At one time, there wasn't anything more exciting than excellent tag team wrestling. Head back to the classic NWA and Crockett Promotions, and they actively pushed tag teams with things like the Crockett Cup. With teams like the Road Warriors, Rock 'N Roll Express, Russians, Fantastics, Midnight Express, and more, the tag teams were more exciting than most singles stars.
Even in WWE, there was the Attitude Era where teams like the Dudley Boyz, Hardy Boyz, and Edge & Christian proved that tag teams could work the main event any show and deliver big-time. However, most of the time, WWE uses tag teams to find future singles stars, and when they break them up, do so to push one of them to the moon. Here is a look at five of those former tag team wrestlers that became stars and five who wished they were still in a tag team.
10 LUKE HARPER - TAG TEAM
Luke Harper came into WWE as part of the Wyatt Family. He and his partner Erick Rowan were the muscle for Bray Wyatt's cult leader, and that trio ran all over WWE until their push slowed when Wyatt started losing more and more matches. Later, Harper and Rowan became the Bludgen Brothers and dominated until both men fell to injuries.
WWE has since broken the team up, and Rowan is now a tag champion with Daniel Bryan. However, Luke Harper is the better wrestler of the two, and WWE has no use for him anymore, while the weaker link continues to hold title gold. Harper asked for his release, and WWE denied him as he wishes he had something to do.
9 SHAWN MICHAELS - SOLO
Honestly, the biggest tag team breakup in wrestling history came when Shawn Michaels superkicked his best friend Marty Jannetty through the Barber Shop window and split up The Rockers. Shawn held two tag team titles with Marty in the AWA, but they never won the gold at all in WWE.
However, after the breakup, Shawn Michaels went full heel, hired Sensational Sherri as his manager, and won the Intercontinental title. Thanks to leaving tag team wrestling, Shawn won four world titles, three IC titles, one European title, and even returned to tag wrestling and won six tag titles. He is also a two-time WWE Hall of Fame superstar.
8 BIG CASS - TAG TEAM
Neither Big Cass nor Enzo Amore was good wrestlers -- at all. However, they had the fans solidly behind them for one reason. Enzo was a great promo, and his mouth sold this tag team to the fans, who were often on their feet repeating his words and listening to everything he had to say.
When Big Cass stood behind him, often with a bemused look on his face, it sold their friendship, and they had the WWE Universe in their hands. However, Vince McMahon saw money in Big Cass, and the team broke up with Cass set to become a star. He failed miserably, couldn't cut it as a singles star, and WWE ended up firing him.
7 BOOKER T - SOLO
Booker t and his brother Stevie Ray accepted a WWE Hall of Fame induction this year for their partnership as Harlem Heat. As one of the best tag teams in WCW history, the two won the tag team titles 10 times, beating everyone who was anyone in WCW. However, Booker T wanted more.
Stevie Ray was a good tag team wrestler, but that was it. However, Booker T was a star. When Harlem Heat split up, Booker T went on to win the TV title six times and the world title four times. In WWE, Booker T was even better, winning two more world titles and 10 more secondary titles before he ended up a two-time WWE Hall of Famer.
6 BILLY GUNN - TAG TEAM
Billy Gunn was someone that WWE thought could be a massive singles star. He started his WWE career in a tag team called the Smoking Gunns with Bart Gunn, and they won three tag team titles. WWE tried to push him as a star, and Gunn flopped thanks to his silly gimmick as Rockabilly. He then teamed up with Road Dogg as the New Age Outlaws.
The NAO won the tag titles five times. WWE tried to push both men as singles stars and gave them singles title runs, but neither man could do anything with it and kept getting back together. Later, Billy Gunn flopped as a singles star again and returned to tag team wrestling in a tag team with Chuck Palumbo.
5 EDGE - SOLO
In the Attitude Era, three tag teams revolutionized the industry. The high flying Hardy Boyz, the brawling Dudley Boyz, and the technically magnificent Edge & Christian basically invented the TLC match and tore down the house every time they faced off. Out of those three teams, it was Edge & Christian that were the most successful, and that was also the tag team that split up for greater success.
Christian was a four-time world champion, but Edge eclipsed even that. Edge won 11 world titles, six second-tier titles, and then added seven more tag team title reigns to the seven he had with Christian for a total of 14. Overall, Edge held 31 titles in WWE.
4 RICK STEINER - TAG TEAM
In the '90s, the Steiner Brothers were one of the top tag teams on the planet -- no matter where they wrestled. They held the WCW tag titles seven times, the WWE tag titles twice and the IWGP tag titles in Japan twice. Rick Steiner was a tag wrestler even before he worked with his brother, winning tag titles with Eddie Gilbert, Terry Taylor, and Sting.
When WCW started their war with the nWo, Rick and Scott Steiner were at the frontlines for WCW as the faces of WCW tag team wrestling. However, WCW liked to have people turn sides unexpectedly, and Scott Steiner joined the nWo and became a major singles star. Rick stuck around but was a minor player from that point on.
3 ROMAN REIGNS - SOLO
Honestly, when The Shield broke up, all three men became major stars. However, in The Shield, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns were the tag team, and Dean Ambrose was the United States Champion. Later, when Seth Rollins turned on his brothers, Dean and Roman teamed up on occasion as well.
With Seth Rollins as the current Universal Champion and Dean Ambrose ready to become one of AEW's top stars, they did well too. Out of the three, though, Roman Reigns is the biggest star. After breaking off from The Shield and tag team wrestling, Roman has worked the main event of multiple WrestleMania shows and is a multi-time world champion.
2 RICKY MORTON - TAG TEAM
The most popular tag team in history from a babyface standpoint is the Rock 'N Roll Express. When asked about working as a babyface, Dusty Rhodes and Ric Flair both said that no one did it better than Ricky Morton and there is a saying that when a tag team wrestler is playing the face in peril, they are the Ricky Morton of the duo.
Fans loved Ricky so much that they often wanted to hurt the heel tag teams that tormented him and blew the roof off the building when Robert Gibson tagged in. That made the decision by WCW to turn Morton heel as a singles star and make him Richard Morton ridiculous. It didn't last, no one wanted to see him as a heel, and soon Rock and Roll lived again.
1 TOMMASO CIAMPA - SOLO
In NXT, there was not a more popular tag team than DIY. While Johnny Gargano was the best babyface in wrestling, Tommaso Ciampa was his best friend, and the duo won the NXT tag team titles together. However, one thing that NXT fans kept watching for was the hammer to fall. Ciampa teased a turn for a long time, and when he finally betrayed his partner, it was perfection.
After turning on Gargano, Ciampa went on to win the NXT Championship and held it for 237 total days. After this tag team break-up, Ciampa became one of the most hated men in WWE, and he and Gargano turned in three five-star matches, proving their partnership and break up was a perfect story.