Tag teams have long been a huge part of professional wrestling, despite WWE’s recent attempts to all but phase out the concept entirely. Still, teams like The New Day shine as a unit in a time when even solo wrestlers aren’t quite the draws they used to be. Clearly, tag team wrestling will never quite go away, and will always remain a huge part of the wrestling industry. The reason tag teams tend to take a backseat to the solo stars is inevitable: nearly every successful tag team eventually has a standout star who far transcends what the team once was.
Occasionally, even after a tag team discovers its breakout star, the team itself was already so big it is remembered as well as the solo star it produced. In these 10 instances, the success of one or both of the stars diverged in such wild manners the tag teams they formed during the start of the careers is all but forgotten today. Some of these teams were actually pretty successful in their time, especially when put into the perspective of the time and place the team existed. Regardless, they are all but forgotten today, despite the fact at least one of the members of each team was a born candidate for the Hall of Fame.
10. Sting and the Ultimate Warrior were The Blade Runners
Sting and the Ultimate Warrior are both WWE Hall of Famers today, but the two never competed for WWE at the same time. Warrior spent a large chunk of his career with the company, but Sting spent most of his career in WCW. However, it was before either man became household names that they initially teamed as Justice and Flash, the Freedom Fighters. Shortly thereafter, Justice became Rock, Flash became Sting, and the team became The Blade Runners. The Freedom Fighters briefly took Memphis Wrestling by storm, while the Blade Runners were mainstays in Mid-South. Eventually, Rock was the first one to become a solo star, when he was scouted by WCCW, where he later debuted as The Dingo Warrior. Over a decade later, the team would technically reunite for a match on Nitro against Hollywood Hogan and Bret Hart, but even then, their past as a team was not acknowledged. Warrior passed away in 2014.
9. Eddie Guerrero and Art Barr were Los Gringos Locos
Eddie Guerrero is a WWE Hall of Famer who spent many years battling his demons before triumphantly overcoming them and becoming WWE World Champion, only one year before his tragic early death. Art Barr also died unfortunately young, but he’s less well remembered in the wrestling world, no doubt in part due to the fact he once admitted to raping a fan and showed no remorse for it. Although the rape charge got him fired from WCW, Art Barr was able to start a successful career in Mexico, teaming with Eddie as Los Gringos Locos. The two wore red, white, and blue ring gear, claiming the United States was better than Mexico. Quickly, they became one of the two most hated heels in Mexican wrestling history. Barr died in 1994 due to a drug overdose. Both because of his early death and the rape charge, it’s unlikely Barr will ever be viewed on the level of his more famous partner. Eddie passed away in 2005.
8. John Cena and Rico Constantino were Bolin Services
John Cena is the face of WWE, the ultimate babyface solo star who never says die. He was virtually the exact opposite during the start of his career, a heel known as The Prototype teaming with Rico Constantino under the direction of manager Kenny Bolin. Rico later became famous as the mononymed hair stylist to Billy and Chuck, but started as one of the few “veterans” in OVW, being a solid 15 years older than the majority of the OVW roster and emphasizing his past experience as a cast member on American Gladiators. Rico and the Prototype held the tag titles for Bolin for about three months in 2001. Both began making appearances in WWE within the next year, and would even lose the OVW Tag Team titles to another team on this list in a match taped before Raw. Which team?
7. Brock Lesnar and Shelton Benjamin were the Minnesota Stretching Crew
Brock Lesnar is a 4-time WWE Champion and one of the most dominant forces in professional wrestling. Shelton Benjamin wrestled for WWE from 2003 to 2010, winning a variety of solo and tag team titles, but never quite coming anywhere near Brock’s level. It might be surprising then that it was actually Shelton who was one of Brock’s coaches in college, and the two later formed a tag team with Shelton as the veteran member. Though still early in both of their careers, Shelton had the slight experience advantage over Brock when they formed the Minnesota Stretching Crew in OVW. The team split when Brock debuted for WWE in 2002 and Shelton followed shortly after. Benjamin debuted as a member of Team Angle with Charlie Haas to help Kurt Angle and Paul Heyman fight Lesnar, immediately showing their days teaming together were long behind them. Their careers continued to wildly diverge from there, and it would be hard to imagine Brock asking Shelton (or anyone) for help today.
6. Kevin Nash and Al Green were The Master Blasters
Kevin Nash is a WWE Hall of Famer known for being a multi-time World champion and one of the founders of the nWo. Al Green was a wrestler best known for having the same name as a famous R&B singer. In the wrestling world, he is perhaps best known for his time under the embarrassing gimmick as a human-shaped dog in WCW in the year 2000. Despite their dramatically differing career trajectories, in 1990 the two debuted as a tag team known as The Master Blasters. Nash was Steel, and Green was Blade. The Master Blasters were briefly undefeated, but never really took off as a tag team. They barely lasted a year, with Nash proving himself the clear star and getting pushed as a solo competitor almost immediately. It would take years before Nash actually took off as a solo star, but the fact he eventually did and Green was left behind means the team only ever gets mentioned when Nash himself makes fun of it. Green passed away in 2013.
5. AJ Styles and Air Paris were Air Raid
AJ Styles has finally debuted in WWE after a nearly two-decades-long career working for independent promotions. He usually wrestled in the singles division, winning countless titles along the way, but near the start of his career he wrestled in a tag team called Air Raid. Teaming with his indy rival Air Paris, the team had the gimmick of aviators on leave from the skies, deciding to rule the ring during their time off. They appeared on several WCW broadcasts, but their debut came so late in 2001 the company was out of business before they were able to do anything truly memorable. Though AJ has wrestled all over the world, Air Paris pretty much fizzled out and only wrestled for small independent promotions since.
4. Ric Flair and Greg Valentine
Ric Flair and Greg “The Hammer” Valentine are both WWE Hall of Famers with incredibly long, storied careers spanning WWE, NWA and WCW. Valentine was never nearly as flashy or verbose as Flair, but the two always shared a propensity for ornate robes, beautiful women, and of course, virtually unmatched wrestling skill. The duo won the NWA World Tag Team titles in late 1976, losing and winning them back again in 1977. The two were so nefarious as a duo, their second title reign ended when they were stripped of the belts for repeated “unprofessional conduct,” or constantly getting themselves intentionally disqualified. Eventually, Flair underwent one of his first face turns, denouncing the team’s cheating ways and leading to a violent feud between the two over the NWA United States title. Though they both wrestled for 30-plus years after the breakup, the bond was never quite mended, and the Hall of Fame tag team has more or less been relegated to a footnote in history.
3. The Undertaker and Dan Spivey were The Skyscrapers
One would be hard pressed to find a WWE fan who wasn’t deeply familiar with the Undertaker. One of the most consistent forces in WWE, the Undertaker has ruled the wrestling world for over 26 years. He has won 7 World titles and his 22-1 Streak at WrestleMania remains the most impressive record in WWE history. Dan Spivey is significantly less important, but those who recognize the name know he was a solid power wrestler in the late 80’s, and did some very interesting character work as Waylon Mercy in WWE before injuries prevented that character from truly taking off. Spivey initially debuted as a member of Teddy Long’s Skyscraper tag team with another famous partner in Sid Vicious. Unfortunately for Sid, the Steiner Brothers legitimately broke his ribs in a match, leading to him being replaced by “Mean” Mark Callous—the man we now know as ‘Taker.
2. Kane and Al Snow were The Dynamic Duo
Kane is one of the longest tenured wrestlers currently competing for WWE. He debuted for the company in 1995 as Dr. Isaac Yankem, teaming with Jerry Lawler, then rebranded himself as the Fake Diesel teaming with the Fake Razor Ramon. Even after making his name as Kane, he had countless tag team partners, winning tag team gold with X-Pac, The Undertaker, Mankind, Rob Van Dam, The Hurricane, Daniel Bryan and the Big Show. Before any of those teams, and even before appearing in WWE at all, Kane was a member of The Dynamic Duo, a tag team he formed with none other than Al Snow. Then known as Unabomb, Kane joined Snow for tag team wars against the likes of The Headbangers, The Heavenly Bodies, The Armstrong Brothers, and the legendary Rock ‘n’ Roll Express in Jim Cornette’s Smoky Mountain Wrestling. The two never reunited in WWE, but their WWE careers do have one similarity in that they both once won the WWE Tag Team titles with Mankind.
1. Triple H and Perry Saturn
Most of the other teams on this list have some level of publicly available information, but all we have for this team is a few pictures and vague stories. Those few pictures and vague stories are certainly enough to guarantee it happened, though, since they prove at one point early in their careers, Triple H and Perry Saturn were the IWF Tag Team champions. The two trained together under Killer Kowalski and formed a short-lived team early in their careers. Triple H of course is the head of the Authority, a 14-time WWE World Champion, and could one day be in charge of WWE. Perry Saturn is a career midcarder who’s biggest claim to fame in recent years was becoming addicted to meth and ending up homeless. Though Saturn has since cleaned up, Triple H hasn’t exactly extended the olive branch out to his old partner. We suspect he probably won’t be doing so any time in the near future.