Some teams are synonymous with tag team wrestling. Others, not so much. Here are five duos who, while they may have captured tag team gold, definitely belong in the latter category.
Adrian Neville and Corey Graves
One is King of the Cruiserweights; the other is arguably the best commentator in all of WWE. And while their careers have gone in markedly different directions, once upon a time they were tag team partners and champions.
In January 2013, Neville was crowned one half of the inaugural NXT Tag Team Champions alongside Oliver Grey. Unfortunately, Grey suffered a legitimate ACL tear (which in storyline was inflicted by the Wyatt Family), and Neville was forced to find a new partner. In May, Neville and Bo Dallas unsuccessfully defended the titles against the Wyatts. But Neville got his revenge a little over a month later when he linked up with Corey Graves and went on to reclaim the tag title gold. Neville and Graves remained the champions for 84 days until they were defeated by The Ascension, who went on to become the longest-reigning NXT Tag Team Champions in history.
Cody Rhodes and Drew McIntyre
Most people remember Cody Rhodes’s tag team championship reign alongside his Legacy stablemate Ted DiBiase Jr., but you might have forgotten that he also held tag title gold with Drew McIntyre.
At Night of Champions in 2010, “Dashing” Cody Rhodes (which I still think was his best gimmick) and McIntyre unseated The Hart Dynasty in a tag team turmoil match to become the WWE Tag Team Champions. Their reign only lasted 35 days (they dropped the titles to the even more forgettable team of John Cena and David Otunga), but it’s fascinating in hindsight given how both their careers took off once they left WWE. Rhodes is now one of the biggest stars on the indie circuit, while McIntyre has returned to WWE and is the current NXT Champion.
CM Punk and Kofi Kingston
Did you know that Kofi Kingston is a seven-time WWE tag team champion? Furthermore, did you know that he won his first WWE tag title with CM Punk?
That’s right: long before Kingston was promoting the power of positivity or Punk was dropping pipebombs, they were the WWE World Tag Team Champions. The unlikely duo defeated Ted DiBiase Jr. and Cody Rhodes for the titles on the October 27, 2008, episode of Monday Night Raw. They dropped the titles to John Morrison and The Miz 47 days later – at a house show in Ontario, Canada.
Stone Cold Steve Austin and Triple H
Triple H and Stone Cold Steve Austin are two of the biggest singles’ stars in pro wrestling history. But for 22 days in 2001, they were also WWE World Tag Team Champions.
At WrestleMania X-Seven, Austin did the unthinkable when he turned heel and aligned himself with his longtime enemy, Vince McMahon, in an effort to defeat The Rock for the WWE Championship. An alliance with Triple H soon followed, and the duo began calling themselves The Two-Man Power Trip. At Backlash, they defeated The Brothers of Destruction to become the new tag team champions in a match that was also for Austin’s WWE title and Triple H’s Intercontinental Championship. The win made Austin and Triple H just the second team ever to hold WWE’s three primary titles simultaneously (the first being Shawn Michaels and Kevin Nash).
Edge and Hollywood Hulk Hogan
Along with The Hardy Boyz and the Dudley Boyz, Edge and Christian defined tag team wrestling for an entire generation. However, Edge held tag title gold with a handful of partners other than Christian, the most surprising of which is probably Hollywood Hulk Hogan.
After Hogan lost the WWE Championship to The Undertaker at Judgment Day in 2002, he teamed with Edge on SmackDown to defeat Billy and Chuck for the WWE World Tag Team Championship. It was a completely random partnership, but a meaningful one nonetheless: it was the final championship Hogan held in WWE, and prior to becoming a wrestler Edge famously attended WrestleMania VI to watch Hogan take on Ultimate Warrior. They held the titles for 19 days before dropping them to the Un-Americans (Christian and Lance Storm) at Vengeance.
This is just a sampling of dozens of surprising tag team championship duos WWE has seen over the years. Did you remember any of them? What are some other surprising or forgetful teams you would include on the list? Share your thoughts and additions in the comments below!