Tag team wrestling really wasn’t a huge thing at the start of the business. It took a while before promoters realized it could be popular and soon began pushing it more but many a territory could go years without a tag team title. Once they began to take off, fans were soon enjoying some terrific teams vying for the gold and putting on terrific matches. It reached a real height in the late 1980s and ‘90s with the WWE tag scene strong and WCW having both World and U.S. tag titles. It has faltered in the last decade but still some teams strong enough to make it work and continue to entertain.
Wrestling history is filled with pairings that were just random guys thrown together only to forge a great team. But there’s a flip side. Teams that just are not worthy of a tag team title reign. Some are prepackaged teams pushed hard but falling apart while others are guys tossed together who just don’t click well. Sometimes it can be politics or bad timing and other cases terrible booking while some guys were just never meant to be a team in the first place. Sure, some guys can become great together but others just don’t and shouldn’t get a title run in the first place. That’s not to mention slews of gimmick teams that got title runs that weren’t deserved at all. It’s easy to look at WWE and especially WCW but there are slews of examples in wrestling history of teams that were undeserving of holding championship gold. Here are the 15 worst pairings to hold tag team titles and how they shamed the entire division.
15 David Flair and Crowbar
By 2000, whatever credibility the WCW tag titles had was long gone thanks to quickie reigns to bad teams. But even there, David Flair and Crowbar were about the worst excuses for tag team champs imaginable. David had none of his father’s talent, charisma or drive and Crowbar was a bad guy incredibly rough in the ring. Their victory for the vacant titles thanks to interference and weapons and thus never sold as a real serious pairing. Even WCW realized this as they dropped the titles after just a couple of weeks and faltered badly and showing how 2000 would be one of the worst years for any titleholder in that company.
14 Rikishi and Rico
This still makes no sense. In 2002, Billy & Chuck were tag team champions, doing well with Rico as their “personal stylist.” The two were set into a feud with Rikishi and at Judgment Day, was to face them with a mystery partner. It turned out the partner was Rico, not happy about it and during the bout, he worked against Rikishi but a kick accidentally hit Chuck, allowing Rikishi to win the belts. So you had a pair of champions who didn’t even like each other one bit and whose styles were a total mess in the ring. WWE soon got the message this wasn’t working and had them drop the belts back to Billy & Chuck just 16 days later but even attempting this was a terrible move in a year packed with them.
13 Men on a Mission
WWE was packed with some ridiculous characters in the early ‘90s but few were as nutty as MOM. Mo was a short and stocky guy while Mabel was about 450 pounds with manager Oscar, coming out in purple suspender pants and shirt and a “rap star” attitude. Some fans enjoyed it, others found it horrible as their ring work was a mess between Mo’s bad moves and Mabel’s slow plodding. They won the tag titles during a run in Europe in 1994 but lost them just two days later as any like from fans was offset by their terrible ring work. They would turn heel the next year with Mabel embarking on his disastrous singles run and thus this bad team gave birth to one of the worst feuds for one of the worst years in the company’s history.
12 The Public Enemy
WCW was infamous for raiding much of ECW’s talent in 1995, snatching up Guerrero, Benoit, Malenko, Mysterio and others and Paul Heyman hated it. In the case of the Public Enemy, however, Heyman didn’t mind as much. Sure, the Enemy appeared to be a huge deal with their title runs in WCW and big fan heat but Heyman knew that without his guidance and their table smashing, they really weren’t that good in the ring. That was proven as their WCW time exposed their limitations as workers, their act not getting over outside the Philly fan base and soon pushed aside. They did have a title run but it lasted less than a week and they were forced to return to ECW a bit more humble. A showcase of how great Heyman was turning so-so guys into stars and without him, many couldn’t make it.
11 Kenzo Suzuki and Renee Dupree
A major star in Japan, Suzuki was signed to a big deal by WWE who then proceeded to ruin his push as great as possible, turning him into the cliché “evil foreigner.” He and Dupree were put together and a bizarre mix of styles and lack of energy, winning the tag titles on Smackdown but their matches notable for Kenzo turned into a comedic guy doing whacky songs that didn’t make them look that strong. After only two months, they lost the belts to Rob Van Dam and Rey Mysterio, both falling badly and when his contract ran out, Suzuki jumped back to Japan. A terrible mix of guys that ended up forming a terrible championship run.
10 Manny Fernandez and Rick Rude
A rather odd pairing, Fernandez and Rude were managed by Paul Jones and while they billed themselves as “the Awesome Twosome,” they really weren’t that spectacular, Rude’s muscle work and Fernandez’s speed often clashing. They got a fluke win over the Rock 'N' Roll Express for the NWA tag team titles and would hold them for nearly four months against various challengers but never any spectacular matches as fans preferred better teams like the Express, the Road Warriors and others.
The ending was jarring as in April of 1987, Rude bolted JCP with no warning for WWE and they had to air a non-title match on TV as the “title change” to excuse it. So a messy team that had a messy end and a rough entry for the usually strong NWA Tag title history.
9 American Males
Before he became the ultra-muscled egotist, Marcus Alexander Bagwell was pushed by WCW as a clean-cut face they kept trying to get over to little success. They decided tag teams were best as he and 2 Cold Scorpio had a brief run as champs. Bagwell then worked with the Patriot as Stars N Stripes for another two reigns as champs but to little effect.
The last pairing was the worst as Bagwell and Scotty Riggs were set up as the American Males, coming out in leather jackets and oiled-up bodies and accompined by one of worst entrance themes of all time. They had little real skill in the ring, just muscle workers and the supposed fan heat was non-existent. They won the belts in an impromptu match against Harlem Heat but the lack of fan support made WCW realize a long-term reign was not in the cards so they lost the titles just a week later. The two would split up with Bagwell going heel and Riggs lost and a showcase of how two handsome guys don’t always make a great team.
8 Matt Morgan and anyone
TNA really wanted to push Matt Morgan as a serious star but he just never took with the fans. He and Hernandez teamed to win the tag titles in 2010 but Morgan soon turned on his partner and went on to defend the titles on his own, losing them to the Band. Then in 2012, he was paired with Crimson, another guy TNA was trying to push majorly to little effect. They were just two stiff and rough guys who didn’t look that great at all in the ring, their matches messy and often dragging a decent looking bout to something very poor. They would finally drop the titles to another ad hoc team in Samoa Joe and Magnus and showcasing how Morgan was one of those guys who never got over no matter how much of a push he got.
7 D.J. Peterson and The Trooper
Perhaps it’s fitting that the final AWA Tag Team Champions would be one of the worst. By 1990, the once great promotion was a shadow of its former self, a mess with barely any regular roster as guys were jumping off the sinking ship fast. The Destruction Crew were dominating as champions but were also making plans to leave as soon as they could. So at a TV taping, they would drop the titles to D.J. Peterson and The Trooper, a pair of longtime jobbers thrown together at random.
They had little chemistry in the ring and little hope of pulling anything off as their list of challengers were pathetic once the Crew left. They were still champions when the AWA finally folded and thus ended a once great title in as pathetic a way as possible.
6 Eric Young and ODB
TNA’s Knockouts division was once so strong that they had enough ladies for tag team titles. It would be hampered by a bad treatment of talent and budget cuts that led to several women leaving the company and the division falling badly. It was symbolized by the decision to have the tag titles go to ODB and Eric Young. Yes, a man holding a women’s title. Their bouts would be notable for Young stripping to his underwear and trying to wrestle the referee and he and ODB ruining the belts so much that they would be deactivated. Yet another way TNA seems to enjoy screwing over the ladies in their company.
5 The New Legion of Doom
In 2005, WWE put out a DVD on the history of the Road Warriors that got folks excited and Animal came out to plug it. He found himself clashing with then tag champions MNM who arrogantly challenged him to a match, knowing Animal had no partner. Out came Heidenreich, the muscleman who’d been doing goofy poetry stuff and offered himself as Animal’s partner. That was rough enough but then Animal let Heidenreich come out in face paint and spiked shoulder pads to push them as a new LOD.
The fans hated it from day one as they just didn’t click in the ring, winning the tag titles but the fans never behind them at all. They would drop them after just a few months and quickly fading as a bad idea that tarnished the legacy of one of the greatest teams of all time.
4 The Band
In 2010, TNA took a dive in quality with the arrival of Hogan and Bischoff sending the promotion into a time warp trying to replicate 1996 WCW. Nothing summed that up best than how the former Outsiders Scott Hall and Kevin Nash were put over by winning the tag team titles. The problem, obviously, was how these two were older, slower and obviously in no shape whatsoever to do a regular match, let alone hold a title. TNA tried to handle it by having Eric Young join them but it was clear how fans hated seeing these old guys holding the belts over a fresh roster. In the end, Hall’s legal problems caused the belts to be vacated, yet another sign of how TNA’s obsession with the past would damage their future.
3 Deuce and Domino
This would have been laughable for the late ‘80s WWE, let alone in 2007. While in OVW, it wasn’t bad as “The Untouchables,” WWE went all out when they jumped to SmackDown as they came out dressed like 1950’s slickers in a car with a female manager named Cherry who went around on roller skates. Just three months after their debut, they won the belts off Paul London and Brian Kendrick. They were okay in the ring but the gimmick was just too overwhelming and distracting and their feuds with the likes of Tony Garea and Rick Martel were baffling to say the least. Not helping was how Domino suffered a cracked eye in a match that put him out for a month. They lost the belts to Matt Hardy and MVP and their stock took a dive to lose and eventually split up. A team more memorable for their bad gimmick than anything they did in the ring.
2 Rick Steiner and Judy Bagwell
Only WCW. When Rick Steiner won the tag belts in a handicap match after Buff Bagwell turned on him, he first had Kenny Kaos as his partner. When Kaos couldn’t show up for a match, Rick had a replacement: Judy Bagwell, Buff’s 50-year old mother with zero wrestling experience. Seeing her coming down to the ring with the tag title around her waist was a ridiculous sight as she actually had a bit of in-ring action. Their reign would be mercifully short as Steiner was injured for real and had to vacate the title but it ranks as yet another incredibly stupid move for a company that seemed to specialize in them.
1 Ron Killings and Pacman Jones
Whatever else, all the other teams on this list can at least say that both members competed in the ring. Such is not the case with this. In one of their most insane attempts to get mainstream attention, TNA signed on Pacman Jones, the Titans player who was under suspension for his part in a shooting incident. TNA thought this would be a great move, ignoring the tiny fact that due to his NFL contract, Jones was barred from any physical activity in a wrestling ring. That didn’t stop TNA from having him and Ron Killings win the tag titles in bouts that involved Killings doing all the ring work and Jones just standing on the apron. A total and complete joke even by TNA’s standards and that it was seen as a step down for Jones shows the issues that company has had.