Breaking down tag team chemistry

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October 04, 2012

Greater than the sum of its parts

In some respects, the chemistry of a tag unit boils down to the stylistic dichotomies at play. In WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No, WWE has a classic thunder-and-lightning juxtaposition of a big, muscular force (Kane) and a speedy, technically sound grappler (Bryan).

Kidd & Gabriel, Mysterio & Sin Cara and Primo & Epico are all high-flying duos that are experts at making quick tags in and out of the ring. Dating back to The Fabulous Kangaroos and extending all the way through to The Rock 'n' Roll Express, The Rockers and The Hardys, that particular dynamic has produced countless championships, not to mention some of the most exciting double-team moves ever seen.

Titus O’Neil & Darren Young are a prime example of two greenhorn powerhouses who are short on experience but long on potential, not unlike a young Road Warriors or Harlem Heat once were.

And then, of course, there is the long line of teams that shared the ultimate bond — the brotherly kind. From The Briscos and The Funks to The Steiners and now to Jimmy & Jey Uso, brothers have set the bar for tag team continuity.

“Nobody wants to get in there and make the tag like a brother does after he’s been watching his brother get beat up for five minutes,” explained Road Dogg, who teamed with his brothers, Brad, Steve and — current referee — Scott Armstrong, before joining WWE.

Other Superstars turn to tag competition when their singles momentum stalls as a way to move up the WWE pecking order. Santino Marella & Zack Ryder’s success in the singles ranks has come in fits and starts, and as a result, the two fun-loving cornerstones of WWE’s YouTube channel have teamed on occasion this year. Other combinations of singles stars — such as Vickie Guerrero’s ill-fated duo of former World Champions Dolph Ziggler & Jack Swagger — have not meshed well, partly because of disparate agendas.

“A lot of tag teams that are individual guys that are put together might have their own best interest at heart, and not the team’s best interest,” Road Dogg said. “Both members have to have the team’s best interests at heart, and if they don’t, they won’t be a team for very long."

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