Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Top Ten Things: Worst WWF/E Tag Team Champions

Welcome to another edition of Top Ten Things devoted to piss-poor championship title reigns!  As you may have guessed from my previous entries (HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE), I like complaining about crappy champions.  So thought I'd continue doing so.  Admit it, you're happy to read more of it.

Anyway, today I'm tackling the subject of weakest WWF/E Tag Team Championship reigns of all time.  The WWE Tag Championship dates back, in some form, to the company's 1963 inception (and even earlier; the WWWF United States Tag Titles were created in 1958).  After a couple different incarnations, the World Tag Team Championship as it was known for decades was created in 1971 and was first worn by Luke Graham and Tarzan Tyler (who captured the titles via a REAL tournament, as opposed to the imaginary ones Buddy Rogers and Pat Patterson won for their respective inaugural titles).  This version of the tag belts was around until 2010 when they were merged with the WWE Tag Team Titles (from Smackdown), and for some reason the current RAW Tag belts follow that newer lineage that began in 2002, while the current Smackdown Tag belts only date back to 2016.  I don't get it either.

Regardless, this particular set of belts has a rich, storied history, and just about every team that was anyone possessed them at one time or another.  For years the longevity record was held by Demolition, who had a stranglehold on the titles for 16 months.  Recently though The New Day eclipsed that record, but again the current set of belts is supposedly not the same as the old one.  I dunno.  Fuck it.

That's all irrelevant, I'm just here to talk about the shitty champions, so here we go, in chronological order.....

1. 1-2-3 Kid & Marty Janetty (1994)

As with the previous Worst Champions lists, there are some entries here that aren't intrinsically undeserving, but made the list due to the way their title run was booked.  Our first example is one such....example.  In January of 1994 this upstart team, fresh off winning their Survivor Series match two months earlier (outlasting fellow team members Razor Ramon and Randy Savage, plus opponents IRS, Diesel, Adam Bomb and Rick Martel) got a title shot against The Quebecers on Monday Night RAW and shocked everyone by winning the straps.  This was an exciting title change for rising underdog Sean Waltman and Shawn Michaels' former sidekick, and it seemed like the company had made a brand new star babyface tag team.  Aaaand then they dropped the belts back to The Quebecers at a house show one week later and were never heard from again as a team.  Pointless.

2. Men on a Mission (1994)

Another short-lived title run in between Quebecer stints took place over a two-day period in England, only two months after Kid & Marty's.  Mo and Mabel, the goofy but sorta dominant babyface tandem who took The Quebecers to the limit at WrestleMania X, finally got the job done at a house show two weeks after 'Mania.  What an accomplishment, and what a treat for the British fans--- oh wait, they lost the belts back 48 hours later.  And like Marty and Waltman, they'd never win them again.  Look, I wasn't the biggest MOM fan by any means, but what is the point of giving a team a championship for two days and never putting them anywhere near said championship again?  And what was with Jacques and Pierre temporarily losing the belts over and over?

3. 1-2-3 Kid & Bob Holly (1995)

Poor Sean Waltman is on this list twice, as in 1995 he'd have another cup of coffee with the tag belts.  This time there was a tournament to crown new champs after Shawn Michaels and Diesel split up and vacated the titles.  Diesel went on to win the WWF Title three days later, while Shawn became the company's top heel.  The tournament brackets were announced in December or January, with the finals taking place at the 1995 Royal Rumble.  Problem was the heavy favorites, The Smoking Gunns, had to bow out of the tournament due to injury, and were thus replaced by this unlikely duo.  Kid and Holly became the Cinderella story, their resilency taking them all the way to the finals against Bam Bam Bigelow and Tatanka.  At the Rumble, in a shockingly good match, another upset took place, and our mongrel babyface team triumphed!  And then the next night on RAW the Smoking Gunns returned and got a title shot, even though they hadn't even participated in the tournament.  Surely Bam Bam and Tatanka should've been first in line, no?  Regardless, Billy and Bart Gunn won the titles, cutting short Waltman and Holly's celebration.  And what happened to this team after that?  You guessed it, they went their separate ways and this whole tourney was for nothing.  May as well have just handed the vacant belts to the Gunns at that point.

4. Holly Cousins (1999)

Bob Holly gets two consecutive mentions on this list.  In 1999 Holly, repackaged as "Hardcore" Holly, who specialized in the WWF's new "kitchen sink" style of wrestling, teamed with his pretend cousin Crash Holly as essentially a heel comedy duo.  Bob was the serious one and Crash was the goofball.  This gimmick stunk, and really the only good thing to come out of it was Crash's 24/7 defenses of the Hardcore Title, where the belt was always on the line, no matter what time of day or where Crash happened to be.  Oh, and Molly Holly.  I heart her.  In October of 1999, amid Vince Russo's short attention span booking spree where belts changed hands on a weekly basis, Bob and Crash defeated the Rock n' Sock Connection (the mega-over Rock-Mankind tandem) for the belts on RAW.  And then two weeks later at a Smackdown taping they lost them to Mankind and Al Snow.  So in the span of two weeks the tag titles were downgraded in prestige from Mankind-Rock, to Mankind-Snow.  Jeezus H. Christ.  Bob and Crash of course never saw tag gold again.

5. Too Cool (2000)

The year 2000 saw tag team wrestling revolutionized, as Edge & Christian, The Hardy Boyz and The Dudley Boyz blew the roof off the Arrowhead Pond with the first-ever Triangle Ladder Match.  Edge & Christian, who had struggled to connect with fans as a babyface team, quickly found their identity as obnoxious heels who thwarted the Hardys and Dudleys at seemingly every turn.  They were on track to have an epic tag title run and feud with both of their groundbreaking rival teams throughout the year.  But wait, here came a silly comedy act called Too Cool to break it all up.  Grandmaster Sexay (RIP Brian Lawler) and Scotty 2 Hotty defeated Edge & Christian on RAW less than two months removed from WrestleMania, getting a big pop from the live crowd but little more.  Four weeks after that Edge & Christian regained the titles at King of the Ring, and, what a shock, Too Cool never came close to the belts again.

6. Rock & Undertaker (2000)

During The Attitude Era the WWF was notorious for taking to top singles stars who didn't get along and having them briefly win the Tag Team Titles.  This happened so many times from 1997 on that I could fill a whole Top Ten Things with just these instances.  The earliest example I can remember is Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels, which was actually awesome (their title run got cut short when Shawn got injured), but the company tried to recapture that magic ad nauseum, and this entry might be the most pointless.  In December of 2000 Kurt Angle was the WWF Champion and every top babyface in the company was gunning for him, including The Rock, who he'd defeated for the belt, and The Undertaker, who he'd beaten at Survivor Series.  At Armageddon Angle defended against Rock, Taker, Steve Austin, Triple H and Rikishi, and eked out a win.  I guess to give them something to do and to give them back some heat or whatever, the company had Rock and Taker beat Edge & Christian (who'd just regained the titles at Armageddon) for the tag belts a week later on RAW, only to lose them back to E&C the next night on Smackdown.  Why?  Who the fuck knows?  Just one of many nonsensical tag title pairings during that era.

7. Rico & Rikishi (2002)

In 2002 WWE held the first roster split, where Smackdown became a consistently pretty great show for a while, and RAW became pure drivel.  One of the issues was the uneven distribution of championships between the two shows.  For example both the Intercontinental and European Titles went to RAW despite its roster being significantly thinner than Smackdown's.  Additionally the Tag Team Championship became Smackdown-exclusive despite an already razor-thin company-wide tag division.  Even on top of that, the company split up the Dudley Boyz and the APA, two of the top four teams, leaving almost no one to contend for this championship (The Hardy Boyz were the only other top team left, and they were on RAW).  Thus at Judgment Day 2002, the champs, Billy & Chuck, dropped the titles to the makeshift duo of Rico (formerly B&C's manager) and Rikishi.  Oh super, there's a classic feud.  Don't worry though, Billy & Chuck regained the belts 16 days later before pointlessly losing them to another mongrel team.   

8. Edge & Hulk Hogan (2002)

This one might've pissed me off more than any other because of the card reshuffle it caused.  2002 was of course the year Hulk Hogan came back to WWE, faced The Rock at WrestleMania, and due to the overwhelmingly positive crowd response he got, was given one last WWF Title run out of nowhere (which meant Triple H's huge crowning moment as Undisputed Champion lasted a measly four weeks).  But not only did he fuck up the WrestleMania aftermath, his presence ruined what could've been a Match of the Year contender at Vengeance.  Edge had begun feuding with Chris Jericho a month earlier and they were slated to face off at Vengeance, but their match was canceled (fucking CANCELED) after Edge teamed with Hogan on the July 4th RAW (America, yay!) to unseat Billy & Chuck for the tag belts.  So a potentially great PPV match for Jericho (which he could've used after being so weakly booked all year) was off so Edge and Hogan could defend against Jericho's friends Lance Storm & Christian, while Jericho got a six-minute clean loss to a rookie named John Cena (Yes, I know Jericho was totally fine with this loss because he saw a lot of potential in John, but it still made him look like a total fucking chump).  Meanwhile Edge and Hogan's title run ended after 19 days and Hogan was gone a month later, having won two championships he didn't need in 2002.

9. Ric Flair & Roddy Piper (2006)

Speaking of fifty-plussers who don't need titles, in 2006 Ric Flair was sorta feuding with The Spirit Squad (because who doesn't like a 5-on-1 feud?) and had been granted a Tag Team Title shot at Cyber Sunday (the ill-conceived annual PPV where the fans got to vote on the matchups and the company would throw together a show based on the tabulated results from that day).  What the fans got to vote on here was Flair's tag team partner, a choice between the 61-year-old Dusty Rhodes, the 58-year-old Sgt. Slaughter, and the 52-year-old Roddy Piper, none of whom was in anything approaching wrestling shape.  Piper won the vote and teamed with the 57-year-old Flair to defeat two Spirit Squad guys for the belts.  That's right, a duo with a combined age of 109 were now the WWE Tag Champions.  And this company wonders why it has trouble creating new stars.  These old fucks lost the belts eight days later to a hot new heel tandem called Rated RKO (Edge and Randy Orton), who seemed primed to take the company by storm.

10. John Cena & Shawn Michaels (2007)

But wait, we can't let anyone new get over, here's another pairing of feuding main event guys to fuck it all up.  Only a couple months after Orton and Edge took the belts, the two babyfaces slated to main event WrestleMania 23 against each other snapped up the titles.  WWE Champion John Cena and his WrestleMania challenger Shawn Michaels actually went into their 'Mania head-to-head meeting as tag team partners, which added absolutely nothing to their match.  It was a WrestleMania main event for the company's top prize, why did the two guys involved need the tag belts too?  Couldn't Edge and Orton have benefitted from a high-profile title defense at the biggest show of the year?  Cena vs. Shawn was an excellent match, but their being co-champions didn't even enter into the story.  They were rivals for the WWE Championship and nothing more.  And then one night after 'Mania they dropped the belts to the Hardy Boyz.  So this was entirely without purpose.  Why not have Rated RKO vs. The Hardys at WrestleMania, hmm?  Fuck this company.

Well that's enough pissing and moaning from me today.  Hope you enjoyed another look at some stupidly booked championship reigns.  Don't forget to join us on Facebook, MeWe and Twitter!

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