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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

10 Old-School WWE Tag Team Champions, Ranked By Likability

The 80s was an exciting time in WWE, as the ‘Golden Era’ came about powered by huge stars like Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, and Andre The Giant. It was also a great period for tag team wrestling in the company, with some of the best tandems of all time being formed during this period.



RELATED: 10 Best Quotes of WWE’s Golden Era, Ranked

This continued into the ‘New Generation Era’ during the 90s, when the promotion’s overall business was suffering, but the tag division remained in good health. This gave a number of memorable tandems a chance to win the coveted WWE Tag Team Championships, with some being more likeable than others.

10 The Brainbusters

10 Legendary Tag Teams That Still aren’t in the Hall of Fame

A team that was only in WWE for a hiccup but left a huge mark on the division was The Brainbusters, who managed to become champions during their year-long stint. The former Horsemen Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson were already one of the best tandems in the world before they jumped to WWE in 1988, having performed as part of the NWA for years.

Even as heels, it is clear that they were often leagues above their opponents in terms of quality, which is hard not to admire especially from a modern perspective. Their legacy and influence on today’s teams shows this admiration, which makes them one of the more likeable heel teams of the era.

9 The British Bulldogs

The British Bulldogs

Outside the ring, the pair had many problems, particularly Dynamite Kid, but they were so excitingly good inside it. They were ahead of their time as a team, taking their technical British style and forming a gimmick to suit the American audience.

They won the WWE Tag Team Championship at the height of their fame, as Davey Boy Smith went on to find more success as a solo British Bulldog. Easily two of the best in-ring stars of their generation, the tandem’s legacy lives on even as both men have passed.

8 Soul Patrol

Rocky Johnson & Tony Atlas

The Soul Patrol have the honorable distinction of being the first two black men to hold the WWE Tag Team Championship, winning the belts back in 1983. The team of Tony Atlas and Rocky Johnson were tremendous individuals but were even better together as they took the company by storm.

RELATED: The 14 Best Black Tag Teams In Wrestling History

The only knock against the group is that they appeared before WWE became more mainstream, after the advent of WrestleMania in 1985. Still, they were extremely likeable and trailblazers within the business and should not be forgotten anytime soon.

7 The U.S. Express

The US Express

One of the better All-American tag teams that were prevalent throughout the 80s was the combination of Barry Windham and Mike Rotunda, the U.S. Express. The two-time WWE Tag Team Champions were only around in the company for exactly one year, but they were memorable enough to become a big act in the company during that time.

The team would later evolve into the American Express, with Dan Spivey replacing Windham, who left the company at the end of 1985. However, this iteration of the team did not have the same success as it was clearly a diluted version of the original.

6 The Smoking Gunns

The Smoking Gunns

The kayfabe brothers were a fan-favorite young team that got pushed fairly early on in their WWE careers, winning the tag titles three times. Accompanied by Sunny, the Gunns blended their size with great athleticism, forming a memorable act in their cowboy outfits.

It also gave at least one of them the platform to have a great WWE career as Billy found later solo and tag success, particularly as part of the New Age Outlaws. For Bart, it was not quite as good, but the Smoking Gunns was undoubtedly a successful act.

5 The Rockers

The Rockers Cropped

Technically The Rockers never went down in the history books as tag team champions, but they did actually win the belts at one point. It was only later decided that their win over the Hart Foundation would not be aired on television, making the title change a non-canon event.

RELATED: 10 Things WWE Fans Should Know About The Rockers

However, they deserve a shout-out for being one of the most likeable tag teams of the time, with their high-flying maneuvers being some of the best of the generation. Shawn Michaels would obviously become the breakout star of the group, but both men made for a great tandem while it lasted.

4 Strike Force

Strike Force holding up the WWE Tag Team Championships.

The team of Tito Santana and Rick Martel were a good-looking combination of two babyface wrestlers, which the crowd enjoyed greatly. It was quite a simple connection, but it worked during a time when good guys were just admired for being virtuous and tough, which is what Strike Force represented.

They teamed together on and off for a few years, winning the tag title from the Hart Foundation in 1987. The eventual split was great too as it gave rise to Martel’s ‘Model’ character.

3 The Hart Foundation

The Hart Foundation WWE Tag Team Champions 1st Reign Cropped

Despite being heels for quite a while after they first debuted in 1985 under the stewardship of Jimmy Hart, the Hart Foundation grew to be one of the most revered tag teams of all time. Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart and Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart showed great teamwork throughout their six years together, winning the WWE Tag Team Championship twice.

Bret would embark on his solo career in 1991, establishing himself as one of the greatest wrestlers in history. His beginnings as part of the Hart Foundation can’t be forgotten though, as it was vitally important to establishing ‘The Hitman’ in WWE.

2 The Steiner Brothers

Steiner Brothers

The Steiner Brothers were already a successful team in WCW before jumping to WWE in 1992, but their meathead jock energy really fitted in well with Vince McMahon’s cartoonish promotion. The Hall of Famers would win the tag titles twice in as many years, as they became a fan favourite act in the company.

It was a shame their run was cut short as they left for ECW in 1995, before returning to WCW in 1996. However, they are still regarded as one of the best teams in the company’s history and are still imitated by tag teams today.

1 Legion of Doom

Legion Of Doom Cropped

One of the most beloved and best tag teams of all time came to WWE for a short spell at the start of the 90s and proved why they had been dominating the medium for so long. Road Warriors Hawk and Animal brought more intensity than any other team, with a distinctive look that became easily recognizable.

They managed to win the WWE Tag Team Championship twice throughout their short spell in the company, adding to their litany of titles from around the world. They would also return to WWE for another run in 1997 as the ‘Attitude Era’ was starting to take off.

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