Tag Team wrestling is something that is very tricky to get right, finding the balance of two wrestlers that have a chemistry but aren’t too similar, that will both connect with the crowd and get over the same message is not easy. Once you have that, then creating a gimmick for the team to work on together is even more difficult, but when WWE finds the perfect one it truly creates magic. Just look at teams such as Team Extreme, the Dudley Boyz or New Day as perfect examples of great tag teams with unique gimmicks that have connected with the masses.
However, for every great gimmick there is an equally horrible one that seems to come with it (we can’t have everything I guess). Some didn’t work because of the time, the people involved or the fact that the fans simply didn’t get it despite it being a good idea. However, some are so terribly bad that it is actually quite shocking to believe that firstly, someone pitched it thinking it was good, and secondly, other people agreed and it got the green light to hit our TV screens.
This list will be looking at those gimmicks, that were so bad we all wish we could forget, but secretly love talking about. Throughout the list, we will be looking at the worst tag team gimmick every year since 2000, right up until the present year, 2018.
19. 2000: Harlem Heat
If it’s not broke don’t fix it is a popular saying, and that certainly fits in here. The original Harlem Heat was a fantastic tag team and one of the very best that WCW had to offer, but for some reason, the company decided to split brothers, Booker T and Stevie Ray, up.
However, they wanted to keep the team alive, but rebrand it (simply throwing 2000 at the end), and Ray would soon be paired with Big T, who worked as Ahmed Johnson in WWE previously.Unsurprisingly, this team failed to have the same success, with poor in-ring chemistry the duo simply didn’t work together. It would be like taking out Jeff Hardy, having Matt work with another wrestler and still pretending to be the Hardy Boyz, it is just never going to work.
18. 2001: Kai En Tai
It seems like whenever WWE has a pair of foreign wrestlers the company feels the urge to put them in a stereotypical partnership, related to whatever nation they are from. The gimmicks never work, they are never entertaining, but WWE continues to do it anyway.
In 2001, fans were treated to Kai En Tai, consisting of Funaki and Taka Michinoku and they were a comedic team that was supposed to be a mockery of old-fashioned Kung Fu movies, for some reason. The team was quickly treated like jobbers, highlighting just how good the gimmick was, with Funaki’s “Indeed!” one-liners being the only moment of potential comedy this tag team brought to the table.
17. 2002: Billy & Chuck
The gimmick that mocked men for their orientation… be a star WWE, be a star. A team like this would be flat out unacceptable in today’s society unless they were prepared to take it seriously, but it was also heavily frowned upon in 2002.
Billy and Chuck pretended to be madly in love with each other, WWE originally attempted to work with GLAAD, but decided not to run with the couple as really being together, revealing it was all fake during their wedding scene. This was an incredibly cringeworthy gimmick that only managed to offend people more than entertain, with the LBGTQ group pulling out of any partnership they ever wished to have with WWE.
16. 2003: The Basham Brothers
Danny and Dough the bald twins that had an incredible lack of chemistry, which should be too surprising, given that they weren’t actual brothers! Now, we have been fed fake brothers before, the Dudley Boyz made it work incredibly, but this team lacked any ability to connect with an audience.
Inside the ring, they weren’t terrible but they certainly never lit the wrestling world up with an incredible match either. WWE worked on them for a while giving them a slight push, but eventually that faded and their bland looks went back to the unknown. Their worst moments perhaps came as part of JBL’s faction, The Cabinet, where the Basham’s got renamed to the truly awful, Secretaries of Defence… yes, that was their actual name for a while.
15. 2004: Kenzo Suzuki & Rene Dupree
Sometimes in WWE, it feels like the company thinks they need a tag team, looks at the roster available and plucks two people straight out of the mid-card and decides to throw them together, hoping for instant results.
That was the case with the incredibly random team of Kenzo Suzuki and Rene Dupree, two guys who had absolutely no business being together suddenly teamed up. Not only did they work together, they also captured the WWE Tag Team Championships. There was no real story here other than the fact both men were foreign talents and for that reason and that of having polar opposites together, WWE decided to give this terrible and incredibly forgetful team a run.
14. 2005: The Hurricane & Rosey
Did you hear the response for The Hurricane when he returned at the 2018 Royal Rumble as a surprise entrant? He got a huge pop because he is a beloved figure who everyone fondly remembers from the past with his brilliant work against the likes of The Rock.
However, there can be too much of a good thing and in the case of WWE’s superhero’s that proved to be the case. While nobody took Hurricane seriously as a superhero, the fun was in watching him try and fail, it worked, especially given his size. Rosey was then thrown into the mix for no real reason and it diluted everything that Hurricane had built up. People not only didn’t care about this team but quickly stopped caring about Hurricane in general, which was a shame.
13. 2006: The Highlanders
For a start, the look that this tag team presented just didn’t work, it really didn’t. Pretending to be actual Highlanders, it felt like something you would expect to see during the 1980’s of WWE, not in the 200os. They were around when WWE’s tag team wrestling scene was in an incredibly poor position, and because of that, they managed to get plenty of time on TV, with a somewhat memorable feud with Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch.
We never got to find out what The Highlanders could have achieved in WWE when Robbie McAllister decided to hop on over to TNA to see friends, for some reason sitting on the camera side of a TV taping. TNA took their chance, filmed him and put him on TV, which quickly led to his released.
12. 2007: Jesse & Festus
This pair of hillbillies had one of the strangest gimmicks in WWE history, with Festus a farm boy that was mentally challenged and couldn’t talk, but when the bell rang, became an unstoppable force that runs through his opponents. Next to him was his much smaller friend, Jesse, who later went on to be the equally terrible, Slam Master J after the duo split. The combination of the big guy and highflying wrestler is one that has worked before, but it didn’t here.
The problem wasn’t having Festus be mentally challenged, WWE made Eugene work with a similar style. But the whole ringing the bell and magically transforming Festus was just too much. Thankfully, Festus did okay with his career and you can see him on Raw today as Luke Gallows as a member of the Balor Club.
11. 2008: Deuce And Domino
The fact that by the summer of 2008, both Domino and Cherry would be released from WWE should tell you exactly how bad this tag team was, and with Deuce only lasting one more year, it is easy to see how this tag team didn’t work.
They were known for being jobbers and whenever their music hit it was almost impossible to take them seriously as a threat, as the outcome of the match was already determined inside your head. With Cherry zooming about on her roller skates, this strange Grease inspired tag team just didn’t make sense in the world of WWE, who knows what the company was attempting here.
10. 2009: Hart Dynasty
Imitation is supposed to be the most sincere form of flattery, but when it came to the Hart Dynasty the entire thing just felt like a cheap rip off from the beloved Hart Foundation, lacking the same chemistry and connection with the audience.
They may have worn the traditional pink and black and even come out to Bret Hart’s music, but they were never anywhere near the level of the legendary group. While Tyson Kidd and David Hart Smith would eventually find success in their careers, they were both incredibly bland at this stage. Neither man possessed any real personality and simply relied on their Hart family connections, even with Natalya by their side the group just never took off in the way WWE had hoped.
9. 2010: Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov
If oddball, comedy teams are your bag, then you probably loved the team of Santino Marella and Vladimir Kozlov, but for the rest of us, it was a horrid time in the history of tag team division which highlighted how bad things had gotten with WWE.
The pair were thrown together for the sake of doing ‘WWE comedy’ together, and the fact they became Tag Team Champions was quite frankly, ridiculous. The pair danced in the ring, a lot, and then put on some sloppy wrestling matches. Marella was popular with fans and had been put in the comedy role by the company for most of his tenure, but to see Kozlov, who at one point was a dominant force in this position was more stupid than anything else.
8. 2011: Hunico & Camacho
Surprisingly, Hunico and Camacho wrestled as a tag team all the way until 2013, something that is quite shocking given how little they did during that time. As two guys who had fought their way out of the Barrio, they presented a street thug vibe, riding to the ring on a gold bike for some reason.
With those Latin stereotypes being put into full force the team never really acted the way they were presented, which made you question what the whole purpose of their gimmick really was. Eventually, both men found success in the tag team world, with Hunico becoming Sin Cara and being part of the Lucha Dragons, while Camacho, aka Tonga Roa is part of Guerillas of Destiny in New Japan Pro Wrestling.
7. 2012: Team Rhodes Scholars
How many bad gimmicks and ideas did Damien Sandow have to put up with? No wonder the man no longer wants anything to do with wrestling, he was forced to go through so much trash.
This pairing could have been great, both men were very talented in the ring and on the microphone and could easily get under the crowd’s skin, but when your whole act is that you are smarter and can outsmart anyone, then constantly get beaten, it becomes hard to take seriously. The team was never really given the chance that it deserved and because of that the gimmick never got over with fans in any real way, which ultimately makes it a bad one.
6. 2013: Tons Of Funk
Man, this was a really bad team. The fact that Los Matadores aren’t taking the award for this year should tell you just how bad this gimmick was because Los Matadores truly were a terrible team and an idea that was doomed from day one.
You have two huge monsters in Tensai and Brodus Clay, so the obvious thing here would be to make them a force to be reckoned with who couldn’t be stopped and were feared amongst the roster? Well, that was too obvious for WWE, so instead they were funked up, put in ridiculous costumes and spent most of their time dancing and just being ridiculous in general, it was a terrible time.
5. 2014: Rybaxel
The bad tag team gimmicks only get worse as 2014 rolls around and Rybaxel begins to take up everybody’s precious time. On paper, having two upcoming talents as Paul Heyman Guys should have worked, yet it really didn’t.
Ryback and Curtis Axel had seemingly no chemistry together, which was obvious from the star, and Heyman only cared about promoting Brock Lesnar, not really giving this team a plug, making them seem like a side act from the start. If you can remember one memorable thing that Rybaxel did, then you have an incredible memory, because they simply faded into the background, filling time when needed and jobbing to bigger and better teams.
4. 2015: The Meta Powers
Damien Sandow and Curtis Axel have had some truly terrible gimmicks during their wrestling careers and this one took it to a new level with the pair simply spending their entire time pretending to be legends of the wrestling industry.
Nothing says you have major talent like having to pretend to be other people, does it? To be fair to them, they somehow managed to get the gimmick to work for a brief period and if it hadn’t been for Hulk Hogan’s personal issues the team could have grown. However, the problem with this gimmick was that it made you not want to care about either Axel or Sandow because WWE clearly didn’t believe they actually had enough chemistry to be a hit team on their own.
3. 2016: Shining Stars
They may have escaped being on this list as the Los Matadores, but the Shining Stars is an equally terrible gimmick and therefore Primo and Epico find their place on the list at long last.
If their previous gimmick hadn’t been bad enough, WWE decided to repackage the pair as some form of travel agents who just loved talking about the Shining Star of the Caribbean and walking around with travel brochures or flowers. That was it. There was no room for expansion here, it really was that simple, and that terrible. The pair still remains on the roster to this day, but given how bad the gimmick is, they will never be walking around with the tag team gold.
2. 2017: GoldenTruth
Goldust and R-Truth may very well be two WWE legends who have certainly put the time in over the years and given fans some fantastic moments that will always be remembered, but this awful pairing will not be one of those.
Firstly we had to sit back and enjoy… I mean endure countless backstage segments of Goldust chasing after Truth, begging him to be tag team partners, but when they did things didn’t get any better. From terrible jokes, poor backstage segments and matches that proved both men had past their peak, this whole thing was a big mistake. Oh, and let’s not talk about the bouncing Goldust head that came up on the screen over the lyrics to their song.
1. 2018: Bludgeon Brothers
Luke Harper and Eric Rowan are a fantastic tag team, that much deserves to be pointed out. They have been part of some of the best tag matches in the past 10 years against the likes of The Usos and The Shield, but their most recent gimmick really is dreadful.
No longer members of the Wyatt Family (something that hurts them and Bray), the duo have reunited as they are served best being together and are now the Bludgeon Brothers, for some reason. If that name wasn’t bad enough, their outfits take it to another level with awful in-ring gear, not to mention the fact they literally carry giant hammers around with them to the ring. Hopefully, their talent will shine through here, but it is going to be a tall task.
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