Underrated WWE Tag Teams More Fans Should Appreciate

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WWE may not be known for its tag team wrestling in the same way All Elite Wrestling currently is or Total Nonstop Action Wrestling was in its heyday, but there have always been a small handful of teams in the company at any given time capable of entertaining the masses. Given the company's lack of focus and attention to the tag team division under Vince McMahon, great teams would often fall through the cracks or go under-appreciated by the higher-ups. In many cases, such teams would even win one of the company's world tag team championships only to be cast to the side in favor of the inevitable break-up between partners.

That said, WWE is still home to some of the world's greatest tag teams. However, for every team like the Usos and The New Day, there are tons more who have gotten lost to time and do not get the respect they deserve for being an excellent unit. Some are bound by blood or a real-life bond, while others came together as a happy accident that ultimately paid dividends for the tag team division as a whole.

Here are 12 underrated WWE tag teams that more fans should appreciate.

MNM

MNM, short for "Mercury, Nitro, and Melina" were the quintessential heel tag team of the mid-2000s. Joey Mercury, also known as Joey Matthews, was known as the go-to fundamental wrestler of the team and became a de-facto mentor to Johnny Nitro, who had immense potential as a winner of "Tough Enough III," a reality show where contestants compete with one another with the hope of winning a WWE contract at season's end. Their manager, Melina, became a heat magnet for her attitude, looks, and signature entrance. She also dated Nitro outside the ring for several years. Together, MNM, debuted as a trio of Hollywood-inspired heels more interested in the movie star lifestyle than actually being movie stars. The formation of MNM actually came together in Ohio Valley Wrestling, where they won the OVW Southern Tag Team Championship and made their way to the ring to the tune of "Superstar" by Saliva.

Jim Johnston penned the team a new, original song in time for their debut on "SmackDown," which occurred on April 14, 2005. They immediately became tag team champions on the "blue brand," taking the titles from Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio in their very first match just two weeks after debuting. The team broke up after the Judgment Day pay-per-view in 2006 without a proper feud. In reality, Mercury and Nitro did not get along, so WWE made the decision to move Nitro and Melina to "Raw" while Mercury continued as a singles competitor on "SmackDown" after serving a suspension for violating the WWE Wellness program. The team reunited ahead of the memorable four-way ladder match at Armageddon 2006 when Mercury broke his nose in gruesome fashion on a ladder.

Cesaro & Tyson Kidd

Cesaro and Tyson Kidd made for a natural tag team, but they unfortunately saw their run come to an end before it could build the necessary momentum. Like many great teams before them, the pairing blended power (Cesaro) with speed (Kidd), though both competitors could more than hold their own and had an instant chemistry. The team formed in 2014, but hit its stride in 2015 as a much-needed opponent for The New Day, a team that is generally considered one of the greatest in company history. When the WWE decided to keep the team together heading into the new year, they became tentatively known as "Masters of the Universe," a name used at house shows that never quite caught on on television.

Kidd and Cesaro peaked at Fastlane 2015, when they defeated The Usos for the WWE Tag Team Championship and proceeded to hold the belts for 63 days. The team continued on through the middle part of the year until Kidd sustained an injury to his upper spine/neck region against Samoa Joe after taking Joe's patented Muscle Buster move. The injury kept Kidd out of action throughout the rest of the year and ultimately ended his career. With Kidd indefinitely sidelined, Cesaro embarked on a babyface run before recapturing tag team magic with a new partner, Sheamus, in a team collectively known as "The Bar." As successful of a team as The Bar became (six-time tag team champions), it is fair to wonder what Kidd and Cesaro could have accomplished had it not been for Kidd's injury.

Billy & Chuck

As the first "gay" tag team in WWE, the pairing of Billy Gunn and Chuck Palumbo was so much more than the "publicity stunt" the team grew to be. According to Chuck Palumbo in an interview with Chris Van Vliet, he was first approached by Sgt. Slaughter and/or Triple H about doing a gay storyline with Billy Gunn, in which the two would have a lengthy tag team run before the "big day." Both Gunn and Palumbo committed heavily to the storyline, bleaching their hair in solidarity and even wearing matching gear. "Me and Chuck had a conversation, 'hey, if we do this, we have to go all-in," Gunn said on "Sessions with Renee Paquette." "It's not going to be anything disgusting or raunchy, but I'm sure we're going to have to do some crazy things just to plant it in people's minds, and we did. But we had to be on the same page, we both had to be invested and we both had to do it 100%, whether we fall flat on our faces or not."

Billy and Chuck went on to win the WWE World Tag Team Championship on two separate occasions. The first came against Spike Dudley and Tazz on an episode of "SmackDown," while the second came against the team's "stylist," Rico, and his partner Rikishi. Rico had "accidentally" won the belts off of his clients, but assisted the former champs in regaining the belts on an episode of "SmackDown." The team came to an end during their "commitment ceremony," when Billy and Chuck revealed they were actually straight men that got involved in a publicity stunt that went too far. 

For Gunn, his time teaming with Palumbo might be overshadowed by his time in The New Age Outlaws and D-Generation X. However, Billy & Chuck might just be the crowning achievement for Palumbo during his time in WWE. The duo made the most of their brief run together, even winning Pro Wrestling Illustrated Tag Team of the Year in 2002.

Jeri-Show

The pairing of Chris Jericho and The Big Show took on a life of its own as "Jeri-Show." The team came together on the heels of the company unifying the World Tag Team Championship from the "Raw" brand and the WWE Tag Team Championship from the "SmackDown" brand. Jericho had just won the unified titles with Edge at The Bash in 2009, but after Edge tore his Achilles tendon, Jericho -– in storyline –- used a contractual loophole to pick a new partner. Jericho introduced The Big Show as his new teammate at Night of Champions the following month and together defeated Legacy to retain the belts. The pairing worked better than anybody could have imagined and carried the tag team division on both brands, while elevating challengers such as Cryme Tyme, MVP and Mark Henry, and Rey Mysterio and Batista. As a result, Jeri-Show dominated the WWE throughout the summer of 2009, and became focal points of the show for their natural star power on both brands as well as a dynamic that towed a fine line between serious and comedic.

When Bragging Rights came around later in the month, The Big Show, still technically a member of the "Raw" roster, turned on his teammates during a battle of the brads so he could be granted a World Heavyweight Championship match against The Undertaker. Jericho also got involved to make it a triple-threat match. The match with The Undertaker took place at Survivor Series. However, the desire of both men to become the world champion created a rift between them, and both Jericho and The Big Show carried that mutual animosity back into their next program with D-Generation X. With D-X ending Jeri-Show's reign, Jericho reverted to the "SmackDown" brand to feud with a returning Edge while The Big Show carried on the spirit of Jeri-Show through a new tag team with The Miz known as ShowMiz

Two singles stars forming a successful tag team is nothing new on WWE programming, but Jeri-Show might be the best example of two thrown-together singles stars that made for a natural partnership.

La Resistance

La Resistance may not have been the first team of French Canadians in WWE, but they were a unique group of wrestlers who could successfully draw heat despite their lack of experience of wrestling on television. 

The team existed in three different pairings between its three members: Sylvain Grenier, Rene Dupree and Rob Conway. Grenier debuted as Mr. McMahon's hand-picked referee throughout early 2003 but lacked experience as an in-ring talent. Dupree, the son of Canadian wrestler and promoter Emile Dupree, was something of a prodigy for his physique and experience at such a young age and became the first teenager to win a title in the WWE. Conway, the most seasoned wrestler of the group hailed from Louisville, Kentucky, changed his name to "Robért Conway," and became the group's token French sympathizer. Big things began to quickly materialize for Dupree and Grenier, the group's two initial members, who had an in-ring segment with Steve Austin one month after debuting on television on Memorial Day. Dupree and Conway also went on to have a memorable in-ring segment with The Rock 'n' Sock Connection. "That gimmick, when it first shot off for the first six months, we were on fire as far as heat," Dupree said on his podcast, "Cafe de Rene with Rene Dupree." "At Madison Square Garden, we needed a police escort. That kind of heat doesn't happen in this day and age."

With Dupree and Conway carrying the in-ring work while Grenier played on his ability to generate heat, La Resistance showed they could hold their own with the top tag teams on "Raw." Dupree and Grenier held the World Tag Team Championship on one occasion, while Grenier and Conway held the belts three different times after Dupree got drafted to "SmackDown." The company made a half-hearted attempt to bring the group back on its third brand, "ECW on SyFy" in 2007, but a wellness policy violation from Dupree put an end to the run before it could take off. Dupree and Grenier were released from their WWE contracts in the spring and summer of 2007, putting a permanent end to the La Resistance tag team in WWE.

Heavenly Bodies

The Heavenly Bodies have existed in several incarnations throughout the years, but are perhaps best known for the combination that competed in the WWF: Dr. Tom Prichard and Jimmy Del Ray. With Jim Cornette managing them, The Heavenly Bodies quickly became a legitimate heel tag team in the promotion, even if they were not official members of the WWF roster. Rather, the Bodies wrestled on major WWF events due to a working agreement with Cornette's Smoky Mountain Wrestling.

The Heavenly Bodies went on to produce one of the most technically proficient WWF tag team matches of the '90s when they met the Steiner Brothers at SummerSlam 1993. The Steiners beat the Bodies in just under 10 minutes that night, in a textbook tag team match for the amount of time and build (or lack thereof) the match received. "We had made our first TV taping four weeks before this and the Bodies, I think, had two television matches," Cornette said on his podcast, "The Jim Cornette Experience." "We cut some promos and dusted the Steiners up on television, but we took the people on the ride where they thought it was just going to be a bull**** match, and then they weren't sure, then they thought, 'you know they might actually beat these f*****g guys and then the Steiners go over. That's what you're supposed to do." Had the WWF signed the Bodies after their match at SummerSlam 1993, it is anybody's guess as to what they could have become.

Smoking Gunns

For a wrestler who is perhaps best known for making up one-half of one of the most popular tag teams in WWE history (The New Age Outlaws), Billy Gunn's versatility is evident in his work with other tag teams, such as the aforementioned Billy & Chuck and The Smoking Gunns. The Gunns served as the vehicle for Billy Gunn, along with storyline brother Bart Gunn to debut in the WWF in 1993. The debut came during an era when the company was steering deeper into '80s-style wrestling tropes, such as giving all wrestlers a hard gimmick or occupation. As a result, the Gunns debuted as gun-slinging cowboys in spite of both men actually hailing from the state of Florida.

Nevertheless, the Gunns made the gimmick work and became three-time WWF World Tag Team Champions, wrestling all of the company's top tag teams of the era. The incorporation of Sunny as the team's valet added a new wrinkle to the gimmick, but also set up the team's ultimate demise. When Sunny declared she would only manage champions after the Gunns lost the tag team championships to Owen Hart and the British Bulldog, a frustrated Billy turned on Bart, ending the tag team for good

The Smoking Gunns have since been overshadowed by Billy Gunn's versatile career in each of the top North American promotions and Bart Gunn's victory in the infamous "Brawl for All" shoot-fighting tournament, but they should be remembered for their longevity and for being a steady staple of the WWF tag team division in the early-to-mid '90s.

Cade & Murdoch

Lance Cade was a physically impressive wrestler the WWE was willing to invest in at a young age. Though he initially got a taste of the main roster while teaming with Mark Jindrak, Cade settled into his most recognized role as the tag team partner of Trevor Murdoch. Together, Cade and Murdoch became immediate heel fixtures on the "Raw" brand and won their first World Tag Team Championship at Unforgiven 2005 less than two weeks after making their in-ring debut. For the entirety of their run, the WWE portrayed Cade and Murdoch as a redneck tag team, though they had a unique take on the gimmick. Cade played a well-spoken cowboy while Murdoch portrayed a more modern redneck, seemingly in the mold of Larry the Cable Guy.

Despite the tag team's quick success on "Raw," Cade and Murdoch went their separate ways just two months later, a questionable decision given their status as the brand's top heel tag team. However, they would reunite the following year and embark on a second world tag team title reign when they took the belts off The Hardys in June 2007. They picked up a third title reign at the expense of Paul London and Brian Kendrick later that year. 

Murdoch has since gone on to achieve success outside of WWE, winning the NWA World Championship in 2021. Cade, meanwhile, tragically passed away in 2010 shortly after re-signing with the company. The team will be remembered for being booked strongly within their individual gimmicks in addition to as a tag team, as well as their no-nonsense style between the ropes.

New Foundation

While Owen Hart's pairing with brother-in-law Davey Boy Smith is often looked at as an underrated tag team, Hart's team with his other brother-in-law, Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart is perhaps more underrated and more forgotten. After Bret broke off from Neidhart to pursue a singles career, Owen answered the call in aiding his brother-in-law against the Beverly Brothers. Rather than have Owen adopt Neidhart's pink and black attire from his Hart Foundation days, Neidhart instead adopted Owen's checkered attire in a move that helped the team stand on its own from the past incarnation. The New Foundation went on to have a solid pay-per-view match against the Orient Express at the 1992 Royal Rumble and had notable matches with the Nasty Boys and The Natural Disasters in the months leading up to the Rumble.

The team likely would have continued into the spring of 1992, but Neidhart's sudden release from the company pushed Owen into a singles role. Neidhart's firing came as a result of him refusing to take a drug test and throwing a television monitor backstage. However, the New Foundation would reunite in 1994 when Neidhart returned to the WWF. That said, Owen and Neidhart never tagged under the "New Foundation" moniker, with Neidhart instead backing up Owen in his feud with Bret during the summer of 1994. Neidhart did not make it to the end of the year, however, receiving his pink slip once again due to repeated no-shows. Bret wrote in his autobiography that Owen and Neidhart were planned to win the WWF World Tag Team Championship before Neidhart's firing. Given Neidhart's status as a tag team specialist, an extended run with Owen back in 1992 could have set the younger Hart up in a similar fashion to Bret before he kicked off his singles run.

K.C. James & Idol Stevens

The team of KC James and Aaron "Idol" Stevens, also known as The Teacher's Pets, had a brief albeit meaningful run on "SmackDown" between 2006 and 2007. James was a classically trained worker who cut his teeth in Puerto Rico, while Stevens, who could certainly hold his own between the ropes, had tons of untapped potential. Meanwhile, Michelle McCool served as the team's valet, whose status as a former school teacher became the whole basis of the tag team. James and Stevens immediately made their presence felt on the "Blue Brand," defeating reigning champions Paul London and Brian Kendrick in a non-title match in just their second week on the main roster.

Despite gaining a heap of early momentum, James and Stevens never managed to capture WWE gold together. Following the team's dissolution, James became an enhancement talent on the third brand, "ECW on SyFy." After leaving WWE, he retired from the business at the end of 2008. Stevens, who received his WWE release in August 2007, worked his way back to the company over the next three years, eventually returning as Damien Sandow, the "Intellectual Savior to the Masses." 

However, the ultimate fate of both tag team partners should take nothing away from the quality of their brief run on "SmackDown." The Teachers Pets showed an ability to mesh with any team on the roster, whether it meant working to the more finesse-based style of London & Kendrick or working a more physical style against the likes of the Pitbulls, Jamie Noble, and Kid Kash. With the ruler-wielding McCool drawing heat, James and Stevens will always be a team the old-school fans can appreciate.

The Strongbows

Chief Jay Strongbow's career as a singles wrestler and divisive office employee often overshadows his tag team with Jules Strongbow, but The Strongbows were a staple of the WWF tag team division in the early '80s. Chief Jay Strongbow had previously won the tag team championships with two different partners: Sonny King and Billy White Wolf. However, he won the belts on two different occasions with Jules, his storyline brother. Unlike Chief Jay, Jules Strongbow was an actual Native American and lent further credibility to the gimmick. Jules volunteered with the Native American Students Association at Missouri State University in 2009, eight years after retiring from the business.

According to Jules, former WWF Promoter Vince McMahon Sr. had a long-term plan for the Strongbows tag team in the WWF. "New Year's Day 1982, I'm wrestling out of Oklahoma for the McGuirk promotion," Jules Strongbow said on "Monte and the Pharaoh." "My phone rings and it was George Scott, who was the main man for the McGuirks. He says, 'Frankie, you need to call Vince McMahon. Here's the phone number. I got you booked in New York.' What he didn't know is that Vince and I had been talking for the past two years on a constant basis." Jules went on to say that he and his partner, Chief Jay Strongbow got along outside the ring but were not overly close. 

The Strongbows became a marquee name in the WWF tag team division as power began to shift from Vince McMahon Sr. to Jr. The Strongbows' most high-profile feud came against Mr. Fuji and Mr. Saito, who they twice beat for the WWF Tag Team Championship. The Strongbows went on to pass the torch to the Wild Samoans before Jules Strongbow left the company and Chief Jay Strongbow transitioned to a backstage role.

London & Kendrick

Both underrated and influential, Paul London and Brian Kendrick carried the WWE tag team division for the better part of two years thanks to a high-octane yet fundamentally sound in-ring style. While Kendrick struggled to catch on during his first run in WWE between 2002 and 2004, he returned in 2005 to team with London, a good friend of his who had both tag team and cruiserweight success up to that point. After a tag team championship run with Billy Kidman ended in a feud between the two, London became the WWE Cruiserweight Champion. However, with "SmackDown" hurting for babyface tag teams, he reunited with Kendrick and embarked on one of the all-time great tag team runs in "SmackDown" history. The duo reworked their look, debuting new haircuts and matching colorful long shorts and vests. They also wore theatrical masks to the ring on most nights.

London and Kendrick defeated MNM for the WWE Tag Team Championship at Judgment Day 2006 after weeks of MNM attempting to skirt ceding a title shot to the new team. The high-flying duo went on to hold the titles for 331 days, defending against the likes of MNM, KC James and Idol Stevens, William Regal and Dave Taylor, The Hardys, and Deuce and Domino, the last of whom eventually beat them for the titles. They even picked up London's then-real-life girlfriend, the late Ashley Massaro, as a manager to combat the outside interference of Michelle McCool during the feud with the Teacher's Pets. 

"I thought London and Kendrick were one of the best teams ever," WWE executive Bruce Prichard said on his podcast, "Something to Wrestle with Bruce Prichard." "Even in '06, to me, they were probably the most innovative tag we had in a long damn time. They were different, they were young and believable ... They were both great individually, but to me, they were better as a unit."

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