The 15 greatest tag team finishers of all time
If a competitor is about to get hit with a tag team finishing maneuver, his team’s about to lose.
That’s the signature attribute of a tandem finishing move—it’s the knockout blow. Every grappling duo strives to find a final burst of force that can put their opponents away for good. Whether the coup de grâce involves an aerial assault, a ground-and-pound attack, or something in between, the only thing that truly matters with a successful tandem attack is that the means bring about a victorious end.
What follows on these pages are the 15 greatest examples of tag team finishers anywhere, each perfected by talented pairings from up-and-coming teammates to certified WWE Hall of Famers. Every time The Shield doles out a triple powerbomb or Los Matadores cooperatively strike down a weary adversary, they carry on the legacy of these inspiring tag team finishers—and may one day find their own favored finales on later iterations of this list.
No. 15: G9 (Cryme Tyme)
The Brooklyn-born duo of JTG & Shad Gaspard hustled to prominence during Cryme Tyme’s two tours of duty in WWE. The street-savvy duo displayed toughness and tenacity in the ring, as well as a mischievous streak away from it, helping the graduates from The School of Hard Knocks stand out from the run-of-the-mill tag teams.
Of course, it also helps that Cryme Tyme could fire off their signature G9 in stunning fashion. As Shad set up an unlucky foe for a fierce Samoan Drop, JTG capitalized by connecting with a corkscrew neckbreaker designed to punish any Superstars who tried to get all up in Cryme Tyme’s business.
No. 14: Double Superfly Splash (The Usos)
So, how better for The Usos to acknowledge their heritage than by paying respects to a fellow Polynesian? The Usos may frequently call upon several tandem maneuvers to get ahead of the competition, but their use of a Double Superfly Splash serves two explicit purposes: To put a tally in the win column, and to pay homage to WWE Hall of Famer, and blood brother, Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka.
No. 13: Superkick-German Suplex combination (Badd Company)
Badd Company cemented much of their success with a nameless finisher that was certainly ahead of its time. In one fluid motion, Diamond delivered a superkick to send his opponent flying into Tanaka, who then executed a bridging German suplex for a prompt pinfall. The maneuver unfolded quickly, meaning an unsuspecting grappler who blinked may not even know what hit him until well after the referee’s hand had hit the ring apron for a count of three.
No. 12: Heat Seeker (Harlem Heat)
Few finishing moves paid off for a tag team in the way the “Heat Seeker” did for Harlem Heat. As Stevie Ray hoisted a prone opponent up on his shoulders, Booker T fired a missile dropkick that proved explosive when hitting its target. With a maneuver as precise and powerful as their patented Heat Seeker, Harlem Heat made “suckas” of many rivals in their climb to the top of WCW.
No. 11: The Hart Attack (The Hart Foundation)
Before WWE Hall of Famer Bret “Hit Man” Hart made his mark in singles competition, he tore up WWE’s tag team ranks alongside Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart as part of the influential tag team known as The Hart Foundation. While the steadfast Hart and gregarious Neidhart made for an odd couple in their corner of the ring, the former’s calculated strategy and the latter’s raw strength blended well as the twosome seized the World Tag Team Titles on two separate occasions.
Though most know The Excellence of Execution for his signature Sharpshooter, he preceded that submission hold with a tandem maneuver known as The Hart Attack. With The Anvil forcefully suffocating their adversary with a bearhug, Hart ran the ropes before returning with a flying clothesline that sent his opponent crashing down onto the apron.
No. 10: Rocket Launcher (The Midnight Express)
The many iterations of The Midnight Express all had one thing in common: innovative tactics that combined the talents of all teammates involved. From “Loverboy” Dennis Condrey & “Beautiful” Bobby Eaton to Bombastic Bob & Bodacious Bart, their in-ring approach always meshed well to produce some of the most impressive moves ever seen in a squared circle.
Their unique style shone through with a finishing move called the “Rocket Launcher.” Popularized by Condrey & Eaton, the maneuver saw the latter stand on the top rope while the former grabbed hold of him. Condrey then hurled his own teammate into the air, allowing Eaton to build up speed and distance before crashing down on an opponent with a flying body splash.
No. 9: Double Chokeslam (The Brothers of Destruction)
One chokeslam by either skyscraping competitor can annihilate any adversary. But both of them? Who could possibly withstand a double chokeslam administered by two masters of the move in The Undertaker & Kane? It’s no surprise the tandem maneuver helped The Brothers of Destruction become the first partners in history to hold the WCW and WWE World Tag Team Titles simultaneously; the only real shocker was that they somehow relinquished the titles.
No. 8: Diving Bulldog (The Steiner Brothers)
Any list concerning tandem tactical maneuvering is incomplete without mentioning The Steiner Brothers. The duo from Michigan mixed their agility, ring intelligence and speed to take tag team competition to the next level as Rick & Scott Steiner clinched numerous titles during their successful run together in WWE and WCW.
A perfect example of The Steiners’ combined capabilities was the finishing move that involved one of them intentionally taking a dive. The chain of events commenced when Scott Steiner lifted his opponent up on his shoulders and deliberately paced into a corner of the ring. The Dog-Faced Gremlin would then catapult from the top rope and lock his arm around his adversary’s neck to execute a flying bulldog that finalized the victory for the brothers.
No. 7: Demolition Decapitation (Demolition)
Few WWE tag teams could induce fear in their opponents as consistently as the “walking disasters” known as Demolition. From the moment their entrance music announced “Here comes the Ax and here comes the Smasher,” the WWE Universe knew full well that the post-apocalyptic partners were on the way to creating double trouble for anyone who dared to challenge their combination of imposing strength and unyielding aggression.
Nothing epitomized the capabilities of the three-time World Tag Team Champions more than the finishing maneuver simply referred to as “Demolition Decapitation.” While Ax immobilized some poor soul in a backbreaker hold, Smash took flight from the ropes to deliver a savage elbow drop that claimed more victims than a French executioner.
No. 6: Snapshot (MNM)
MNM had style and attitude, but the troublesome trio of Joey Mercury, Johnny Nitro and Melina could always give as good as they got between the ropes. The threesome proved daunting to any rivals, even if they ultimately came apart in a mere three years. Still, they realized many achievements, including three WWE Tag Team Championship reigns, in their abbreviated tenure in WWE.
Further proof of their prowess comes with their signature finisher, the Snapshot. In one continuous movement, Mercury held up an opponent for a flapjack until Nitro came flying in to execute an elevated DDT. The flashy sequence fit in well with the exploits of MNM, as the self-absorbed Superstars fueled their egos with the results of their in-ring performance.
No. 5: Power Plex (Power & Glory)
United by their mutual hatred for The Rockers, Paul Roma & Hercules enlisted “The Doctor of Style,” Slick, to help with their makeover into the tag team called Power & Glory. Decked out in matching tights and a menacing attitude, Roma & Hercules came together to muscle their way into a pursuit of tag team championship gold.
Though their union only lasted a little more than a year, Power & Glory made their mark in WWE with a high-risk finisher that came to be known as the “Power Plex.” Hercules put the pain in motion by performing a superplex from one corner of the ring while Roma pulled off a diving splash from the top rope in a different corner. Roma & Hercules seemingly always achieved a positive result when they pulled this tandem tactic off.
No. 4: Spike Piledriver (The Brain Busters)
Taking a break from participating in the WWE Hall of Fame faction known as The Four Horsemen, Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard redirected their brand of brutality to pursue the World Tag Team Championships in WWE during the late 1980s. Now under the stewardship of WWE Hall of Fame manager Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, the devious duo called themselves The Brain Busters and proceeded to use their tag team tactical knowhow to battle with the likes of The Hart Foundation, Demolition and The Rockers.
So what kind of finishing move could The Brain Busters come up with by putting their heads together? A spike piledriver, with Blanchard leaping from the top rope to push down an opponent’s feet while Anderson tried to embed his foe’s head into the ring apron. It’s a maneuver that suited their team name, and perfectly fit the all-business, no-nonsense pairing of Anderson & Blanchard.
No. 3: Total Elimination (The Eliminators)
To bring a hardcore edge to this list of tag team finishers, please consider the case of The Eliminators. Perry Saturn & John Kronus seemingly matured overnight from an unknown quantity in the renegade company known as Extreme Championship Wrestling to ECW’s most feared and revered tag team pairing. When any challenge needed to be taken to the extreme, the three-time ECW World Tag Team Champions eagerly obliged with reckless abandon and an arsenal of moves that never failed to punish a rival.
Few tag teams in history can match the sheer force that occurred when Saturn & Kronus connected with the finishing move they called “Total Elimination.” Surrounding a weary and outnumbered opponent, The Eliminators showed no mercy as Saturn executed a spinning leg sweep while Kronus simultaneously performed a spinning heel kick. It was utterly devastating and wildly successful for a duo that was once touted as the best tag team on the planet.
No. 2: 3-D (The Dudley Boyz)
Between their bombastic personalities and the hardcore heritage of their ECW formative years, The Dudley Boyz might inadvertently make the WWE Universe forget just how skilled they could be when combining their efforts in tag team competition. The duo from Dudleyville won WWE, ECW and WCW tag team championship gold by keeping their techniques in lockstep as they battered one foe after another.
After asking “Wazzup?” and getting the tables, Bubba Ray & D-Von came together to finish off their adversary with the innovative move called “3-D.” While one Dudley brother elevated an unwilling opponent for a flapjack, the other would connect a vicious cutter to complete the combo — and crush the hopes and dreams of all who sought to stop The Dudleys on their way to the top.
No. 1: Doomsday Device (The Road Warriors)
“Snacking on danger and dining on death” for more than two decades, the WWE Hall of Famers known as The Road Warriors bear a well-earned reputation for ruthless efficiency and a fanatical devotion to delivering pain to any who dared to cross their path. Their spiked shoulder pads and iconic face paint may serve as a symbol of Hawk & Animal’s stature, but the chemistry they displayed when jointly clobbering their latest rivals is what cemented their legacy as a groundbreaking tag team.
Every move the terrifying twosome could create would annihilate anyone, but only one signaled the end of the match: the Doomsday Device. With Road Warrior Animal keeping the opponent on his shoulders, Road Warrior Hawk jumped from the top rope to deliver a flying clothesline that sent his foe plummeting to the ring apron. What a rush it must have been for Hawk to soar through the skies and destroy his opponent in the most renowned tag team finishing maneuver in WWE history.