The genre of tag team wrestling can see the best duos form a legacy together that will live on in wrestling history. Some of the iconic teams like the Hart Foundation, Road Warriors and Demolition are still discussed today for their tag title reigns in WWE. Quite a few great duos would never get to hold the tag gold together during their runs. There are many reasons for a successful team failing to win the top tag team prize.
Past eras would see the tag titles change hands less frequently, which meant only a handful of teams would have a run with the gold each year. There are also the talented duos that saw their run together end quickly, due to their potential in the singles division. Let's take a look at some great pairs that just couldn’t get the prize.
The tag team of Johnny Grunge and Rocco Rock found massive success in ECW. Paul Heyman pushed Public Enemy as one of his first major acts, to great results. WCW signed them away to find more success as a solid team in the division.
WWE hoped to find similar results with the hardcore team joining them in the Attitude Era. Public Enemy reportedly upset the rest of the locker room enough to become hated by their peers. WWE buried them in a memorable match against the APA and released them before they could contend for the tag titles.
Another impressive tag team that only had a short run together featured the iconic brothers Bret Hart and Owen Hart. Both wrestlers had stronger runs as singles stars and Owen had a stronger team with Davey Boy Smith, but the brief time of this team provided great results.
WWE specifically wanted Bret and Owen to work together in the short term as a team to set up a feud later down the line. They delivered outstanding matches as a team. The biggest bout came in a loss to the Quebecers, losing a chance at the tag titles and leading to them splitting up afterwards.
WWE viewed the duo of the Can-Am Connection as a potential top tag team when they started in the 80s. Rick Martel and Tom Zenk complemented each other, with the former having more power and the latter providing the agility in the ring.
Fans enjoyed the Can-Am Connection as a duo and there were high hopes for them. Zenk, however, struggled to get along with others backstage and eventually left the company. Martel moved towards a new tag team with Tito Santana. Despite Santana being a better wrestler, the Can-Am Connection had better chemistry that just ended too soon.
WWE loved the dynamic of teams between two powerful wrestlers in the 80s. Warlord and The Barbarian were two of the more intimidating performers on the roster, due to their looks and size. WWE paired them together as the Powers of Pain for an impressive run together.
The lack of constant title changes would see them fail to get a turn as the champions. Barbarian and Warlord eventually split and never had the same success in WWE. WCW would see Barbarian find more success in a duo when teaming with Meng as the Faces of Fear.
The expectations for Doug Furnas and Phil Lafon were huge when they joined WWE in 1996. Both wrestlers made their debut on the same night as The Rock at Survivor Series 1996, since WWE viewed it as a great show to introduce top prospects in different matches.
Furnas and Lafon had strong reputations thanks to their great run in Japan. ECW would add more credibility, thanks to Paul Heyman seeing their potential. Despite having a few great matches against Owen Hart and Davey Boy Smith, Furnas and Lafon never won the tag titles and their run ended sooner than expected.
The era of the wrestling territories would see The Bushwhackers find success all over the country. Bushwhacker Luke and Bushwhacker Butch each provided a great combination of intensity, comedy and drama.
WWE fans viewed them as a fun secondary duo that delivered comedic moments like walking to the ring in humorous fashion and licking opponents or fans. The company never viewed them as the top team to build around, though, and they never won the tag titles. Bushwhackers fans had to settle for them as a variety act.
WWE viewed the tag team of Cryme Tyme as a duo to build the division around in the future. Vince McMahon gave them a controversial gimmick that did hurt their momentum in the early days. The stealing and hustling tricks of JTG and Shad would become more endearing when they turned face.
At one point, Cryme Tyme united with John Cena for a short-term faction, in the hopes of building them up. Backstage heat on Shad often stopped the momentum, though, as WWE viewed them as lacking maturity. WWE eventually released Shad, leaving JTG struggling as a singles performer.
One of the better recent tag teams that did not win tag team gold was Cesaro and Jack Swagger as the Real Americans. Swagger was repackaged as a new heel with Zeb Colter as his manager. A struggling Cesaro would get added to the mix as they all found chemistry together.
Fans often cheered for Cesaro and Swagger over the face teams they opposed. Sadly, WWE split them up before they could win the tag titles since they wanted to push Cesaro as a singles star. They never went all the way with Cesaro as a singles star, and he returned to the tag division to win the titles with Tyson Kidd and Sheamus.
Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage were the two most beloved wrestlers of the 80s. Fans fell in love with them both as they won the WWE Championship at different points. Savage and Hogan formed a short-term tag team as the Mega Powers, giving fans their two heroes working together.
WWE never wanted to make them the tag team champions, since one of the two was always in the world title picture. Still, what a team they were!
Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty had one of the all-time great tag teams as the Rockers. Most pundits will rank the team high in the list of the best duos to ever perform for WWE. They had superb matches against the Hart Foundation, Brain Busters and many others.
Despite their popularity, the Rockers never won the tag team titles. The timing never worked out and their run ended before they could win the gold. Michaels turned on Jannetty to start his legendary run as a singles star.