Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The 7 Most Unsuccessful Tag Team Break-Ups in WWE History

Once upon a time in the WWE there were things called tag teams. Not a random pairing of two single stars who have nothing better to do, but two persons who shared a common theme and goal. Today real tag teams are few and far between, mostly because WWE loves to break them up. The WWE believes that splitting a successful team will automatically create two individual stars. Here are seven instances where they failed miserably.

7) The Smoking Gunns

The Smoking Gunns were a mid-nineties fake brother cowboy duo and precursor to Brokeback Mountain jokes. Billy and Bart had been teaming together since 1993 and knew what it took to be a successful tag team. During the tenure with WWE the Smoking Gunns won the WWE tag team titles on three separate occasions, and were able to become extremely popular despite their mullets.

The Break-Up

In 1996 Billy and Bart had turned heel after they took on Sunny as their manager. Sunny started causing problems between the Gunns when she began an on-air relationship with Billy. This made Bart extremely jealous, creating a rift between the two, and eventually leading them to lose the tag team titles to Owen Hart and Davey Boy Smith. Since Sunny was a stupid whore that only knew how to follow gold, she abandoned the Gunns, leaving Billy distraught and angry at Bart. He turned on his partner and officially disbanded the Smoking Gunns after a failed attempt at regaining their titles.

The Fallout

After their split, Billy went on to become the ridiculous Rockabilly before joining up with D-Generation X and becoming an integral part of the Attitude Era as “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn. He then took the “Ass” gimmick too far, kept going back to the ambiguously gay character too often (Mr. Ass, Billy and Chuck, “The One” Billy Gunn), and was released years later. Bart stuck around until 1999 when he got knocked out by Butterbean at WrestleMania XV in embarrassing fashion, so I guess you can say Billy had the better career.

6) Paul London and Billy Kidman

Paul London and Billy Kidman were two cruiserweights whose careers were going nowhere. In 2004 they were put together as a tag team and used their athleticism to get them over as a hot new attraction. Their highflying techniques made them popular with the fans, and they were eventually given a run with the WWE tag team titles. London was still a fresh face who was getting excellent exposure, and Kidman was regaining momentum he hadn’t seen since his days with WCW. It seemed this team was destined for great things…

The Break-Up

…Until Kidman legitimately injured Chavo Guerrero in August of 2004. Kidman’s Shooting Star Press caused Chavo to suffer from a legit concussion that kept him out of action for several weeks. WWE saw this as perfect opportunity to take something that was working really well and destroy it in an attempt to exploit a real injury. They turned Kidman into a coward who couldn’t use his finisher out of fear of hurting someone else, and London was the left to carry the load. They eventually dropped the tag belts after Kidman walked out on London mid-match, officially ending the once promising tag team.

The Fallout

London and Kidman had a brief feud that culminated at No Mercy 2004, but the fans didn’t really care to see them against each other. WWE had taken a promising team and shot them in the leg before they even hit their full potential. Later Paul London had a better tag team experience with Brian Kendrick, while Kidman went back to obscurity, until he was eventually released when WWE realized the only good thing about him was his hot wife.

5) The Colóns

In 2008 it seemed the WWE had pretty much given up on Carlito. In a last ditch effort to make him useful, they brought in his real life brother Eddie Colón aka Primo and threw them together as a tag team. This turned out to be a great move on WWE’s part because the pair became immensely popular. The Colóns spent the majority of 2008 as the Smackdown tag team champions, only to win the Raw titles at WrestleMania XXV and become the first ever Unified Tag Team Champions. Things were looking up for Puerto Rican duo…

The Break-Up

…Until WWE broke them up for no good reason. Carlito and Primo held the Unified belts until the summer of ’09 when they dropped the titles to Edge and Jericho. Two weeks later Carlito turned on Primo out of frustration. Two weeks after the attack Primo pinned Carlito in 6-man tag match, thus officially ending the most uneventful and uninteresting feud between two former tag team partners in wrestling history.

The Fallout

Carlito went back to being the arrogant heel who spits apples at people and Primo became a jobber to the stars. To further the nonsense, both Primo and Carlito are regularly involved in tag team matches again…with other partners. Primo usually teams with fellow jobber Evan Bourne, while Carlito can be seen doing nothing with Chavo Guerrero. This break-up supports the theory that while WWE likes to screw up tag teams, they really like to screw up sibling teams. Just ask…

4) The Hardy Boyz

In 2001 Matt and Jeff Hardy were the most popular tag team in all of wrestling. They had legions of fans, tons of merchandise, and were integral parts of the WWE tag team renaissance. Immensely talented, both had shown promise of being legitimate single competitors. The Hardys had literally accomplished all they could as a team, and it was time for them to spread their wings and fly solo.

The Break-Up

Since this is the WWE and drama is needed to accomplish the most miniscule of tasks, WWE opted to throw Matt’s real life girlfriend Lita in the mix to create the most uncomfortable storyline imaginable. In it Matt began to suspect that Lita had feelings for Jeff, and took out his jealousy on his brother at the 2001 Vengeance pay-per-view. In a match that was so bad it’s not even mentioned on their Wikipedia page, Jeff pinned Matt after special guest referee Lita made the three-count.

The Fallout

Team Xtreme continued their feud until WWE realized how stupid the whole thing was and sent in the Undertaker to perform a continuity amputation by beating the shit out of all three of them. A month later they returned at the Royal Rumble and pretended like the break-up never happened. A few years later Matt suffered an eerily similar “cheating girlfriend” experience with his real life girlfriend Lita and his friend Edge. No one can dispute that one thing WWE is lacking of is irony.

3) The New Age Outlaws

Sometimes the best tag teams come from two single stars with horrible gimmicks. Saddled with bullshit characters, “The Real Double J” Jesse James, and Rockabilly decided they needed more edgy alter egos. Soon “Road Dogg” Jesse James and “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn were born, and they immediately made a splash in the 1997 tag team scene. After they joined up with D-Generation X, The New Age Outlaws became so popular they had the third highest merchandise sales after Steve Austin and the Rock. After several tag title runs the duo had set their sights on singles gold, with Road Dogg and Gunn winning the Intercontinental and Hardcore titles, respectively. Soon the WWE set in motion a storyline that would benefit both wrestlers’ careers.

The Break-Up

Just kidding. In 1999 Billy Gunn turned on his partner and fully embraced his inner ass by becoming “Mr. Ass.” Their brief feud culminated at the 1999 Over the Edge pay-per-view, aka the PPV you will never see nor hear mentioned on WWE programming ever again. Later Gunn won the King of the Ring tournament and began the biggest push of his career, while Road Dogg began to wonder which front office employee he pissed off when he started teaming with fellow DX alumnus X-Pac.

The Fallout

As mentioned above, Gunn’s single career didn’t really take off, so they were eventually thrown back together with the rest of DX by the end of the year. Eventually they split again, only to reunite years later in TNA as the James Gang aka the Voodoo Kin Mafia. Unable to grasp the popularity they once had, James and Gunn both quietly fell into obscurity until they were eventually released.

2) The Dudley Boyz

The Dudley Boyz were ECW transplants that found massive success in the WWE during the tag team renaissance. With their hard hitting style, tough guy image, and entertaining catch-phrases, the Dudley Boyz were similar to the tag teams of old that preferred to make their careers as a team as opposed to individuals. After winning the tag team belts on several occasions, WWE got bored with the pairing and decided to try and dispute the old claim “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.”

The Break-Up

The Dudley Boyz were victims of the very first WWE draft that split the entire roster into two brands. Bubba Ray went to Raw and remained largely unchanged. D-Von was sent to Smackdown and was saddled with a ridiculous “Reverend D-Von” gimmick that was more puzzling than entertaining. Since neither D-Von nor Bubba Ray were talented enough in-ring competitors to warrant singles careers, it was hardly unexpected when their individual solo acts failed miserably.

The Fallout

The Dudley Boyz were reunited at the 2002 Survivor Series and went back to their old format of table breaking and angry scowling. Unfortunately their brief split had occurred during the end of the tag team renaissance, so their reunion was celebrated with very little fan-fare. Since WWE had no intention of pushing a tag team in their new single star-heavy product, the Dudleys were released by WWE in 2005. To further fuck over a team they had already fucked pretty hard, the WWE retained the rights to the Dudley trademark, making it impossible for them to use the characters they created in any other company. Eventually they made their way to TNA rechristened as Team 3D, determined to prove you can’t keep a “well past their prime” tag team down.

1) The Legion of Doom

Generally recognized as one of the greatest tag teams in professional wrestling history, the Legion of Doom aka the Road Warriors were well known as innovators of tag team wrestling. By popularizing the use of face paint to enhance their characters and using their massive physiques and power moves to win over audiences, the L.O.D. were revolutionary trailblazers that set the standard for all tag teams to follow. What better way to honor their legacy than by inappropriately exploiting alcohol and drug use for dramatic purposes? If you find that grossly offensive, then that is the difference between you and the people in charge at WWE. That and ludicrous amounts of money to run a company where grown men beat up each other in their underwear.

The Break-Up

In 1998 the Road Warriors were upgraded for the new millennium and were re-christened as the ludicrous L.O.D. 2000. Feeling their new gimmick wasn’t stupid enough, WWE stuck them with Darren Drozdov aka Puke as a sometimes member when Hawk was incapacitated. Playing off Hawk’s real life alcohol and drug issues, he was seen by his partner Animal as unfit to wrestle and Droz was tapped to take Hawk’s place in the tag team. The angle culminated in a moment that even Sacha Baron Cohen would find inappropriate.

On one episode of RAW Hawk attempted suicide by jumping off the TitanTron to the ground below. Despite the fact that there was about a three second delay between him jumping and seeing his silhouette fall behind the screen, WWE tried to play off this moronic stunt as something serious. Unfortunately the very next year Owen Hart died in a similar stunt, leading one to believe that either WWE has horrible luck with their angles coinciding with real life tragedies, or Death has a really fucked up sense of humor.

The Fallout

Both Animal and Hawk felt this angle was tasteless and voiced their displeasure. The angle was eventually dropped and the Legion of Doom unceremoniously left the WWE later that year. A few years later Hawk died in his sleep after an apparent heart attack. Animal returned to WWE in mid-2005 and decided to dedicate his entire run to his former partner. He eventually won the Smackdown tag team belts with his new associate…

If he really wanted to honor Hawk he could have just started a charity. If the whole drug abuse angle in ’98 didn’t kill off the team’s legacy then Heidenreich in the L.O.D. finally did it. Congratulations WWE, you win.

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