The top 10 Tag teams in pro wrestling history
The legendary ‘Boyz’ of pro wrestlingThe art of tag team wrestling is a dying art. Vince McMahon isn’t a fan and the current WWE division is fairly weak. Mind you, it is much stronger than in the 2000's (hello Kenzo Suzuki and Renee Dupree) but the division has seen far better days. The list will not include huge stables like the NWO or DX as they were groups before they were tag teams.Some honorable mentions are the Rockers, the Steiner Brothers, Harlem Heat (Booker T and Stevie Ray) and the original Blackjacks. Without further ado, we give you the best of best tag teams in wrestling history:-
#10 The Midnight Express
Rising up, majorly because of Jim Cornette – Bobby Eaton and Dennis Condrey became one of the top teams in no time flat in Mid-South wrestling – both guys wonderfully talented and gelling well.
Cornette was there as their loud mouthpiece with his tennis racket often used to help them get a win and they loved to be hated by the fans. It was here they kicked off their epic feud with the Rock n’ Roll Express that would carry over to the NWA as they would trade the tag team titles and sell out arenas with their brawls, also winning the Wrestler Observer Newsletter feud of the year for their feud against the fantastics.
When Condrey left in 1987, he was replaced by Stan Lane and this version was even better with Eaton and Lane wrestling like they’d been partners for years and becoming even flashier with the act.
They would hold the U.S. and NWA World tag titles and would even feud with Condrey and Randy Rose as the “Original” Midnight Express. No matter who was in it or where they went, the Express always charged to success with fans and helped boost Cornette to the limelight as well.
Demolition – Ax, Smash and Crush hold the record for the longest tag team title reign in WWE – fifteen months. The original incarnation featured Ax and Smash and were rip-offs of the Road Warriors, but no one, not even Vince McMahon envisaged their success and popularity with the fans.
The team was popular as ever when Crush came in, but Ax and Smash deserve more credit for making the gimmick work.
The three-time WWE tag team champions are a shoe-in for a WWE hall of fame induction, a question of when rather than if. Their finisher, the Doomsday decapitition has been heralded as one of the most inovative tag team finishers of all time and Demolition have truly earned their place on this list.
Although they were dismissed as clones of the Road Warriors, Demolition showed their worth in memorable matches against the Rockers, The British Bulldogs and The Brain Busters and others.
#8 The British Bulldogs
The British Bulldogs – Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid were one of the most popular tag teams of the 1980’s. Their popularity was unmatched, helped by a series of amazing matches against the Hart Foundation in their early WWE appearances.
The crowd appreciated the talents of both men within the ring and they got hugely over in the process. The duo were popular in the WWF as well as their original stomping grounds – Stampede Wrestling. They joined the WWE when Vince bought out Stampede and left a lasting legacy.
The duo’s popularity came to a head when at Wrestlemania 2, they beat the ‘dream team’ of Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake for the tag team titles. The Bulldogs had a hugely memorable feud with the Hart Foundation and eventually dropped the belts to them.
Gruff and fearless, Dynamite Kid used his hardened frame like a weapon as he created some beautiful carnage with his body. And Davey Boy was just stupid strong. If Dynamite couldn’t win through grit, Smith would do it with brute force – quite the combination.
#7 The Young Bucks
The Young Bucks are the ultimate indie success story showing that there is a chance to make a decent living outside of the WWE juggernaut. The brothers have made a name for themselves as a dominant tag team wherever they’ve stepped foot.
From NJPW to ROH to PWG to various other promotions, the Young Bucks have always been featured performers. Today, they are signed to ROH and also appear in NJPW as part of the Bullet Club Stable and subsequently – the elite, and are the reigning open weight six man tag team champions with Kenny Omega, as well as a former 4-time IWGP World tag champs and one-time ROH world tag team champs.
At one point during 2014, they held the ROH World, PWG World, and IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships simultaneously, a fantastic achievement. They also had a short but memorable run in TNA including a barnburner of a feud with the Motor City Machine Guns.
The Young Bucks will forever be remembered for competing with the WWE juggernaut and making a sizable living out of it and most importantly – Superkick Party!
#6 The New Age Outlaws
The New Age Outlaws, as part of DX and otherwise, were one of the most popular acts of the Attitude Era. They weren’t great workers, but as was the case at the time, they didn’t need to be. The Outlaws’ popularity lied in the charisma they brought forth as a team.
From the Nitro Invasion to the Nation of Domination Impersonation, the Outlaws were always a blast to watch.
The ‘Road Dogg’ Jesse James and the ‘Bad ass’ Billy Gunn were not slouches in the ring as showcased by their five world tag team title reigns as well as a King of the Ring victory for Gunn, and as a team, they were the jewel of a red hot tag team division before the likes of E AND C, The Hardy Boyz and the Dudley Boyz maximised their potential.
The New Age Outlaws thrived as the most popular tag team of WWE’s most popular era.
#5 The Hart Foundation
Before Bret Hart was the 'best there was, the best there is, the best there ever will be' and the 'excellence of execution'; The 'Hitman' was a tag team specialist as he competed alongside Jim 'the anvil' Neidhart as the Hart Foundation.
The team had some fantastic matches, thanks mainly to Bret. Their feud with the bulldogs was also quite memorable. They are the two-time WWF Tag team champs, no mean feat considering the fact that they had to contend with long runs of Demolition, the Bulldogs and others.
#4 The Hardy Boyz
The Hardy Boyz or team Xtreme with Lita was one of the most popular acts from the late attitude era onwards. Along with the tri-tag team battles against E and C and the Dudleyz, the Hardy's daredevil nature made them insanely popular with the fans.
On the independent circuit, they command the highest respect as The Hardy's are still beloved figures. The Wrestling Observer Newsletter's 2000 tag team of the year have won WWE tag team champions 6 times and had 1 time WCW tag team championship (WWE version) to their name. They were also managed by the Terri Invitational Tournament and won her services as manager.
#3 E and C
Okay, many people will be surprised to see Edge and Christian appear so early (yes even at no 3!) in the list. However, they were not always a tag team, finding success as singles wrestlers with a combined 4 WWE titles, 9 World titles and 9 intercontinental titles with Christian also finding success in TNA as their 2 time NWA world champion.
These two had worthy careers as singles wrestlers and were both successful and Christian is also a sure shot future Hall of Famer. The in-ring segments – The five Second Pose and the Cutting Edge Peep Show – were truly entertaining and yes, the New Day have taken inspiration from them as E AND C insinuated at WWE Fastlane.
Their legacy as a team is fantastic. They started out as a part of ‘The Brood’ along with Gangrel and later allied with Rhino in their famed triangle battles against the Dudleyz and the Hardyz. The ‘Con-chair-to’ is innovative and still widely remembered.
Edge and Christian are the seven-time World Tag Team champions and perhaps their greatest contribution is their innovation as a tag team of jerks that fans loved to hate, circa their original run.
#2 The Dudley Boyz
The most successful team in WWE history (as JBL will always remind you) made their name in ECW. Bubba Ray and D-Von are absolute legends for the fans of the Philly-based promotion and their table based antics made them extremely popular amongst the attitude era fans as well.
The Dudley Boyz won 8 ECW tag team championships – and as part of the Dudley family – rose to superstardom. The Dudleyz are the nine-time WWE/World tag team champions and the one-time WCW tag champ.
After leaving WWE, the duo as 'Team 3D', went to TNA and won the NWA tag team titles and the TNA world tag team championships, twice each. The Dudleyz came to define modern-day tag team wrestling and were the Pro Wrestling tag team of the decade (2000-09).
There were the three-way tag title ladder matches that have been mentioned before, but as Joey Styles said, “I would say their early matches with The APA really defined them. I think there was a bias against ECW wrestlers that perhaps they weren’t really tough. Bradshaw and Ron Simmons, who are both pretty heavy hitters, were paired up against The Dudleyz to see what they had. I think both of those guys will tell you that Bubba and D-Von give as good as they get.”
#1 The Road Warriors/Legion of Doom
No 1 on the list are the Road Warriors. Animal and Hawk were unmatched in popularity and intensity as the single most dominant tag team in wrestling. They are the only ones to hold the WWE, NWA and AWA world tag team titles and that is a testament to their domination.
Their NWA run saw them booked as absolute destroyers and was widely more successful than the WWE run as the ‘Legion of Doom’. The newer versions tended to tarnish the legacy of the Legion but the Road Warriors deserve much better.
Paul Ellering contributed greatly to their act and the triumvirate of Ellering, Animal and Hawk were inducted into the WWE hall of fame in 2011. The Road warriors’ battles alongside Dusty Rhodes and Nikita Koloff against the 4 horsemen are the stuff of legends.
The road warriors have a lasting legacy as a one-time AWA world tag team champs, 1 time NWA international tag team champs (In AJPW in Japan), 2 time WWF tag team champions, two time IWGP tag team champions (in NJPW), 4 time NWA national tag champions, former NWA world tag team champions and 3 time NWA six man tag title holders amongst many many other regional and territory based titles.
The Road Warriors progressed from an early age, winning the Wrestling observer Newsletter Rookie of the year award in 1983 and tag team of the year award, the very next year, in what is no mean feat for any wrestling duo.