Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn
2007 - Present (on and off)
Pro Wrestling Guerilla Tag Team Champions
Ring of Honor Tag Team Champions
WWE Undisputed World 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. Over the next couple of years, a remarkable series of events involving The Bloodline drew the two apart - this time, when Roman Reigns forced Zayn to show his loyalty by low-blowing Owens at Survivor Series 2022.
Zayn was then sent packing by Reigns, but this time, Owens wasn't waiting for a reunion. It finally happened (thanks to some urging from Cody Rhodes and some tremendous storytelling) and as a pair, they defeated The Usos in the main event of Night One at WrestleMania XXXIX, becoming WWE Undisputed World Tag Team Champions. In so many ways, their rags-to-riches story went full circle.
Or at least, it will until one of the team members turns on each other again...