The late 1980s are often called the Golden Age of Professional Wrestling — an era where industry giants like Hulk Hogan, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, and Ric Flair were all the craze. However, as great as wrestling was during that era, it would take some time before tag team wrestling gained the same level of recognition as singles competition.
By the close of the 1990s, tag team wrestling had undergone a renaissance period, giving rise to such memorable duos as Edge & Christian, the Hardy Boyz, and the Dudley Boyz. As the 2000s got underway, companies' tag team divisions grew better, with promotions beginning to emphasize teams in their regular weekly programming.
From some of WWE's most notable tag teams to famous duos who worked the indie circuit, here are some of the greatest tag teams of the 2000s, ranked from best to worst.
1. The Hardy Boyz
Abandoning their more macabre New Brood gimmick at the end of 1999, it was evident that the Hardy Boyz were destined to become the most exciting tag team of the decade just a few months into 2000. After all, what other team hurled themselves off the tops of ladders, often crashing onto tables, the ring mat, or even ladders from upwards of 20 feet in the air?
Subjecting themselves to high levels of physical punishment multiple times a week to entertain the audience, the Hardys enjoyed several momentous runs throughout their career, two of which (1998 to 2002, 2006 to 2007) took place in WWE. Never slowing down for an instant, they took audiences' breath away each time they dragged a ladder out from beneath the ring, setting a high standard for extreme tag team wrestling that the current generation is still trying to catch up to.
2. Edge & Christian
Like the Hardy Boyz, Edge & Christian only got better with time once when they abandoned their Gothic personas and were allowed to express their more comedic side. Partnering with the Olympian Kurt Angle and later with ECW alumnus Rhyno, their Team RECK faction added a much-needed personality to WWE's Attitude Era, balancing well with the Hardys' and Dudleys' more hardcore wrestling style.
Edge & Christian both possessed keen abilities in the ring, but their outlandish personas are likely their standout feature. Between their ridiculously flashy attire (the outdated '90s sunglasses and giant novelty foam cowboy hats) and their signature “five-second flash photography pose,” they were a breath of fresh air in WWE, standing in stark contrast to the more serious nature of their opponents.
3. The Dudley Boyz
Unlike their main rivals (the Hardy Boyz and Edge & Christian), the Dudley Boyz saw little change as WWE progressed into the 2000s. Yes, they had abandoned their dramatic Southern accents, but aside from that, they were still the same table-smashing, camouflage-wearing tag team they had been by the close of the '90s.
As with the Hardys, the Dudleys briefly broke up in 2002 before reuniting for the remainder of their WWE tenure. Departing the company in 2005, the duo — now renamed Team 3D — made their way to TNA, lending further legitimacy to the fledgling promotion as they feuded against homegrown talents like America's Most Wanted, Team Canada, and LAX.
4. Beer Money
In the mid-2000s, TNA wrestlers James Storm and Bobby Roode were in a career slump. Having established themselves as talented tag team competitors (Storm as one-half of AMW and Roode as a member of Team Canada), both men were now adrift in TNA's roster, failing to achieve any serious success in the singles division.
Realizing the talent they had on their hands, TNA paired the two men together in 2008, laying the groundwork for what would become the most accomplished tag team in TNA history. Looking at it plainly, Beer Money was a pairing that shouldn't have worked, but the two men's juxtaposing personalities and wrestling styles were an unexpected match made in heaven.
5. America's Most Wanted
Before cracking beers and writing checks with Bobby Roode in Beer Money, the “Tennessee Cowboy” James Storm rode high with Chris Harris as part of America's Most Wanted. Signing with TNA in 2002, AMW was the first truly notable tag team in the company, entertaining fans years before LAX or Team 3D were even signed with the promotion.
As the founding fathers of TNA's tag team division, AMW reigned as the regular title-holders of the NWA World Tag Team Championship. Their bouts against Team Canada, Triple X, Team 3D, and Styles and Daniels are phenomenal, illustrating Storm and Harris's undeniable in-ring chemistry from 2002 to 2006.
6. The Latin American Xchange
In possession of probably the greatest gimmick bestowed upon a tag team at the time, the Latin American Xchange almost single-handedly helped boost TNA's ratings in the mid to late 2000s. Portrayed as an ardent gang of militant revolutionaries, LAX set out to dismantle TNA, having grown tired of the lack of representation in the company's programming.
Feuding against everyone from America's Most Wanted to AJ Styles and Daniels, LAX was embroiled in matches with practically every team that stepped through TNA's doors. Ushering back and forth between heels and proud Latino faces, Homicide and Hernandez were always a joy, establishing themselves as a radical mix between DX and the Nation of Domination.
7. D-Generation X
In 2006, longtime WWE viewers were pining to see the epic reunion between former D-Generation X members Triple H and Shawn Michaels. Running roughshod in WWE throughout most of 1997, their initial tenure together was cut short by Michaels' nearly career-ending 1998 back injury, with Triple H resuming leadership over the faction on and off until 2000.
Engaging in a bitter feud upon Michaels' return to wrestling in 2002, Michaels and Triple H's past relationship in D-Generation X provided each of their many match-ups an emotional element, elevating their feud to the top of WWE TV at the time.
That being said, seeing them put aside their differences and unite against a common enemy (whether it was the McMahons, JeriShow, or Legacy) was also a sight to see, especially considering both men were main event players in WWE at that point.
8. The Motor City Machine Guns
Interestingly, the Motor City Machine Guns are considered both the most underrated tag team and somehow also the best tag team in TNA's history. Rarely winning the prestigious World Tag Team Championship, Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley was a memorable pairing, dazzling audiences with their high-flying antics, sarcastic humor, and relatable affinity for punk rock, video games, and anime.
More often than not competing in TNA's X-Division, TNA never seemed to truly realize what they had on their hands with MCMG. However middling their onscreen booking was, MCMG remained incredibly popular among fans, culminating in their capture of the Tag Team titles in 2010.
9. The Briscoe Brothers
In January 2023, the wrestling world was rocked by the news that modern legend Jay Briscoe passed away at 38. A massive loss for the wrestling community, Jay and his brother Mark were almost single-handedly responsible for carrying Ring of Honor on their backs from the early 2000s well into the 2020s. Throughout his ROH tenure, Jay regularly competed for the ROH World Tag Team Championship with Mark and for the ROH World Championship on his own, winning said titles on two separate occasions.
Throughout the 2000s, the Briscoe Brothers helped ROH climb to prominence alongside TNA. If AMW helped elevate TNA's product, the same could be said for the Briscoes' contribution to ROH's growing success around the same time.
10. AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels
Having embittered rivals reluctantly team with each other is a staple of pro wrestling, whether we're talking about Savage and Hogan, the Rock and Mick Foley, or Michaels and Cena. With that in mind, it shouldn't be surprising that TNA relied on this formula to pair AJ Styles with his most famous counterpart, Christopher Daniels, in 2006.
Their initial time together may have been brief, but for seven months, Styles and Daniels enjoyed unrivaled success, competing in some of TNA's best tag teams at the time (mainly against AMW and LAX). From 2007 onward, they'd occasionally reunite or once again go one-on-one (rekindling their 2005 X-Division rivalry), but their first pairing together remains arguably their best.
11. Los Guerreros
2002 was a strange year for tag team wrestling in WWE. With the official (and in some cases temporary) disbandment of groups like Edge & Christian, the Hardy Boyz, and the Dudley Boyz, a gaping hole was left in the tag team division that desperately needed to be filled.
Fortunately, 2002 also marked the return of “Latino Heat” Eddie Guerrero, now joined by his nephew Chavo. Reforming their 1998 WCW tag team, Eddie and Chavo competed on SmackDown after the first WWE brand split. Their late 2002 matches against Edge & Rey Mysterio and Kurt Angle & Chris Benoit are now considered classic examples of tag team action, with Los Guerreros consistently holding onto the WWE Tag Team titles.
12. The World's Greatest Tag Team
They were introduced initially as Team Angle, the aptly-named pairing of Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas as the World's Greatest Tag Team was a technical wrestler's ultimate dream team. With each man taking a page from their onscreen mentor Kurt Angle's repertoire, Benjamin and Haas demonstrated pure wrestling talent in every one of their matches.
Breaking from Angle in 2003, Benjamin and Haas had a decent run together in 2004, splitting for two years before reuniting in 2006. Now calling themselves the World's Greatest Tag Team, Benjamin and Haas instantly made their presence known upon their return on Raw, their standout match coming in 2007 in a ladder match against the similarly reformed Hardy Boyz.
13. The Kings of Wrestling
With the reputation Claudio Castagnoli has built-in WWE and AEW over the past decade, it can be easy to forget his earlier contributions to the world of indie pro wrestling. For example, look at Castagnoli's early partnership with Chris Hero in ROH, collectively known as the Kings of Wrestling.
Between Castagnoli's signature uppercuts and Hero's trademark elbow strikes, Castagnoli and Hero made quite the pairing from 2003 to 2006 and their brief reunion from 2009 to 2011. Favoring a more submission and suplex mat-based wrestling style, the two were wrestling purists in the same mold as the World's Greatest Tag Team.
14. The American Wolves
Coming together for the first time in the stable Sweet ‘N' Sour Inc., Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards had a bright future ahead of them in ROH and, later, Impact Wrestling. Initially making their mark in Ring of Honor, the Wolves were essentially the second coming of classic '80s tag teams like the British Bulldogs, matching the Bulldog's intensity and athleticism in every way.
Combining the mat-based wrestling personified by Kurt Angle and Bret Hart with a more high-flying moveset, the Wolves were a consistently high-performing team from 2008 to 2013. They may have peaked in the early to mid-2010s, but their early days in ROH are nothing to sneeze at.
The mid-2000s was an era for tag team reunifications in WWE, as seen with the reunions between D-Generation X, the Hardy Boyz, and the World's Greatest Tag Team. Still trying to introduce new talent to the elite ranks of the company's tag division, WWE promptly threw the trio of MNM into the mix to keep things fresh, providing new opponents against teams like the Hardys.
Composed of Johnny Nitro, Joey Mercury, and their manager Melina, MNM relied on a flashy gimmick to make their mark on SmackDown, complete with fur-based attire, prima donna attitudes, and a paparazzi camera crew that followed them down the entrance ramp. However, as killer as the gimmick was, Nitro and Mercury had the inherent talent to back up their gimmicks, having several incredible matches against the Hardy Boyz, Rey Mysterio and Eddie Guerrero, and Mysterio and Batista.
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