This past Wednesday, FTR held a Tag Team Appreciation Night on AEW Dynamite. As it turned out, it was all a ruse so FTR could attack the Rock ‘N’ Roll Express. It’s understandable, Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson beat all of FTR’s heroes back in the day. I can see why they would want some retribution on behalf of Arn, Tully and all of the people that were wronged over the years.
Today, I want to take a look at some tag teams that have gone unappreciated over the years. The ones that won’t be invited to AEW or WWE legend ceremonies for whatever reason. (OK, some are dead, but I don’t think that affects the invitation status that much.) We all know that certain tag teams have always got their proper respect. Others haven’t, and that’s why we’re here today, to right that wrong.
Here are the Top 5 Unappreciated Tag Teams of All Time!
5. North & South of the Border (Eddie Guerrero & Chris Jericho)
This team was so overlooked that they never even got a run! Anywhere! Jericho talked about this on one of the WWE DVDs produced after Eddie died. They teamed together on some WCW house shows and loved doing it, but never got much of a chance on television. A match or two here & there. Once they ended up together in the WWF they might have had a chance…but somehow it never happened. They had some matches against each other, and by the time the brand split happened they were pretty much always on opposite brands.
In an alternate universe, they would have ruled the tag team scene in some territory, maybe bounced around to a few others. We’re talking about two guys that were among the best heels of the 21st century, and could work face too if they wanted. It’s the best tag team of all time that never got a chance to be a full time tag team, and nobody can convince me otherwise.
4. Bad Influence/The Addiction (Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian)
I didn’t realize how underrated these guys were until a couple of months ago. Daniels & Kazarian had one of FTR’s first matches on Dynamite and it was pretty awesome, as anybody with any sense would expect. So I mentioned on offtheteam.com that FTR & SCU were having a badass match. Then, somebody watching on a delay got mad at me because it was the Daniels/Kazarian pairing, and didn’t involve Scorpio Sky.
I mean, that’s a hell of a compliment to Scorpio Sky. And, frankly, he should attain more in-ring success than his SCU compatriots in AEW. I don’t think Daniels or Kaz would disagree with me on that. It just made me realize that people don’t remember how awesome these guys were in TNA, and then Ring of Honor. You have to remember that these two guys were the heels in the whole “Claire Lynch” nonsense with AJ Styles & Dixie Carter. And, somehow, it didn’t kill them off! It actually worked for them, mostly because both of these guys are ageless and I wouldn’t be shocked if they were still active wrestlers in 2030.
Real Talk: Kazarian is married to Traci Brooks, the first person in wrestling that ever contacted me about my writing. And I think she did real well for herself. What does that tell you?
3. The Heavenly Bodies (Jimmy Del Ray, Stan Lane & Tom Prichard)
We all remember the Midnight Express. The tag team that put Jim Cornette on the map during the 1980s, and allows him the forum to keep talking on the Internet now is clearly recognized as one of the greatest tag teams of all time, whether WWE wants to put them in their Hall of Fame or not. It would be tough to find somebody that would deny that.
Sadly, this leaves Cornette’s team once Smoky Mountain Wrestling was formed criminally underappreciated. Since Bobby Eaton was left in WCW so he could feed his family, Stan Lane needed a partner. The Doctor of Desire, Tom Prichard, was recruited since he got all of the talent in the Prichard family. Lane & Prichard carried the new promotion while wrestling the Fantastics & Rock N Roll Express like all Cornette teams had to do. Once Lane retired, “Gigolo” Jimmy Del Ray stepped in & the Bodies carried the load in SMW while getting some WWF shots too. They were never treated like a big deal in the WWF, just the cost of doing business so Cornette could represent Yokozuna. They became a solid mid-card tag team there, which was good for feuding with the Bushwhackers and not much else.
I’m just saying, go back and watch that Smoky stuff and you’ll see one of the best tag teams of the 1990s that never got that cred.
2. America’s Most Wanted (Chris Harris & James Storm)
Harris & Storm wrestled each other on an independent show in Nashville that TNA was using as a test run for their announce team and to scout talent. Their match on that show got them signed. They became one of those tag teams with different personalities in the early days of TNA. Harris was all business, Storm was all about being a cowboy. They got things in gear eventually, and became 6-time NWA Tag Team Champions. Back in the 2000s, the AMW vs. Triple X (Christopher Daniels/Elix Skipper) matches got hyped to the moon, and for good reason. They were the best tag team wrestling being done at the time on televised outlets.
So why do we not remember them now? Well, Storm moved on to a more appreciated team in Beer Money Inc. with Robert Roode. He’s also one-half of the current NWA World Tag Team Championship team with Eli Drake. As for Chris Harris…well, he got signed by WWE and became Braden Walker. He was never the same afterwards. I don’t know what happened during his time with WWE, but whatever it was killed his desire to be a pro wrestler ever again. Even when Harris made a random TNA return as a surprise tag team partner of Matt Hardy to spook Storm & Roode, people had already kind of forgotten about AMW. I remember Harris’s return getting a less than expected response from the Impact Zone. A shame, as a fellow Northern Kentuckian I was rooting for the Wildcat. It’s a sad state of affairs that nobody remembers him now.
1. The Hollywood Blondes (Steve Austin & Brian Pillman)
The teaming of Austin & Pillman apparently wasn’t supposed to be a big deal. It was something to give two guys something to do. WCW made the mistake of underestimating the talent of both Austin & Pillman, and they made the Hollywood Blondes the best tag team in the business. For whatever reason, that made people backstage mad, and they had to break that up as soon as possible. For most of WCW’s existence, the thing they feared most was success…for the wrong people.
Those of us that have heard Austin’s life story several times know he wasn’t too keen on it at first either. He was promised a big singles run, then one day here’s Brian Pillman telling him they’re going to be a tag team. That wasn’t what he wanted to hear, but it ended up working out really well. Brian & Steve had great chemistry & great minds for the business. That video up top…the only thing missing from Austin’s contribution being a Stone Cold promo was “and that’s the bottom line cause Stone Cold said so.”
It was an important part of the road to making Stone Cold Steve Austin & the Loose Cannon Brian Pillman.
Who’s your favorite unappreciated tag team? Let me know on the Twittah!