There have been many great tag teams in WWE over the years. Many have won multiple Tag titles, and have gone on to have Hall of Fame careers as a unit. However, for as many legendary tag teams as there have been, in many instances, one member of the team will break away from tag team wrestling and will become a solo star. Unfortunately, in many cases, when one member of the team becomes a solo star, the other member of the team languishes in mediocrity, failing to advance past mid-card status or elevate their own career.
Many tag teams have produced individuals who have gone on to have Hall of Fame solo careers, but for every great solo career from a tag team, there is probably a former partner who has struggled to remain relevant in the business. Many of the partners who have floundered have either left the business or have been reduced to a career on the independent circuit. Whatever has happened to them, wrestling fans will always remember their more famous tag team partner, but out of respect, here is a list of the wrestlers who were not as great as their tag team partner.
16 Jim Neidhart (The Hart Foundation)
The Hart Foundation consisted of Jim Neidhart and Bret “The Hitman” Hart. The team was one of the top teams in the company during the mid-to-late eighties. Together, they won a pair of Tag titles, and eventually, Bret Hart was separated from the team and was pushed as a solo star. While Bret was feuding with Mr. Perfect over the Intercontinental Championship, Jim Neidhart was struggling to find his way in the company. Bret went on to become a multiple time World Champion in WWE and WCW, while Neidhart seemed to be a forgotten man.
Neidhart briefly teamed with Owen Hart, and then became, what could have been considered, the least important member of the New Hart Foundation, that also featured Owen, Davey Boy Smith and Brian Pillman. When Bret left WWE for WCW, Neidhart followed him there, and never made an impact in the new company. Today, Neidhart wrestles on the independent circuit, and can be seen occasionally on Total Divas, as his daughter Natalya is one of the stars of that show.
15 The Dynamite Kid (The British Bulldogs)
Tom Billington, the Dynamite Kid, and Davey Boy Smith comprised the team of the British Bulldogs. As contemporaries of The Hart Foundation and Demolition, the Bulldogs were one of the top teams in WWE, and participated in one of the featured matches at WrestleMania 2, where they won the tag titles from Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake. Unfortunately, injury problems plagued Dynamite, and personal problems with Davey plagued the team and caused a split between the two men.
Once the team split, WWE was no longer interested in Dynamite because of his smaller size, as the company was now the land of the giants, and because of attitude problems that made him difficult to work with. Dynamite returned to taking dates in Canada and Japan, but multiple injuries shortened his career as the multiple back and leg injuries that he suffered left him confined to a wheelchair. Billington’s legacy in professional wrestling can be traced through wrestlers such as Chris Benoit and Bryan Danielson (Daniel Bryan), who made many of Dynamite’s moves their own.
14 Mo (Men on a Mission)
The team of Mabel and Mo, with Oscar their rapping manager, entered WWE as a pair of positive influences who wanted to make the world better, while competing in WWE’s Tag Team Division. Though the team won the Tag titles as a baby face duo, Mabel’s career took off once the team turned heel, dumped Oscar, and Mabel was pushed as a solo with Mo as his aid. Mabel was crowned King of the Ring, and was a contender for the WWE World Title, while Mo became a forgotten man in the company and eventually left WWE.
Mo began working on the independent circuit, but never made a significant impact in professional wrestling. Occasionally, Mabel and Mo worked together on an independent show, but Mabel would always get called back to WWE or to a prominent company like All Japan Pro Wrestling. Though Mo is still active, he seemingly will never see the career success of his former partner.
13 Paul London (London & Kendrick)
Paul London and Brian Kendrick were the longest reigning WWE Tag Team Champions during WWE’s first Brand Split until The New Day recently broke the record. The duo captured the titles a second time, but after dropping the belts, the team was split as each man was drafted to separate brands. Kendrick was promoted as a solo star while London was allegedly released from WWE for failing to stay in character during the infamous Vince McMahon blown up limo scene on live television.
Kendrick continued to win titles as a solo star, capturing the TNA X-Division Championship and WWE’s newly reinstated Cruiserweight Championship while London continued to work on the independent circuit before signing with Lucha Underground. As of this writing, Kendrick is a featured performer in WWE’s Cruiserweight Division, while London is a low-level performer on Lucha Underground. However, London is still very talented and he might eventually get the opportunity to display that talent in a featured role with a prominent company.
12 Joey Mercury (MNM)
Joey Mercury teamed with Johnny Nitro (John Morrison) and Nitro’s girlfriend Melina to form MNM, a tag team based on Hollywood celebrities who are constantly hounded by paparazzi. The duo captured three WWE Tag Team Championships, but the team was spilt up and Mercury was released following an injury and a failed drug test. Mercury returned to WWE after a few years on the independent circuit, while Morrison became one of the top stars in the business.
Morrison captured several singles and tag titles while in WWE and worked for various other companies before going to Lucha Underground (LU) and becoming the second wrestler to capture LU’s Triple Crown. At the same time, Mercury became an agent in WWE, and was briefly used on television as a member of J&J Security, the storyline bodyguards for Seth Rollins. The end of that storyline was the last time that Mercury was seen on television to date.
11 Ted DiBiase, Jr. (Legacy w/Cody Rhodes)
Ted DiBiase, Jr. is a third-generation star who was being billed as being perhaps the next big thing in professional wrestling. He had the look and the pedigree, and he was paired with Cody Rhodes in a tag team as a part of The Legacy stable that featured second and third-generation stars, and was led by Randy Orton. Cody and DiBiase were two-time Tag Team Champions, and were members of the faction, but once the stable dissolved, the careers of the two men went in very different directions.
After the two men separated, Cody received a decent solo push before being placed back into tag teams with a variety of partners. Cody’s real upswing took place after he left WWE, as he has headlined some of the top independent shows around the world. As for DiBiase, he was placed into a bad storyline in WWE while also be selected to star in a WWE Studios film. However, not long after the team split, DiBiase left WWE and retired from professional wrestling.
10 Farooq (The APA)
The APA started out as members of The Undertaker’s Ministry of Darkness before becoming a pair of beer-drinking brawlers. Together, the team won the WWE Tag Team Championship three times before splitting up. Once the team split, Bradshaw was immediately pushed as a solo with 18 reigns as Hardcore Champion, which is the fourth most reigns in the title’s brief history. However, none of the men with more reigns than Bradshaw was elevated beyond the title, while JBL went on to become WWE Champion.
While Bradshaw was champion and was headlining pay-per-views, Farooq (Ron Simmons) was placed into a tag team with Reverend Devon before a brief APA reconciliation, another split and Simmons’ retirement. Though Simmons, a former World Champion on his own, did not make much of a wrestling impact after the APA split, he became legendary for his ability to succinctly analyze a situation with a single word. Damn!
9 Bart Gunn (The Smoking Gunns)
Storyline brothers Billy and Bart Gunn were a pair of cowboys who burst onto the WWE tag team scene in the early 1990s. Together they are three time Tag Team Champions, but despite that, the two men were saddled with bad storylines that led to the team splitting up while they were their most successful. Bart and Billy feuded with each other, and then the two men went their separate ways.
Billy Gunn joined D-Generation X and captured eight more Tag titles and a variety of other titles. Bart, on the other hand, was left to compete in the Brawl for All “shoot fighting” competition. Though he was the surprise winner of the tournament, this was the highlight of his post Smoking Gunns career. He spent time with Bob Holly as the New Midnight Express, and had a few brief tours of Japan before retiring from professional wrestling and returning to his career as an electrician.
8 Henry Godwinn (The Godwinns)
The Godwinns were an established tag team before they joined WWE. In WCW, Phineas Godwinn was Tex Slazinger, and Henry was the masked Shanghai Pierce. The duo arrived in WWE and traded the Tag titles, and the managerial services of Sunny, with The Smoking Gunns. While the Godwinns were at the top of the Tag Team Division in WWE, Henry Godwinn suffered an injury which derailed the team’s momentum.
A second injury to Mark Canterbury, the man known as Henry Godwinn, forced Dennis Knight (Phineas Godwin), now known as Mideon, to go solo while Henry healed. Mideon became a member of The Undertaker’s Ministry of Darkness, and followed that with a storyline where he ran around naked during shows, wearing just a fanny pack, a thong and boots. Henry retired from professional wrestling, but attempted a comeback several years later. The comeback was not successful, and Henry retired for good while WWE continued to find uses for Phineas.
7 Samu (The Headshrinkers)
Originally known as the Samoan SWAT Team in World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW) and WCW, The Headshrinkers consisted of real-life cousins Samu and Fatu. The team won championships everywhere they worked together, but struggled to make a real impact in WWE until Captain Lou Albano became the team’s manager. Due to injuries suffered by Samu, the team split after attempts to replace Samu with Sione (The Barbarian) failed.
Fatu was repackaged into a positive image Fatu and into the Sultan, a character with an Arab gimmick, before becoming the dancing Rikishi that the fans remember. On the other hand, Samu was placed into a storyline where he stalked Fatu, but the storyline didn’t go anywhere and Samu left the company. Rikishi and his “stink-face” move went on to gain acclaim and induction into the WWE Hall of Fame, while Samu continues to work independent shows, teaming either with other cousins or his son Lance.
6 Stevie Ray (Harlem Heat)
Real-life brothers Booker T and Stevie Ray formed the team known as Harlem Heat, and the duo became one of the most highly decorated tag teams in professional wrestling history. Together, the team held the record for most GWF Tag Team Championship reigns (three), and most WCW Tag Team Championship reigns (10). The team was split originally as Stevie Ray joined the New World Order, and after a brief reconciliation, the brothers disbanded for good in a dispute over the addition of a valet.
The brothers feuded briefly, and then Stevie Ray became a commentator in WCW while Booker T won multiple titles on his own. After six World Championships, five additional Tag titles, and an assortment of other titles between WCW, WWE and TNA, Booker T earned induction into the WWE Hall of Fame. However, after working as a commentator in WCW, Stevie Ray retired from the business, and helps run Booker’s wrestling school in Houston, Texas.
5 Chavo Guerrero, Jr. (Los Guerreros)
Eddie and Chavo Guerrero had been working with each other ever since the two were young children, but the two men did not officially become a tag team until Chris Benoit dissolved his team with Eddie in order to concentrate on defeating Kurt Angle. Without a partner, Eddie aligned himself with Chavo, and the team became an instant success. The team won a pair of tag titles together, but an acrimonious split sent the two men in decidedly different directions.
Eddie won the WWE Championship, and was scheduled to win a second at the time of his death. Chavo captured a couple of minor titles in WWE before being released, and he followed his release with a few more minor titles on the independent circuit. Since his release, Chavo has worked for TNA and Lucha Underground, but has never been able to become a top talent for any company in which he has worked.
4 Rick Steiner (The Steiner Brothers)
The Steiner Brothers were one of the most successful tag teams in professional wrestling history. The team won 11 tag titles between WCW, WWE and New Japan Pro Wrestling, but as with many other family teams, the duo was split and feuded. After the end of the feud, Scott Steiner was pushed as a solo star while Rick found himself in tag teams with partners who on their own would have been glorified jobbers.
As a solo star, Scott Steiner became WCW World Champion, and was a top star in several companies. Rick was never able to catch on as a solo star, and spent much of his time in tag teams, usually in smaller independent companies. Occasionally, the brothers would team together in one company or another, but mainly, Scott would be used as a top solo star while Rick is mired in the company’s mid-card or was not signed to perform.
3 D-Von Dudley (The Dudley Boys)
When the Dudley Boys team was formed in ECW, Devon was the promo guy, and he was also the best worker of the two. Bubba was more of a comedy act, particularly with his promos, as he was saddled with a stuttering gimmick that took the edge off of the overall team dynamic. Over time, Bubba developed the ability to speak clearly, and with that, he developed the skill to truly incite an audience as a heel, which made him a valuable commodity. By the time the team got to WWE, after a few tag titles, WWE felt that the team should be split, and Bubba was the one who was pushed while Devon was given the Reverend Devon gimmick.
The team reunited and made history as the most decorated tag team in wrestling history. However, once the team got to TNA, they were split again. Bubba won the TNA World Title twice, while Devon was an underling in the Aces & Eights stable. The one saving grace for Devon is the fact that the team always seems to get back together.
2 Christian (Edge & Christian)
It seems odd that Christian is on this list because Christian is a four-time World Champion with two additional reigns as ECW Champion and four reigns as Intercontinental Champion along with various other titles. While this is a Hall of Fame-worthy career, it pales when compared to his tag team partner Edge. With Edge, the team won the WWE Tag Titles seven times, and competed in some of the greatest tag team matches the business had ever seen. When the team split, Edge won 11 World titles, 5 IC titles and 7 additional Tag Titles with 6 different partners, numbers just a little better than Christian’s.
Taken at face value, Christian has had a great career, but it always seemed that Christian was just another guy who was trying to stay relevant. His World title reigns in WWE were unremarkable, and his solo push will be remembered for his insistence on needing “one more match” in order to become World Champion again, with WWE unwilling to push him as he got older because, allegedly, Vince McMahon did not like Christian’s face. On his own, Christian has had a superior career, but in the shadow of Edge, his career seems to be subpar.
1 Marty Jannetty (The Rockers)
The split between Rockers teammates Marty Jannetty and Shawn Michaelsis legendary. There had been some slight dissension, and during an episode of The Barber Shop with Brutus Beefcake, just as the beef looked to have been squashed, HBK kicked Jannetty through a set window, ending the team once and for all. HBK went on to win several World titles; he headlined WrestleMania multiple times, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Marty Jannetty, unfortunately, was not so lucky.
Marty emerged favorably from a brief feud with Michaels, but once that feud was over, Marty drifted from company to company, cashing in on his name recognition, but never able to make an impact anywhere he went. Marty returned to WWE several times, sometimes feuding with and sometimes teaming with Shawn Michaels, but his career essentially ended when the Rockers broke up, as Marty Jannetty was never again a valuable commodity in professional wrestling.