Former WWE Champion and Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels

5 WWE Champions who began their careers as tag team wrestlers

Many past and present-day WWE Champions started with a tag team partner before reaching singles greatness. Over the years, the company has utilized this division to scout for potential top talent, and when that talent is found, the team-up is usually put to an end.

Only a few of these tag teams within WWE have remained intact, like Jimmy and Jey of The Usos. They now carry the distinction of being the promotion’s longest-reigning Tag Team Champions, a title previously held by The New Day.

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As for The New Day, two of its members – Kofi Kingston and Big E – became WWE Champions, making them one of the most decorated teams within the company.

While the two teams are keeping it tight, here are just five WWE Champions who are past members of a tag team.

#5. Former WWE Champion The Ultimate Warrior and Sting

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"You must show no mercy...nor have any belief whatsoever in how others judge you...for your greatness will silence them all" ~Warrior

Yes, these WWE Hall of Famers were once tag team partners back in the 80s. From the four-man collective of Power Team USA to The Freedom Fighters to The Blade Runners, they had a decent run as a duo.

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Before becoming the iconic Ultimate Warrior, Jim Hellwig was once known as Rock while Sting was billed as Flash. Their alliance came to an end when Rock left Universal Wrestling Federation in 1986. Nonetheless, Flash continued with a new tag partner (Rick Steiner) and won his third tag team title in the promotion.

During his solo run with the then-WWF, Warrior went on to become the WWF/WWE Champion. As for Flash, he took the name Sting in his solo career and captured the WCW World Heavyweight Championship.

#4. Booker T

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Becoming a professional wrestler was not actually in the plans for former WWE Champion and Hall of Famer Booker T. In fact, it was his elder brother Stevie Ray who dreamed of becoming a wrestling great.

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Their legendary tag team, Harlem Heat, had the most reigns within WCW with an impressive record of 10 Tag Team Championships.

The promotion was eventually bought by WWE and Booker began pursuing his solo career with the company. He had an impressive run by capturing numerous titles including the World Heavyweight Championship and tag team titles while working with other superstars.

#3. Jeff and Matt Hardy of the Hardy Boyz

Another real-life brother tag team, The Hardy Boyz have maintained their relevance to this day. It is quite unfortunate that their in-ring partnership was put on pause due to Jeff’s issues.

As a team, Jeff and Matt are forces to be reckoned with as they have won a plethora of tag team titles in the company and other wrestling promotions. With that in mind, they facilitated reshaping tag team wrestling during the company's Attitude Era.

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Their respective solo careers have been as stellar as their tag team since both of them won singles titles. Jeff’s high-risk maneuvers have earned him a WWE Championship and a couple of World Heavyweight Championships.

As for Matt, his ability to dwell on various personas has been commended by both fans and critics. A case in point was his so-called Broken Matt character.

It’s certain that by the time Jeff is cleared with the issues that are plaguing him as of late, The Hardy Boyz will definitely be back in the game.

#2. Bret Hart

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Five-time WWF/WWE Champion and Hall of Famer Bret Hart was one half of the iconic tag team known as the Hart Foundation. Alongside his brother-in-law Jim Neidhart, they were crowned WWF's Tag Team Championship a couple of times during their heyday. This resulted in them being constantly ranked by the promotion as one of the best tag teams in the history of sports entertainment.

After their in-ring partnership was disbanded, Hart as a singles performer worked out just fine, and he went on to win several titles. This made him one of the biggest stars within the company during the 90s.

#1. Shawn Michaels

Shawn Michaels, alongside Marty Jannetty, formed The Rockers as they teamed up back in the 80s until the early 90s. They both signed for WWF after an impressive run while still with the American Wrestling Association.

However, the team wasn’t that successful in winning a tag team title and eventually split up, which led to Michaels turning heel to feud with Jannetty.

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His singles career was indeed a fruitful one as he captured both the WWF Championship and the World Heavyweight Championship. It was also during his solo run that the most infamous incident in wrestling history, the Montreal Screwjob, took place.

To this day, what happened back then between him and Bret Hart is still being referred to whenever a match ends in controversy.

What makes Sting special? His first AEW opponent opens up RIGHT HERE.

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Edited by
Jacob Terrell
 
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