QUESTION OF THE DAY: Which Wrestlemania tag team match do you feel that you enjoyed far more than the average wrestling fan?
Today is my wife’s due date and baby numero dos is nowhere to be found. Thus, I find myself with some unexpected time on my hands to drop another column. Wrestlemania 34 is a week and a half away, and tag team wrestling appears to be a bigger part of this year’s spectacle than any year in recent memory. There are four tag matches that look like locks for the main card. Each one has significant hype behind it, and two of the four are main event caliber matches.
With the newfound focus on the tag division and the success of my previous column that saw me rank the Wrestlemania curtain jerkers, I figured I’d take a stab at the history of tag team matches at Wrestlemania.
Three quick rules before I get started:
First – as was the case with the curtain jerker column, these are meant to be quick hits rather than in-depth dives into the pros and cons of each match.
Second – only traditional two on two matches qualified for consideration. There were some interesting handicap and six-man tag matches, but they weren’t taken into account when compiling this countdown.
Third – only matches that aired on the main card were in the running. There were several tag matches that ended up either on the preshow or a dark match back when that was still a thing. Those matches were out of luck.
Anyhow, without further ado:
#15: Team Angle v Chris Benoit/Rhyno v Los Guerreros – Wrestlemania 19.
This wasn’t a bad match, but it didn’t live up to expectations. Considering the six wrestlers involved, one would have expected this to be a 20 minute affair and in contention for match of the night. Instead, it was just a good match that ended just as the action was getting hot and heavy. Its inclusion on the countdown speaks more to the lack of quality that the tag division has brought to Wrestlemania rather than the strength of its own merits.
#14: Iron Sheik/Nikolai Volkoff v The U.S. Express – Wrestlemania 1.
There are very few “classic” tag team matches in Wrestlemania history. Being unique and the first to do something is enough to land a spot on the countdown. This match wasn’t anything to write home about. I never understood the love for the U.S. Express. I think wrestling hipsters who didn’t watch the product saw that it was a team made up of two Hall of Famers with one of the best managers of all time. They were bland and boring to me. Nonetheless, this match marked the first title to ever change hands at Wrestlemania. That notoriety alone was enough to land on the list.
#13: Hulk Hogan/Brutus Beefcake v Money Inc. – Wrestlemania 9.
Wrestlemania 9 was a horrendous show, but this tag match isn’t nearly as bad as people would lead you to believe. The storyline was rock solid going into the match. Make no mistake about it – this tag match was the selling point for the entire event. It wasn’t a classic by any stretch of the imagination, but Hogan and Dibiase were always money together and the match had main event level crowd involvement. Good enough for me.
#12: Can Am Connection v Don Muraco/Cowboy Bob Orton – Wrestlemania 3.
I’ll try not to regurgitate my words from the curtain jerker rankings when discussing this match. It was excellent for an opener and far ahead of its time. In my opinion, there have only been twelve “good” tag team matches in Wrestlemania history. The remaining matches on the countdown either had better action or a better storyline, but this match still holds a special place in my heart.
#11: The Rockers v The Barbarian/Haku – Wrestlemania 7.
As I discussed in the curtain jerker column, I always viewed this match as a better version of the Can Am Connection v Muraco/Orton. This was a really solid and fun opener to the Wrestlemania 7 card. As was the case with the Can Am match, this match stays relatively low on the countdown due to the lack of storyline involved.
#10: Demolition v The Colossal Connection – Wrestlemania 6.
Kudos to the WWE for turning one of the most physically dominant teams of all time into sympathetic baby-faces. Pairing Demolition off against Andre the Giant was a stroke of genius. It made Demolition look mortal and put them in an unfamiliar situation – a match that the fans didn’t think they could win. The post-match angle was brilliantly executed and provided Andre with his last “great” moment inside of a wrestling ring.
#9: Hulk Hogan/Mr T. v Paul Orndorff/Rowdy Piper – Wrestlemania 1.
I’m going to get the obvious out of the way – this match makes the countdown because it was the main event of the first ever Wrestlemania. Vince McMahon staked his entire future on this match drawing the interest of the fans. It is one of the most important matches in the history of the industry. Many pan the in-ring action, but it was acceptable. It was a fun brawl didn’t overstay its welcome. It’s a more than worthy inclusion.
#8: Strikeforce v Demolition – Wrestlemania 4.
On a card that featured way too many matches and not nearly enough time dedicated to any of them, Strikeforce and Demolition made the most of the time that was given to them. I cannot begin to tell you how gutted I was as a six-year old to see Strikeforce go down in dastardly fashion. It was the first time that I learned that life doesn’t always work out well for you and the good guys don’t always win when you want them to. This match was the equivalent of cheering for the nerdy kid in class only to watch the school bully take his lunch money. I wanted Strikeforce to win so badly, but was forced to helplessly watch Demolition steamroll them.
#7: Cactus Jack/Chainsaw Charlie v The New Age Outlaws – Wrestlemania 14.
The famed “Dumpster Match” fit in with all of the glory and spectacle that was the Attitude Era. The New Age Outlaws weren’t known for their in-ring prowess as a team. The majority of their matches were garbage, no pun intended. This was a glaring exception. This was a wild and crazy brawl with an incredibly satisfying finish. Being that this was a hardcore match featuring quite possibly the two greatest hardcore wrestlers of all time, it should come as a surprise to no one that this match delivered.
#6: Strikeforce v The Brainbusters – Wrestlemania 5.
When I count the top heel turns of all time, I don’t get past the fingers on my first hand without mentioning Rick Martel sticking it to Tito Santana at Wrestlemania 5. Myself, being the educated wrestling fan that I am, would have seen the writing on the wall going into the show. Strikeforce had been bickering for months, and there was a significant amount of jealousy on the part of Martel towards Santana. However, little kid Dave Fenichel was absolutely floored when Martel abandoned him. That match itself is as good as you would expect from four technical wizards, but it’s the heel turn and ending that skyrocket this up the countdown.
#5: Edge/Christian v The Hardy Boyz v The Dudley Boyz – Triangle Ladder Match – Wrestlemania 16.
Everyone talks about the rematch a year later, but the triangle ladder match at Wrestlemania 16 was an awesome event in itself. Edge, Christian and The Hardy Boyz made their mark with their incredible efforts in a ladder match at the end of the previous year, but it wasn’t until The Dudleys and tables were inserted that this feud and series of matches reached epic proportions. It doesn’t hold a candle to the following year’s car crash, but it’s still one of the best tag matches in Wrestlemania history.
#4: The Nasty Boys v The Hart Foundation – Wrestlemania 7.
A quick aside. I accidentally typed “The Hard Foundation” instead and had to erase and re-write. I laughed out loud, then laughed even harder when I recognized that I still had the sense of humor of a twelve year old. MOVING ON! This match just isn’t talked about nearly enough. The Nasty Boys brawling style was a perfect fit for Bret’s technical mat wrestling. This match clicked on all cylinders. The finish that saw the Nasty Boys use a bike helmet to score the victory was extremely well done. This was also one of the bigger upsets in tag team Wrestlemania history. I find this match to be one of the most rewatchable of all the matches on the countdown.
#3: The Hardy Boyz v The Bar v The Bullet Club v Enzo/Cass – TLC – Wrestlemania 33.
One could argue that this ranking is the byproduct of recency bias, but I’d counter by stating that this was a heck of a lot closer to #2 on the list than #4. From the shocking return of the Hardy Boyz to a red-hot crowd to an absolutel car crash of a wrestling match, there’s not much not to like about this one. On a night with many marquee matches, this is the one that stole the show.
#2: The British Bulldogs v The Dream Team – Wrestlemania 2.
This is one of the best old-school tag team matches of all time. The action looked a lot more like something you’d see today than something that took place in the 1980s. More importantly, this match was a big freaking deal. Wrestlemania 2 took place at three different arenas in three different cities. This match was so important that Vince chose to make it the headliner over a battle Royal that featured Andre the Giant and a bunch of NFL superstars. For fifteen years, this was the gold standard for which tag team matches at Wrestlemania aspired to meet.
#1: Edge/Christian v The Hardy Boyz v The Dudley Boyz – TLC2 – Wrestlemania 17.
The difficult part of this countdown was deciding which fourteen matches would slot into the 2-15 spots on the countdown. The #1 spot was never in question. How could anything but this be considered the best tag team match in Wrestlemania history? These six men took already heighted expectations and absolutely shattered them. The easiest way to describe this match is as follows: “Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy, Edge, Christian, Bubba Ray and D-Von tried to kill each other and themselves for twenty minutes”. The drama was at a fever pitch and the high spots were breathtaking. This was a match so good that wrestlers have spent the last 17 years unsuccessfully trying to create a better version of the gimmick. TLC2 is without question the #1 tag match in Wrestlemania history.
That’s a wrap kids. Thank you for reading. Agree or disagree? Sound off below!
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