The Ten Worst Tag Team Champions in WWE History
Tag team wrestling has a long and storied history in the WWE, dating back to when Luke Graham and Tarzan Tyler were crowned the first-ever World Tag Team Champions on June 3, 1971.
The titles would remain active for nearly 40 years, until the World Tag Team Championship was quietly retired in August 2010 and merged with the WWE Tag Team Championship, originally introduced in October 2002 as Smackdown's exclusive doubles title during the brand extension.
Tag team wrestling has always evolved with the times; in the 1980's the likes of the Hart Foundation and The British Bulldogs gave us technical masterclasses in teamwork, the 1990's saw a more entertaining form of tag team wrestling ushered in by teams like The New Age Outlaws and The Rock and Sock Connection, and the 2000's gave us the groundbreaking stunt matches featuring Edge and Christian, The Hardys and The Dudleys.
In recent years, the division was neglected to the point of obscurity before a surprising renaissance led by the hugely-entertaining Team Hell No.
Thinking of all the great champions to hold tag team gold in the WWE inevitably got me thinking about some of the terrible duos that captured the belts, and that serves as the basis of this article.
My recent article on the WWE's worst-ever world champions generated a lot of debate (and more than a little criticism!) in the comments section and I feel that this subject is just as interesting. So read on to find out who, in my opinion, are the worst tag team champions in WWE history!
10. The Headbangers
A staple fixture on WWF television during the early part of the Attitude Era, Mosh and Thrasher debuted in November 1996 and even spent a brief period dressed as nuns before finally deciding to stick with their heavy-metal inspired act.
The duo captured the World Tag Team Championships on Sept. 7, 1997 in an elimination match that also featured the British Bulldog and Owen Hart, the Legion of Doom and the Godwinns. And it was none other than Steve Austin who sealed the victory, delivering a Stunner to rival Owen Hart that allowed Mosh to score the surprise pinfall.
They would only hold onto the titles for four weeks before dropping the straps to The Godwinns in a terrible match at Badd Blood 1997, also the debut appearance of Hell in a Cell. After this, The Headbangers resumed their duties as a lower-card novelty act, and never troubled the tag titles again.
While mildly over with the audience during the Attitude Era, Mosh and Thrasher weren't known for the high quality of their matches, and their gimmick began to wear thin through over-exposure. Fine as enhancement talent or appearances in comedy skits, but not tag team championship material.
9. DDP and Kanyon
Back in the summer of 2001 when The Invasion was the hottest thing in professional wrestling, fans were salivating at the prospect of all-out war between the WWF and WCW. Instead, we got an idea of where things were heading when Diamond Dallas Page was revealed as a stalker who was preying on The Undertaker's wife.
Despite the horrible angle almost ruining DDP's character, he continued to feud with 'The Deadman' and was reunited with former WCW partner (and hugely underrated talent) Chris Kanyon when the duo laid out 'The Phenom' on the Aug. 6, 2001 Raw. The duo went on to score what seemed a huge coup for The Alliance when they defeated the APA the following day to capture the World Tag Team Championship.
In capturing WWF gold, the invaders had the potential to kick the angle up a notch or two. Instead, the creative team completely nullified the decision by having the Brothers of Destruction destroy Sean O'Haire and Chuck Palumbo for the WCW World Tag Team Championship on the same show. And the WWF duo had also won the belts in far more convincing fashion.
The two teams squared off with both sets of doubles titles on the line at Summerslam on Aug. 19 in a steel cage match, which Kane and The Undertaker won with considerable ease.
In capturing the WWF World Tag Team Championships, DDP and Kanyon could have laid down a marker for the Alliance as a serious threat. Both men were talented and charismatic performers that could have been given a chance to shine, instead of being sacrificed to the Brothers of Destruction.
All told, the duo only held the belts for 12 days, and they looked like complete jobbers the entire time.
8. Ric Flair and Roddy Piper
Don't get me wrong; if this had happened 20 years earlier, it would have been awesome. However, when Ric Flair and Roddy Piper cleanly defeated The Spirit Squad to capture the World Tag Team Championships at Cyber Sunday on Nov. 5, 2006, it made an absolute mockery of the belts.
The new champions had a combined age of 109, while all five of The Spirit Squad shared only 116 years!
'The Nature Boy' was embroiled in a feud with the male cheer-leading squad, and the WWE Universe used the interactive pay-per-view to select his partner; it was 'Hot Rod' who beat out fellow WWE legends Sgt. Slaughter and Dusty Rhodes for the privilege.
The title match lasted less than seven minutes, and made The Spirit Squad look completely incompetent. Despite holding the tag titles since March, the youngsters were dispatched by the wily old veterans with embarrassing ease, and as the pasty middle-aged champions celebrated in the ring, it was clear the creative team could not care less about the once-prestigious titles.
Eight days later, this ultimately pointless title reign came to an end when Edge took out 'Hot Rod' with a con-chair-to, leaving Flair helpless to surrender the belts to Rated RKO (Edge & Randy Orton).
Unfortunately, Piper had to be immediately flown for surgery on what was believed to be a disc problem, but turned out to be cancer. Thankfully, he made a full recovery.
Why do two of the greatest stars in WWE history find themselves on this list? Simple. Having the veterans go over so quickly against The Spirit Squad made both the young superstars and the titles look like a joke.
It hardly spoke volumes for quality of the doubles division (or the champions) when the long-retired 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper can team up with a man even older than he is and win the belts with such ease.
7. The Bodydonnas
Skip and Zip, The Bodydonnas, were a couple of fitness fanatics who would frequently mock the physical prowess of both the fans and their opponents. Despite possessing the lovely Sunny as manager, the gimmick was not over in the slightest, and a waste of two talented workers.
The colorful duo captured the vacant World Tag Team Championship by defeating The Godwinns in a tournament final at Wrestlemania 12 on March 31, 1996. Winning the titles did little to generate any momentum for The Bodydonnas, and things were not helped by an interminable feud with the useless Godwinns.
Individually, Chris Candido (Skip) and Tom Prichard (Zip) were accomplished singles performers that could easily have been used much better as a team. Saddled with a very irritating gimmick, the initial treatment of the pairing as little more than enhancement talent hardly prepared them for a championship run, either.
All told, The Bodydonnas held the belts for seven weeks before losing to The Godwinns at a house show in New York. That fact the title change wasn't even a televised match spoke volumes about the impression Skip and Zip had made as champions.
After dropping the gold, the duo also lost manager Sunny and never recovered, and by the end of the year the team quietly disbanded after Candido left the company and Prichard took a backstage role.
Although they competed at a time when the WWF's doubles division was hardly bursting with talent, The Bodydonnas were still one of the biggest duds of their era.
6. Deuce N' Domino
When Deuce and Domino debuted on Smackdown in January 2007 using a 1950's greaser-inspired gimmick, most fans wondered what the hell was going on. Even with overly perky manager Cherry, who would occasionally roller-skate to the ring, the duo generated little reaction from the audience.
Despite the audience apathy, a mini-push would follow their arrival, and they ended the longest WWE Tag Team Championship reign in company history when they defeated Paul London and Brian Kendrick for the titles on April 17 after 331 days.
While able to work decent matches with the hugely-talented London and Kendrick, Deuce and Domino were clearly not ready for the main roster, and the lack of experience shone through in awkward matches with the likes of Cryme Tyme and William Regal and Dave Taylor.
Remarkably, they held onto the belts for over 4 months before losing to the unlikely pairing of Matt Hardy and MVP on the Aug. 28 episode of Smackdown. Upon dropping the titles, Deuce and Domino slipped further down the card for the remainder of 2007, before disappearing from television entirely in early 2008.
The team of Deuce and Domino barely lasted a year on television, and it is due to the simple fact that they weren't ready. Both men were far too inexperienced to be on the main roster, never mind anchor the doubles division.
The audience never bought into the gimmick, their matches were flat and uninspiring affairs, and the duo remain instantly forgettable.
5. Road Warrior Animal and Heidenreich
Heidenreich was one of the biggest flops of the last decade. Debuting in September 2003, at first he was given the gimmick of a man controlled by an invisible friend named Little Johnny (sound familiar?), before the angle was abandoned without explanation.
Returning the following year with no less than Paul Heyman as his manager, Heidenreich was now a psychotic heel that for some reason recited poetry, and even feuded with The Undertaker in late 2004.
By the summer of 2005, after a disturbing stint teaming with the WWE's other resident nut-job Gene Snitsky, Heidenreich had turned face and was feuding with WWE Tag Team Champions Joey Mercury and Johnny Nitro on Smackdown.
While suffering a beat-down from Mercury and Nitro on the July 14 episode of the blue show, Road Warrior Animal made his return to a great nostalgia pop when he made the save.
Animal and Heidenreich went on to capture the WWE Tag Team Championships in a heavy-handed match on July 24, 2005. They would hold onto the belts for three months before losing them in a Fatal Four-Way tag team match on the Oct. 25 episode of Smackdown. Three months later, Heidenreich was future endeavored.
During their run as champions, Heidenreich adopted the Legion of Doom's patented mohawk, face-paint and spiked shoulder pad combo. Seeing a worker as untalented as Heidenreich wearing such iconic attire was an insult to the memory of both the late Road Warrior Hawk, and the team's standing in wrestling history.
Heidenreich failed at every gimmick he was given during his time with the company, and Road Warrior Animal was at least 10 years past his prime.
The two generated little chemistry together, and were extremely limited in the ring both individually and as a team. Simply put; this 'new' version of The Legion of Doom should never even have seen the light of day.
4. Kenzo Suzuki and Rene Dupree
Rene Dupree made a splash following his debut when he became the youngest man to ever win a title with the WWE when he captured the World Tag Team Championships alongside Sylvan Grenier on June 15, 2003 at the age of 19.
However, it was a case of 'too much, too soon' for the young Frenchman as he was a four-time doubles champion by the age of 21, before being relegated to the bottom of the card.
Japanese newcomer Kenzo Suzuki first appeared alongside wife Hiroko on the June 10, 2004 episode of Smackdown and immediately seemed a strange acquisition for the company.
When not butchering popular songs in broken English and ogling Torrie Wilson, Suzuki was competing in awful matches against the likes of Scotty 2 Hotty, Spike Dudley and Billy Gunn. Much like Dupree, the Far Eastern import seemed ill-prepared for the main roster.
The unusual pairing of Suzuki and Dupree captured the WWE Tag Team Championships on the Sept. 7, 2004 episode of Smackdown from Billy Kidman and Paul London, and would hold the belts for exactly 3 months before losing to the far superior team of Rey Misterio and Rob Van Dam.
Creative ran out of ideas for Suzuki soon after, and he was released in July 2005. Dupree dropped down the card in the following years, and even incurred a Wellness Policy violation, before mutually terminating his contract in July 2007.
Kenzo Suzuki and Rene Dupree were far too green for the main roster to begin with, and teaming them up only made the flaws each man's repertoires glaringly obvious. Tag team wrestling is perfect for covering a performer's shortcomings in the ring, yet the quality of their matches never improved beyond passable.
In short, neither man possessed the technical prowess, charisma or microphone skills to be anything more than terrible tag team champions.
3. The Godwinns
The Godwinns comprised of storyline cousins Phineas and Henry, who were billed as hog farmers from Arkansas. Originally managed by Hillbilly Jim, the team debuted in early 1996 and are two-time World Tag Team Champions. And they were awful.
Gaining early momentum by making it to the final of a tournament for the vacant doubles straps, The Godwinns nonetheless tasted defeat when they succumbed to The Bodydonnas at Wrestlemania 12 on March 31, 1996.
The duo continued feuding with the brightly-colored fitness fanatics, and lifted the World Tag Team Championships for the first time at a house show in New York on May 19.
They would only hold the belts for a week before losing to The Smoking Gunns at In Your House: Beware of Dog. Despite the quality of their matches being patchy at best, The Godwinns would remain a featured part of the doubles division for the rest of the year.
A heel turn came in 1997, and The Godwinns ditched Hillbilly Jim as manager in favor of Uncle Cletus. The heel turn culminated in a second World Tag Team Championship win, with Phineas and Henry capturing the titles from The Headbangers on Oct. 5.
Their second reign would be even shorter than the first, and the Legion of Doom were the new tag champions just two days later.
The Godwinns didn't last much longer; initially repackaged as the suit-and-shades wearing 'Southern Justice', the duo soon disappeared from our screens altogether.
As the Attitude Era was slowly ushered in, a pair of hog farmers from the country who could barely work a decent match were deemed surplus to requirements.
The gimmick never caught on with the audience, and duo's two incredibly brief tag team title reigns accomplished virtually nothing.
2. The Spirit Squad
Many wrestling fans buried their heads in their hands on Jan. 23, 2006 when five male cheerleaders appeared at ringside to cheer on the illustrious Jonathan Coachman in a match against Jerry Lawler.
Eventually finding themselves involved in the feud between Vince McMahon and Shawn Michaels, The Spirit Squad lasted only 10 months on WWE television and were treated as glorified jobbers nearly the entire time.
Comprised of Johnny, Mitch, Nicky, Kenny and Mikey, the group captured the World Tag Team Championship on the April 3, 2006 episode of Raw when the latter two members defeated Kane and The Big Show.
Nonsensically operating under the 'Freebird Rule', various combinations of the group defended the titles over the course of 216 days which actually made it the longest World Tag Team Championship reign in nearly 10 years.
However, their opponents weren't of the highest quality; The Spirit Squad defended the titles against such ridiculous combinations as Jim Duggan and Eugene, Charlie Haas and Viscera, and Snitsky and Val Venis.
All five members showed potential in the ring, but they were hampered by a terrible gimmick and constant burials at the hands of Triple H and Shawn Michaels.
The reformed D-Generation X made an absolute mockery of the newcomers (and the tag titles they held) and destroyed them with little difficulty in handicap matches, even literally covering them in crap at one point!
The Spirit Squad then suffered the ignominy of losing the World Tag Team Championships to broken-down veterans Ric Flair and Roddy Piper in less than seven minutes at Cyber Sunday on Nov. 5.
The end came on the Nov. 27 episode of Raw, after the group were yet again easily overcome in a handicap match by DX and Ric Flair. In a backstage segment we saw the youngsters put in a crate and shipped back to OVW, as if 'The Game' couldn't make their burial more obvious.
In less than a year, The Spirit Squad managed to have one of the most annoying gimmicks in recent history, enjoy the longest World Tag Team Championship reign in a decade, and be humiliated by Triple H and his buddies on an all-too-frequent basis.
At least it worked out for Nicky in the end...
1. John Cena and Every Partner He's Had
No single performer has done more to damage the credibility of the WWE's tag team titles in the last decade than current poster boy John Cena. Read on to find out why...
Cena was already WWE Champion when he got his first taste of doubles gold after he and reluctant partner Shawn Michaels defeated Rated RKO for the World Tag Team Championships on the January 29, 2007 episode of Raw.
Although they were champions for nine weeks, the belts were largely ignored and merely used to further the personal rivalry between Cena and 'The Heartbreak Kid'. After losing their singles clash at WrestleMania 23, HBK turned on the 'The Champ' to cost them the tag titles in a 10-team battle royal.
On the Aug. 4, 2008 episode of Raw, Cena once again captured the World Tag Team Championships with one of his rivals; this time Batista. The duo defeated Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes for the titles, only for the Legacy upstarts to regain the straps a mere seven days later.
There was absolutely no need to kill the momentum DiBiase and Rhodes had begun to build up as champions just to further the feud between Cena and 'The Animal,' and once again the titles were damaged by association.
While single-handedly killing The Nexus angle, Cena won the WWE Tag Team Championships as the (I notice a theme here) reluctant partner of David Otunga on Oct. 24, 2010. The Cenation leader won clean via submission in less than seven minutes, before flattening Otunga and leaving with both belts.
The following night, Nexus leader Wade Barrett forced Otunga to lay in the middle of the ring to allow cohorts Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel to assume control of the titles.
For the third time in succession, John Cena made a mockery of the WWE's doubles division by winning the belts with such ease, only to destroy his own partner and basically forfeit them a day later.
Feuding with The Miz on the road to WrestleMania 27, the (yes, you guessed it) reluctant partners defeated WWE Tag Team Champions, and members of The Corre, Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel on the Feb. 21, 2011 episode of Raw.
Immediately following the match, Corre leader Wade Barrett invoked the rematch clause, and Cena's fourth tag title reign ended minutes later. He was attacked by The Miz, allowing The Corre to regain the belts. For a fourth time, Cena had degraded the WWE's doubles titles.
Every time John Cena has been a tag team champion in the WWE, it has been to the detriment of the once-prestigious belts. Each title reign has been shorter than the last, and has only been used to further whatever feud Cena is involved in, making both the doubles division and the championships look like a joke in the process.
With the tag team ranks becoming rejuvenated in 2012, let's hope the company never lets Cena near the belts again.
So there are my picks for the 10 worst tag team champions of all time. What do you think?
Putting John Cena as number 1 is not some cliched Cena-bashing exercise. Every time the WWE's poster boy has held tag team gold, it has been with a reluctant partner with whom he has been feuding at the time.
If that booking isn't lazy enough, the ease with which the 12-time world champion has captured the belts on each occasion makes a mockery of his opponents, the championships and the doubles division as a whole. No wonder everybody lost interest in the WWE's tag scene until recently...
That's my two cents on the subject. Now it's time for your opinion.
I'm eager to find out what you have to say on the matter. If this article is as successful as the last, it could become a regular series that takes a tongue-in-cheek look at all of the WWE's active (and possibly inactive) championships.
Do you agree with the rankings?
Are there any teams missing you would have included?
Are you glad tag team wrestling is back in a big way?
As always, sound off in the comments below!