Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn
2007 - Present (on and off)
Pro Wrestling Guerilla Tag Team Champions
Ring of Honor Tag Team Champions
Written by Canadian Bulldog
Should Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn be recognized as an all-time classic tag team worthy of a write-up during Tag Team Appreciation Month? I certainly think so (or else I wouldn't have written said column), though at first blush they would appear to be little more than frenemies instead of a true, bona-fide tag team.
After growing up together on the Quebec independent scene, Owens (as Kevin Steen) and Zayn (as El Generico) rose to national prominence in Ring of Honor. While it took the two a while to get on the same page - especially given Steen was a heel and Generico wasn't - they eventually would win a tag team tournament, defeating Jimmy Jacobs and Tyler Black (Seth Rollins) to hold the ROH Tag Team Championship. They also held the PWG Tag Team Championship around this time, defeating the duo of future NXT alumnae PAC and Roderick Strong.
But as impressive as their team was, it was only when Steen turned against Generico that we really saw the true chemistry these two men had. A year-long feud in Ring of Honor concluded with a ladder match at 2012's Final Battle PPV, with Steen retaining the championship against Generico in a hard-fought match.
The two men took their storyline to a different level when Steen debuted as Kevin Owens at 2013's NXT TakeOver: R Evolution, theoretically as Zayn's longtime best friend. Instead of congratulating Zayn on his newly-won NXT Championship, Owens immediately turned against him, leading to a tremendous series of matches between the two over the next few years. These matches included NXT TakeOver: Rival and WWE Battleground in 2016.
By 2017, Owens and Zayn put their differences aside once and began leading the "YEP!" movement against SmackDown owner Shane McMahon and GM Daniel Bryan. This resulted in a tag team match between the four men at WrestleMania XXXIV. While Owens and Zayn weren't victorious on that night, they did show fans what made them so great as a team.
After feuding with The New Day and others, Owens and Zayn again went their separate ways and even faced off against each other at WrestleMania XXXVII. But now that they are among the top heels on their respective brands (and among the most consistently reliable performers in the entire company), could we see Owens and Zayn pair up again and continue their off-again, on-again tag team dynasty?
YEP! YEP! YEP!