May is Tag Team Appreciation Month at Wrestling Merchandise & Memories, with nearly 100 unique and interesting articles on the art of tag team wrestling.
From the time it was purchased by Turner Broadcasting in 1988 until the time it was sold in 2001, WCW was a fantastic place for tag teams to compete. The WCW World Tag Team Championship changed hands at least 70 times over that period, while the company also had added U.S. and Cruiserweight Tag Team Champions from time to time.
In counting down the Top 50 WCW Tag Teams, Wrestling Merchandise and Memories ranked them using the following criteria:
How successful and memorable were they within WCW?
How long did they team up for?
Did they have any memorable matches?
NOTE: As much as I love teams like the original Minnesota Wrecking Crew, Steamboat and Youngblood and The Dudley Boyz, this is only for the period when Ted Turner owned WCW (1988-2001).
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!
Tex Lazenger & Shanghai Pierce
Debuting in 1992, the Texas duo of Tex Lazenger & Shanghai Pierce were the tag team equivalent of jobbers to the stars in WCW, often losing to bigger teams and winning a handful of preliminary matches on their own. The team would go on to bigger things in the WWF as Henry and Phineas Godwinn.
The WCW Patriots
Hailing from the ficticious hometown of "WCW Special Forces," The WCW Patriots debuted in 1991 as a G.I. Joe-esque squad to fight the forces of evil. Comprised of Private Todd Champion and Firebreaker Chip, the two actually held the WCW U.S. Tag Team Championship for about three months.
As part of the Vince Russo-led era of WCW, a storyline was concocted in which Disco Inferno was behind on his gambling debts and was being tracked down by the mafia-like team of Big Vito and Johnny The Bull. Managed by Tony Marinara, The Mamalukes held tag team gold twice.
Fire & Ice
In 1996, veteran strongman Scott Norton began teaming with rookie Ice Train after the two had a match against each other on WCW Saturday Night. The team was dubbed Fire & Ice (for some reason) and didn't last long, as Norton eventually turned on his younger partner.
Bunkhouse Buck & Dick Slater
Veterans Bunkhouse Buck and Dick Slater began teaming shortly after Buck debuted in WCW in 1994, managed by Col. Robert Parker as part of his Stud Stable Together, they defeated Harlem Heat for the WCW World Tag Team Championship, holding the gold for about three months.
The Blue Bloods
Although they were never tag team champions, the team of Lord Steven Regal and born-again Brit Sir Robert Eaton (a/k/a Bobby Eaton) were one of WCW's tag team highlights in the mid-1990s. Known as The Blue Bloods, Regal and Eaton feuded with Harlem Heat and other top tag team talent.
Flyin' Brian & Z-Man
Flyin' Brian (Pillman) and Z-Man (Tom Zenk) began teaming up in WCW in early 1990, becoming one of the more exciting high-flying duos at the time. Together, they captured the U.S. Tag Team Championship and feuded with the likes of The Midnight Express before going their separate ways.
The Hardline Collection Agency
Dick Murdoch and Dick Slater were brought into WCW by Paul E. Dangerously with instructions to take the WCW Tag Team Championship from Rick and Scott Steiner. While The Hardline Collection Agency didn't accomplish that goal, they managed to injure Scott.
Cactus Jack & Maxx Payne
Although both men debuted as heels in WCW, Cactus Jack (a/k/a WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley) and Maxx Payne teamed as babyfaces in 1994. Together, they defeated Shanghai Pierce and Tex Lazenger at Starrcade and engaged in a feud with The Nasty Boys, culminating with Jack and Payne capturing the WCW World Tag Team Championship.
The Public Enemy
Wildly successful in ECW (not so much in the WWF), The Public Enemy also had a big run in WCW around the beginning of the Nitro era in 1996. Johnny Grunge and Flyboy Rocco Rock replicated their ECW-style hardcore act, feuding with The Nasty Boys and capturing the WCW World Tag Team Championship.
Arn Anderson & Paul Roma
While WWE Hall of Famer Arn Anderson and Paul Roma aren't likely the first duo that comes to mind when you think of The Four Horsemen, they were actually one of the more successful WCW teams in the early 1990s. Anderson and Roma defeated Steve Austin and Steven Regal (subbing for Brian Pillman) to capture the WCW Tag Team Championship.
WWE Hall of Famers Kevin Nash and Diamond Dallas Page decided to team up in late-2000, reprising their "Vegas Connection" team from a decade prior when both were relative rookies. Now known as The Insiders the two defeated The Natural Born Thrillers to win the WCW Tag Team Championship.
Chris Benoit & Dean Malenko
Members of The Four Horsemen (and later The Revolution, which would become The Radicalz in the WWF), Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko were one of the most technically-sound teams in WCW history. The pair captured the WCW World Tag Team Championship in 1999, defeating Barry Windham and Curt Hennig.
Dustin Rhodes & Ricky Steamboat
When Barry Windham was injured by Arn Anderson and Larry Zbyszko, Dustin Rhodes found a substitute partner in WWE Hall of Famer Ricky Steamboat. The two worked surprisingly well together and defeated Anderson and Zbyszko to win the WCW World Tag Team Championship in November 1991.
Mike Rotunda & Steve Williams
Veterans Mike Rotunda and Steve Williams were part of The Varsity Club faction (along with Kevin Sullivan, Rick Steiner and Dan Spivey). Rotunda and Williams teamed to upset The Road Warriors for the tag team titles in 1988.
While Ivan and Nikita Koloff's best days as a team were clearly before the NWA became WCW (winning the NWA Tag Team Championship twice in 1986), The Russians were still a force to be reckoned with in the Turner era, making life miserable for the likes of Dusty Rhodes, Sting and The Road Warriors.
The teaming of WWE Hall of Famers Arn Anderson and Larry Zbyszko in 1991 was in many ways the cornerstone of Paul E. Dangerously's Dangerous Alliance faction. Andeerson and Zybszko injured strongman Bill Kazamaier and then defeated him and Rick Steiner to win a tag team title tournament.
What began as a random pairing between two guys named Paul (Paul Roma and WWE Hall of Famer Paul Orndorff) turned out to be something, well, Pretty Wonderful. Managed by The Assassin, the team traded the WCW World Tag Team Championship with Stars and Stripes and feuded with The Nasty Boys.
The Super Powers
The teaming of Nikita Koloff with WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes began after the legitimate injury of Magnum T.A. in 1986, leading to The Super Powers capturing The Crockett Cup in 1987. The two continued to team up into the early days of WCW, battling The Russians and The Four Horsemen.
The Fabulous Freebirds
While there have been several iterations of WWE Hall of Famers The Fabulous Freebirds, the most successful pairing within WCW was Michael Hayes and Jimmy Garvin. The Freebirds twice captured the U.S. Tag Team Championship and also briefly held the WCW World Tag Team Championship.
Originally a masked duo that constantly lost their matches, Doom were unmasked as Butch Reed and WWE Hall of Famer Ron Simmons and managed by Theodore R. Long. The team held the WCW World Tag Team Championship for nearly a year, battling the likes of The Steiner Brothers and The Rock 'n' Roll Express.
The Nasty Boys
The Nasty Boys were one of the most enduring duos in WCW history. Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags debuted in 1990s and feuded with The Steiner Brothers for the U.S. Tag Team Championship. They returned a few years later and held the World Tag Team Championship three times.
WWE Hall of Famers Harlem Heat were the most decorated team in WCW history, capturing the WCW World Tag Team Championship 10 times between 1993 and 1999. While never headlining cards, Booker T and Stevie Ray managed to battle most of the era's top tag teams during that period.
Tully Blanchard & Arn Anderson
WWE Hall of Famers Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson began teaming as charter members of The Four Horsemen. The two had classic matches with The Road Warriors, Sting and Lex Luger, The Midnight Express and others, also capturing tag team gold along the way.
The Road Warriors
While WWE Hall of Famers The Road Warriors only held the tag team titles once (right as the Turner era began), there's no denying Hawk and Animal were one of the most dominant teams in wrestling history, let alone WCW. The Legion Of Doom battled The Steiner Brothers, The Powers of Pain, The Fabulous Freebirds and many others over the years.
The Colossal Kongs
In 1993, The Colossal Kongs debuted in WCW under the tutelage of WWE Hall of Famer Harley Race. Masked, bearded, huge and wearing furry vests, Awesome Kong (no relation to the female wrestler) and King Kong (no relation to the movie monster) crushed their competition for a short spell, even taking on the team of Sting and Ric Flair.
The Samoan Swat Team
Paul E. Dangerously recruited The Samoan Swat Team into WCW in 1989 after his Original Midnight Express weren't living up to expectations. Samu and Fatu (and later The Samoan Savage) clashed with The Midnight Express and other top teams, and were even part of the Iron Team tournament at Starrcade 1989.
The Original Midnight Express
Dennis Condrey and Randy Rose were (kind of) original members of The Midnight Express, so Paul E. Dangerously decided to bill them as The Original Midnight Express in the AWA. In 1988, Dangerously brought his Originals to WCW to feud with The Midnight Express.
The American Males
Scotty Riggs and Marcus Alexander Bagwell began teaming together as The American Males in 1995, in the persona of two Chippendales-like pretty boys. Together, The Males defeated Harlem Heat to capture the WCW World Tag Team Championship.
Chuck Palumbo & Sean O'Haire
Chuck Palumbo and Sean O'Haire had the distinction of being the final pair of WCW World Tag Team Champions under the Ted Turner regime. The members of The Natural Born Thrillers faction defeated Kevin Nash and Diamond Dallas Page to win the titles in January 2001, holding them until the company folded in March.
The Southern Boys
In 1990, Steve Armstrong and Tracy Smothers debuted in WCW as The Wild-Eyed Southern Boys (later The Southern Boys and later yet as the heelish Young Pistols), Armstrong and Smothers captured the U.S. Tag Team Championship and had great matches with the likes of The Midnight Express and Fabulous Freebirds.
Vicious & Delicious
When the new World order began taking over the wrestling world in 1996, heel authority figure Eric Bischoff offered any WCW wrestler a chance to join the expanding faction. Two of the WCW guys who took the bait were Scott Norton and Marcus Alexander (now Buff) Bagwell as Vicious & Delicious.
The Faces of Fear
While Haku and The Barbarian had previously teamed in the WWF under the tutelage of Bobby The Brain Heenan, they reformed their duo in WCW as part of Kevin Sullivan's Dungeon Of Doom faction. Later known as The Faces of Far, Haku (now Meng) and Barbarian took on Harlem Heat and The Four Horsemen.
Billy Kidman & Rey Mysterio Jr.
Billy Kidman and Rey Mysterio Jr. first began teaming together in 1999, when both men were part of the Filthy Animals faction. They defeated Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko to win the WCW World Tag Team Championship, as well as the short-lived WCW Cruiserweight Tag Team Championship.
Although Tommy Rogers and Bobby Fulton were best known for their apeparances in Mid-South and World Class, The Fantastics did have a run in WCW beginning in 1988. There, they feuded with The Midnight Express and captured the U.S. Tag Team Championship for a few months.
Dustin Rhodes & Barry Windham
According to legend, Dustin Rhodes and WWE Hall of Famer Barry Windham were part of each other's childhoods (connected by their famous fathers). Together, they upset the duo of Terry Gordy and Steve Williams in 1992 and briefly held the WCW World Tag Team Championship before Windham turned on his partner.
Stars and Stripes
When The Patriot made his debut in WCW, the company search for a partner he could mesh with, leading to Marcus Alexander Bagwell. Together as Stars and Stripes, the patriotic young duo feuded with Harlem Heat and Pretty Wonderful, twice capturing the WCW World Tag Team Championship.
Arn Anderson & Bobby Eaton
WWE Hall of Famer Arn Anderson and Bobby Eaton were put together in 1992 as a sort of tag team super-group, both men having teamed with multiple partners in the past. Managed by Paul E. Dangerously (and later Michael Hayes), Anderson and Eaton captured the WCW World Tag Team Championship.
Mark Jindrak & Sean O'Haire
During the final days of WCW, Mark Jindrak and Sean O'Haire broke away from The Natural Born Thrillers and captured the WCW World Tag Team Championship twice - once by winning a battle royal and once by defeating The Misfits In Action, with both title wins happening in 2000.
The Powers Of Pain
While better known for their WWF run, it was in WCW where The Warlord and The Barbarian first teamed up as The Powers of Pain. Managed by Paul Jones, the duo began making life miserable for the similar-looking Road Warriors, legitimately injuring Animal's eye in 1988.
Shane Douglas & Ricky Steamboat
Similar to the previous Dustin Rhodes-Ricky Steamboat pairing, Shane Douglas teamed with WWE Hall of Famer Steamboat as another veteran-youngster pairing. The two upset Barry Windham and Dustin Rhodes to win the WCW World Tag Team Championship in 1992.
2 Cold Scorpio & Marcus Alexander Bagwell
2 Cold Scorpio and Marcus Alexander Bagwell were one of the more exciting high-flying duos in WCW in the early 1990s, engaging in matches with The Hollywood Blonds and The Nasty Boys, whom they defeated for the WCW World Tag Team Championship in 1993.
Originally paired together as part of The New Blood faction, Bryan Clark (Adam Bomb) and Brian Adams (Crush) became a devastating tag team that were bigger and more powerful than many of their opponents. As Kronik, the team twice captured the WCW World Tag Team Championship in 2000.
The Rock 'n' Roll Express
While much of the success of WWE Hall of Famers The Rock 'n' Roll Express happened before the NWA was officially WCW, Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson popped up often during the Turner era, battling the likes of The Midnight Express, The Four Horsemen, Doom and The Fabulous Freebirds.
Steve Williams & Terry Gordy
Better known in Japan as The Miracle Violence Connection, Steve Williams and WWE Hall of Famer Terry Gody were imported into WCW in 1992 and promptly captured both the NWA and WCW Tag Team Championships, feuding extensively with The Steiner Brothers.
The Hollywood Blonds
Not having anything for either wrestler to do at the time, WCW opted to pair Brian Pillman and WWE Hall of Famer Steve Austin as a team. The two decided to make the most of this opportunity, named themselves The Hollywood Blonds (despite hailing from Ohio and Texas) and having a memorable run with the tag team titles.
Sting & Lex Luger
WCW's answer to The Mega Powers, WWE Hall of Famer Sting often teamed with Lex Luger - when they weren't feuding with each other, that is. The two had tremendous battles with The Road Warriors, Harlem Heat, The Steiner Brothers and the nWo, and their 1996 tag title reign lasted roughly five months.
The Midnight Express
While there have been several versions of The Midnight Express, the one we're talking about here is the combination of Bobby Eaton and Stan Lane. Managed by James E. Cornette, The Midnight Express held tag team gold and feuded with The Rock 'n' Roll Express, Four Horsemen and The Road Warriors among others.
The Outsiders (WWE Hall of Famers Scott Hall and Kevin Nash) represent one of the final tag team dynasties in WCW. As the driving force behind the nWo invasion of 1996, Hall and Nash captured the WCW World Tag Team Championship five times over a two-year period, battling virtually all of the top teams in the promotion.
Rick & Scott Steiner
Rick and Scott Steiner had seven WCW World Tag Team Championship reigns together lasting a combined 520 days, by far the longest run among titleholders during the WCW era. The Steiner Brothers also captured The Pat O'Connor Memorial Tag Team Tournament in 1990 and participated in some of the company's most high-profile tag team matches over an extended period of time.