May is Tag Team Appreciation Month at Wrestling Merchandise & Memories, with nearly 100 unique and interesting articles on the art of tag team wrestling.
When it comes to top tag team performers, there are obviously some wrestlers that are more comfortable (and successful) at it than others. Some wrestlers thrive in tag teams and some don't seem to care for the match style.
But some wrestlers have been able to thrive in more than one top tag team over the years, and this week.... that's who we are celebrating.
In selecting the Top 50 Tag Team Specialists, Wrestling Merchandise and Memories considered the following criteria:
Was the competitor part of more than one MEMORABLE tag team?
Were they able to adapt their style to be part of various teams?
Were the teams successful in their chosen promotion(s)?
Overall, was the wrestler considered to be a "tag team competitor"?
One note: Quite often, two singles wrestlers team up for a couple of weeks (or something nights) to become "tag team champions" for a week or two. We do not consider these to be Tag Team Specialists... unless, of course, they were also part of more successful and permanent teams.
If you'd like to be a part of this conversation, Tweet us at @canadianbulldog using the hashtag #Top50, or leave a comment below.
Ready? Here we go!
Despite most of his success coming as a singles star, Chris Jericho has been incredibly successful as a tag team performer, too. His tag team with Lance Storm appeared in Canada, Japan and Smoky Mountain. Y2J has also held tag team gold in WWE with Chris Benoit, The Rock, Christian, Edge and Big Show.
WWE Hall of Famer Road Dogg's first tag team partner was his brother Brad Armstrong in WCW. Most famously, he began teaming with Billy Gunn as The New Age Outlaws, one of the most successful tag teams in WWF history. He's also teamed with K-Kwik (R-Truth) in WWF and with R-Truth and Konnan in TNA.
Road Warrior Animal
WWE Hall of Famer Animal's most successful tag team partner was Hawk, with the two capturing championships in the AWA, WCW, WWF and All Japan. However, Animal also had tag teams with Crush, Power Warrior (Kensuke Sasaki) and later in his WWE run, made Heidenreich into a Road Warrior himself.
Early on in his career, Dr. Tom Pritchard held tag team championships with partners such as Chris Adams, Al Madril and Brett Sawyer. More famously, he teamed in Smoky Mountain with Stan Lane (and later, Jimmy Del Ray) as The Heavenly Bodies and became WWF Tag Team Champions with Bodydonna Skip.
John Morrison's first tag team success came when he was Johnny Nitro and teamed with Joey Mercury as MNM, with the two capturing the WWE Tag Team Championship three times. He's also had a partnership with The Miz that led to championship gold in two different eras, as well as a pairing with R-Truth.
Throughout his "Glorious" career, Robert Roode has had success with a variety of partners. In TNA, that included Eric Young, James Storm and Austin Aries and in WWE, Chad Gable and Dolph Ziggler.
The Big Show
The Big Show is primarily a singles wrestler, although he has been linked to numerous partners over the years. These include Lex Luger, Sting and Scott Hall in WCW, and in WWF/E, Chris Jericho, Kane, X-Pac, The Undertaker and The Miz.
Rob Van Dam
Rob Van Dam teamed up with Sabu in ECW, a team that would resurface in WWE and TNA. The Whole F'N Show has also been in championship teams with Kane, Booker T, Rey Mysterio and Tommy Dreamer.
Beyond being one-half of The Bodydonnas wth Tom Prichard (see # 44), Candido has also teamed with Lance Storm, Chris Michaels, Johnny Hotbody, Boo Bradley and Rad Radford.
WWE Hall of Famer Nikolai Volkoff debuted in the early 1970s as Bepo Mongol, one half of the WWWF International Tag Team Championships. He later won gold with The Iron Sheik in the 1980s, and formed memorable teams with both Boris Zhukov and Hacksaw Jim Duggan.
WWE Hall of Famer Kevin Nash started in WCW as one half of the Master Blasters, and later teamed up with Diamond Dallas Page as The Vegas Connection. In the WWF, he was partners with Shawn Michaels, with the two winning the tag team titles twice. And returning to WCW, he was part of The Outsiders tag team with Scott Hall.
Spike Dudley was most famous for tagging with his storyline brothers, Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley. He also won the ECW World Tag Team Championship twice with Balls Mahoney and tagged with Tommy Dreamer and New Jack. Spike briefly held the WWF Tag Team Titles with Tazz.
Buff Bagwell established himself as a tag team specialist during his early WCW days, winning championships with the likes of 2 Cold Scorpio, The Patriot and Scotty Riggs. Once he became a heel and part of the nWo, Bagwell formed partnerships with Scott Norton, Scott Steiner, Shane Douglas and Lex Luger.
WWE Hall of Famer Terry Gordy's most famous wrestling partnership was with Michael Hayes and Buddy Roberts in The Fabulous Freebirds. He also teamed with Iceman Parsons in Texas, and with Stan Hansen and Steve Williams in Japan, the latter team also existing in WCW.
Yes, WWE Hall of Famer Edge will forever be connected to Christian, his one-time "brother" and co-holder of the WWF Tag Team Championship some seven times. But he also has won WWE tag team gold with Randy Orton, Hollywood Hulk Hogan, Rey Mysterio, Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit.
Before WWE, Cesaro was known as Claudio Castagnoli and teamed with Chris Hero as The Kings of Wrestling, the longest-reigning tag team champions in ROH history. He has also teamed with Jack Swagger, Tyson Kidd, Sheamus and Shinsuke Nakamura.
WWE Hall of Famer Greg "The Hammer" Valentine formed a very successful tag team with Ric Flair in the Mid-Atlantic Territory. Later, in the WWF, he was part of The Dream Team with Brutus Beefcake and afterwards, with Dino Bravo. Valentine also teamed with The Honky Tonk Man and in WCW, with Terry Taylor.
WWE Hall of Famer Tito Santana won his first WWWF Tag Team Championship with Ivan Putski. Returning to the WWF years later, Santana had a variety of tag team partners, including Junkyard Dog, Hulk Hogan, Ricky Steamboat and Rick Martel, the latter of which held the WWF Tag Team Championship in 1988.
Jim Brunzell spent more time in his career as a tag team wrestler than as a singles star. He began with Mike George and then won two AWA World Tag Team Titles with Greg Gagne as The High Flyers. In WWF, Brunzell teamed with B. Brian Blair, the duo dubbed The Killer Bees.
WWE Hall of Famer Barry Windham rose to prominence as a member of the U.S. Express with Mike Rotunda in the WWF and NWA. In addition, he's teamed often with Curt Hennig, Mike Graham, Ron Garvin, Lex Luger, Sting, Dusty Rhodes, Ric Flair, Dustin Rhodes, Brian Pillman, Bradshaw and brother Kendall Windham.
While he's had more than his share of success as a singles star, Rey Mysterio has also been part of many successful tag teams. In WCW, he was paired with Billy Kidman, Konnan and Juventud Guerrera. In WWE, he won the WWE Tag Team Championship with Edge, Rob Van Dam, Eddie Guerrero and Batista.
A tag team specialist in the 1960s and 1970s, Ray Stevens was half of a number of successful combinations. In the AWA, Stevens held four Tag Team Championships, with partners Nick Bockwinkel and Pat Patterson. He also teamed with Ivan Koloff, Jimmy Snuka, Mike Graham and Greg Valentine.
A bonafide tag team specialist, Bobby Eaton is starred not one but two versions of The Midnight Express, first teaming with Dennis Condrey and later with Stan Lane. But Beautiful Bobby has had several other tag team partners over the years, including Lord Steven Regal, Arn Anderson, Sabu and Chris Benoit.
Although WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels is acknowledgled as one of the greatest singles wrestlers of all time, he also spent a healthy chunk of his career as a tag team specialist. He was one half of The Rockers with Marty Jannetty, and D-Generation X with Triple H, as well as teaming with Diesel, John Cena and others.
Owen Hart was part of many permanent tag teams throughout his all-too brief career. In Stampede, he teamed with Ben Bassarab. In the WWF, he was part of teams with Koko B. Ware and Jim Neidhart. Later, Owen would capture the WWF World Tag Team Titles with Yokozuna, Davey Boy Smith and Jeff Jarrett.
Brian Pillman began as a tag team with Bruce Hart in Stampede, where they captured that group's tag team championship. Beyond that, Pillman formed a very successful tag team with Tom Zenk in WCW and later formed The Hollywood Blonds with Steve Austin.
To be sure, Marty Jannetty's biggest tag team success (or success, period) was teaming with Shawn Michaels in the AWA and WWF as The Rockers. Beyond that, though, Jannetty also had successful teams with Tommy Rogers and Bob Brown in Central States, and held WWF gold with The 123 Kid (X-Pac) in 1994.
Road Warrior Hawk
Much like Animal, WWE Hall of Famer Hawk will forever be known for his partnership in The Road Warriors, who together captured dozens of major tag team titles. Hawk also teamed up Power Warrior in New Japan (holding the IWGP belts twice), as well as with Sting in WCW.
Although best known as a singles performer, Seth Rollins has had success numerous times as a tag team performer. Not only has he held the Raw Tag Team Championship with his Shield partners Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose, but he's also struck gold with Jason Jordan, Braun Strowman and Buddy Murphy.
Cody has been part of a remarkable number of successful tag teams in a relatively short period of time. Among those are Hardcore Holly, Ted DiBiase, Drew McIntyre, Damien Sandow and, in two different promotions, a team with his brother Dustin Rhodes/Goldust.
Although Christian is best known for his pairing with Edge, capturing the WWF/E Tag Team Championship seven times, he has also teamed with a number of other partners. These include fellow Canadians Chris Jericho and Lance Storm, as well as partners Tyson Tomko, AJ Styles and Sting in TNA.
During his years in Japan, Chris Benoit was a regular teammate with Shinjiro Otani. In ECW, he began tagging with Dean Malenko, a partnership that would extend to WCW and WWF. Other partners included Eddie Guerrero, Chris Jericho, Kurt Angle, Edge and Rhyno.
As mentioned with Chris Jericho (see # 50), he and Lance Storm began their careers together as The Thrillseekers. In ECW, Storm would form successful teams with both Chris Candido and Justin Credible. In WCW, he was teamed up with Mike Awesome. And in the WWF, Storm would often team with Christian, William Regal and Val Venis.
Paul Roma first appeared as part of a midcard tag team with Jim Powers known as The Young Stallions. He also teamed with Hercules, Arn Anderson and Paul Orndorff during his career.
WWE Hall of Famer Scott Hall first found fame as a tag team competitor in the AWA with Curt Hennig. In the WWF, he formed successful teams with The 123 Kid and Savio Vega. And in WCW, he formed The Outsiders with Kevin Nash, where the two became six-time WCW World Tag Team Champions.
In the mid 1980s, Haku first gained fame in the WWF as one of The Islanders along with partner Tama. He later held the WWF Tag Team Titles with Andre The Giant and teamed regularly with The Barbarian; a duo that also acheived success in WCW. Returning to the WWF, Haku formed a team with Rikishi.
WWE Hall of Famer Eddie Guerrero's first major team was in Mexico when he and Art Barr tagged up as Los Gringos Locos. In WCW, he was paired wih Konnan and Rey Mysterio Jr., among the others. In the WWF, his partners included Rey Mysterio, Booker T, Tajiri and most memorably, his nephew Chavo.
WWE Hall of Famer Booker T's most famous tag team was Harlem Heat with brother Stevie Ray, where the pair won a record WCW World Tag Team Titles. Booker has also won tag team gold with Test, Goldust and Rob Van Dam and in TNA, with Scott Steiner.
WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley has formed many successful tag teams. In WCW, it was with Abdullah The Butcher, Kevin Sullivan and Maxx Payne. In ECW, Shane Douglas and Mikey Whipwreck. In WWF, he teamed with Steve Austin, Kane, Terry Funk, The Rock and Al Snow.
In WCW, Dustin Rhodes teamed up with Barry Windham, Ricky Steamboat, Road Warrior Hawk and Arn Anderson. In WWE as Goldust, partners included Mankind, Booker T, R-Truth and his brother Cody (a/k/a Stardust). He also teamed several times with father Dusty Rhodes and again with Cody in AEW.
WWE Hall of Famer X-Pac first teamed as The 123 Kid with Razor Ramon in the early 90s. He would go on to win gold with Marty Jannetty and Bob Holly during his first WWF run. In WCW as Syxx, he teamed with Ramon (Scott Hall), and Kevin Nash in WCW, and later won the WWF Tag Team Championship with Kane.
Very early in his career, Rick Martel teamed up with Rowdy Roddy Piper in the Pacific Northwest. He also captured the WWWF Tag Team Titles twice with Tony Garea. In the late 1980s, Martel returned to the WWF and teamed with Tom Zenk as The Can-Am Connection and Tito Santana as Strike Force.
The British Bulldog
The British Bulldog (no relation) is best known for teaming with his cousin The Dynamite Kid in the WWF, Japan and Stampede. He also had successful teams with Johnny Smith and Chris Benoit in Stampede, Sting in WCW and both Lex Luger and Owen Hart when he returned to the WWF.
Cowboy James Storm is an anomaly in that he was half of two of TNA's most successful tag teams of all time. He held the tag titles seven times with Chris Harris as America's Most Wanted, and another seven with Bobby Roode as Beer Money Inc. Storm has also teamed with the likes of Gunner and Abyss.
Early in his career, Kane (as Unabom) teamed with Al Snow in SMW. In the WWF/E, he held the World Tag Team Championship with a variety of partners, including The Undertaker, Daniel Bryan, Mankind, The Hurricane, X-Pac, Rob Van Dam and The Big Show.
Mike Rotunda has always been known as a tag team specialist. In his early days, he formed the U.S. Express with Barry Windham (and when Windham left, it was Dan Spivey). In WCW, he teamed with Dr. Death Steve Williams and back in the WWF, he partnered with The Million Dollar Man as Money Inc.
Sweet Stan Lane was part of three very successful tag teams. Most famously, he teamed with Bobby Eaton as The Midnight Express in the NWA. Before that, he was part of The Fabulous Ones, a team with Steve Keirn in the Mid-South. And later in his career, he and Tom Prichard were The Heavenly Bodies in SMW.
While WWE Hall of Famer Mr. Fuji is best remembered as a manager, he was a tag team specialist throughout his active career. He was a five-time WWWF Tag Team Champion, holding the belts with both Professor Tanaka and Mr. Saito. He also teamed with Curtis Iaukea, Genichiro Tenyru, Tiger Jeet Singh and Tony Borne.
WWE Hall of Famer Billy Gunn is an 11-time tag team champion in WWE as part of three successful teams. He was one half of The Smoking Gunns with kayfabe brother Bart Gunn, The New Age Outlaws with Road Dogg and with Chuck Palumbo as Billy & Chuck. More recently, he's teamed with his son Austin Gunn in AEW as The Gunn Club.
WWE Hall of Famer Arn Anderson is the epitome of a tag team specialist. His first exposure on the national scene was in the NWA with kayfabe cousin Ole Anderson. As the team evolved into The Four Horsemen, Arn began teaming with Tully Blanchard, a duo that won tag team gold in both the NWA and WWF. Anderson would also team frequently with Horsemen Barry Windham and Ric Flair, not to mention teams with Larry Zbyszko, Beautiful Bobby Eaton and Paul Roma.