In December of 2016, the WWE Tag Team Championship came to Raw and cemented a brand split of the Tag Team Title Division. From that point, both Raw and SmackDown have had their own Tag Team Titles and we have had a variety of teams and champions. It feels like the WWE doesn’t care as much about their tag division, but there is actually a lot of turnover here. In fact, since December of 2016 there has only been 1 title reign longer than 100 days. So, let’s break down 3 of the best and 3 of the worst title reigns in the last 4 years.
The Best #1; The Hardy Boyz
In a classic Wrestlemania moment, that was a large shock to majority of people, the Hardy Boyz returned. Fresh off a career resurgence in IMPACT Wrestling followed by some appearances in Ring of Honor, the Hardyz returned on the grandest stage of them all. A would-be triple threat match turned into a fatal-4 way ladder match as the Wrestlemania hosts New Day, introduced the 4th team. The Hardyz music hit and the stadium erupted creating one of the loudest pops in recent memory. Wrestlemania 33 will forever be remembered for this moment.
The Hardyz held the titles for a little over two months, putting on some great matches against Enzo and Cass, Gallows and Anderson, and Cesaro and Seamus. They eventually dropped the tag titles, but it was a great final reign for the team.
The Worst #1: Braun Strowman and Nicholas- 1 day
From one Wrestlemania to the next, Braun Strowman was set to face off against The Bar, Sheamus and Cesaro, and claimed that he could beat them by himself. The storyline played out that he had to have a teammate, but didn’t have any friends in the locker room. So what did Braun do? He quite literally pulled Nicholas out of the crowd at Wrestlemania 34 and had him stand on the ring apron as Strowman ran through the incumbent champs. Nicholas celebrated with Strowman, but the pair relinquished the titles the next night on Raw. The reasoning? Oh just that Nicholas had to go to school seeing as he was in the fourth grade. Fan dream? Yes. Good for the tag division? No.
The Best #2: The Street Profits
Covid-19 comes up in all of these articles in one way or another. If we are going to praise Drew McIntyre for his title reign during the pandemic, we also have to give props to the Street Profits. Sure they may have faced the same teams constantly, but their in-ring work was phenomenal and you know they brought it on the mic. They kept things fresh outside of the ring with that hilarious decathlon with the Viking Raiders and with the poisoning angle with Zelina Vega, Garza, and Andrade. Again, their bad booking wasn’t their fault, but I for one have enjoyed their rise from in-show funny Raw recapers, to dominant tag team champs.
Also to note, they technically never lost the titles. They were drafted to SmackDown this year and just exchanged titles with the New Day who were drafted to Raw.
The Worst #2: Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins- 14 days
I might get flack for this one because it did set up some great story telling. That being said, I am going to point out when the tag team division was used at the expense of advancing a storyline and that’s what happened here. Odd couple teammates combined to win the tag titles off of Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre, but the main story here was Ambrose abandoning Rollins who was left to defend the titles by himself. Did it make sense with the Ambrose/Rollins storytelling and feud? Sure. Did it halt a promising tag team run with the main event emergence of Drew McIntyre? Yes. The only good that came out of this was that the Authors of Pain were able to look dominant as they took the titles from Rollins defending them alone. But, also, it did kind of tarnish their initial victory because they did only beat one guy. Didn’t love it overall.
The Best #3: Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder
This is an example of long-term storytelling, emphasis on the long-term. For at least a year, Curt Hawkins' gimmick was that he couldn’t win. No matter what he did, he just couldn’t figure out how to win. Enter Zack Ryder. A team re-forming, Ryder was able to finally help Hawkins get into the win column and they were able to go on a nice little tag team run. I’m sure that the WWE didn’t project this out and have Hawkins lose this much just for this outcome, but it was nice for long-time fans to see the former Major Brothers, and Hawkins and Ryder team get one more run.
#3 The Worst: Gallows and Anderson- 21 days
Who did The Club piss off? On paper, and in other promotions, these guys are top billed and top dogs. During their WWE tenure? They never were really pushed and were only used to make other wrestlers better. While that is a valued trait, these guys were in the prime of their careers and had everything clicking before coming to WWE. They won the titles from The Revival, another disrespected team, and they lost them to Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman only three weeks later. In the only PPV that occurred while they were champs, SummerSlam 2019, all they did was accompany AJ Styles to the ring for his match. Their booking did stink, but at the same time, they just weren’t doing enough to get the fans invested and to get more time. This was their second and last title reign in the WWE.
What were some of your favorite and least favorite tag teams reigns over the last 4 years? How long do you think current champs The New Day will be tag team champs? They are set to face the SmackDown Tag Team Champions at Survivor Series for now, so presumably a while. The New Day do face Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander in non-title action tonight on Raw so let’s see if they can build that feud up!
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