When four men hit the ring for a tag team match, there are plenty of fans who get out of their seats and watch. When it’s at its best, tag team wrestling doesn’t only just steal the show but could main-event any card. In recent memory, teams like The Revival, The Usos, American Alpha (before they broke up), and several others are revitalizing a division that hadn’t been relevant since the days of Edge and Christian, Hardys, Dudleys, and APA. Prior to the Attitude Era, the WWE landscape was littered with all kinds of Tag Teams. Enough Tag Teams to fill the ring for not one, but two years’ worth of 5-on-5, 20-man Survivor Series matches.
That’s not to say every Tag Team, no matter how good they were as a team didn’t always have a good gimmick. Silly gimmicks like The Killer Bees helped make Jim Brunzell and B. Brian Blair memorable, but not for their great matches, just their weird gimmick that should have made them heels but they were babyfaces. Even though the Powers Of Pain had been painting their faces for years, in WWE they still seemed like a Demolition ripoff. Some teams were awesome and had an awesome gimmick. Some teams were memorable and awesome, but their gimmick was laughable. Here are 5 Classic WWE Tag Teams Who Had A Terrible Gimmick (& 5 With The Best).
10 Terrible: The Godwinns
Henry O. and Phineas I. were two big, country-strong brawlers that the WWE did a disservice to not once, but twelve times! Southern Justice might have been a good idea had they already not been portrayed as comical pig farmers. Before they got to the WWE, they had a very “southern” gimmick - the outlaws, Tex Slazenger and Shanghai Pierce. While some might have thought they were too Memphis or NWA for the WWE brand, they still got booked to be hog farmers, and Phineas a dimwitted one at that.
9 Best: Demolition
Ax and Smash, Demolition is one of the most decorated tag teams of the late eighties and early nineties, it’s easy to see why - they look like something out of a nightmare, and that’s before they even got to to the ring!
With their iconic theme song blasting through the arena they’d stomp to the ring looking like something out of Mad Max. Then masks came off revealing hell-raising full-face paint and a smash-mouth style evocative of the Road Warriors. But they could also work a technical match with teams like the Harts and The Brain Busters as well.
8 Terrible: The Beverly Brothers
Mike Enos and Wayne Bloom got their start as the Destruction Crew in the AWA. While that name doesn’t necessarily mean dollar signs in the WWE, the team was a hyper-capable team trained by Eddie Sharkey in Minnesota. They got packaged as the bleach-blond spoiled rich kids - The Beverly Brothers. Does anyone remember that aspect of the gimmick? They just wore variations of purple and hung out with the Genius before becoming overpriced enhancement talent. Enos would eventually get to become a footnote in history - he’s in the ring when Scott Hall invades WCW.
7 Best: The Hart Foundation
We’re not allowed to just show the picture and move on to the next entry. But really, if you don’t know how amazing and beloved The Hart Foundation was and still is, then you just started watching wrestling today. Go on the Network and click on any match with the Pink and Black Attack and you’ll immediately see how devastating the duo of Bret “Hitman” Hart and Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart really were. Bret’s speed and technical prowess, only matched by Anvil’s speed and his raw power meant seldom few teams could hang with them in the ring.
6 Terrible: The Bushwhackers
Um...they lick kids’ faces right after eating gross chicken feet. They lick kids’ faces in general. But even when that was apparently acceptable behavior, the Bushwhackers were seen by Vince as no more than a comedy act. He evidently never saw their nasty heel team, the Sheepherders.
Then again, there were already a ton of bruiser teams in the company, but there weren’t any comedy teams. Luke and Butch filled a void and were memorable enough to be a Hall Of Fame team. But it was a really bad gimmick.
5 Best: The Fabulous Rougeau Brothers
The Fabulous Rougeau were milquetoast babyfaces until Jimmy Hart started managing the team. Then they really got going as a smarmy heel team, pulling out all of the old-school dirty heel stuff and adding the cocky upturned nose at America whenever they waived their little flags around, prancing and singing about being “All American Boys,” all the while proudly sporting the Fleur-De-Lis.
4 Terrible: The New Foundation
The work rate of anyone coming out of the Dungeon is second to none, especially when they’re members of the Hart Family. But whoever thought that dressing Owen and Anvil up in MC Hammer pants hopefully has since gotten off of whatever sauce they were on. It didn’t really work for Owen and Koko B. Ware, it certainly wasn’t going to work for the brothers-in-law. Bobby Heenan had said it best - they looked like they just got out of bed.
3 Best: The Brain Busters
With cable TV still very much a luxury in the late eighties, some people throughout the country would’ve had no idea who the two-ordinary looking Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard were.
Tragically, they would have never known that these were two of the greatest in-ring technicians of all time - Horsemen. If you want them to be presented as top guys though, you put them immediately with Bobby The Brain Heenan. The Brain Busters were born and instantly made in the WWE.
2 Terrible: LOD 2000
Ten years or so prior, The Road Warriors were monsters in every stretch of the imagination. No team was more feared. But with their careers heading into the twilight, they were used more and more to put teams over, which became part of the story. They broke up and left, only to return a short time later, with a new, less menacing look, and less sexy Sunny as their manager. The motorcycle helmets, half-spikes, and flame-adorned brassieres only screamed obvious “cheer us, we're cool again,” instead of the respect the team deserved.
1 Best: Hardy Boys
From journeymen just happy to get booked to being faux-Brood and teaming with Michael Hayes, it was clear that the Hardy Boys were going to go far in the business. It was also clear that they were respected. Once they paired up with Lita, the trio really took off. Team Xtreme received almost as loud of an ovation as guys like Austin and the Rock. Fans of in-ring work could respect them, the guys could drool for Lita while the girls could do the same for the Hardys.