Tag Team wrestling is considered by some to be the finest form of the art that we call pro-wrestling. A tag team needs to have great chemistry, their personalities must gel and they must compliment each other’s style and charisma. However, as always there are usually a few exceptions to this rule….
5. The Rock and Sock Connection.
If, as I did, you grew up watching wrestling during the then WWF Attitude Era, The Rock and Sock Connection is probably the first strange combination that springs to mind.
The Rock and Mankind were definitely an odd couple, their team up being all the more unlikely due to the fact they had just ended a heated rivalry that culminated in a hellacious ladder match for the WWE title, which Rock won. Rock went on to butt heads with Undertaker and The Big Show and, after suffering a particularly brutal attack at the hands of the two giants, challenged them to a 2 on 1 handicap match. Mankind offered his services to The Rock which he begrudgingly accepted. After a great tag match and a double People’s Elbow on Big Show they managed to beat the two monsters and claim the WWF tag titles. What followed was some of the most entertaining television of the entire attitude era. Rock and Mankind’s seeming lack of chemistry made them a must see team week after week. The Brahma Bull barely tolerating Mrs Foley’s baby boy and his antics. Foley’s almost obsessive compulsion to make his team mate happy despite being told on many occasions it wasn’t going to happen. They didn’t have the longest run as a tag team but their popularity was in no doubt.
Their standout moment for me among many great moments, promos and matches was the “This is your life” section. Well known for being one of the funniest moments of all time in the WWE and deservedly so. Their chemistry is on show for all to see and the way they play off each other is a masterclass in live promo work few can match. Its avaliable on the WWE network and well worth a look.
4. ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin and Dude Love.
We’ll stick with Mrs Foley’s baby boy for this one but in a somewhat different guise. Back in his early days Mick Foley wrestled under the character Dude Love. A peace and love preaching hippie character with a surprisingly violent tendency. It wasn’t until a July ’97 edition of Raw that Foley would debut the character on Monday night RAW. After Shawn Michaels suffered injury and had to vacate his half of the tag titles, ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin needed a new partner. He chose, for some unknown reason, Dude Love.
Facing off against the Hart family team of British Bulldog and Owen Hart. Despite their numerous differences, Austin and Dude Love made for an incredibly effective tag team. The unorthodox style of Love paired with The Rattlesnakes hard hitting offence made them a formidable force in the tag division.
Sadly, it was during this run that Austin suffered what should have been a career ending neck injury after a piledriver from Owen Hart went wrong and the team was broken up. Who knows how long they would have gone on to hold the belts if that never happened? Although short lived they were a joy to watch and one of my all time favorite tag teams.
3.Team HELL NO!
It might be hard to imagine but there was a point in time when one of the most beloved wrestlers ever seen in the WWE was a bad guy. As a man at odds with the world and with some serious anger issues, his chant at the time being ‘NO! NO! NO!” It was inevitable that his and the Devils favorite demon’s paths would cross eventually. At the time bitter enemies, then RAW General Manager AJ Lee forced them to attend anger management classes and, at the request of Dr.Shelby their therapist, to form a tag team. This resulted in some extremely funny segments where the two would attend sessions to subdue their anger which more often than not ended in shouting matches or worse. Although a comedy tag team at its core, team HELL NO were still a tremendous force in the WWE. After beating R-truth and Kofi Kingston to capture the tag titles, each of them declaring “I am the tag team champions”, they went on a highly destructive and competitive run.
Weirdest of all is how the tag ended. After many matches where the two visibly hated wrestling together they settled their differences and “hugged it out”. This seemed to take something away and they lost the cutting edge they once had as a team. Still it goes down as one of the best tag teams in recent memory for me and sadly due to Bryan’s retirement, not one were likely to see in action ever again.
2. Booker T and Goldust
When Goldust is involved you know things are going to be a little strange. But a team up with the 5 time “FIVE TIME, FIVE TIME!” WCW champion somehow made things even more weird. Booker’s street smart persona and strong in ring style matched with Goldusts antiginous and wildly unorthodox in move set should have been a disaster but was quite the opposite. It took weeks of convincing (and Goldust costing Booker several wins in the process) before Booker finally caved and joined forces with the man formerly known as Dustin Runnels. But when they did they were created a powerful and entertaining coalition that dominated the tag division. Some excellent matches, not to mention some brilliantly entertaining backstage antics (I still laugh out loud at the Darth Vader promo), followed before they finally captured the gold in 2002 at Armageddon, defeating Edge & Christian, Lance Storm & William Regal and the Dudleys in a 4 way tag match. Sadly their title run was short lived but none the less they still represent many people’s favorite odd couple tag team of the modern era.
1. Owen Hart and Yokozuna
In the build up to Wrestlemania IX Owen Hart had a tag team title match set up against the Smoking Gunns. The only problem was Owen didn’t have a partner. On the night Hart revealed his partner to be one of the heaviest men ever to step into the squared circle, Yokozuna! A great match ensued with Yoko and Hart coming out on top and going on to completely decimate the tag division for months to come.
The flawless technical style of Hart aligned with the hyper agressive power moves of Yokozuna were the perfect compliment to each other as a team despite them seeming like a strange and random pairing. The team seemed unstoppable until a controversial loss to Shawn Michaels and Diesel (despite an injured Hart being replaced by the British Bulldog) cost them the gold. Still, despite appearing as an odd couple, their ‘opposites attract’ tag style set the ground work for many great but strange tag teams to come.
So there are my picks. Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments.