Some of the best singles acts in the history of World Wrestling Entertainment were, at certain points during their careers, in tag teams. Shawn Michaels was a member of The Rockers long before anybody could have even imagined that he would one day evolve into the “Heartbreak Kid.” Bret “The Hitman” Hart became a name in the old World Wrestling Federation as a member of the Hart Foundation before he evolved into the top performer who became “the best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be.” Even Hulk Hogan and “Macho Man” Randy Savage once teamed up to form the Megapowers.
Not all of the tag team acts who have made it to the main WWE roster made massive impacts that have remained in the memories of even diehard fans. Some of the tag teams that are showcased in this piece went on to win championships either on the independents or in the WWE. Some seemed to disappear almost as quickly as they arrived on television programs such as Raw and SmackDown. In other cases, wrestlers who were part of a forgettable tag team went on to have success either in another tandem or on their own while working for WWE.
20. The Rock and Undertaker
Rock and Undertaker are two living legends and icons of the pro wrestling industry, all-time great performers who made their names winning championships as singles wrestlers. There was, however, a short time when the company paired the two together, most notably to feud with Edge and Christian when that duo was the tag team champions. Rock and Undertaker, working as babyfaces at the time, beat Edge and Christian for the titles, the only time that the makeshift team would work together as champions. Those of you left scratching your heads trying to remember this WWF period can re-live the title reign via the WWE Network or websites such as YouTube.
19. X-Pac and Marty Jannetty
These two wrestlers would go on to have very different careers after they enjoyed a short run as WWF tag team champions. Marty Jannetty was never the star in the company that he was while teaming with Shawn Michaels in The Rockers, while X-Pac made some useful friendships in the industry that allowed him to jump from the WWF to World Championship Wrestling and then back to the WWF. He spent time in the new World order and also in D-Generation-X before forming pairings with other wrestlers, including Kane and the faction known as “X-Factor.”
18. The Highlanders
There are times when it appears as if those running the WWE forget that it is no longer the 1980s. The Highlanders, a Scottish pro wrestling tag team that worked win multiple organizations before linking up with the WWE, were a duo that at first made for unintentional comedy for fans watching in arenas and via television, and the team was eventually booked to be a secondary unit that was not worthy of holding a championship in the company. All of the vignettes and other segments that were used to hype the team before it was introduced to WWE audiences went to waste, and the Highlanders exist now only in history.
17. Big Show and Undertaker
Big Show was supposed to be one of the, for lack of a better description, biggest signings in the history of the Monday Night Wars when the WWF snagged him away from WCW in the late 1990s. The company then seemingly could not figure out what to do with its new acquisition other than have him be a second-tier performer behind the top babyfaces in the WWF. Turns from heel to babyface and back to heel included Big Show and Undertaker, who feuded for a time, forming an alliance that, if nothing else, brought fans one of the cooler theme songs in pro wrestling at that time.
16. The Mexicools
Remember when WCW could seemingly think of no ideas other than putting wrestlers in factions? One of those was the Latino World Order, and the WWE somewhat resurrected that idea in The Mexicools. The truth of the matter is that the company was filled with talented performers in the years following the deaths of WCW and Extreme Championship Wrestling, and thus wrestlers like Psicosis and Super Crazy were paired up to make teams that now live on only via the WWE Network and the company’s official website. Just imagine what could have been had NXT existed all the way back in 2002 when the WWE was truly the only game in town.
15. Harlem Heat 2000
It is a tale that has been told time and time again in the wrestling industry. The two members of a successful tag team split off, one goes on to win championships and become an over character all on his own, and the other eventually ends up back in a team. That was the case for Stevie Ray during the dying days of WCW, when he was paired up with the wrestler who worked as Ahmed Johnson in the WWF. Here is a spoiler alert for those of you who do not want to re-live this team via the WWE Network: It was not as good as was the original Harlem Heat.
14. Steve Austin and Triple H
The feud involving Steve Austin and Triple H helped propel the WWF ahead of WCW in the well-known “Monday Night Wars,” and it also aided in making both men two of the biggest stars in all of the industry. There was a brief time when the two worked together when aligned with Mr. McMahon, and the “Two-Man Power Trip” feuded with multiple babyface factions until Triple H legitimately suffered a torn quadriceps muscle during that famous Raw segment. That injury ended this team for good, and Austin and Triple H never again worked together as a duo.
13. Road Dogg and K-Kwik
The pro wrestling industry is no different than any other business in that some ideas that look good on paper do not work out when they are actually executed. Road Dogg was an accomplished tag team performer in the WWF as a member of the New Age Outlaws, and the hope at the time was that he and the then-named K-Kwik would have similar success. That, of course, did not happen, and both men would go on to have on-again, off-again relationships with the WWE. Both are now back with the company, and R-Truth continues to serve as an active in-ring performer.
12. Owen Hart and Koko B. Ware
There are some wrestling fans and insiders who would consider Owen Hart to be one of the best performers to never win a world championship while working in any organization let alone in the WWE. Years before Hart would turn heel on his brother Bret and long before he would become the “Black Hart” in the company, Owen was paired with Koko B. Ware for a brief time. The team “High Energy” was but a pit stop for the younger Hart brother before he set off for a singles career that saw him eventually transition into heel character “The King of Harts.”
11. Chris Jericho and The Rock
These two all-time greats of the industry have crossed paths numerous times during their runs in the WWE. They feuded while working for the same side during the poorly-written “Invasion” storyline, and the two also battled over the Undisputed Championship that was first won by Chris Jericho. It was during the Invasion feud when Rock and Jericho managed to put negative feelings about each other aside and team up to win tag team gold, the only time that the two would hold those titles as a tandem. Both now make sporadic appearances on WWE television in between other commitments.
10. Matt Hardy and MVP
Matt Hardy never had as much success in the WWE as he did while teaming up with brother Jeff, but that does not mean that his other runs in the company were not entertaining. Hardy and Montel Vontavious Porter were involved in a summer feud on the SmackDown brand back in the summer of 2007, but enemies were made to become friends and teammates that won the tag team championship a single time. This is, believe it or not, just the first of two teams involving Matt Hardy that you may have forgotten ever existed, as the next one lasted even shorter than the duo of Hardy and MVP.
9. Matt Hardy and Tatanka
It may surprise you to learn that Tatanka is still making appearances on the independent wrestling scene. The veteran of the industry has made a couple of returns to the WWE since his first run in the company in the 1990s, and one of those included Tatanka teaming up with Matt Hardy. It was even teased that Tatanka and Hardy would win championship gold as a duo, but that did not happen before the two split off to go their own ways. Tatanka has traveled around the world since departing from the WWE, while Hardy has worked in organizations such as Total Nonstop Action Wrestling and Ring of Honor.
8. Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho
This is a former tag team that the WWE is not going to go out of the way to feature on WWE programming for understandable reasons. Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho were both under-appreciated performers working for World Championship Wrestling when they made the jump to the WWF. The two would put together in-ring classics while working against each other, but they also enjoyed a brief stint as a babyface duo that won the tag team championship. Both are, however, far more known (as it pertains to their wrestling careers) for what they accomplished as singles performers.
7. CM Punk and Kofi Kingston
These two have had long histories of teaming up with different partners during their runs in the WWE. While Punk was in such stables as the Nexus and the Straightedge Society, Kingston has held tag team gold while teaming up with the likes of Evan Bourne and most recently The New Day. The pair was never meant to last long, however, as Punk was destined to move on to bigger and better things as a singles competitor who would, in time, feud with the likes of The Rock and Undertaker. Punk as since left the company, and it is now Kingston who is finding success in the wrestling company.
6. Road Warrior Animal and Heidenreich
This one may make some old-school pro wrestling fans cringe. Animal was one-half of what is widely regarded as one of the greatest duos in the history of the industry, as the Road Warriors/Legion of Doom were international superstars and a force that found success in multiple organizations. One way that the WWE attempted to turn Heidenreich into a performer who got over among crowds was to pair him up with Animal while the two were working on the SmackDown brand. Even though the duo did win the tag team titles, Heidenreich’s run with the company was largely lackluster.
5. William Regal and Tajiri
William Regal has, for years, been arguably the most underrated overall performer in all of the WWE. He could, to this day, put together a clinic inside of the ring, and Regal can flip the switch from heel authority figure to babyface who gets into the face of an active wrestler at a moment’s notice. Regal and Tajiri made for an entertaining team in the years following the failed “Invasion” storyline, and the duo won the tag team championship on a single occasion. While Tajiri moved on from the WWE some years ago, Regal currently serves as the storyline head of the NXT brand.
4. Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels
Before the two met at WrestleMania in a match that signaled the end of Michaels‘ first single run in the WWF, the Heartbreak Kid teamed up with a babyface “Stone Cold” Steve Austin to feud with members of the Hart Foundation. The team of WWE Hall of Fame members was short-lived after Michaels returned to the company from a knee injury, but the pair did win the company’s tag team championship on a single occasion. Michaels would ultimately go heel as part of D-Generation-X, and he and Austin would only again meet up inside of the ring at WrestleMania XIV.
3. Idol Stevens and KC James
Unless you have an extraordinary memory or you are a so-called “smark” or always seems to have inside information on the wrestling industry, you may not be aware that you routinely see one of these individuals on WWE television in 2015. Years after he was first called up to the SmackDown roster as a tag team performer, Stevens was given a new WWE character: Damien Sandow. Sandow has had up-and-down runs during his time with the company, winning the Money in the Bank ladder match and also having a lengthy partnership and then feud with The Miz.
2. The Pitbulls: Kid Kash and Jamie Noble
Kid Kash and Jamie Noble were not making much of an impact on the main WWE roster when the company decided to pair them up to resurrect the “Pitbulls” gimmick that had been played out in other organizations. While the two were, in their days, extremely talented performers, the team was short-lived in the WWE until Kash and Noble went their separate ways. Noble has since found a home in the WWE as a non-active performer, both behind the scenes and also on-air as a member of the “J & J Security” that has been a part of heel faction “The Authority.”
1. Basham Brothers
There was a time over a decade ago when the WWE saw the Basham Brothers as potential future stars. The duo first linked up in developmental territory Ohio Valley Wrestling, where they won a championship before the duo began feuding with each other. The company would put the WWE Tag Team Championship on the Bashams on multiple occasions, but the team failed to get over among fans despite pushes that linked the men with John “Bradshaw” Layfield and his “Cabinet” and also with Paul Heyman. Despite their in-ring abilities, the Basham Brothers left the WWE with little fanfare, never again to return.