were just not meant for any lasting triumph and, sadly, their time as tag team champions must be considered as some of the worst of all time.
13 Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie
A record-setting tag team title reign, although, sadly, not for the right reasons.
Cactus Jack (Mick Foley) and Chainsaw Charlie (Terry Funk) are two of the craziest people to ever lace up a pair of wrestling boots. Both are known for their love of violent wrestling, high spots and disregarding their own body and have both been called “The Hardcore Legend” in their time. So, when the two teamed up to take on The New Age Outlaws for the World Tag Team Championships at WrestleMania XIV, you knew something crazy was in a store. In WrestleMania’s only ever Dumpster match (because why not), Jack and Charlie defeated The Outlaws in what was a brilliantly brutal affair, winning the Tag Team Championships in front of a hot Boston crowd. It was simpler back then; all you had to do to get over was throw a few guys in a dumpster. Those were the days.
You might think I’m being harsh putting these two crazy old men on this list; they won the titles in a great match at one of the best WrestleManias ever, so what makes them so bad? Well, the very next night on Raw, Charlie and Jack’s time as World Tag Team Champions came to an end, when The Outlaws won the belts back in a steel cage match. Oh. So they were champions for 24 hours. Fantastic. Jack and Charlie are one of just four teams to have held the tag team titles for just one day and Terry Funk is one of just three people to reign with the belts for one day across his entire career. A great match does not a good tag team make, so Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie are well-deserving of this spot on the list, which is sad. Not for them, for me; if they ever find out that I put them on this list, they’ll come after me. I’m scared, people, I’m really scared.
12 Mankind and Al Snow
Who put these two together? This is a therapist’s worst nightmare.
Mankind (one of the three faces of Mick Foley) and Al Snow teamed up to win the World Tag Team Championships on the November 2nd 1999 edition of SmackDown, defeating Crash and Hardcore Holly to do so. The duo didn’t have long to celebrate this victory, however, as, just four days later (six days in real time as SmackDown was taped back then), the insane combo lost the titles to The New Age Outlaws. This was to be Snow’s one and only tag team championship, whilst it was the last of Mankind’s eight World Tag Team Championship reigns. Well, technically Mankind only had six reigns; the other two were by Dude Love and Cactus Jack. You didn’t make research for this list easy, Mick.
I’m not entirely sure why Mankind and Snow were given the reign here – the story going into this match was Mankind seeking revenge on The Hollys for ending his and The Rock’s tag team title reign, but he didn’t get much satisfaction, because he lost the belts the next week to The Outlaws. It’s nice that Al Snow got his one title reign, but apart from that, I can’t really see any other point to this reign. Side note – Mick Foley must be sick and tired of losing tag titles to The New Age Outlaws. That’s the second time that’s happened on this list alone.
11 Charlie Haas and Rico
Yep, these two were a team.
Haas lost his original tag team partner, Shelton Benjamin, when he was drafted to Raw in 2004, and so forged an unlikely alliance with the flamboyant former stylist of Billy and Chuck, Rico Constantino. Haas’ no-nonsense gimmick clashed perfectly with Rico’s over-the-top feminine character, but the two worked well together, eventually toppling Rikishi and Scotty 2 Hotty to win the WWE Tag Team Championships on an episode of SmackDown in April 2004. They defended the titles once on Pay-Per-View at Judgement Day, before losing the belts to The Dudley Boyz on another episode of Smackdown in 2004.
Haas and Rico were a decent team, but neither of them really set the world on fire. Haas was always going to be in the shadows of Shelton Benjamin and Rico was only an average performer at best. The “odd couple” gimmick was nothing new and their reign was nothing special; a throwaway Pay-Per-View match and a reign of just 56 days is certainly not history-making. Sadly, Haas and Rico failed to live up to the potential that their interesting dynamic could have presented and, as a result, have been largely forgotten about. Until now, obviously, because loads of people will read this list. They will. Honest.
10 The New Nexus
Because the first Nexus just wasn’t bad enough.
That opening line is a bit of an unfair statement; the original Nexus when it first debuted was one of the hottest acts WWE had produced in years when it burst onto the scene in 2010. A group of rookies from the first season of NXT (it used to be a reality show, lest we forget), The Nexus was led by Wade Barrett and contained the likes of Heath Slater, Ryback and Daniel Bryan and was featured in a drawn-out main event angle that eventually saw them buried by John Cena. That’s unlike him. In an attempt to inject some life into the dying stable. Barrett was ousted as leader by CM Punk, who would form the so-called “New Nexus”. Because, if The New Generation, The New Midnight Express and The New Rockers have told us anything, it’s that putting the word “new” in something in wrestling always works a treat.
New Nexus members, David Otunga and Michael McGillicutty (that’s Curtis Axel for the uninitiated) won the WWE Tag Team Championships on an episode of Raw in May 2011, defeating Kane and The Big Show to do so. Now, I like Curtis Axel, I really do, but there’s only so much one can do when partnered with David Otunga, especially when one is given no decent storylines or feuds to work with. The New Nexus didn’t defend the tag team championships once on Pay-Per-View during their 91-day reign, which says all you need to hear about how good their reign was. Oh well, it’s not like any other New Nexus members were doing anything during this time period. Oh, this coincided with CM Punk’s first WWE Championship win and amazing feud with John Cena? My bad.
9 John Cena and The Miz
Oh God, early-2011 WWE. This is definitely not my happy place.
In the build-up to their WrestleMania XXVII main event match, John Cena and then-WWE Champion, The Miz, teamed up to take on Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel for the WWE Tag Team Championships on a February episode of Raw. As you would expect, Cena and Miz were victorious, ending The Corre’s title reign in a pretty simple match. However, Slater and Gabriel immediately invoked their rematch clause, challenging the two rivals to another title match. Miz and Cena accepted, but, in typical “odd couple” fashion, the two couldn’t get along and Miz ended up attacking Cena, costing the duo their newly won tag team championships and giving The Corre their third tag team championship reign. Just let that sink in – not the fact that Miz and Cena reigned for less than a day, but that The Corre won three tag team championships. That’s unbelievable.
I know this was just a way to generate tension between Miz and Cena in the build-up to their WrestleMania match, but that’s the problem. If WWE were willing to use their Tag Team Championships as a plot device for their world title, it shows just how little they cared about those championships. Miz and Cena could have unsuccessfully challenged for the tag titles, or even won them and held them for a while (like Cena and Shawn Michaels did to build to their WrestleMania 23 match). However, by having Miz and Cena win and lose the tag titles on the same night, WWE not only lost the chance to tell a good story, they also actively devalued their own tag team championships. Bad WWE, bad Miz and Cena, bad Gabriel and Slater. They did nothing wrong here, I just don’t like The Corre.
8 Santino Marella and Vladimir Kozlov
Oh, Vladimir Kozlov, what could have been.
Vladimir Kozlov began life in the WWE as a monster heel, being pushed to the high heavens almost immediately after his debut, participating in a few world title matches and even scoring a clean victory over The Undertaker. Then he was put in a comedy tag team with Santino Marella and every got very sad. Now, in fairness, WWE realised that Kozlov was not at the main event level they wanted, so they did well to pull him from the world title picture, but the dude could have still had some successes in the midcard as a monster, being slowly built up over time to eventually be reinserted into the main event scene. I know this, you know this, your Nan who doesn’t even know what wrestling is knows this. Sadly, the only people who didn’t know this were WWE, which is how we ended up here.
Marella and Kozlov were portrayed as a pair of bumbling clowns who dress up in funny outfits, make stupid jokes and compete in dance-offs with one another. Just a quick reminder – this guy beat The Undertaker. The Undertaker. Anyhow, Marella and Kozlov unseated The Nexus (Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel) to become WWE Tag Team Champions, only to lose the belts back to them 76 days later. It was hard to take Marella and Kozlov seriously as a team, especially when put up against the ultra-serious Nexus, and their time with the belts was entirely forgettable. Whilst Santino hung around for a while after this team disbanded, Kozlov was released in 2011. Happily, Kozlov has found a career outside of wrestling as a stuntman and actor and, somehow, is in better shape now than he was a pro wrestler. Seriously, look up Vladimir Kozlov these days. He is jacked.
7 The Godwinns
They were pig farmers, need I say more?
If you must know more about Henry O. Godwinn and Phineas I. Godwinn (their initials spell out “HOG” and “PIG”, because comedy), then I’ll start with the fact that they first teamed together in late 1994. The duo first won the World Tag Team Championships in May of 1996, defeating The Bodydonnas at a house show in New York City. They lost the belts just one week later to The Smoking Gunns, but would win them once more in 1997 at Badd Blood: In Your House, massively overshadowing the night’s main event of Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker in the first ever Hell in a Cell match. I am, of course, kidding, please don’t think I’m that stupid.
The Godwinns held the tag titles for a combined nine days across their careers, which is hardly the mark of a legendary team. The gimmick restricted the duo straight away, but neither man was an amazing wrestler and this combination was enough to ensure The Godwinns have not been looked back on with much happiness. A switch to their real names as Southern Justice (Jeff Jarrett's bodyguards) didn't do much help either. The individual wrestlers did have some success, however; Phineas (Dennis Knight) went onto become Mideon (and then “Naked” Mideon) and Henry (Mark Canterbury) fought Triple H in the now-infamous Hog Pen match. Wait, did I say success? I didn’t mean success.
6 The Spirit Squad
Gimme a S! Gimme a P! Gimme an I! Gimme a- oh, forget it, I’m not doing this for the whole name.
The Spirit Squad were an interesting concept when they debuted on the main roster in 2006 – a group of male cheerleaders portrayed by five wrestlers from WWE’s developmental system, Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW). The Squad – which consisted of Kenny, Mikey, Nicky, Johnny and Mitch – would later go on to form a strange partnership with Mr. McMahon, helping him and his son, Shane, defeat Shawn Michaels and “God” at Backlash 2006. I have neither the time nor energy to explain this storyline now, look it up if you’re that fussed.
The team won the World Tag Team Championships on an episode of Raw in April 2006, when Kenny and Mikey defeated The Big Show and Kane to win the gold. Under the Freebird Rule, which allows any combination of two wrestlers from a larger group or stable to defend tag team championships, all five members of The Spirit Squad were recognised as World Tag Team Champions. Five! How can you have five tag team champions at once?! The Spirit Squad gimmick was by no means bad – it got good heat and was pretty unique – but the wrestlers were far too inexperienced at the time at it showed. They weren’t ready for the main roster in 2006; Dolph Ziggler, who was Nicky in the group, only just hit his stride on the main roster a few years ago, so there was no way he was ready for the big leagues in 2006. Combine this with a reign that lasted 216 days and you’ve got a recipe for a poorly-executed tag team title reign that was definitely not worth cheering about. But if you think these guys were bad, you just wait and see who they lost the titles to.
5 Ric Flair and Roddy Piper
Yep. In 2006.
At Cyber Sunday 2006, The Spirit Squad were to defend their World Tag Team Championships against Ric Flair and a mystery partner. As with all Cyber Sundays, the audience got to decide who Flair’s partner was; they had a choice of Roddy Piper, who was 52 at the time, Sgt. Slaughter, who was 58 and Dusty Rhodes, who was 61. The fans chose Piper (a relative foetus compared to the other two choices), bringing the combined total age of the challengers to 109 years. The combined total age of the champions at the time was 116 years. That’s only a 7-year gap and (to quote John Zandig) there was five of them!
Wrestling being a pre-determined sport has it’s benefits; it allows bookers to tell unique and interesting stories that wouldn’t happen within the realms of other sports. However, it also means that two middle-aged men can defeat a bunch of twenty-somethings in a wrestling match for the most prestigious tag team titles in the world. Yes, Flair and Piper defeated The Squad, claimed the titles and then proceeded to dance in the ring with Rhodes and Slaughter in what can only be described as a mess of aging flesh and creaking bones. It made the Spirit Squad look weak, made the titles look stupid and was just a terrible decision all-round. Thank God this reign lasted just eight days.
4 The Legion of Doom (2005)
Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Put the pitchforks and blazing torches down, let me explain.
The original Legion of Doom – consisting of Road Warriors Hawk and Animal – were awesome; great look, great promos, great moveset. What’s not to love? The team I’m referring to here is the revamped version consisting of Animal... and Heidenreich. Oh yeah. The poetry guy. You see, in 2005, Heidenreich was engaged in a feud with WWE Tag Team Champions, MNM (Johnny Nitro, Joey Mercury and their manager, Melina). To try and gain some measure of revenge over MNM, Heidenreich enlisted Road Warrior Animal to be his partner and, at The Great American Bash 2005, this unlikely pairing defeated MNM to win WWE Tag Team Championship gold. WWE, what is it with you and giving old people the tag team championships?
Heidenreich would begin to dress up like a Road Warrior following this victory – he’d paint his face, style his hair in a mohawk, wear shoulder pads etc. – and the team held the gold for 93 days, before losing them back to MNM in a Fatal 4-Way match on Smackdown. Yes, it was nice to see Animal have another title run, but with Heidenreich? The guy who was in that segment with Michael Cole? That’s hardly Hall of Fame material. A bad reign that dragged the legacy of one of the best tag teams of all time through the mud, LOD 2005 were less of a “rush” and more of a “crushing disappointment”.
3 The Headbangers
Remember when these guys came back for like two weeks just after the 2016 brand split? That was so weird.
The Headbangers, Thrasher and Mosh, were a duo of hard-rockin', stage-diving, kilt-wearing metalheads that won World Tag Team Championship gold in 1997. They held the titles for 28 days before losing them to The Godwinns (metalheads vs. pig farmers, wrestling is crazy) and would never be champions again. Now, you might think that these guys don’t deserve to be this high up the list; they only held the gold for a little while, so how much damage could have done? Well, friends, I think what you’re failing to understand is just how bad The Headbangers were.
They weren’t awful wrestlers as such, it’s just that their characters were so boring. Yes, you like rock music, we get it. Anything else? No? Didn’t think so. Even WWE knew that making them champions was a bad decision; a WWE Magazine article in 2007 labelled the Headbangers as a team that didn’t deserve to win the titles and suggested they only won the belts “by default”. Also, in the Raw 15th Anniversary magazine, The Headbangers were listed as one of “15 WWE Superstars Who Overstayed Their Welcome”. How the hell are the fans meant to like these guys if WWE don’t even think they’re good? Bad tag team, bad title reigns, weird return in 2016. Not a great combination, guys.
2 The Prime Time Players
So much for those “millions of dollars”.
Darren Young and Titus O’Neil began teaming together in 2012 in NXT, before moving up to the main roster later that year. After they disbanded in 2014, the team reformed in 2015, ending the undefeated streak of The Ascension and, at Money In The Bank, they defeated The New Day for their first WWE Tag Team Championships. They held the titles for 70 days, before losing them back to The New Day at SummerSlam, which would begin their record-setting reign as tag champs. So, I guess that makes The Players a part of WWE history. Give them this one, there isn’t much going for them.
Considering how WWE treated O’Neil and Young before and after their title reign (both were and are now massive jobbers), it’s incredible that these two defeated The New Day to win the tag titles. Their reign was nothing spectacular; their only Pay-Per-View title defence was a limp affair at Battleground and it was clear that WWE run out of faith in PTP pretty quickly, as the belts were back on New Day within two months. The Players never even got a proper rematch with New Day for the titles as The Dudley Boyz returned to WWE the night after SummerSlam, demoting Young and O’Neil back down the card and ensuring their title reign was largely forgotten. For having so much potential and wasting it, for failing to capture the imagination of the WWE audience as champions and for crashing and burning hard after they lost the gold, The Prime Time Players have to go down as some of the worst tag team champions in WWE history.
1 Deuce ‘n’ Domino
I mean, they were 1950s greasers in the mid-2000s. That on its own is bad enough.
Deuce ‘n’ Domino, portrayed by Sim Snuka and Cliff Compton respectively, debuted on SmackDown in 2007 and quickly won the WWE Tag Team Championships from Paul London and Brian Kendrick, ending what was, at the time, the longest WWE Tag Team Championship reign of all time. The duo held the gold for much of the rest of the year, eventually losing the belts to MVP and Matt Hardy in August. The duo defended the titles once on Pay-Per-View during their 133-day reign; a match at Vengeance: A Night of Champions against Sgt. Slaughter and Sim’s father, Jimmy Snuka. WWE, honestly, will you give it up with the old people! It’s clearly not working.
In my opinion, neither Deuce nor Domino were, at the time, championship material, especially not to the extent where they should be holding the championships for over 100 days. The lack of PPV appearances from the duo highlights just how little faith WWE had in them as a team, as does the fact that both men went straight to being jobbers after their title reign ended and the fact that they've both long been gone from the company. Bad teams with bad gimmicks are not uncommon in WWE, but none managed to hold the belts for as long without accomplishing anything as these guys did. WWE’s seen a lot of stinky tag teams in its time, but, in this writer’s humble opinion, none came close to these slicked-back suckers. Maybe I’m just bitter that Sim Snuka almost killed The Undertaker when he didn’t catch him at WrestleMania XXV, but I have the final say on this list, so shush.