Ranking the Best Tag Teams and Stables of WWE's Attitude Era

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistMay 1, 2020

Ranking the Best Tag Teams and Stables of WWE's Attitude Era

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Tag team wrestling and the use of factions both saw a renaissance during the Attitude Era to great success, as evidenced by the sheer number of genuine Superstars produced. 

    Some were makeshift tandems thrown together for lack of anything else to do with the individual stars, as was the case with The New Age Outlaws and The APA. Others saw young stars capitalizing on the first opportunities of their careers to become household names, such as The Hardys or Edge and Christian

    Then there were the groups, such as D-Generation X and The Nation, that bred success from within before their stars went their separate ways and achieved their own accomplishments.

    Some revolutionized the industry, others celebrated unforeseen success at a time of great creative revival.

    Whatever their backstories may be, join Bleacher Report in its journey through WWE's Attitude Era with this look at its best tag teams and factions, ranked according to their overall success and historical significance.

10. The Brood

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    The Brood was ahead of its time by 10 years. A trio of implied bloodsuckers, with the coolest entrance in the history of WWE, they would have been the hottest thing in the industry when the vampire craze of the late 2000s ran wild.

    Instead, it was a star-making vehicle for Edge and Christian who, along with Gangrel, enjoyed considerable television exposure by battling the likes of Al Snow's JOB Squad and The Ministry of Darkness in multi-man tag matches.

    Unfortunately, the trio came to a premature end when Gangrel betrayed his teammates and aligned himself with Matt and Jeff Hardy as The New Brood. That trio lacked the aura of its predecessor, and The Brood, as we knew it, fizzled to a close.

    Still, it was an integral part of the development of two of the most decorated Superstars of all time and, above that, really freaking cool.

9. Too Cool and Rikishi

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    Too Cool and Rikishi are, arguably, the most unlikely success story in the entire Attitude Era.

    A trio comprised of a tag team left for dead in the undercard and a journeyman wrestler whose reputation was littered with failed gimmicks, they became breakouts and legitimate stars in 2000.

    As Too Much, Brian Christopher and Scott Taylor could barely sniff television time. As Too Cool—an oblivious duo clad in the most over-the-top outfits and gear of the time—they captured the attention of fans and rose to popularity.

    After stints as a Headshrinker, an anti-violence babyface and The Sultan, Rikishi threw on a thong, rubbed his ample posterior in his opponents' faces and became the most over big man in the business.

    Together, their post-match dances popped fans. Their level of overness elevated them up the card, to the point that it was not uncommon for them to share the ring with Triple H and D-Generation X or The Radicals.

    An untimely and ill-fated heel turn by Rikishi blew the whole thing up and brought a highly successful trio to an unceremonious demise.

8. The APA

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    With nothing else better to do, Bradshaw and Faarooq were introduced early in 1999 as the Acolytes, a pair of heavies for The Undertaker and his new Ministry of Darkness. Together, they would pummel and decimate anyone unfortunate enough to cross paths with The Deadman.

    Beginning with their first tag team title victory on the May 30, 1999, episode of Raw, they ran roughshod over the division, beating everyone from Kane and X-Pac to the Hardy Boyz, and Edge and Christian to the debuting Dudley Boyz. No team was spared their wrath.

    In 2000, they formed the Acolyte Protection Agency and became a babyface tandem. Two badass beer-drinkers who like as much to play cards as they did beat the hell out of people, they caught on with fans and became a surprisingly popular team throughout the remainder of the Attitude Era.

    Today, Bradshaw is recognized as much, if not more, for his run as John Bradshaw Layfield that saw him capture the WWE title, but his work in the APA gave him the opportunity to do so.

7. The Nation

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    As The Nation of Domination, Faarooq, The Rock, Mark Henry, D'Lo Brown and Kama Mustafa made up a formidable faction that warred with the likes of Ken Shamrock, Steve Blackman and The Road Warriors.

    When The Rock kicked Faarooq to the curb and assumed leadership of the group, rebranding it The Nation, the faction saw its profile rise. Rock engaged Triple H in a star-making rivalry, while Brown became the most recognizable European champion, Henry embraced his Sexual Chocolate moniker, and Mustafa became a Hall of Famer as The Godfather.

    Like DX, every member of The Nation was better off for having been part of the group, and The Rock became the hottest young star in the entire industry. Without the creative freedom Rock was given to find himself as a performer, who knows what his legacy in the business would look like.

6. The Rock and Sock Connection

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    The Rock and Sock Connection was but a blip on the Attitude Era radar, a team consisting of two established main eventers that lasted no longer than four months. In that span, it was responsible for some of the most humorous and creative moments in WWE history.

    The Rock and Mankind had such chemistry as partners—with The Great One portraying the straight man to his partner's more goofy and off-the-wall persona—that fans bought into them teaming despite the fact that they had been in some of the most violent matches of 1999 against each other.

    Three-time tag champions, their reigns rarely lasted long, but their wars with The New Age Outlaws and Big Show and Undertaker helped carry WWE through a tumultuous second-half of 1999 in which creative turnover left things in a great deal of disarray.

    As a superteam, they are one of the few examples of two world champions coming together and making as great a pair as they were individuals.

5. New Age Outlaws

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    The New Age Outlaws make their first appearance on this countdown as the defining tag team of the era.

    Thrown together with no expectations of greatness, "Road Dogg" Jesse James and "Badass" Billy Gunn bucked the system and regularly competed with Steve Austin and D-Generation X as the edgiest act on the show before they were absorbed into DX on March 29, 1998. From that point on, the tandem would enjoy a run that had them at or near the top of the tag division for an entire year.

    A poor booking choice saw James and Gunn go their separate ways before sensibility prevailed and the team reunited in the fall of 1999.

    Five-time tag champions, they set the bar for a tag team division that would receive more attention and build based on their success.

4. The Dudley Boyz

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    The Dudley Boyz did not have it easy at first in WWE.

    The ECW exports had to scratch, claw and pass every test put before them by management in an effort to prove they belonged. That included several live ass-kickings by The Acolytes. Bubba Ray and D'Von endured and advanced, though, becoming WWE tag team champions within six months of their arrival. 

    Unrelentingly physical with a penchant for tables, they formed one-third of a nucleus that would evolve the art form and make tag team wrestling cool again.

    They competed against Edge and Christian and The Hardy Boyz in the most unforgettable displays of carnage, creativity and risk ever witnessed on WWE television.

    A physical, brawling team that was the perfect complement to the flashier offense of their rivals, they were no-nonsense. It helped differentiate them from the pack, and the result was a run that established them as one of the greatest teams of all-time.

    Whereas Edge and Christian, and Matt and Jeff Hardy, would all go on to have successful singles runs, Bubba and D'Von did not. After a brief flirt with individual runs, they realized their success would come as a team and reunited, where they would solidify their Hall of Fame credentials.

    It was in the Attitude Era, though, that the hardcore legends of ECW became sports entertainment icons.

3. Team Extreme

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    The Hardy Boyz started the Attitude Era as two young undercarders wearing plaid tights they sewed themselves. By the end of it, they were among the most popular acts on the entire card, thanks to their willingness to throw caution to the wind via high-flying offense and their partnership with Lita.

    As Team Extreme, Matt, Jeff and Lita became the cool kids everyone wanted to be, and it was reflected in their position on the card. Their exposure became more and more widespread before the team broke through as the most popular team in the tag division.

    Their battles with Edge and Christian and The Dudley Boyz are revolutionary. What they were able to do with ladders using their high-flying arsenals awed fans and elevated their stock with every outing. 

    They became a major part of the youth movement in WWE during the Attitude Era. More importantly, they all eventually used the credibility and popularity they amassed during that period to become stars individually. 

    Jeff captured the WWE Championship, Matt proved one of the most creative minds in the industry and Lita earned the reputation of one of the true trailblazers in women's wrestling. None of which could, or would, have happened without their Attitude Era successes.

2. Edge and Christian

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    Edge and Christian make their second appearance on this countdown because what they did as The Brood, while infinitely cool, does not hold a candle to what they accomplished once they broke free of Gangrel's leadership.

    Rising to notoriety through a series of matches with Matt and Jeff Hardy over the managerial services of Terri Runnels, they saw their first taste of stardom following a Tag Team Ladder Match at No Mercy 1999. Though they lost the match, the standing ovation they received from the Cleveland fans, and the next night in State College, Pennsylvania, suggested they had finally broken through and were ready for any and all opportunities that came their way. 

    They pounced on them, embracing a heel turn in the spring of 2000 and becoming one of the most entertaining acts on WWE television. The use of their famed Five Second Pose infuriated the fans of whichever town they were in that particular night, while their ruthlessness when it came to bashing babyfaces with chairs only added to their heat.

    One of the most decorated tandems in WWE history, they spent a good chunk of the second half of the era with gold around their waists, the antagonists for teams like the aforementioned Hardys, The Dudley Boyz, Undertaker and Kane and D-Generation X's X-Pac and Road Dogg.

    Like many of the teams on this list, they would eventually go on to individual success, culminating in the Ruthless Aggression Era with Edge's WWE Championship victory at New Year's Revolution 2006. Christian would have to wait longer but would get his world title reign at Extreme Rules 2011. 

    Both must attribute that success, though, to the stars they built as the team totally reeking of heinosity during the Attitude Era.

1. D-Generation X

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    The most influential faction of The Attitude Era is D-Generation X.

    Their attitude, antics and catchphrases became definitive elements of the era. "Suck It" became everyday jargon among fans, crotch chops were the norm, and finding new ways to cross the line became an every week occurrence. 

    Beyond the impact the group had on the WWE product at the time was the undeniable success its members enjoyed.

    Shawn Michaels and Triple H each won the WWE title. X-Pac captured the European and Tag Team Championships. The New Age Outlaws became, arguably, the definitive tag team of the Attitude Era. Even Chyna would go on to etch her name in the history books by capturing the Intercontinental Championship. 

    Like Steve Austin, DX ushered in the attitude, edginess and controversy that would engulf the company during that era, cementing their legacy as the top faction of their time.