8 Greatest Oddball WWE Tag Team Champions
One month ago, I would’ve had you institutionalised for even suggesting Heath Slater would hold gold in WWE in September. Then I would’ve burnt that institution to the ground if you’d deigned to ponder that it’d be a Tag Team Championship alongside Rhyno. Even now, it’s a bizarre combination to have thrown together out of absolutely nowhere, but Slater’s quest for a WWE contract has been one of the more compelling stories on both Raw or Smackdown. As oddball teams go, it’s right up there with the best of them, so what better time to take a trip down the fuzzy lane of memory and dig up some of the stranger title holding unions in WWE history.
Santino Marella and Vladimir Kozlov
Whenever there’s a comedic genius on the roster, there’s potential to pair him with a more serious competitor. There were none more serious than Vladimir Kozlov, and Marella’s quest to team with the stoic Russian sambo champion was as entertaining as it was ridiculous. Their chemistry was beautifully binary, and after dance competitions, stipulation matches and a surprising undefeated streak, the Roman-Russian duo captured the gold in a four way elimination match that also included the team of Mark Henry and Yoshi Tatsu, who, had they been victorious, would’ve been at the top of this list by a hilarious distance.
William Regal and Tajiri
A haughty English grappler and an unintelligible Japanese mist-spitter. Not traditionally a match in heaven (see 1939-1945), but Regal has the ability to mesh his personality with virtually anyone if given the time. WWE took the rare move to strap the unlikely team in Tajiri’s native land, but their union will best be remembered for Regal’s reactions to his bizarre counterpart. To be fair, Regal is so watchable I’d be entertained by viewing his reactions to paint drying.
Kane and EVERYONE
Kane really is the Devil’s Favourite Demon. He’s racked up an staggering 12 Tag Team Championship wins since first stepping foot on WWE soil. Even more astonishingly, he’s had 7 different partners. SEVEN. There’s just something about Kane’s character that lends itself to being placed alongside a more eccentric personality. The clashes in style made a weird sort of sense, like the fact that pizza boxes are square but the pizza is circular. That’s always baffled me. Victories with his brother, The Undertaker, and even Big Show, were understandable, but the Big Red Machine also had title reigns with Daniel Bryan, Mankind, Rob Van Dam, The Hurricane and X-Pac. Twice. Kane and X-Pac. The person who first wrote that down was lucky there was no Wellness Policy in those days.
William Regal and Eugene
Ah Eugene. You may think it was a weird and unacceptable joke to cast a character in a WWE ring as being “special”, but in their defence, Eugene’s time in WWE was an underdog story that provided a heap of feel-good moments. His comedy antics with Regal included firing a t-shirt canon directly into the Englishman’s Crown Jewels, and that’s always funny. Eugene somehow managed to face Triple H and Kurt Angle in consecutive Summerslams, he beat Kurt Angle for his Olympic gold medal, he got endorsements from The Rock, and was even once saved from a beating by Hulk Hogan. Now that’s pretty “special”.
Owen Hart and Yokozuna
You’d think, with a team such as this, there’d a be a lovely build to eventual championship success. Two men with juxtaposing styles, personalities and cultures, gradually earning a begrudging respect for each other as a friendship blossoms… But nope. Yokozuna was Hart’s mystery partner at Wrestlemania XI and they won the belts in their very first match together. Go figure. They also hold the distinguished record of being the heaviest ever Tag Team Champions, though had Yokozuna won the title on his own he’d probably still be toward the top of that list.
The Rock ‘n’ Sock Connection
Often heralded as the ultimate oddball tag team, The Rock and Mankind captured the titles 3 times with a combined reign of a remarkably pathetic 15 days. Their back and forth struggle for unity was compulsory viewing after their bitter feud at the end of the 90’s, and the team will forever ever be remembered for the infamous ‘This Is Your Life’ segment. Garnering a rating of over 8 million, Vince would slaughter babies for that kind of pull nowadays. Mankind, like Kane, has the sort of gimmick that provides a particularly bouncy springboard for tag team shenanigans and although paling in comparison to the masked demon’s epic list of partners, Mrs Foley’s baby boy still racked up titles alongside not only The Rock, but Stone Cold Steve Austin, Chainsaw Charlie, Al Snow and Kane himself.
Booker T and Goldust
Now here was an oddball team that were laced heartily with chemistry. The Bizarre One was, and is, aptly named, so to see Rhodes Jnr in his element alongside a legit champion was flat out glorious. Initially infuriated by Goldust’s advances, Booker evolved into being energised by his partner’s presence. Their segments were genuinely funny, which isn’t easy to do on WWE programming. With Goldust as his foil, the Hall Of Famer dressed as a lumberjack, became the Jedi Obi-Book Kenobi, endorsed 7-Eleven, watched on as The Prince Of Perversion mimicked The Rock to his face, and even ended up in a hotel bed with the black and gold painted enigma. I distinctly remember laughing orange juice out of my face when Booker T stormed angrily from the room, with his whole ass out, as Goldust exclaimed “I bought this night gown for nothing.”
The Miz and Damien Mizdow
If you never saw this tag team live, you really, really missed out. It was astonishing to hear the contrasting reactions two members of the same team could generate. The Miz, for most of his career, has been unanimously reviled, and for good reason. He’s an excellent heel, and continued to be so as Damien Sandow transformed into stunt double, Damien Mizdow. On paper, this sounds truly horrible, but in reality, Sandow was so good at it that you couldn’t help but smile and cheer furiously in his favour. The fact that his positive reaction angered Miz so much fuelled the fire, and their championship reign was well deserved. Miz’s face, and Mizdow’s subsequent mimicry, when the latter stole the pinfall victory during the title victory was so great that it’s worth checking out on the Network. Then go and watch Mizdow pretending to take hits at ringside. How this man wasn’t retained for the brand split is a mystery worth of the X-Files.