Tag team wrestling may not be what it used to be (or what it was known for), but there was a time when the two-on-two duels were co-main event highlights at a premiere wrestling event. Four men would trade fisticuffs, usually over the coveted WWE Tag Team Championship, while managers would interfere to enable two-on-one action, or having a plan backfire.
Multiple wrestlers would given themselves an identity and alongside their compatriots form a bond to compete together against their opponents. As we’ve learned over the course of time, things got chaotic during years past where ladders and tables were added to the mix. Dozens of pairings have enabled the transition to superstar status for some, including Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, Terry Funk, John Bradshaw Layfield, Edge, and other wrestlers along the way.
Some of the best tag teams in the history of professional wrestling competed under Vince McMahon’s WWE, winning the titles multiple times and becoming as popular as some of the biggest stars in the company.
Hundreds of tag teams entered the WWE ring and it was difficult to select 25, since excellent pairings had to be turned away. But keep in mind the teams below are ranked for their popularity, consistency, history, and all-around effect they had on the fans.
Without further ado, here are the best tag teams in WWE history:
25. The Brothers of Destruction
It was a match made in Heaven — err, Hell — when The Undertaker aligned himself with his younger brother, Kane. Unfortunately, the pair weren’t together for very long as a unit, producing duds against the likes of Kronik and Diamond Dallas Page & Kanyon. Nevertheless, they did hoist the WWE Tag Team Championship twice, along with the WCW Tag Team Championship in (WWE) one time.
24. The Natural Disasters
Keeping up with the bigger men on the roster, Earthquake and Typhoon made up the Natural Disasters, and their cheeky gimmicks were executed in an interesting way. They were the first team to dethrone Money Inc. for the belts, turning face in the process. As heels, they toppled teams like The Bushwhackers and feuded with the Legion of Doom. They were active for two years before Earthquake left the WWE.
23. D-Generation X (Shawn Michaels & Triple H)
D-Generation X was one of WWE’s biggest stables ever, but they truly rose to prominence when Shawn Michaels was absent from WWE in the early 1990s.
However, Michaels and Triple H would form a tag team under the same name in 2006, winning both the WWE World Tag Team Championship and the WWE Tag Team Championship (before unification in 2010). Their partnership will mostly be remembered for their comical antics directed at the McMahon Family, which resulted in a series of entertaining matches.
22. The Funk Bros.
The legendary Terry Funk may still perform once in a while to this day, and that’s largely due to the popularity he and his brother Dory would muster as a unit. They didn’t win any championships together in WWE, but the two were ranked as the sixth tag team of all time in the Pro Wrestling Illustrated “Top 100 Tag Teams In The PWI Years.” They held 12 titles together as a team.
21. The Steiner Brothers
Before their short tenure under WWE in the early 1990s, Rick and Scott Steiner had already achieved triumphs under the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), and took part in a memorable match against Hiroshi Hase and Kensuke Sasaki in 1991, winning the IWGP Tag Team Championship in the process. As bright as their future seemed under Vince McMahon, they would only compete in WWE for approximately two years before jumping ship to Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW).
20. Strike Force
Hoisting the belts once in their outing as a pair, Rick Martel and Tito Santana were some of the most gifted athletes the squared circle had ever seen. Their time was cut short due to Martel’s leave of absence in 1988, before Martel turned on Tito Santana at WrestleMania V after losing to The Brain Busters. Martel’s heel turn was a popular backstab in tag team wrestling during the golden era.
19. Los Guerreros
Eddie and Chavo Guerrero were enjoyable as both good and bad guys, as their mantra to “Lie, Cheat & Steal” saw them win the WWE Tag Team Championship twice defeating Chris Benoit & Kurt Angle, Edge & Rey Mysterio, and The World’s Greatest Tag Team, Charlie Hass and Shelton Benjamin along the way. They’re the two most popular Guerrero members to North American fans, and perhaps the most accomplished.
18. The Brain Busters
Despite these two former Four Horsemen inability to transcend their NWA success into WWE, Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard were still two tough individuals to overcome, as they feuded against teams like Demolition and The Hart Foundation while being accompanied by the legendary Bobby Heenan. They won the WWE Tag Team Championship once, ending Demolition’s 478-day title reign and became the first duo to capture both the NWA and WWE tag team titles.
17. The Nasty Boys
Probably the grossest tag team of the early 1990s, The Nasty Boys acted as both faces and heels during their prime. Remembered for their brash attitude and shoving their opponents faces in each other’s armpits, the highlights of their careers would be winning the tag team belts from The Hart Foundation at WrestleMania VII, under the tutelage of Jimmy Hart. They had more success in WCW, where they won three more tag titles.
16. The Wild Samoans
Afa and Sika began their quest in WWE by capturing the titles in 1980, beating Tito Santana and Ivan Putski for the straps. They held the belts for five months before dropping them to Bob Backlund and Pedro Morales, only to win them back in a tournament shortly after. The tough Samoan superstars would go on to win 21 tag team championships in 10 different territories. They were elected into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2007.
15. The Blackjacks
Awarded with WWE Hall of Fame honors in 2006, Blackjack Lanza and Blackjack Mulligan paved the road for teams made up of two big brutes looking to topple their foes. Lanza is John “Bradshaw” Layfield’s uncle, and Mulligan is Barry Windham’s father. Both JBL and Windham formed The New Blackjacks in the late 1990s. They won both the NWA and WWE tag team titles.
14. The Briscoe Brothers
Long before Jay and Mark Briscoe were tearing up the independent scene in Ring Of Honor, Jack and Gerald Brisco were already legends inside the squared circle. Both men saw more success in the singles department, but the brothers were one of the best sibling duo in professional wrestling under the NWA. They weren’t exactly triumphant with WWE tag team titles, yet they won a plethora of tag team championships in the NWA.
13. The Acolytes Protection Agency (APA)
After Bradshaw and Faarooq left their respective singles careers in the dust, they formed The Acolytes, who represented The Undertaker’s Ministry of Darkness after their stint as The Hell’s Henchmen. Known for their brutality, The Acolytes would win three tag titles together, and became one of the most popular teams in the company after being hired guns for fellow wrestlers, known as The Acolytes Protection Agency (APA). Their segments included a lot of bribes and excessive alcohol consumption.
12. Money Inc.
Talk about a perfect combination in terms of drawing heat.
You had “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase on one end, who was already driving the fans nuts with his rich persona and Mike Rotunda as Irwin R. Schyster on the other, threatening the crowd to pay their taxes. Money Inc. was a perfect name, and they dominated the tag team division in the early to mid 1990s, winning the belts three times.
On top of their awesome personas, they were top notch wrestlers.
11. Rock N’ Sock Connection
We’ve seen two mega superstars team up in the past (Hulk Hogan & Randy Savage, Shawn Michaels & Diesel, etc.), but no team had greater success than The Rock N’ Sock Connection, composed of Mankind and The Rock. Mick Foley was ecstatic about the pairing, while the “Great One” constantly lambasted him week after week. The duo would win the WWE Tag Team Championship three times, and reunited a couple of times during the early 2000s.
10. The Valiant Brothers
Long before the golden era of tag team wrestling in the early 1990s, The Valiant Brothers (Jimmy and Johnny) were dominating the scene in the days of the World Wide Wrestling Federation (obviously now WWE), winning the belts from Tony Garea and Dean Ho and holding onto them for over a year. Their record as champions for 370 days was only broken 14 years later. The brothers were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 1996.
9. The Rockers
They’re regarded as one of the first highflying teams in WWE history, and despite never winning the WWE Tag Team Championship, The Rockers remain highly influential for teams still being produced in the modern era. Maybe their success is overshadowed by Shawn Michaels’ spectacular singles career, but both Michaels and Marty Jannetty were regarded as standouts in their heyday largely due to the excitement factor every time they competed. Michaels’ heel turn is regarded as arguably the most famous in tag team history.
8. The British Bulldogs
The team of Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid were wowing fans all over the world, feuding with The Hart Foundation and The Dream Team. Their physiques were unmatchable at the time, being the hottest team around that promoters wanted to book. They wrestled in England, Japan and Canada besides working for Vince McMahon.
The Bulldogs would only win the WWE World Tag Team Championship once in WWE. To this day, their rare action figures are worth quite a hefty penny.
7. The New Age Outlaws
They were the premiere tag team in the original DX, not to mention the most charismatic twosome the WWE had ever seen. Road Dogg and Billy Gunn weren’t the most talented wrestlers out there, yet their work ethic and storytelling inside the ring was second to none. Their defining moment could have been throwing a dumpster off the entrance ramp containing both Mick Foley and Terry Funk. Their most recent title run was earlier this year, as they beat Cody Rhodes & Goldust to basically raise awareness for the WWE Network.
6. The Dudley Boyz
If it weren’t for The Dudley Boyz, we would have seen a lot less tables over the past decade.
Bubba Ray and D-Von still compete to this day for TNA Wrestling, but their time in WWE was memorable because of their feuds with The Hardy Boyz and Edge & Christian. Also, because they put women like Mae Young and Trish Stratus through tables.
With their little brother Spike Dudley never too far away, the team won nine championships together in WWE, defeating teams such as The Brothers of Destruction, William Regal & Lance Storm and The Hardy Boyz. When WWE unified the World Tag Team Championship, The Dudley Boyz held the titles more than any other team, clocking in at 8).
Both Ax and Smash were two big men who played their gimmick all too well. They sort of look like dominatrix practitioners now, but their costumes suggested they’d really hurt you inside a wrestling ring if you messed with them. They hold the record for the longest WWE Tag Team Championship reign, holding the belts for 478 days. They had good matches against The Hart Foundation, tormented The Rockers, and outclassed members of The Heenan Family’s Brain Busters and The Colossal Connection.
4. The Hardy Boyz
They were the most innovative WWE tag team in history, and their matches alongside The Dudley Boyz and Edge & Christian are regarded as the best in tag team history. Matt and Jeff Hardy always put themselves in danger to please the fans and bring them the most extreme action in WWE. They’ve jumped off ladders, went through tables, took a number of chair shots, and bled for the fans that still respect their contributions to this day. “Team Xtreme” won the WWE Tag Team Championship six times.
3. The Hart Foundation
Originally managed by Jimmy Hart, Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart had enough charisma to walk around in pink. They made up the classic pairing of someone who was an exceptional talent in the technical aspects of wrestling (Bret), along with a brute force who would run through his foes like a bull (Jim). In 1987, they held onto the tag titles for 274 days before losing them to Strike Force. Their matches against The British Bulldogs are some of the best in WWE tag team history.
2. Edge & Christian
Real life best friends Edge and Christian hold the record as the winningest tag team in WWE history, hoisting the belts a whopping seven times.
Christian never had the same amount of prosperity as Edge as a singles competitor, but these two were almost invincible as a tag team. They won the first two Tables, Ladders & Chairs (TLC) matches at SummerSlam 2000 and WrestleMania X-Seven, and even beat those teams in a triangle ladder match at WrestleMania 2000. It’s safe to say they were the best team out of those three, even if they were the less popular among the fandom.
And don’t forget…these two Canadians pretty much invented “flash photography.”
1. Legion of Doom
Maybe The Legion of Doom didn’t win as many titles as Edge & Christian, but they personified tag team wrestling as a whole. Hawk and Animal were already tearing through tag teams well before their WWE signing in 1990, winning titles in the NWA, American Wrestling Association (AWA), and All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW). The Road Warriors were absolutely spectacular, and their ethos made them your dad’s favorite tag team before you were salivating over subpar pairings. They were violent in the ring, ferocious on the mic, and they definitely put fear into the hearts and minds of teams that had to face them.
What a rush, indeed.
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