Since the beginning of time, tag teams have been a giant draw in the world of Sports Entertainment. For generations teams such as the Graham's, The Wild Samoan's, Londrick, Los Guerrero's and The Young Bucks have wowed the crowds with their death-defying tandem antics and moves. However, which teams have managed to distinguish themselves enough to be considered the greatest of all time? Join us here at VAVEL as we discuss the ten greatest tag teams in not just the history of the WWE, but the history of pro wrestling.
10. Team Angle-Worlds Greatest Tag Team
Intensity... Integrity... Intelligence... these are the Three I's, which were coined by their mentor, four-time WWE Champion, Kurt Angle.
In 2002, they were gifted to the Olympic Gold Medalist. Soon they defeated Chris Benoit and WWE Hall of Famer Edge. They would later face the team that would put them on the map Los Guerrero's. They managed to defeat Chavo and Eddie for the WWE Tag Team Championships.
After a 2-on-1 handicap match with Brock Lesnar and a loss to Tajiri and Eddie Guerrero in a tag title ladder match, Team Angle would leave Kurt and take on the "World's Greatest Tag Team" moniker. They would regain tag team gold from Tajiri and Guerrero, and hold them for two months before losing them back to the Los Guerreros.
Later they would engage in a feud with the APA, mocking them in a bar brawl, which culminated into their WrestleMania debut where they lost to the team of Scotty Too Hotty and Rikishi in a Fatal-Four-Way Tag Team Match. They would end up being separated in the WWE Draft Lottery when Benjamin would go on to have an 8-Month IC Title reign while Haas would regain tag gold with Rico, the former seamstress for Billy and Chuck. In 2006, Haas and Benjamin reformed after a match where Shelton Benjamin defeated Super Crazy.
At One Night Stand 2007, they had quite possibly their best match, facing The Hardy Boyz in a ladder match for the world tag team championships; albeit unsuccessful. After a silent breakup, they would return in ROH to face The Kings of Wrestling (Claudio Castagnoli and Chris Hero), in an instant classic. In their ROH TV debut they faced The Bravado Brothers. After months of attempts, at Honor Takes Center Stage, they finally defeated The Kings of Wrestling to win the ROH tag titles.
9. The Midnight Express
After multiple incarnations of the Midnight Express, fifty tag title reigns and Dennis Condrey's departure from JCP, Bobby Eaton set out to find a new partner; little did he know he'd find his best in-ring partner yet, in "Sweet" Stan Lane.
After Lane's longtime tag partner in Steve Keirn had also left professional wrestling, he jumped from Florida Championship Wrestling to JCP to have one of the greatest in ring combinations of all time, and in his first few matches made it to the semi-finals of the Crockett Cup. Closing 1987 as PWI's tag team of the year (Lane's first year in the team), and having won their first off NWA United States Tag Championships from the duo of Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson who were heading for the WWF.
They would then embark on a feud with the original version of the Midnight Express, Condrey and Randy Rose. After a brief feud with the first incarnation of the team, Tommy Rogers and Bobby Fulton (The Fantastics), they'd compete in a War Games match at the 1989 Great American Bash. They teamed with the Road Warriors and Dr. Death Steve Williams (RIP) to defeat the team of the Samoans and The Fabulous Freebirds. After feuding with teams such as Tom Zenk and Brian Pillman, the Dynamic Dudes, and the Steiners, they would split up in 1990.
8. The Hardy Boyz
The real-life brother combination of Matt and Jeff Hardy became one of the most beloved pairings in the history of the WWE. After owning their own indy wrestling company, they debut in the WWE as enhancement talents before finally getting noticed in a pairing with Freebird Michael Hayes.
After defeating the Acolytes (Bradshaw and Farooq for their first tag championships they dumped Hayes and joined The New Brood with Gangrel. During this time they put on the first ever tag team ladder match against Edge and Christian. The Hardys would go on to beat Edge and Christian in the Terry Invitational Tournament, or, T.I.T. for short, giving them a brand new valet. The Hardys would then enter a feud with the Dudley Boyz, after they powerbombed Terri through a table. This act lead up to the first ever tag team tables match in which the Hardys would defeat the Dudley's. They would lose in a Triangle Ladder Match at WrestleMania 16 against Edge and Christian and the Dudley Boyz before debuting the TLC match at the 2000 SummerSlam just minutes away from where they grew up.
After Team XTreme (Lita, Jeff and Matt), Edge and Christian, and D-Von and Bubba re-revolutionized the tag team division, the Hardy's would break up and go their separate ways, before reuniting in 2006 to regain the World Tag Team Championships. They would head to TNA after six tag title reigns to win the TNA World Tag Team Championships and along with The Wolves and none other than The Dudley Boys, at Full Metal Mayhem put on the TNA 2014 Match of the Year.
7. The Steiner Brothers
Debuting in the NWA, this pair of brothers truly new how to Steinerize their opponents. With their amateur background and great mat technique, they shined in the late-80s, early-90s era of tag team wrestling. Winning their first championship from Lane and Eaton, the Steiners had success from the get go. Their accomplishments also include winning the IGWP Tag Team Championships, NWA United States Tag Team Championships and WCW World Tag Team Championships, the WCW Tag Team Triple Crown.
In late 1992, Rick would vacate his WCW TV Championship as him and Scott would head to the WWF, and made their PPV debut at the 1993 Royal Rumble defeating the Beverly Brothers. At WrestleMania IX, The Steiners stole the show when they defeated Fatu and Samu, the Headshrinkers. The Steiners would beat Money Inc. for two World Tag Team Championship reigns, becoming the first team to have ever worn IGWP, WCW and WWF Tag Title gold.
After a brief stint in ECW (and would later have a brief stint in Jeff Jarrett's TNA), they would go back to WCW to feud with Harlem heat and the Road Warrior's, before Scott turned heel into Big Poppa Pump.
6. The New Age Outlaws
OH YOU DIDN'T KNOW...
After multiple tag title reigns with his brother Bart in the Smokin' Gunns, Billy was given the moniker of Rockabilly with The Honky Tonk Man. Billy was left floundering in the undercard. Guess who else was floundering? None other than Jesse James. The WWF paired these two up, not knowing they would become the most famous tag team of their time (with the most famous entrance of their time). They would go on to face the most famous tag team of the '80s (keep in mind, though, this is 1997) The Road Warriors. The Outlaws managed to defeat The Road Warriors for their first WWF World Tag Team Championship. After two years or so of dominating the tag team scene, The Outlaws would split before reforming to defeat the team of Rock ‘N Sock Connection to regain the tag team championships. Gunn would get kicked out of DX (he needed surgery) and Road Dogg would team with X-Pac. Dogg left the company in 2001.
After stints with TNA, they would return to the WWE on Old School Raw 2013, defeating Primo and Epico. Later they would team with CM Punk to face the Shield (despite losing efforts). They would defeat The Brotherhood at he 2014 Royal Rumble to win the tag titles, before losing them to the Usos. They would have their last match as a team with Kane in a loss to the Shield at WrestleMania 30.
5. The Road Warriors
Ohhhh What a Rush!!! The Road Warriors debuted as a faction with manager Paul Ellering, before Animal went solo and was soon paired up with a brand new partner: Road Warrior Hawk. Within the first few months of their debut, they won their first of three NWA National Tag Team Championships before leaving Georgia Championship Wrestling. In August 1984 they moved to Verne Gagne's AWA in Minnesota, defeating The Crusher and Baron Von Rashcke for the AWA World Tag Team Championships. While going back and forth between the NWA and AWA, they would go on to be giant draws in pro wrestling, before settling on working for the NWA and Japan. The L.O.D. (as they would later be known as) would win the Crockett Cup. At Starrcade 1986, they defeated the Midnight Express in a Scaffold Match. They turned heel in 1988 winning the tag titles from the Midnight Express. Because of Jim Herd, they'd leave the NWA in 1990, before heading to the World Wrestling Federation.
In their first TV match as the Legion of Doom, they would team with the World Champion, the Ultimate Warrior to defeat Demolition (many consider that feud a loss of opportunity). In 1991 in a no DQ tag team match, the Legion of Doom would defeat the Nasty Boys, Jerry Sags and Brian Knobbs, for their first WWF World Tag Team Championships, becoming the only team to hold the NWA, WWF and AWA Tag Team Championships. After they rode in on motorcycles at the 1992 SummerSlam in London, Hawk would leave the company, with Animal following behind him.
After stints in Japan and a brief one in WCW, they would comeback to the WWF in 1997, under the guidance of Sunny as The L.O.D. 2000, and would soon add another member, known as Droz due to Hawk's drug issues, which ultimately led to his passing in 2003. The Road Warriors/LOD along with Sunny and Ellering would be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2010, after 18 tag team championships as a team.
Demolition is one of the more controversial teams in history. Not for what they did, but for who they were. A lot of vintage NWA fans hated Vince as he ran all the territories out business and left the world with only three major brands of pro wrestling: The NWA, The AWA and the WWF. One of the things they would try and point out to get under McMahon's skin was Demolition being Road Warrior rip offs because the Road Warriors wore spikes and had face paint. However, Demolition were in a sport where everybody rips off a little bit. Furthermore they were better than The L.O.D. in more ways than one.
"Definitely not LOD knockoffs and I actually think they actually gave us more dimensions in their work than the LOD. LOD's while schtick was destruction and ending it quick. Demolition did that too to a degree but I think they had a better handle on match psychology."~Don Murphy
Other than a match or two with the Midnight Express and War Games, the Road Warriors never really had a major standout match that left fans around the world talking about the match; whereas Demolition had match after match after match with teams such as the Rockers, The British Bulldogs, The Hart Foundation, Strike Force and the Colossal Connection. Bill Eadie (Ax) and Randy Colley debuted under the gimmick defeating Mario Mancini and Salvatore Bellomo, before Colley was replaced with Barry Darsow, or Smash because Colley was too recognizable from his previous tag team role in The Moondogs as Moondog Rex. Demolition would target Brady Boone, the cousin of Billy Jack Hayne and put him on the shelf, which started their first real rivalry in which they would dismantle Haynes and Patera.
At WrestleMania IV, they defeated Strike Force for their first World Tag Team Championships. Fast-forward and Demolition did something nobody did before and nobody has done since: hold the titles for 478 days. They surpassed the Graham's to become the longest reigning tag team champions, before losing them to the Brainbusters on Saturday Night's Main Event in one of the greatest 2-out-of-3 falls matches the WWE has ever seen.
After a feud with Andre the Giant and Haku, Demolition added it's third member Crush, due to Ax's drug addiction. After a feud with the Orient Express, they had their final WWE match against the Takanos. We later saw Crush feud with Darsow, under the moniker of the Repo Man. To this day you can see them travel the Indy Circuit and it is heavily rumored that next year they will take their rightful spot in the WWE Hall of Fame.
3. The Dudley Boyz
With 24 different tag team championships, The Dudley Boyz are the most decorated tag team in the history of professional wrestling. The "half-brothers" from Dudleyville started off in ECW, after feuds with the Gangstas and the combination of the Sandman/Tommy Dreamer, and EIGHT ECW tag team title reigns, the Dudley Boyz headed to shape their craft in the WWE.
Dropping Bubba's stuttering gimmick and tie die t-shirts for camo, and taught the WWE Universe to "GET THE TABLES!” Other than their famous finisher, the 3D, they'd use it to powerbomb women through the table. Their victims include Lita, BB, Tori, Trish and Mae Young. At the 2000 Royal Rumble PPV they faced the Hardy Boyz in a first ever tag team table's match, although unsuccessful. That year at WrestleMania they put their fear of heights aside and competed in a triangle ladder match, with the Hardyz, and Edge and Christian. Later that year they competed in the first ever TLC match. Later they competed in one of the most famous matches of all time at WrestleMania 17, stealing the show over matches like The Undertaker - Triple H, Stone Cold - The Rock and Kurt Angle - Chris Benoit. After WrestleMania 18 the Dudley's would split up due to the brand extension, before reuniting under the guidance of Paul Heyman, feuding with the Undertaker, until departing with the company after 10 tag title runs.
They would then go to TNA, where Dudleyz became the most successful team in the history of the company. Bubba would also become TNA World Heavyweight Champion, before going back to the WWE and entering a feud with The New Day, who has recently wanted to "save the tables". Can they win their 12th championship as a team on WWE TV this Sunday at Hell in a Cell, or will the New Day once again leave with the gold?
2. The Brainbusters
The greatest wrestlers of their generations, Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard were a team-a unit, something missing in tag team wrestling, for awhile, Arn and Tully were the epitamy of the tag teams in the 1980s, with teams such as The Hart Foundation, The Midnight Express, The Fabulous Rougeaus, and Fantastics alongside the ride. Before the Dudley's, before the Hardyz, before the New Age Outlaws, there was the Brainbusters, and they started revolutionizing the tag team division, and nobody worked like a team quite like the 'busters.
Put aside the fact they had some of the greatest tag team matches of all-time (even Shawn Michaels stated they were the best he'd ever worked with when he was in the Rockers), they would start off with Ric Flair, and Barry Windham in the most famous faction in history, the Four Horsemen, before joining the WWF, and being one of the greatest tag team champions the company had ever seen. Under the tutelage of Bobby Heenan, they went from being the most hated team in the NWA to being even moreso in the WWF. A team that gained natural heat with the way they competed, shaped tag team wrestling for the better, before disbanding after only three years when Blanchard would fail a drug test, winning NWA and WWF Gold along the way.
Edge and Christian: One of the most entertaining and charismatic teams in the history of Sports Entertainment, E and C would revolutionize they tag team division, despite barely not making the cut. Winning a plethora of tag titles, E and C along with the Dudley's and Hardyz would make tag team wrestling enjoyable again in the midst of the Attitude Era.
The British Bulldogs: One of the roughest teams of all-time, the Dynamite Kid and Davey Boy Smith; along with their pup Matilda would become one of the most beloved teams in history; feuding with the likes of the Hart Foundation and The Islanders.
The Kings of Wrestling: The team of Claudio Castagnoli (now known as Cesaro) and Chris Hero are one of the more relatively unknown tag teams, but one of the best units of the 2000s. Making their name in Ring of Honor, they would become quite possibly the greatest team in the history of the Indepent Scene.
Future Teams-Tag Team wrestling, one of the lost arts, is slowly finding it's way back in the shuffle, as the New Day (Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston and Big E), are one of the most enjoyable things on cable TV. With NXT and up and coming tag teams such as the combination of Jason Jordan and Chad Gable, Tomasso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano, as well as The Vaudevillians, thrown into the mix of talents such as the Usos, The Lucha Dragons and Cosmic Wasteland, tag team wrestling looks brighter than it has in years.
Who made #1 on the list?.....
1. The Hart Foundation
Consistently ranked by WWE.Com as top three tag teams in history, Bret Hart and his brother in law, Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart, were another great unit of pro wrestling. They were a different team, Jim Neidhart's style complimented Bret's style in a way that no other team in history has been able to match, and it's made them the greatest team in the history of the sport.
After Bret Hart turned down the gimmick of being a cowboy, "the pink and black attack" began when Neidhart (who was managed by The Mouth of The South Jimmy Hart) joined forces with Bret, to be the biggest heel tandem not named Nikolai Volkoff and the Iron Sheik. In 1986, they made their PPV debut, on the grandest stage of them all, at WrestleMania II, being the final three in the Football-Wrestling Battle Royal marquee. After a feud with the Killer Bees for the majority of 1986, before defeating the British Bulldogs for their first tag team championships when referee Danny Davis screwed over the Bulldogs, until they lost it to the Strike Force on SNME after 10 months as champions.
After being pushed as faces, they entired a long-drawn out feud with Jimmy Hart and the Rougeaus, which ended at the Royal Rumble PPV when them and Jim Duggan defeated the Rougeaus and Dino Bravo in a 2 out of 3 falls match. After splitting up, they'd become a team again in 1990, defeating Demolition for their second tag title reign after interference from the Road Warriors, before losing them at WrestleMania VII, before Bret focused on his singles career. In 1997, they resurfaced along with Davey Boy, Bret's brother Owen, and Brian Pillman, bashing the American fans until Bret left the company via the Montreal Screwjob.
Agree or disagree with this list? From the British Bulldogs, to Edge and Christian, there were a lot of teams to shape tag team wrestling that didn't make this list, but these are the elite ten. Can The Usos or Jordan-Gable bump any of these teams off? We will have to see.