Luke Winkie
Wednesday September 28th, 2016

Tag teams have always been an integral part of pro wrestling but determining the greatest tag team of all time is a big challenge. How does one compare The Fabulous Kangaroos of the '60s with The Midnight Express of the '80s or the current WWE tag team champions, New Day? We poured through hours of footage to come up with our top 50 all-time teams. Please leave any feedback on our Facebook page (the post is right here) and be sure to check out our ranking of the 101 greatest singles wrestlers of all time

50. The Bushwhackers

Courtesy of WWE

​ Were they over? They were over. Yes, the Bushwhackers represented the ultimate mid-card kid’s act, and generally I prefer it when tag-team wrestling is taken a bit more seriously, but they were funny and weird and it’s hard to make a list of the Top 50 tag teams without including them.

49. The Super Powers

Did you know that Dusty Rhodes and Nikita Koloff teamed for a bit in the mid-80s? Yeah, it was part of a face turn for the traditionally stoic, evil Russian. The team was short-lived, but it’s hard to find stories like that at the height of Cold War tensions.

48. Goldust and Booker T

I’ve always loved this team because it probably shouldn’t have worked. Goldust and Booker T were thrown together in a predictably random WWE way, and they found immediate, unlikely charisma. I kind of wish the same thing happened with The Golden Truth.

47. The Blade Runners

I feel like this needs to be included just for the historical curiosity. Back in the mid-80s at Memphis’ Continental Wrestling Association, Sting and The Ultimate Warrior worked a tag-team under the management of Dutch Mantell. They called themselves The Blade Runners, which was intended to be a parody of The Road Warriors. Obviously both of these men would go on to bigger and better things, but it’s amazing how much star power was accidentally cultivated in 1985.

46. Doom

Most people remember Ron Simmons for teaming with JBL in the APA and his meme-ish DAMN in backstage segments. But he was also in Doom, a great late-80s partnership with Butch Reed. They wore masks, were managed by Woman, and threw big nasty clotheslines. Man, young Ron Simmons looked great in a wrestling ring.

45. Paul London and Brian Kendrick

It really is good to have Brian Kendrick back around the WWE, right? He held the gold with Paul London for almost a year, and man, in retrospect they both certainly deserved better.

44. The New Day

Getty Images

​ Call it recency bias, I don’t care, The New Day absolutely deserve to be on this list. WWE has never been funnier than when Big E, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods are on screen together. They might not have the classic matches as some of the other names on this list, but they’ve left an indelible mark. Wouldn’t it be great if wrestling were always as fun as The New Day?

43. The Mega Powers

Obviously the entire Mega Powers union was predicated on their momentous divorce at WrestleMania V. But it’s hard to think of a team loaded with more star power at its height. Macho Man Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan together. In our modern era I don’t think there ever will be a years-long union between two top babyfaces … well, at least until The Shield reunion happens.

42. The Brothers of Destruction

Courtesy of WWE

​ In the grand scheme of things, The Brothers of Destruction is maybe the fifth or sixth thing on The Undertaker’s resume. But his volatile partnership with Kane has always been one of the better ongoing stories in WWE. Without their occasional amicability, we wouldn’t have one of the more macabre rivalries in wrestling history.

41. The World’s Greatest Tag Team

There’s always going to be space for people who are capable of putting on really good tag-team wrestling.You’re seeing it right now with American Alpha and The Revival. Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin were great together, and years later they’re still probably underrated.

40. Beer Money, Inc.

Before Bobby Roode was an up-and-coming NXT monster, he and James Storm established an insanely entertaining tag team called Beer Money, Inc. Storm and Roode were both slipping through the cracks at TNA, but found something that worked brilliantly and catapulted both of their careers.

39. Money Inc.

Dude, it was Ted DiBiase and I.R.S. in a gimmick called Money Inc. Money Inc.! Money Incorporated? Sure they only existed for a year and a half, but I really wish I had lived in a world where ideas like Money Inc. could still get off the ground.

38. The Fabulous Ones

It’s interesting to think how many tag teams have used the same bleach-blonde, party-boy profile. The Rockers, The Rock ‘n Roll Express, MNM. But the first pretty-boy team was probably The Fabulous Ones—Stan Lane and Steve Keirn—who wrestled all over the south in Chippendales bowties and bright white wrestling boots.

37. The Natural Disasters

Courtesy of WWE

​ The Natural Disasters look like your usual early-90s hosses, but Typhoon and Earthquake could really move in the ring. Seriously, go back and watch some of those Disasters matches, it’s not exactly Big Show/Kane or whatever. The team only existed for a few years, but give it up to one of the more underrated squads in tag-team history.

36. Team Hell No

Daniel Bryan should’ve probably been kept out of the tag-division as much as possible during his all-too-brief WWE career, but we all have a soft spot for Team Hell No. Bryan and Kane were never funnier than during their delightful odd-couple pairing.

35. The Shield

Courtesy of WWE

Yes, they count. Obviously Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose have reached new stratospheres as solo stars since The Shield’s dramatic breakup in 2014, but man were they white hot during their run as a stable. We’re all happy that these three are reforging the WWE, but don’t we still kindawish they were still teaming?

34. The Rock 'n Sock Connection

Some of the best tag teams are built on contrast, and there’s never been a better example than The Rock and Mankind. One of them was an immaculately sculpted future movie star, the other a doughy dad who is maybe the least athletic superstar to ever get over. Together they were magic.

33. Dick The Bruiser and The Crusher

Long before Stone Cold Steve Austin was catching cans out of the stands, The Bruiser and The Crusher smoked cigars and hauled barrels of beer all over the wrestling rings of the midwest. Their straightforward tough-guy pomp was enough to propel them to five runs with the AWA title.

32. The Young Bucks

The Young Bucks are one of the biggest draws on the independent circuit. I say this because last year there was a show literally called “we booked this show because it was literally the only available date for The Young Bucks.” Real-life brothers Matt and Nick Jackson rock a flashy, superkick-heavy style that delights everyonein which it comes in contact, and honestly, in a few years it wouldn’t surprise me if the Bucks were at the very top of this list.

31. Hollywood Blonds

Watching old Hollywood Blonds matches today is interesting because you’re witnessing an entirely different version of Steve Austin. Long before his brawling, everyman persona in the WWE, he and Brian Pillman worked fantastic matches in WCW, and even earned a feud with The Four Horsemen.

30. Los Guerreros

Courtesy of WWE

Post-Attitude Era Smackdown was a weird time for WWE. Saviors like John Cena hadn’t quite landed, and the McMahons were searching for a tone that worked on an audience that moved on from the fart jokes and nu-metal. But one of the bright spots was the Los Guerreros, the team of Eddie and Chavo. Unfortunately, Los Guerreros marked one of Eddie’s final gimmicks before his tragic passing in 2005, but it did springboard him to an eventual WWE championship reign.

29. Steiner Brothers

It’s hard to think a tag-team breakup that affected the respective parties in a worse way than the Steiners. Rick fell into irrelevance and Scott … um, completely lost his mind. But when they were together, they were great. We prefer to remember the Steiners as the clean-cut University of Michigan all-Americans, OK?

28. The Funks

Terry and Dory Funk Jr. are known for some incredible singles careers, (they’re the only brothers who have each held the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.) But they also had great chemistry as a tag team. The Funks didn’t team up often, but their wars against the likes of Stan Hansen and Bruiser Brody were incredible.

27. Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood

Ricky Steamboat is one of the greatest wrestlers in history, with a number of all-time five-star matches notched in his solo career. But he’s consistently said his favorite memories in the ring come from his time teaming with Jay Youngblood. Youngblood passed away tragically in 1985, but not before these two left a profound mark on the industry.

26. Minnesota Wrecking Crew

It’s hard to think of a tag team that’s had so much heritage in a relatively short run. Ole Anderson, Lars Anderson, Gene Anderson and, of course, Arn Anderson all clocked time as part of the Minnesota Wrecking Crew, which originally formed in the '60s. If those names don’t do it for you, their seven NWA World Tag Team Championships should.

25. The Rockers

Courtesy of WWE

Probably the greatest tag-team in WWE history to never have actually held the gold, the Rockers are best known as ground zero for Shawn Michael’s prodigious career. They gave us great matches, and maybe the most iconic tag-team breakup of all time when Marty Jannetty was tossed out of Brutus Beefcake’s barbershop window.

24. The Fabulous Kangaroos

Tag-team wrestling was first recorded in 1901, but The Fabulous Kangaroos put the style on the map when they started working matches in 1957. Al Costello and Roy Heffernan embraced a full-tilt Australian gimmick, and brought bush hats and boomerangs to the ring. Without them this list might not exist.

23. Demolition

Two guys named Ax and Smash in bondage gear, and yet somehow this is a list about wrestling! OK, but seriously, while it’s hilarious to imagine anyone being intimidated by Demolition today, it did establish one of the greatest traditions in this business: ripping off the gimmick that made you famous. Demolition took Mad Max’s aesthetic and built a great career … which is an idea The Road Warriors had first. That’s textbook pro wrestling, OK?

22. Mr. Fuji and Professor Tanaka

Back in the ‘70s, before Mr. Fuji made his name as one of the greatest managers in the business, he was a pretty great in-ring worker and known for putting on some great matches with the powerhouse Professor Tanaka (who would later go on to have a decent film career.)

21. The Miracle Violence Connection

First off, they had maybe the greatest team name in wrestling history. The Miracle Violence Connection is almost postmodern in its brilliance, and Dr. Death and Bam Bam totally lived up to it with their vicious ring style. These guys held the WCW and NWA tag belts. That kinda speaks for itself.

20. The Russian Team

You have to love the simplicity of The Russian Team. The NWA didn’t want to dress up their jingoistic verbiage in anything too complicated, so instead they sent out Ivan Koloff, Krusher Kruschev and Nikita Koloff under Soviet banners to rile up the audience in the easiest way possible. The Russian Team consisted of quite a few wrestlers in their mid-80s heyday, and together they gathered everything from the Six-Man Tag Team Championship to, of course, The United States Championship.

19. The Blackjacks

The Blackjacks strike one of the most intimidating silhouettes in wrestling history. Two big, beefy men in black cowboy hats and clipped bushy moustaches. They wrestled a slow, destructive style, and would probably be fan favorites if they were in WWE today.

18. The New Age Outlaws

Youtube

It goes without saying that The New Age Outlaws have aged poorly. But Billy Gunn and Road Dogg sold a whole lot of Suck It T-shirts and that counts for something. D-Generation X would not have been as successful as it was without the Outlaws, and whether that’s a good thing is kind of up to you.

17. Harlem Heat

Harlem Heat was a fixture for WCW during the Monday Night Wars. We are so used to tag teams getting split up and pushed around the card (like that inevitable Big Cass singles run looming out in the distance, but Harlem Heat remained a team for much of the ‘90s and was always orbiting the tag belts. Consistency counts.

16. Nikolai Volkoff and The Iron Sheik

Both of these guys were past their in-ring prime before they struck a partnership in the ‘80s, but The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff still knew how to wave foreign flags and get heel heat. They did so beautifully on their way to capturing the WWE World Tag Team Championship at the first WrestleMania.

15. The Brain Busters

It was Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson in the ring at the same time. In WWE they added Bobby Heenan’s management, like, as if the team needed any more wrestling auteurship. Usually when a team moves to WWE the members are forced to change names, but not The Brain Busters. They were, and are, royalty.

14. The British Bulldogs

Davey Boy Smith and The Dynamite Kid had great contrast. Kid had groundbreaking aerial offense, Smith was a punishing, ground-and-pound bruiser. Together they had fantastic matches around the world, but they also established a formula that you still see today in teams like Enzo & Cass.

13. The Valiant Brothers

One of the top tag teams of the ‘70s, The Valiant Brothers perfected a pretty boy heel gimmick, with polished blond locks, gaudy plastic sunglasses and nicknames like “Luscious” and “Handsome.” They won the then-WWWF tag team belts, and held them for 370 days. Every time a narcissistic heel saunters to the ring, he's following the Valiant Brothers’ footsteps.

12. Wild Samoans

The Wild Samoans’ gimmick hasn’t aged particularly well. I mean, they didn’t talk during interviews and instead relied on Captain Lou Albano to translate their grunts. But regardless, Afa and Sika had a legendary career across the NWA, Mid-South Wrestling and the WWE–owning 21 title reigns. When he wasn’t wrestling, Afa owns the Wild Samoans Training Center, which has produced graduates like Paul Orndorff, Michael Hayes and Batista.

11. The Brisco Brothers

Jerry and Jack Brisco spent decades wrestling around the territories, but some of their most famous feuds happened when they paired as a team. One of their most famous was when they turned heel and ambushed Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood. They traded the belts back and forth before paying off the drama as a feature match at the first Starrcade. Today Jerry works as a talent scout for WWE. He’s certainly qualified, considering he had a hand in discovering an up-and-comer named Terry Bollea.

10. The Von Erichs

Obviously the Von Erichs were more of a stable than a tag team, but it feels weird not ranking them if we’re going to include The Fabulous Freebirds. Their feud in the early ‘80s was legendary, and sold out stadiums all over Texas. And seriously, it’s not that often that a squad is so hot it merits the creation of a Six-Man Championship.

9. The Fabulous Freebirds

Walter Iooss Jr.

Every time a stable defends a tag title with a rotating lineup, it is using the Freebird rule. The Fabulous Freebirds are legendary for many reasons, but when you make it into the mechanical parlance of the wrestling industry, your legacy is secure.

8. The Midnight Express

The Midnight Express had a number of incarnations over the years, but the best was probably the partnership between Bobby Eaton and Dennis Condrey. They once tarred and feathered Magnum T.A., their in-ring work was great, and they also provided a platform for one of the best Jim Cornette management platforms ever.

7. The Hardy Boyz

Courtesy of WWE

Honestly, where would the WWE be without the Hardy Boyz? I know their roguish, JNCO charm doesn’t look great to modern eyes, but the punishment Matt and Jeff (well, specifically Jeff) endured opened up this industry to previously unconscionable three-dimensional heights. It is really hard to make wrestling cool, but the Hardyz pulled it off over and over again.

6. The Outsiders

The nWo storyline quickly got out of hand and, frankly, the emphasis on “old guys that don’t really care” wasn’t a great sustainable business model, but you have to give props to its genesis. The Outsiders were one of the first TV soap storylines in wrestling that embraced grown-up questions regarding trademark, and legality and kayfabe. Every WWF storyline since, from CM Punk’s contract signing to the Yes Movement, has tried to capture the same blurred-lines zeitgeist that Kevin Nash and Scott Hall started.

5. The Dudley Boyz

The Dudleyz won 23 championships all over the world. Crazy right? WWE, IWGP, TNA, ECW, the resume speaks for itself. But then when you dash on their incredible skills and complete structural re-envisioning of what a wrestling match could be, you’re looking at one of the greatest teams of all time in both kayfabe and real-life.

4. The Rock 'n Roll Express

You know how the Young Bucks have perfect synchronicity? Like, how their superkicks pop at the exact same time? That discipline was originally perfected by Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson of The Rock ‘n Roll Express. Neither of these guys achieved solo success after the team disbanded in the '90s, but they helped create the language of tag-team wrestling that still echoes today.

3. The Hart Foundation

Courtesy of WWE

It always made me laugh that the Hart Foundation was originally conceived after a young Bret Hart turned down a cowboy gimmick. Seriously, can you imagine “Cowboy Bret Hart?” Instead Bret suited up in the pink and black with Jim Neidhart and had dozens of great matches with The British Bulldogs, The Rockers and Demolition. Obviously The Hitman went on to one of the greatest solo careers of all time, but his legacy began here. 1. Y2AJ Haha, just kidding.

2. Edge & Christian

Edge & Christian’s real-life story works perfect in kayfabe. Childhood friends who became wrestling school classmates and WWE rookies. Their stint in The Brood was underrated, but their tag-team career was legendary. The TLC matches of the late ‘90s and early 2000s were highlights for everyone involved, but E&C were always the best part. Maybe I’m a sentimental loser, but watching these guys succeed made wrestling magic.

1. The Legion of Doom/The Road Warriors

I don’t think any team represented the pure escapist potential of pro wrestling better than The Legion of Doom. Here was a world in which rules didn’t matter, and you could dab up in warpaint and call yourself Animal and Hawk if you wanted. The tenor of wrestling has changed drastically since the Legion’s heyday, but that has only made it more vital.

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