When a tag team is formed, the hopes are that the members will become famous enough on their own that two superstars can be formed when they eventually split up. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work that way and it’s normally just one superstar that gets the big push while the other gets forgotten. A big part of that is that whoever turns heel almost always gets the “my partner was holding me back” gimmick before winning the feud.
We’ve seen it a hundred times throughout the history of the WWE, and guys like The Miz, Shawn Michaels, and Dolph Ziggler have all held a world championship after splitting up with their tag partners. But what about those that get left behind? Most of them just keep getting pushed farther and farther down the card until they decide it’s time to leave for good.
Have you ever wondered what some of those guys that never got the push after splitting up are doing these days? Well, wonder no more as we have the stories of 15 tag team flops and what they did once their WWE careers came to an end. In the case of one of the wrestlers, you might actually end up seeing them back on WWE before you know it.
15. John Morrison
John Morrison made his WWE debut back in 2005 as Johnny Nitro and paired up with Joey Mercury and Melina to make MNM. It wouldn’t take long for the team to win the WWE Tag Team Championship, and you could definitely make the case that Mercury was the bigger flop as a member of that group, but that’s not the group we’re focusing on. Instead, we’re looking at Morrison’s work with The Miz, back in 2007.
The Miz and Morrison not only won championships, but also the 2008 Tag Team of the Year award at the Slammy Awards. A lot of people thought that Morrison was going to have a successful solo run, but it was his partner that would get the big push. Now, Morrison is enjoying a higher spot on the card as a member of Lucha Underground. So far, he has won the Lucha Underground Championship once and even added Gift of the Gods and Trios Championships in less than two years with the promotion as Johnny Mundo.
14. Damien Sandow
You could probably make an entire list of wrestlers that have been paired up with The Miz that never really got the push that they deserved. The next one on our list is Damien Sandow, who debuted as the “Savior of the Masses” in 2012. It looked like a long solo career was in the works for Sandow, winning the 2013 Money in the Bank contract before losing to John Cena. Sandow would then be paired up with Cody Rhodes before becoming The Miz’s stunt double known as Damien Mizdow.
The gimmick got over with the crowd and the duo won the WWE Tag Team Championship, but he was buried almost immediately after the duo split. Sandow was released in May 2016 by the WWE and was quick to get into the independent scene. Sandow had a match in June against cult favorite Colt Cabana, and is also booked to make future appearances for Warriors of Wrestling, Tier 1 Wrestling and WCPW.
13. Ted DiBiase, Jr.
Being a second generation wrestler, there was a lot of potential for Ted DiBiase, Jr. to become a huge star. After all, he teamed up with Cody Rhodes almost immediately after making his debut in 2008 and the pair became part of Legacy along with Randy Orton. When the group split up, Randy Orton maintained his main event status while Cody Rhodes had a solid run as a solo wrestler.
As for DiBiase, there was the return of The Million Dollar Championship and the DiBiase Posse before he faded into obscurity. DiBiase, who was the star of The Marine 2, left WWE in 2013 and made an appearance in House of Hardcore. He hasn’t been wrestling since, and according to his LinkedIn page (yes, he has one), DiBiase has co-founded a pair of startups named GiveChat and Dofflin Strategies. The descriptions as to what the companies do is quite vague, however.
12. Bart Gunn
Along with his “brother” Billy Gunn, Bart made his debut back in 1993 and The Smoking Gunns were soon three-time WWE Tag Team Champions. After a few years, Billy would become a member of D-Generation X and end up winning more tag titles, Bart became a member of the new Midnight Express with minimal results. Bart’s claim to fame was winning the shoot boxing tournament known as Brawl for All before getting his head knocked in by Butterbean and subsequently getting fired.
Gunn would land on his feet in Japan as a member of AJPW and NJPW, but retired from wrestling in 2004. Gunn then set his sights on mixed martial arts where he finished with a professional record of just 1-1. These days, Gunn is back to working in the same field that he was in before wrestling. Gunn has returned to Florida and picked back up as an electrician, saying that he retained all of his electric knowledge after 15 years away from the field.
11. David Hart Smith
Still very young at just 30 years old, David Hart Smith kicked off his career with NJPW before making it to the WWE, where he debuted in October 2007. Within two weeks, Smith was suspended for violating the substance abuse policy with WWE and then came back to be drafted to the SmackDown brand. Hart was then swapped to ECW and joined up with Tyson Kidd and Natalya to create The New Hart Foundation (renaming itThe Hart Dynasty).
When they were drafted to Raw in 2010, the team of Smith and Tyson Kidd won the Tag Team Championship by defeating Big Show and The Miz. While Kidd is sticking around in WWE (albeit injured), Smith decided to head back to Japan the next year. Smith is still in The Land of the Rising Sun having spent several more years with NJPW and then made his debut with Pro Wrestling Noah in 2015.
10. Vladimir Kozlov
Stay Strong pic.twitter.com/CG0EzgP2VU
— Vladimir Kozlov (@WWEKozlov) January 28, 2016
Ukrainian wrestler Vladimir Kozlov got a pretty quick push when he debuted in 2008 and even entered the main event scene with ECW. After that failed a bit, Kozlov had his biggest success when teaming up with Santino Marella in 2010, and they would end up winning the WWE Tag Team Championship. Marella would stick around as a comic relief act that would win some matches, but not Kozlov.
In August 2011, Kozlov was let go from his WWE contract, allowing him to work right away, and he made his debut with Inoki Genome Federation. After a little more than a year, Kozlov retired from professional wrestling and tried to break into acting, taking to the stage in Russia to appear in a pair of performances and an episode of Burn Notice. Now, Kozlov is taking to fitness instruction, signing people up online to get the same training that he goes through. Spoiler: it’s not easy.
9. Drew McIntyre
Just like The Miz, Cody Rhodes has had a lot of teammates find their way onto the list. The next one is Drew McIntyre, who teamed up with Cody Rhodes to win the Tag Team Championship on one occasion. McIntyre wouldn’t have a bad career, winning an Intercontinental Championship, but became a jobber toward the end of his run as a member of 3MB with Heath Slater and Jinder Mahal.
McIntyre became one of the many people to be let go from their contract in June 2014 with 3MB teammate Jinder Mahal. A few weeks later, McIntyre debuted with Insane Championship Wrestling, and has been wrestling with them ever since. During that time, McIntyre has also made plenty of appearances with EVOLVE, TNA and other independent circuits along the way. You might actually consider him to be one of the busiest professional wrestlers out there today, even without the WWE exposure.
Mo (real name Bobby Horne) teamed up with Nelson Frazier (who you know as Mabel) while with smaller territorial promotions before the team made their move to the WWE. As the Men on a Mission, Mo and Mabel won the World Tag Team Championship. After a heel turn by Mo, Mabel would become King Mabel, Viscera, Brother Vis and Big Daddy V.
After Mabel went solo, Mo left the WWE entirely to return to Memphis and wrestle for the USWA, forming a group that would be copycatted by The Nation of Domination in WWE. Mo started his own promotion in 1997, but it didn’t quite take off like he had hoped. Mo hasn’t completely retired from wrestling as he made a handful of appearances in 2015. As for the past year, Mo has been pretty quiet and still appears at small promotions from time to time at 52 years old.
The Anoa’i family is one that is still being pushed in the WWE today (Roman Reigns in particular), and one of the family members to get the same treatment was Samu. Samu was trained by his father Afa to become half of The Headshrinkers, and he won the Tag Team Championship twice, sharing one with brother Sika and then Fatu. Fatu would go on to become Rikishi, who got quite the solo push.
Samu would leave the WWE in 1994 due to his injuries, coming back in 1995 for a short stint while teaming with his cousin Matt Anoa’i, and the team would transition over to ECW. The pair left to work in other independent circuits and inducted The Wild Samoans into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2007. Samu last wrestled in 2014 and he is now working at the family run Wild Samoan Training Center in Minneola, Florida and is the only one sanctioned by Vince McMahon.
6. The Spirit Squad
It was hard to narrow it down to just one flop from the faction that made a lot of us tune out of wrestling for nearly a decade, the Spirit Squad. Comprising of five male cheerleaders, the only one that would end up finding long-term success with the WWE was Nicky, who would later become known by his current Dolph Ziggler moniker.
Kenny Dykstra started working for Dragon Gate and also made appearances for Chikara, wrote a children’s book and started playing college football. Johnny Jeter left wrestling to become an accountant and made an appearance in 2014 with Chikara with Kenny. Mitch (Nick Mitchell) had aspirations of becoming a mixed martial artist that never materialized and he started a fashion boutique with Torrie Wilson, but the couple split up. As for Mike Mondo, he had runs in OVW and Ring of Honor, and has been working in the independent circuit since then.
We mentioned how popular the Anoa’i family has been in WWE and it continues with Rosey, who is the actual brother of Roman Reigns. Rosey debuted with WWE in 2002 as a member of 3 Minute Warning with Eddie Fatu (who was later known as Umaga). After teaming with Fatu, Rosey would then team up with The Hurricane Gregory Helms, and they won the World Tag Team Championship once.
Rosey was considered too heavy to continue his career with WWE and he would end up wrestling with independent circuits in the United States and Japan, landing with Epic Championship Wrestling as the co-founder with his father Sika. Rosey would appear on the show Fat March in 2007, but had to stop due to injuries. Outside of running his own promotion, Rosey is currently running a restaurant called Island Boi BB, and has had some health concerns after congestive heart failure in 2014, though he has since recovered.
4. Charlie Haas
After the loss of his tag team partner and brother, Charlie Haas signed with WWE and made his debut on SmackDown in 2002, teaming up with Shelton Benjamin. Haas and Benjamin would be known as The World’s Greatest Tag Team and they eventually won the WWE Tag Team Championship. Benjamin would get a big solo push while Haas teamed with Rico and won another Tag Team Championship.
Haas made appearances in a lot of different promotions after his WWE days came to an end, including Ring of Honor, JAPW, NWA and more. In 2013, Haas announced that he was retiring from professional wrestling, but the retirement didn’t last long. Now at 44 years old, Haas is living in Texas with his wife Jackie Gayda (who you might also remember) and the couple opened up a smoothie and nutrition supplement store that they’ve been running since 2008 and they are also trying to raise four children.
3. Curt Hawkins
Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder worked in developmental as Brian and Brett Major before changing their names as members of Edge’s faction in WWE. Hawkins and Ryder had a lot of success in their time as a tag team, winning the WWE Tag Team Championship away from John Morrison and The Miz in 2008. When Ryder got drafted to ECW, the team ended and Ryder is still floating around on the main roster and getting the occasional title shot.
It took less than 24 hours for Hawkins to have his first match outside of WWE, teaming up with Val Venis at a Jersey Championship Wrestling show. Hawkins then made appearances with PWG and Global Force Wrestling, which led to his debut with TNA in July 2015. Hawkins had a shot at the World Tag Team Championship with Trevor Lee, but the pair did not win. Now, you might see Hawkins back in a WWE ring since there are rumors that he is going to be signed to become a member of the small SmackDown roster, where he would be reunited with his pal Zack Ryder.
A former NFL player that never made a regular season roster, Jon Heidenreich started to train for professional wrestling and then made his debut in 2003 with Raw. Heidenreich wouldn’t make his wrestling debut until 2004 and had a very odd gimmick that involved some controversial “assault” on Michael Cole. Originally, the plan was for Heidenreich to be a Nazi that was frozen during World War II and thawed out to wrestle in WWE, pretty much dooming his career from the get-go, but at least he won a Tag Team Championship with Animal as The New Legion of Doom.
After leaving WWE, Heidenreich debuted with All-American Wrestling in Louisiana, but only stuck around for a few months after winning their championship, deciding instead to retire. Now at 44 years old, trying to find Heidenreich has proven to be tougher than finding a leprechaun. A lot of fans have claimed to spot him at small promotions fighting the likes of Eugene and he doesn’t even have any social media accounts to follow like a lot of the other wrestlers on our list. Not even a lousy LinkedIn.
1. Marty Jannetty
Without a doubt, the most famous tag team flop of them all is Marty Jannetty based on the success of his former teammate. Jannetty was paired with Shawn Michaels to form The Rockers. When Michaels turned heel by kicking Jannetty through the barber shop window, Michaels became a superstar while Jannetty got knocked down the card through the years.
Jannetty popped up in WCW and ECW for extremely short stints, along with Ultimate Championship Wrestling and XWF. In 2011, Jannetty signed with Chikara to both train and wrestle, and had his last match in 2012. Jannetty is now getting more attention these days for being bitter, especially toward Stephanie McMahon. You can find him on Facebook and he still pals around with Shawn Michaels once in a great while, and he makes random wrestling appearances here and there if you can catch him.
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