Welcome back to the Renegade Cinema weekly wrestling column, The Squared Circle. I’m Shawn Lealos and this week we are going to look at something that I really miss in professional wrestling – tag teams. Sure, there are still tag teams out there today, but they are nowhere near as great as they used to be. With that said, here is a look at what I consider to be the 20 greatest tag teams in professional wrestling history.
And remember, I watched a whole lot more than just the WWE/WWF over my life, so there is a lot more here than just the same old-same old when it comes to tag teams. Also, I am going to start with the 80s and move from there since I didn’t really watch anything before that when it happened, so there will be no Jack and Jerry Briscoe or Wild Samoans on here.
Honorable Mention: Doom, Paul London and Brian Kendrick, The Brothers of Destruction, The Hollywood Blonds, The Fabulous Ones, Bad Company, The Outsiders, World’s Greatest Tag Team, The American Wolves, The New Age Outlaws, Christopher Daniels and AJ Styles, Triple X, America’s Most Wanted, Young Bucks
20. Bad Influence – This was a choice between Bad Influence and The American Wolves for the 20th spot, and while the Wolves are awesome and proved that in their recent TNA series of matches with the Hardy Boys and Team 3D, I really like Bad Influence as a team better. They have that old school arrogance like the Midnight Express and really work well together in the ring. If you haven’t yet, check out their Ring of Honor stuff, where they continue to rule the world.
19. The Briscoe Brothers – Speaking of Ring of Honor, Mark and Jay Briscoe have dominated the Ring of Honor tag team scene, winning the titles there eight times. While Mark Briscoe seems like a whack job in the company now, these two put on some of the finest tag team matches on the indie scene and – when they put their mind to it – there is no one better working in tag team wrestling today.
18. The Fantastics – When looking back on the tag team wrestling of the 80s, there were a ton of quick flying tag teams and – honestly – The Fantastics get overlooked way too many times. In the Mid South, World Class and WCW, they were really at the top of their game and I would put them up there against anyone. Watch their matches against The Sheepherders or The Midnight Express and you will see tag team excellence.
17. The Motor City Machine Guns – I hate the fact that TNA split up the Motor City Machine Guns because they were the hottest tag team in the company at the time. The feud between the MCMG and Beer Money was a call-back to the old Midnight Express vs. Rock n Roll Express feud. Honestly, Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley were just perfect together and that is what I miss about tag team wrestling in today’s business.
16. The Rockers – The fact that The Rockers never won the WWE tag team titles is a disgrace. Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannety were great in the AWA and their feuds with both Scott Hall and Curt Hennig and Buddy Rose and Doug Somers were great. Watch the match in the WWE between the Rockers and the Brain Busters to see what a tag team title rein by the Rockers could have looked like. Sure, Shawn Michaels went on to become the best wrestler of all time, but this tag team was so exciting.
15. Demolition – A lot of people would have ranked Demolition higher than this, but I never really got over the fact that I considered them (and still do) to be a Road Warriors rip-off. Yeah, they proved over time that they were great all on their own, and that is why they made my list. I’m kind of going here with Axe and Smash, and not so much when Crush joined up.
14. Steve Williams and Ted DiBiase – Here is a tag team that a lot of people might not have seen. Before Ted DiBiase went to the WWE and became The Million Dollar Man, he was in Mid South and created one of the best tag teams of all time with Dr. Death Steve Williams. A lot of people might put the Miracle Violence Connection of Dr. Death and Terry Gordy on here, but I have a soft spot for Doc and DiBiase.
13. The British Bulldogs – For fans of the WWE in the 80s, there might not have been a more popular tag team in the WWE than The British Bulldogs. That is why it is hard to believe that they only held the WWE tag team titles once. That was because of Dynamite Kid’s injuries. However, Kid was one of the best wrestlers in the world and Davey Boy Smith was a perfect powerhouse, making them a perfectly rounded team.
12. The Hart Foundation – The biggest rivals of the British Bulldogs was The Hart Foundation. Much like The Rockers, when the Hart Foundation broke up, Bret “The Hit Man” Hart became one of the best wrestlers in the world on his own. However, unlike The Rockers, The Hart Foundation had a chance to prove themselves as tag team wrestlers as well. They won the tag team titles twice.
11. Beer Money – I mentioned earlier about how great the feud between the Motor City Machine Guns and Beet Money was. Here is where I include Beer Money – Bobby Roode and James Storm. These guys were just at the top of their game when they were the TNA tag team champions and, in my opinion, the best tag team in the entire world at the time.
10. Harlem Heat – The best tag team throughout the highlight years of WCW was Harlem Heat. Booker T and Stevie Ray were a perfect tandem, with athletic skills and power. The brothers held the WCW tag team titles on 10 different occasions and beat the best teams that WCW threw at them.
9. The Hardy Boyz – This will be called way too low by a lot of WWE fans. When the tag team wrestling was its most exciting in the WWE during the Attitude Era, there were three teams that ruled the division. All three are in the Top 10 here but the Hardy Boyz are ranked below the other two. The Hardy Boyz won the tag titles seven times.
8. The Fabulous Freebirds – There are tag teams and there are dominant factions, but the Fabulous Freebirds worked as both. Yes, there were three men in the group (Terry Gordy, Buddy Roberts and Michael Hayes), but they had their own special rule where they could wrestle in any combination.
7. The Steiner Brothers – While Harlem Heat might have been the best team in WCW during its height, the Steiner Brothers might be one of the best tag teams to ever wrestle in WCW, while also appearing for a cup of coffee in the WWE as well. Rick and Scott Steiner were the first tag team to ever win the WWF, WCW and IWGP tag team championship belts.
6. Edge and Christian – The second tag team from the WWE attitude Era Big 3 to make this list is Edge & Christian. Honestly, just looking at them from a technical point of view, the might have been the best of the three but longevity really puts the third team of that trio ahead of them. The two men held seven tag team titles and then both went on to become singles world champions as well.
5. The Rock n Roll Express – I spoke about the smaller tag teams, such as The Fantastics, Rockers and Motor City Machine Guns, but the tag team that really set the table and showed what tag team wrestling was all about. The Rock n Roll Express is the best team of the territory era when it comes to faces. They are also a team that really lived and died as a tag team and never really struck out to become solo stars after hitting it big.
4. The Dudley Boyz – The Dudley Boyz, or as they are known in TNA – Team 3D – are one of the most prolific tag teams of all time. If you just look at tag team titles won, they would lead every list. Bubba Ray and Devon Dudley won eight ECW tag team titles, moved on to the WWE where they won 10 tag team titles, and then moved over to TNA where they won two tag team titles. Add in their two IWGP tag team titles and that means that Team 3D won 22 tag team championships over their career.
3. Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson – Tully and Arn started out in WCW where they were the best technical tag team in the company as members of The Four Horsemen. Then, the two moved to the WWE and became known as The Brain Busters where they put on amazing wrestling displays on the biggest stage in the world. They never changed once along the way and are the best technical tag team in wrestling history.
2. The Midnight Express – There are great heel tag teams and then there is the Midnight Express. Led by Jim Cornette, who might be one of wrestling’s greatest managers, this team was not only cheating heels but had the most innovative double team maneuvers in wrestling history. The big thing about tag team wrestling is to work well as a unit and pull of crisp double team moves and there wasn’t anyone better. The best combination, by far, was Sweet Stan Lane and Beautiful Bobby Eaton.
1. The Road Warriors – The best tag team of all time is easily Hawk and Animal, The Road Warriors. Teams tried to rip them off, such as Demolition, but there was never anyone as great as the originals. Whether they were rushing to the ring in WCW to the Black Sabbath song Iron Man and just squashing their opponents or fighting hard fought matches against The Russians in WCW or Demolition in the WWE, they were just the best powerhouse tag team to ever step into the ring.
So, that is my list. What are your thoughts? What are your Top 5 tag teams of all time – make your voice heard in the comment section below.