Some fans would say that World Wrestling Entertainment, the top organization in all of the wrestling world, has lost touch with the art of tag team wrestling. It was truly a different era in the business when tag team championship encounters were featured in main event slots of World Wrestling Federation shows and when teams were some of the more popular entities in the company. While the WWE has taken positive steps to build this portion of the roster, particularly through the NXT brand, there is still a long way to go before the company sees a return to glory days of tag team wrestling.
The importance that tag team wrestling has had on the vast history of the pro wrestling business cannot be overstated, as some of the best performers in the history of the industry had breakthroughs while in a team. This includes “Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart, two men who came together to forever change the business via the 1997 Survivor Series and the events that followed that famous pay-per-view. Nobody can say with any certainty what would have become of those two all-time greats had they never featured as tag team performers in the WWF.
At the complete opposite end of the spectrum are the tag team wrestlers who never quite matched the accomplishments of their more famous partners. In some cases, those individuals were simply not as talented as were the men who went on to have great solo careers. Others, however, led personal and/or professional lives that prevented them from becoming world champions and main events as singles workers. Many of them are now more so known as being “other guys” of tag teams than they are remembered for the careers that they had away from those pairings.
Some might say that it is a bit harsh to have Christian on this list at all. He did, after all, go on to have a great run in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, and he did have multiple title reigns as a solo worker in both TNA and the WWE. Remember, though, that the tag team that allowed him to get his break in the WWF was known as “Edge and Christian” and for good reason. Edge caught on with fans as a singles act in a way that Christian never did as a babyface or as a heel. As good as Christian was on his own, it is he and not Edge that will be the “other guy” of this well known team.
19. Charlie Haas
Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin were paired together to form “Team Angle” and “The World’s Greatest Tag Team,” the second being more than just a nickname. Haas and Benjamin made up what was truly the best team in the WWE, and the duo would probably be the best team in the company today if they were to again link up with the organization. Neither man would climb the ladder and become a superstar as a singles worker in the WWE, but it Haas who became the “other man” of the team. Look for Benjamin later on in this piece.
18. Henry O. Godwinn
The Godwinns were a team of supposed pig farmers made up of a man who had the initials H.O.G. and another wrestler who carried the initials P.I.G. Pro wrestling is ridiculously entertaining at times. Dennis Knight, who played Phineas I. Godwinn, would eventually go through a character change after joining the Ministry of Darkness group, and it was during that run when he would become known as Mideon. The wrestler known as Henry O. would, however, become more of a footnote in WWF history than a star as a singles worker or as a member of another team.
Even diehard fans of the WWF/WWE product may have forgotten that it was Tom Prichard who played the role of Zip when he was one-half of the Bodydonnas. The duo of Zip and Skip, the latter being played by Chris Candido, did hold the tag team championships for a brief run, but the duo was not long for this world due to Candido leaving the WWF and heading to Extreme Championship Wrestling. The Bodydonnas were no more, and the same could be said for the Zip character. We’ll always have the memories, Zip, even though there are not many of them out there.
16. Devon Dudley
There was a brief time where it appeared as if Devon Dudley would be able to emerge as a singles star due to the fact that he could draw heat from crowds with his promos. Of the two members of the Dudley Boyz/3D, it is the wrestler formerly known as Bubba Ray who became a world champion. Bubba would become Bully Rey while working in TNA Wrestling, and his time as a heel brought out the best in him as a solo act. Devon, meanwhile, is most known as being one-half of the Dudley Boyz and now the “other guy” of that act.
Money Inc. was a tag team that consisted of the “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase and Irwin R. Schyster. Say that out loud to yourself a few times, and then remember just how hokey and fun the WWF was during the early 1990s. Mike Rotunda had several gimmicks throughout his wrestling career, but it is his run as I.R.S. that sticks out to wrestling fans who watched the product during that time. Rotunda would make the leap back to WCW during the “Monday Night Wars,” and he even joined up with the New World Order. He was still the “other guy” of this team.
14. Bart Gunn
The wrestlers known as Bart and Billy Gunn during their run as The Smoking Gunns in the WWF went two very different ways after that duo broke up. Billy Gunn would become one-half of The New Age Outlaws, one of the most popular tag teams in the history of the company and one that joined D-Generation-X. Bart, however, would become most known for the time that he was legitimately knocked out cold by the boxer known as Butterbean. Is there really any debate to be had about which of these two is the “other guy” of the Smoking Gunns?
13. Joey Mercury
It was crystal clear to anybody watching the WWE at the time that Joey Mercury would eventually become the “other guy” of the MNM tag team. The performer known at that time as Johnny Nitro carried himself like a star and had athletic gifts that overshadowed those possessed by Mercury. There are two ironies as it pertains to this portion of the list. The first is that it is Mercury and not Nitro who currently works in the WWE. Just as noteworthy is the fact that Nitro, who later become known as John Morrison, would serve as the “other guy” of a different tag team down the road.
12. Scotty Riggs
One could see the writing on the wall in 1996 when The American Males first started showing signs of breaking up that it was Scotty Riggs who was going to become the “other guy” of the duo. Partner Marcus Alexander Bagwell turned on Riggs to join the New World Order, and it was after that switch when the new heel adopted the Buff Bagwell name that has stuck with him throughout the years. Riggs ultimately lost the feud involving the former partners before being tossed into the stable The Flock. He never caught on as a singles act in WCW, and Riggs is now retired.
11. Rick Steiner
Rick Steiner was, to his credit, an underrated worker inside of the ring even if his promo skills left plenty to be desired. It was his brother Scott and not he who would, following the breakup of the team, become “Big Poppa Pump,” one of the best heels in the business and also a world champion during the dying days of WCW. Scott has been involved in plenty of real controversies over the years, and his time in the WWE was not all that memorable or noteworthy. He nevertheless had a better solo run that Rick ever had, and Rick has since left the wrestling business.
10. Cody Rhodes
Maybe, just maybe, Cody Rhodes will eventually break out on his own and become a singles worker who is featured in main events and championship matches. It is, however, more likely that he will be the “other guy” of the tag team that featured he and his brother Goldust. Cody is now working as Stardust, and he has become somewhat of a comedic figure in that he resembles a villain out of comic books. He is now, to steal a phrase that is used by some wrestling journalists, just a guy on the WWE roster even if he was put into a feud with actor Stephen Amell.
9. Shelton Benjamin
Unlike the first instance that involved Shelton Benjamin being mentioned in this piece, he serves as the “other guy” of this tag team. Benjamin and Brock Lesnar worked in the WWF early on in their wrestling careers as the “Minnesota Stretching Crew,” a play off of the famous team that is next on this list. Lesnar has had an extraordinary career that included multiple WWE championship runs and also a successful stint in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. While Benjamin had all of the goods to be a star in the WWE, he never made it to that level for one reason or another.
8. Ole Anderson
One of the editions of the famous Minnesota Wrecking Crew included Ole Anderson and Arn Anderson, and those two became members of the Four Horsemen. Arn would go on to become “The Enforcer,” and he continues to work in the WWE despite the fact that he was forced to retire as an in-ring worker in 1997. Ole, however, has built himself a reputation as being an individual who seemingly dislikes everybody that he ever worked with during his wrestling career. Don’t hold your breath waiting to see Ole get praised on WWE television. That day is not coming for a long time.
7. Stevie Ray
The Harlem Heat tag team that worked in WCW was made up of two members. First off was Booker T, who did well as a singles performer and who became the five time – five time, five time, five time, five time – WCW champion before that company folded. The other was Stevie Ray, who was part of the New World Order for a blink of an eye before he became a one time announcer. Stevie Ray and Booker T have remained friends, and it only made sense that it was his former partner who inducted Booker into the WWE Hall of Fame. One has to wonder if the Harlem Heat team will ever receive that honor.
6. Chavo Guerrero
It is often difficult to be a member of a famous family, particularly when a certain relative is perceived as one of the best individuals to ever work in the business. Eddie Guerrero was a truly beloved wrestler who overcame personal struggles and became a main eventer and world champion in the WWE during a time when SmackDown was the best show put out there by the company. Chavo, however, was not much more than a midcard performer in the organization. He has since moved on to work in other companies, and Chavo will forever be the “other guy” of the Los Guerreros tag team.
5. John Morrison
Say whatever you will about what you think of The Miz as a wrestler and as a talent. He has won the WWE Championship during his career, and he worked in the main event of a WrestleMania alongside John Cena and The Rock. The same cannot be said about John Morrison, who was once thought to be the budding star of that tag team. Morrison cooled off and then flamed out while in the WWE, but he since managed to do just fine for himself in other organizations. Miz may no longer be competing for world championships, but he is nevertheless the more known star of the two wrestlers.
4. Scott Hall
Of the two members of The Outsiders who served as the founding members of stable the New World Order, it cannot be questioned that Scott Hall has become the “other guy.” While Kevin Nash has made a fortune working for companies such as WCW, the WWE and TNA Wrestling, Hall has had many battles with personal demons that sunk his career when he was first part of the NWO. The ups and downs of the man once known as the “Bad Guy” have been documented by journalists and in an ESPN television special, and the hope is that he be able to remain clean and sober for the remainder of his life.
3. Jim Neidhart
With his unique look and an underrated ability to cut promos, Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart was, in his day, an entertaining performer and part of the Hart Foundation. He even, while within the stable, headlined what some have called the best In Your House pay-per-view in the history of the WWF. As talented as Neidhart was, he never even became close to having the singles career had by Bret “Hitman” Hart. Hart would, following the first edition of the Hart Foundation team, become one of the best workers of his era, an icon of the sport and a Hall-of-Fame wrestler.
2. Matt Hardy
Matt Hardy has had a relatively successful solo career following the first breakup of the Hardy Boyz that included his brother Jeff. Of the two, however, it is obvious that Matt and not Jeff stands as the “other guy” of that duo. While Jeff won world championships with both the WWE and TNA, Matt has never quite evolved into a superstar capable of carrying the ball for a top-flight company. This is not to say that Matt’s work in organizations such as Ring of Honor has not been tremendous. Matt just never got to the level and status had by his brother Jeff.
1. Marty Jannetty
It is quite possible that Marty Jannetty is the ultimate “other guy” in the history of wrestling. While Shawn Michaels went on to have a legendary career and many memorable five-star matches that will be remembered for generations to come, Jannetty, who battled his share of personal demons during his time with the WWF, was largely a midcard wrestler for national promotions before ultimately falling off of the map as it pertains to major organizations. Would Jannetty have had a career similar to that had by Michaels had he avoided certain issues during the 1990s? No, probably not.