May is Tag Team Appreciation Month at Wrestling Merchandise & Memories, with nearly 100 unique and interesting articles on the art of tag team wrestling.
This week, we're looking at combinations that were thrown together for any variety of reasons. Perhaps they were hated enemies that were forced to pair up by the authority figure. Perhaps they don't look or act all that similar. Or perhaps it's just a bizarre combination. Regardless, despite the odds, they were successful enough to capture a tag team championship.
In selecting the Top 50 Unusual Tag Team Champions, Wrestling Merchandise and Memories considered the following criteria:
How memorable were their respective differences?
What kind of odds did they overcome to win the gold?
Did they have a decent reign on top?
Years later, is the unusual team still remembered?
If you'd like to be a part of this conversation, Tweet us at @canadianbulldog using the hashtag #Top50, or leave a comment below.
The 123 Kid & Marty Jannetty
Surprisingly, Marty Jannetty never held the WWF Tag Team Championship with his Rockers partner Shawn Michaels. Yet he was able to capture the gold with The 123 Kid, even though they hadn't teamed together previously. The two upset The Quebecers in January 1994, dropping them back to them only one week later.
William Regal & Eugene
Mere months before William Regal and Tajiri were World Tag Team Champions, Regal was paired with Eugene, the mentally challenged nephew of Eric Bischoff. In November 2004, the two got on the same page and defeated not only champions La Resistance but also Rhyno and Tajiri - holding the gold until January 2005.
The Rock & Chris Jericho
A great pairing on paper, The Rock and Chris Jericho could have been legendary tag team partners if not for the fact they were in the midst of a feud against one another. In September 2001, Rock and Jericho (representing the WWF) defeated The Dudley Boyz (representing The Alliance) and held the belts for eight days.
Animal & Heidenreich
In 2005, Road Warrior Animal returned to WWE and rescued by Heidenreich from a two-on-one attack by WWE Tag Team Champions MNM. Heidenreich then became an honorary Road Warrior, wearing the infamous Legion of Doom gear and facepaint when the team held the championship for over three months.
Diamond Dallas Page and Kevin Nash (as Vinnie Vegas) actually began teaming in 1992 as The Vegas Connection. But when they reunited in 2000 as The Insiders, both men had been main players in the WCW vs nWo rivalry. Twice, they defeated Shawn Stasiak and Chuck Palumbo to hold the WCW Tag Titles.
The Barbarian & Dick Slater
Two men who seemingly had nothing in common with one another, midcarders The Barbarian and Dick Slater defeated The Fabulous Freebirds to win the WCW U.S. Tag Team Championship in June 1992. Unfortunately, their reign lasted only a week before WCW retired the titles, meaning they were the final champions.
Charlie Haas & Rico
On paper, Charlie Haas and Rico were polar opposites - a straight-forward technical wrestler paired by a flamboyant glam rock type. Yet, paired with Miss Jackie, the two defeated the team of Rikishi and Scotty 2 Hotty to win the WWE Tag Team Championship in April 2004, holding it until mid-June of that year.
Cody Rhodes & Hardcore Holly
Cody Rhodes began his WWE career with a series of losses to veteran Hardcore Holly. But when Rhodes kept coming back for more, Holly took a shine to him. The two defeated Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch to win the World Tag Team Championship in December 2007 and held the belts for an amazing six months!
Big Show and The Miz had no history as a team with Raw guest host Jon Heder ordered them to take on D-Generation X in January 2010. Weeks later, teh team won the WWE Tag Team Championship from DX in an elimination match and held onto the belts for about two months, losing the gold to The Hart Dynasty.
The Miz & Damien Mizdow
In the summer of 2014, Damien Sandow was rescued from a gimmick of impersonating others to become The Miz's stunt double Damien Mizdow. Mizdow became incredibly popular and the two won the WWE Tag Team Championship in November, dropping the titles to The Usos one month later.
The Deleters Of Worlds
Following a most unusual feud, Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt began teaming together following WrestleMania XXXIV as The Deleters Of Worlds, capturing the titles from The Bar at The Greatest Royal Rumble.
Kane & X-Pac
The odd pairing of Kane and X-Pac teamed together when The Big Red Machine first became a babyface. Together, they captured the WWF World Tag Team Championship twice in 1999, defeating Jeff Jarrett & Owen Hart and The Acolytes. Eventually, X-Pac turned on Kane and reformed a heel D-Generation X
Rico & Rikishi
In May 2002, Rico was the manager of World Tag Team Champions Billy & Chuck. Rikishi chose a mystery partner to take on the champs at the Judgment Day pay-per-view, and it turned out to be.... Rico. The rivals won the belts together, although Rico would help Billy & Chuck regain the gold weeks later.
Kane & Mankind
Despite both being managed by Paul Bearer and having a mutual hate for Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Undertaker, Kane and Mankind were constantly at each other's throats. They held the WWF World Tag Team Championship twice in 1998, with Kane turning on Mankind after they lost.
Stone Cold Steve Austin & Shawn Michaels
Even when both men were fan favorites, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels were polar opposites, teaming up in May 1997 to take on common rivals The British Bulldog and Owen Hart to win the WWF World Tag Team Titles. They vacated the belts in July, just as they were set to face each other.
Kurt Angle & Chris Benoit
Despite both being technical standouts, Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit were rivals and reluctant partners that were put together by SmackDown GM Stephanie McMahon. They became the first WWE Tag Team Champions together, winning a tournament in October 2002 and losing the belts about two weeks later.
Rick Steiner & Judy Bagwell
An extremely unusual situation occurred in October 1998 when Rick Steiner and Buff Bagwell won the WCW World Tag Team Titles together... with Bagwell turning on his partner immediately after. Although Steiner chose Kenny Kaos as Buff's replacement, Rick eventually gave the title to Bagwell's mother, Judy!
Matt Hardy & MVP
In the summer of 2007, Matt Hardy was feuding with MVP over the United States Championship, but the two were forced to team up in August and defeated WWE Tag Team Champions Deuce and Domino. They held the championship for nearly three months, dropping the belts in November.
John Cena & Shawn Michaels
John Cena was WWE Champion and Shawn Michaels was his upcoming WrestleMania opponent, but the two managed to defeat Rated RKO in January 2007 to win the World Tag Team Titles. They held the gold while facing each other at WrestleMania XXIII, losing the championships the following night.
The Colossal Connection
During his decades-long career, Andre The Giant generally avoided permanent tag team partners. But in late 1989, he decided to team up with fellow Heenan Family member Haku as The Colossal Connection. The two won the WWF Tag Team Titles from Demolition, holding the belts for nearly five months.
Sting & The Giant
Sting and The Giant are another example of wrestlers who were often on opposing sides during the WCW vs. nWo feud. But in May 1988, the two defeated Kevin Nash and Scott Hall for the WCW World Tag Team Titles. They quickly broke and began feuding, with Sting keeping the championship.
Booker T & Goldust
Booker T and Goldust didn't get along for a variety of reasons, making them something of a comedy tag team. But after months of bickering, they teamed in December 2002 to capture the World Tag Team Championship... and hold it for less than a month.
Tommy Dreamer & Raven
Tommy Dreamer and Raven were mortal enemies in ECW, with the feud only ending when Raven was sent packing to ECW. But years later in 1999, Dreamer found himself challenging The Dudley Boyz and Raven resurfaced, helping Dreamer win the tag titles. The rivals held the gold for more than four months.
Owen Hart & Yokozuna
At WrestleMania XI, Owen Hart teased a mystery partner that would help him defeat WWF Tag Team Champions The Smoking Gunns. His partner turned out to be the 600-pound Yokozuna - a choice not many were expecting. The union worked surprisingly well, with the team holding the titles for most of 1995.
To demonstrate how successful The Bar have been... they weren't even on our list the first time we compiled this in 2016! Sheamus and Cesaro began teaming following a Best Of Seven series on Raw, and eventually captured the tag team championship on both Raw and SmackDown for a combined five reigns.
William Regal & Tajiri
William Regal and Tajiri, polar opposites in many ways, had gone through their up and downs, working together during the InVasion angle until Regal sided with The Alliance. Years later in 2005, the two were on Raw in Japan and defeated La Resistance to win the World Tag Team Titles, holding them for three months.
Bob Backlund & Pedro Morales
The odd pairing of Bob Backlund and Pedro Morales teamed up at New York's Shea Stadium in August 1980 to take on WWWF Tag Team Champions The Wild Samoans in a two out of three falls match. Backlund and Morales won but were forced to give up the belt because Backlund was also WWWF World Champion.
Alex Wright & General Rection
In 1998, Alex Wright was regularly tagging with Disco Inferno in a team commonly known as The Dancing Fools. However, Disco was injured in 2000, so Wright chose General Rection (Hugh Morrus/Bill DeMott) to help him win the WCW Tag Team Championship, although the two never actually teamed again.
In early 2020, Matt Riddle was rpaired with "The Bruiserweight" Pete Dunne in the NXT Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. Against all odds, the team of polar opposites ended up winning the tournament. Shortly thereafter, the newly-christened Broserweights upended The Undisputed Era to capture the NXT Tag Team Championship.
Braun Strowman & Nicholas
At WrestleMania XXXIV, Braun Strowman insisted he didn't need a partner to take on Raw Tag Team Champions The Bar. Once he was forced to choose one, The Monster Among Men found 10 year-old Nicholas in the audience and the two went on to capture the gold.
AJ Styles & Jerry Lynn
When NWA-TNA began in 2002, one of its first rivalries was between AJ Styles and Jerry Lynn for the X Division Championship. Soon, the rivals would team up and win a tournament to become the first NWA Tag Team Champions under the TNA banner. Styles and Lynn held the belts for one month.
Big Josh & Ron Simmons
Apart from both being fan favorites in WCW, the cartoonish Big Josh had little in common with the All-American Ron Simmons. Yet they randomly teamed in January 1992 and defeated The Young Pistols to win the WCW U.S. Tag Team Titles, dropping the belts one month later to Terry Taylor and Greg Valentine.
Eric Young & ODB
Eric Young took an unusual path to success in 2012. After beginning to date ODB, the two teamed to defeat Gail Kim and Madison Rayne to win the TNA Knockouts Tag Team Championship. Surprisingly, the two held the title for nearly 500 days, including a period where they got married.
Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov
In May 2010, Santino Marella proposed a tag team with Vladimir Kozlov but was turned down. After a ridiculous series of sketches, tea parties and dance-offs, Marella and Kozlov became a team. They won the belts in December 2010, dropping it two months later to former champs Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel.
Eddie Guerrero & Tajiri
In May 2003, Eddie Guerrero needed to find a new partner after his nephew Chavo Guerrero was injured. He chose Tajiri, and the two defeated Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin to win the WWE Tag Team Championship. They lost the belts about a month later, and then Guerrero promptly turned heel on Tajiri.
Shane McMahon & The Miz
Following his surprise win in the Best In The World match at Crown Jewel, Shane McMahon reluctantly began teaming with The Miz, who himself almost won that honor. Together, the two captured the SmackDown Tag Team Championship from The Bar at the 2019 Royal Rumble, and their team quickly dissolved after.
In September 2007, infamous football star Adam "Pacman" Jones came to TNA despite not being cleared to do any wrestling. He quickly latched on to Ron Killings (a/k/a R-Truth), and the two became a team, capturing the gold from Kurt Angle and Sting and losing them about a month later to Christian and Tomko.
Lance Storm & Chris Candido
In late-1997, Lance Storm and Chris Candido were members of The Triple Threat, although they never got along. Even while feuding, it didn't stop them from teaming to defeat Doug Furnas and Phil Lafon for the ECW World Tag Team Titles in December 1997, holding on to the championship for six months.
Ric Flair & Rowdy Roddy Piper
Sure, Ric Flair and Rowdy Roddy Piper were best friends in real life, but on screen they'd been portrayed as rivals. And when Piper was voted in to be Flair's partner at the November 2006 Cyber Sunday event, both men were past their prime. They defeated The Spirit Squad, and lost to Rated RKO one week later.
John Cena & David Otunga
When John Cena was forced to join Nexus, faction leader Wade Barrett ordered him to team with David Otunga and the two defeated Drew McIntyre and Cody Rhodes to win the WWE Tag Team Championship in October 2010. The next day, Barrett ordered Otunga to lose the belts to other Nexus members.
Cactus Jack & Mike Whipwreck
In August 1994, Cactus Jack was set to team with Terry Funk to challenge ECW World Tag Team Champions The Public Enemy. But when Funk left the company, Cactus chose Mikey Whipwreck - essentially the polar opposite of Funk - to be his partner. The odd pair held the titles for more than two months.
Edge and Chris Jericho were World Tag Team Champions in July 2009 when Edge suffered an injury. Jericho, allowed to pick a substitute partner, chose the 7 foot Big Show. The pairing developed an unusual chemistry together, allowing JeriShow to hold the championships until mid-December.
Kurt Angle & Sting
A very unusual situation took place in August 2007, as Kurt Angle was the lone TNA World Tag Team Champion. Sting - a frequent rival of Angle's - then won a four-way match on TNA Impact to become Angle's partner. The odd couple dropped the belts to Team Pacman about two weeks later.
John Cena & The Miz
Another instance where John Cena and his WrestleMania opponent (WWE Champion The Miz) were forced to team before their big match, and defeated WWE Tag Team Champions Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel in February 2011. The very same night, The Corre invoked their rematch clause and won.
Kane & The Hurricane
Despite both being masked men, Kane and The Hurricane were very unusual tag team partners because of their opposite personalities. The two defeated Christian and Lance Storm to win the World Tag Team Championship in September 2002, holding the titles for belts for three weeks. Wassupwidat?
Bret Hart & Goldberg
Stop us if you've heard this one before: Bret Hart and Goldberg were set to face each other at Starrcade for Hart's WCW World Championship. But before the match, they teamed to face Creative Control, and won the WCW Tag Team Titles as well. Their reign together lasted six days before they lost the belts.
Kane & Rob Van Dam
In March 2003, Kane and Rob Van Dam put aside their differences to team up and captured the World Tag Team Championship. Over two months, the duo was given a tremendous push, even battling The Legion Of Doom, but the partnership ended later that year when Kane was forced by Triple H to unmask.
Team Hell No
In mid-2012, both Daniel Bryan and Kane were heels that began feuding when they were forced to pair up. Despite constant dissention and anger management sessions with Dr. Shelby, Team Hell No had an incredible 245 day run as WWE World Tag Team Champions - especially given they never wanted to team up!
Stone Cold Steve Austin & Dude Love
It was the summer of 1997 (the summer of love?) and Stone Cold Steve Austin refused to team with Mankind against Owen Hart and The British Bulldog. Instead, Mankind's alter-ego Dude Love debuted and the two won the WWF Tag Team Championship together, albeit only for a few months due to Austin's injury.
The Rock & Sock Connection
The most unusual tag team partners in wrestling history came together in 1999, following a feud between The Rock and Mankind. At first, The Rock refused to team up with his dorky sidekick, who insisted the team be dubbed The Rock & Sock Connection. Reluctantly, the two teamed up to capture the WWF Tag Team Championship three times over the next year, despite constant infighting.