Brawlin' Buddies: Tag partners and allies who faced off
Being a buddy, especially in WWE, means you've got to put up with another person's nonsense. You accept them as they are, focus on the positive and put aside pet peeves in the name of unity, harmony and, most importantly, the pursuit of greatness in the squared circle.
But sometimes being a buddy means you gotta slap your pal around a bit when they step out of line (checks and balances: It's a proven system, WWE Universe).
Tag team harmony is far from a given in the rough-and-tumble world of WWE, where two rivals are just as likely to become a tandem as two friends are. Take the current WWE Tag Team Champions, Team Hell No. Born of an unlikely, anger-management-mandated team-up between Kane & Daniel Bryan, the mad champions have retained their titles almost in spite of themselves. Frankly, the only thing that seems to keep them going is the savage glee they take in insulting each other. And while Team Hell No is definitely a rarity, they're certainly not the only team who couldn't get on the same page. Here are some of WWE's best "brawlin' buddies" throughout the years.
Eddie Guerrero & Rey Mysterio
The partnership between Latino Heat and The Ultimate Underdog was shaky at best when they captured the WWE Tag Team Championships from The Basham Brothers a scant two months before WrestleMania 21. The duo managed to hang on to their titles despite their differences, but it was Eddie who came up with a cathartic, one-of-a-kind solution: Instead of defending their championships at WrestleMania, the partners would have it out on The Grandest Stage of Them All and "tear the house down" in a one-on-one match. True to Eddie's prediction, the contest did, indeed, steal the show as the two brought out the best in each other in a classic WrestleMania match. The Ultimate Underdog lived up to his name when all was said and done, kicking out of the Three Amigos and pinning Guerrero to temporarily put their bad blood to bed.
The duo memorably engaged in a gentlemanly handshake after the final bell, but the mutual respect was short-lived, and the team irrevocably dissolved only a few weeks later.
Road Dogg & X-Pac
Bros don't let money come between them, as Road Dogg and X-Pac proved during the royalty-fueled split of D-Generation X in 1999. While the band of outlaws turned against itself over the issue of compensation, Road Dogg and X-Pac decided to tough it out and stay amigos during the acrimonious dissolution of the iconic group. Even so, their loyalty to each other was put to the test when they met in the semifinals of the 1999 King of the Ring Tournament. The WWE Universe was tense with anticipation to see how the two buddies would handle the challenge of facing each other (Road Dogg had, after all, helped X-Pac out earlier that same evening), but what unfolded was a tremendous show of respect between the two renegades. X-Pac ultimately captured the victory and punched his ticket to the final (where he would, ironically, fall to a fellow ex-DXer in Billy Gunn), but the two gave each other a big hug after the match was over and departed the ring together.
The Hardy Boyz
Brothers love to fight, but it's all fun and games till someone gets tossed off a turnbuckle.
The 2001 Royal Rumble Match will be remembered forever as perhaps the strangest Battle Royal in WWE history. Not only did it feature Drew Carey in a performance that, quite literally, punched his ticket into the WWE Hall of Fame, but it also featured Kane's historic 11 eliminations and the first instance of The Hardy Boyz, Matt and Jeff, turning against each other. While Carey was making his entrance, the Hardys stood alone in the ring and had no choice but to square off against each other. The daredevil siblings ultimately took their fight up to the turnbuckles, where Matt's attempt at a superplex fell short and allowed Jeff to boot him from The Rumble. The Charismatic Enigma lost his footing, though, and quickly followed suit. The true dissolution of the Hardys wouldn't come until years later, so let's just chalk this one up to "boys will be boys," shall we?
MVP & Matt Hardy
It was a very poor choice of words from then–United States Champion MVP when he declared to Teddy Long that he could win the WWE Tag Team Championships with the next Superstar who strolled into Teddy's office. That man turned out to be none other than MVP's rival for the star-spangled championship, Matt Hardy. MVP was as good as his word, though, as he and Hardy promptly won the twin championships and even managed to retain them for some time despite their mutual disdain for each other.
The U.S. Title (not to mention who was the weak link of the team) remained a point of contention between the twosome, however, so Hardy & MVP employed an extremely innovative (if fundamentally juvenile) form of conflict resolution to determine the better man: Unwilling to risk their Tag Championships, the two would instead compete in bizarre contests of strength, stamina and stomach, clashing in everything from a beer-drinking contest to a one-on-one basketball game in no less an arena than Madison Square Garden. Eventually, the duo threw co-existence to the wind and had it out in the ring after they lost the titles to The Miz & John Morrison, but A for effort, if not necessarily for maturity.
"Stone Cold" Steve Austin & Kurt Angle
These two weren't exactly a tag team in the sense they competed together all too often, but as Mr. McMahon's quarrelsome lackeys during the Invasion, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and Kurt Angle meshed about as well as whole milk and days-old Steveweisers. While Austin feverishly attempted to gain favor with The Chairman, Angle would continually show up The Rattlesnake without even trying by simple virtue of his helpful, unobstructive can-do attitude, which tended to derail Austin's demented (if well-intended) plans. Angle's oblivious sabotaging of the WWE Hall of Famer's attempts to placate The Chairman (not to mention that cowboy hat) led to some of the most memorable misunderstandings between two supposed allies in the long, storied history of memorable misunderstandings.
Another Royal Rumble–fueled squabble rocked the tag team division when Ax & Smash, the titanic twosome known as Demolition, stepped into the Rumble Match as the first two entrants in the 1989 contest. What followed was a battle that could only be described as earth-shaking. The canvas shuddered with the impact of Ax's and Smash's strikes against each other. The tag team duked it out with prejudice in the Rumble Match, but the squabble was ultimately decided for them when Andre the Giant stomped his way to the ring, eventually eliminating Smash after Demolition put aside their petty differences and teamed up in an unsuccessful attempt to remove "The Eighth Wonder of the World" from the Rumble Match. Sometimes, a third party is required to settle inter-team conflict, a sentiment we're sure Dr. Shelby (wherever he may be) would agree with.
Al Snow & Steve Blackman
Come on, you didn't think we were going to forget "Head Cheese," did you? As one of the precursors to Team Hell No, Al Snow & Steve Blackman were as odd a couple as ever existed during the anything-goes years of the Attitude Era. The team formed with a mutual desire to make an impact in the feeding-frenzy that was tag team division. It's safe to say there was a difference in methodology between the two of them, though: whereas Blackman favored the path of physicality (translation: He wanted to beat everybody up), Al Snow attempted to steer "Head Cheese" down the path of tacky gimmickry, attempting to win favor with the WWE Universe by incorporating dance numbers and a time-travel spinoff series starring the two. Blackman, needless to say, was not amused.
Sadly, "Head Cheese" never reached the heights of The New Age Outlaws or Edge & Christian, but does that mean we love them any less? To quote The Lethal Weapon himself, that's the dumbest thing we've ever heard.