And so the debate is rehashed…
With the return of the Dudleys to WWE and the balance of power shifting to one of professional wrestling’s most decorated tag teams of all time, fans once again open the discussion of which tag team combination is the best of all time.
[adinserter block=”2″]I personally love this topic as I grew up in a generation and time where tag team wrestling was an important part of programming – whether it was NWA of AWA or WCCW or a smaller promotion like Championship Wrestling from Florida or the Continental Wrestling Federation. The 1980s and early 1990s was bursting at the seams with great tag team combinations. WWE today is nothing compared to that period in wrestling lore and even as the WWF and later on WWE, there were some of the better tag teams to ever enter a squared circle.
Today’s division is somewhat of a minor league of sorts – with four solid tag teams and nothing more to show for it.
The fans in me loves the idea of Bubba Ray and Devon challenging The New Day and The Prime Time Players, but once the Usos get back in the wrestling picture, there will be what I consider a true tag team division in the McMahon circus.
Getting back on point here. The best tag team of all time. There is no arguing The Dudleys are the most decorated of any tag team on the planet.
They are 23-time World Tag Team Champions. They are the only team to have held the WWE, WWF/World, ECW, WCW, NWA, TNA, and IWGP Tag Team Championships. During their time as Aces & Eights, Bubba Ray (Bully Ray) was TNA World Heavyweight Champion on two occasions, while Devon was Television Champion. As Team 3D (as a team) were selected as that year’s induction into the TNA Hall of Fame. WWE recognizes them as the most decorated champions in company history, with 18 Tag Team Championship reigns between WWE, WCW, and ECW.
It stands to reason the two would be considered the most dominant team of all time, but to steal a phrase from Lee Corso of ESPN – not so fast my friends. Championships go a long way toward deciding the best tag team of all time, but they do not necessarily mean they ARE the best of all time.
When I think of best tag teams of all time, these are the four in addition to the Dudleys, that come to mind.
THE FOUR HORSEMEN
There may have been different combinations of the most elite team in wrestling history, but was there a better gimmick, a better group of style and a more complete group of champions? From that group was Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson. Two mid card wrestlers who were great singles stars on their own, but when they were in the ring together, they were an exceptional tag, team.
Blanchard, a second generation wrestler, was a regional star in San Antonio before moving on to Jim Crockett Promotions. Arn Anderson was a regional mid carder who reinvented himself to become a member of the Anderson clan. They held the World Tag Team Titles on numerous occasions and battles The Road Warriors, The Midnight Express, the Rock and Roll Express and Dusty Rhodes and Nikita Koloff. They held their own against some of the best tag teams of all time.
The brothers, Rick and Scott Steiner, made a name for themselves in WCW and in Japan and were a true combination of brute force and agility. The Frankensteiner of the top rope by Scott Steiner (before steroids took cover his body) and the power and mat skill of Rick made them a multi-time tag team champion. They were also solid singles wrestlers as Scott held the WCW World Title and Rick was a singles champion as well.
While many brother combinations have been successful in their careers (The Funks, The Briscos, The Von Erichs) these two were the best of them
THE WILD SAMOANS
This team may have been the last great heel tag team that fans were truly afraid of. And no team in the WWWF and WWF was as dominant as Afa and Sika. They were also a tag team that relied on their manager, Capt. Lou Albano, to do their talking, which was part of the true responsibility of the manager back in the 1970s and early 1980s.
Big, strong, savage-looking. Afa and Sika were a hit for walking to the ring with big hair, beating on each other and looking like they could kill someone with just a stare.
[adinserter block=”1″]Their height of popularity rose in the wake of Hulkamania. Toward the end of their career, they became fan favorites. Afa and Sika are part of the famed Anoa’I Family, which has produced Rikishi, Tonga Kid, Umaga, Roman Reigns, The Usos and The Rock.
THE ROAD WARRIORS
No tag team was ahead of its time like Hawk and Animal. When Ole Anderson brought them down from Minnesota, they didn’t say much – they just came to the ring in football gear with spikes – and beat the hell out of their opponents. Coming into Ironman and living on catchphrases like “We snack on danger and dine on death,” they were the catalyst for the new brand of heavyweight tag teams.
Often imitated but never duplicated, they destroyed everything in their wake and won world titles in the AWA, NWA, WWE, WCW, and TNA.
I still think they are the best of all time because they had no competition when they first started out, beat the best easily and made the tag team division and professional wrestling adapt to them, not the other way around.