Wow, lots of stuff going on in the wrestling world this week, the biggest of which is obviously the retirement of Daniel Bryan. I considered doing an entire Fantasy Book column Vince Russo-style and consider ways this retirement could be a swerve. Or one where Bryan returns in a managerial role, taking some of the “smaller” talent and shaping them into superstars. Or even a “what if” type of column rebooting history where Bryan’s injuries didn’t occur. But I decided against all of that because a lot has already been written and discussed about Bryan’s career and retirement and honestly, nothing I could have added would have been substantial enough to hold up to those heartfelt memories.
So, instead of focusing on something in wrestling that is real (how weird is it to write that statement), I decided to go the absolute other direction. It also allows me to return to my tag team discussion from last week. This week, on The Fantasy Book, I present some of the greatest (and not so great) tag teams in existence; here are the Top 10 most overlooked tag teams in the history of the history of the world!
10. Penn and Teller – Well known for their magic infused with humor, Penn and Teller have a very Power & Glory vibe, with Penn being the massive Hercules and Teller holding down the smaller Paul Roma role. Their best matches did not come from the CWF (Comedians Wrestling Federation), but from the relatively smaller MWA (Magicians Wrestling Alliance), who hold house shows in Vegas twice a night. A series of hardcore deathmatches versus Ziegfried and Roy are still the talk of the Strip (including the extremely predictable but still enjoyable turn by the tiger on Roy).
9. Abbott and Costello – One of the reasons Penn and Teller never made it to the top of the CWF was because of the quality and depth of the competition. Abbott and Costello are just one of the many teams to compete in this federation. Their trademark confusion tactics work almost effortlessly (Who’s on the top rope?), and when they don’t the laughter they generate tend to provide openings for a Costello splash and pin combination. While Bud Abbott and Lou Costello do not have the killer instinct of the team they are most often associated with (Laurel and Hardy), their ability to work together is unparalleled. In fact, most observers would probably lean towards Laurel and Hardy as the better team, but Oliver Hardy’s barely contained sociopathy often resulted in attacks of his own partner to their detriment.
8. Batman and Robin – Honestly, there was only one place for this team to be effective, and that was in a bingo hall in Philadelphia. Sure, Batman had an imposing presence and was pretty strong. And the Boy Wonder was scrappy and energetic. You’d think they could have done well as a Razor Ramon/123 Kid type of pairing. But Batman’s insistence on using foreign objects 95% of the time he was in the ring only guaranteed them a paycheck from ECW. And while there is no denying their popularity, most of their opponents were singles wrestlers just tagging together for a week or two (e.g. Joker and Penguin, Riddler and Mr. Freeze, etc.) Even bringing in outside superstars (see the ill-fated invasion of Kal-El) did not generate the exposure needed for this crime-fighting duo to escape the shadow of stately Wayne Manor.
7. Ben and Jerry – These two got work wherever they went and were fan favorites everywhere. They were not the best wrestlers, but they got over due to their ability to troll their opponents beyond anything ever seen before. After all, who can forget the epic deliciousness of “Hall&Oatesmeal Cookie” or the dreadful bomb of “Simon and Garfunnickel Bread” flavored ice cream?
6. Thelma and Louise – Granted, there are not many female tag teams out there. But there is no doubt that Thelma and Louise are the best. Since taking the FSWF (Female Superiority Wrestling Federation) titles from Laverne and Shirley, they have been unbeatable. Even more recent teams of Amy Poehler and Tina Fey or Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Schumer don’t hold a candle to this team. Thelma and Louise may not be the most polished pair of wrestlers, but their suicidal willingness to win their own way at all costs makes them practically unbeatable.
5. Beavis and Butthead – Wayne and Garth may have won the SWA (Slacker Wrestling Association) tag titles from Beavis and Butthead in a best-of-37 series of matches, but Beavis and Butthead won the hearts of the fans. Wayne and Garth might have made more movies, and thus more money, than Beavis and Butthead, the fans still line up for a Cornholio autograph signing by the busload. Uh huh, huh huh.
4. Sam and Dean – I’ve never seen Supernatural, so I don’t know why these guys are listed here. But I am assured by some women in my life that these two would be the most over tag team in the history of everything, especially with female fans. So I ask, more than Crockett and Tubbs? More than Tango and Cash? More than Starsky and Hutch? More than Jon Baker and Frank Poncherello? More than Turner and Hooch? Apparently, from the amount of silence these inquiries were met with, the answer is yes. And I will be sleeping on the couch for a while.
3. Bo and Luke Duke – Perhaps the greatest of these teams, Bo and Luke had the athleticism, the looks, the willingness to break the rules, the anti-authority stance, the wise mentor (Uncle Jesse), the super-hot valet (Daisy), and the greatest entrance in wrestling history (who would ever forget the General Lee speeding out of the curtain to hit a fortunately-placed pile of dirt and jump over the crowd to the ring). These good old boys had the teamwork and the speed (did you ever see Luke change a tire? That’s some speed right there) to be champions world over. The only speedbumps for this team were a severe lack of political correctness and the arrival of their cousin dopplegangers Coy and Vance Duke. But their battles against Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane and Enos Strate (managed by the best villain manager in wrestling history – Boss Hogg) were truly the stuff that main events were made for.
2. Rocky and Bullwinkle – This spot was originally going to go to Bert and Ernie, as no one can deny their long lasting influence on the sport of pro wrestling. But when it comes down to it, Ernie’s obsession with his Rubber Ducky and Bert’s inability to manage his OCD allow Rocky and Bullwinkle to slide into this spot. Rocky and Bullwinkle have feuded with a heel Russian team (Boris and Natasha) for years and that is always a good bet to win over a crowd. Plus, Bullwinkle is a moose. He’s huge and practically unbeatable. And Rocky is a flying squirrel, for crying out loud. Who knows what kind of high risk, top rope shenanigans he can pull off. As good as this duo is, there is one greater…
1. Peanut Butter and Jelly – Yes, Peanut Butter and Jelly. They’ve worked together forever, it seems. They are always popular with the younger crowd, they sell tons of merchandise (especially under their fan-given, chant-along nicknames PB&J), and they are sneaky good. While rumors continue that there have been many wrestlers named “Jelly” under that jammy mask of goodness (Strawberry, Grape, even Raspberry have been rumored to be Peanut Butter’s partner over the years), the teamwork never falters. The team is practically indestructible as well. When they enter the ring with their classic bread outfits, they can be cut horizontally, vertically, diagonally, or even not at all, and they still perform in a very delicious manner. While the stickiness of Peanut Butter holds their opponent in close, Jelly finishes them off with a sweet smack to the taste buds. Peanut Butter and Jelly have spent more of their time in the KCA (Kitchen Championship Arena) as the lunchtime tag title champions, they have also moonlighted for other organizations. A brief stay in the NSF (Novelty Song Federation) saw their development of a new finishing move, the Peanut Butter Jelly Time. Also of note, Peanut Butter and Jelly have long been fan favorites, but they have the ability to switch into heel mode with their powerful Peanut Allergy Punch. But nostalgia normally wins out in the long term, and PB&J remain the top tag team in the world.
Do you agree or disagree with the list? Who would you like to see wrestle in this Fantasy Book next? Feel free to leave comments below. Until next time…
Tags: Abbott and Costello, Batman and Robin, Beavis and Butthead, Ben and Jerry, Bullwinkle, Daniel Bryan, Dukes of Hazzard, PBJ, Rocky, Supernatural, Thelma and Louise