"Prime Time Players" in television history
After several months of rising up through the tag team ranks, one thing is for certain — Titus O’Neil & Darren Young are ready for "Prime Time." And even though they were knocked out of the Tag Team Tournament, the young team continues to impress inside the ring, racking up a big win against former tag champs Kofi Kingston & R-Truth before falling to the formidable and high-flying duo of Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara.
With The Prime Time Players always on the hunt for "millions of dollars," WWE.com can’t help but think about other "money" Prime Time Players — this time of the classic television variety. So, without further ado, here are some of the best prime time teams in TV history.
Batman and Robin ("Batman")
Unwavering in their devotion to striking fear into the hearts of criminals everywhere, The Dynamic Duo devoted their lives to an intensive training regimen in order to protect Gotham City from every imaginable threat. (Also, apparently, to climb up buildings that just so happen to be inhabited by random celebrities.)
Or at least that’s what the prime time 1960s television pairing of Batman and Robin — as portrayed by the ineffable Adam West and the diminutive Burt Ward — seemed most concerned with. The campy, classic series, though initally a television phenomenon that prompted ABC-TV to carry the show twice weekly. ultimately lasted only three seasons. Nevertheless, it remains a pop cultural benchmark that lives on in the collective psyche of Bat-fans everywhere. Except for perhaps Christian Bale, whose gravel-voiced Dark Knight will never hit a dance floor and do "The Batusi."
Troy and Abed ("Community")
The dynamic between former athlete Troy and socially awkward Abed in the quirky college comedy, "Community," is unlike anything else on television today. Describing the pair as "irreverent" is like calling Freebird Michael Hayes’ choice of attire "understated."
Granted, Troy and Abed don’t look the part of a menacing tag team. Yet it’s well within their eccentric sensibilities to hop in their “Imaginarium” and visualize a main event battle against the likes of The Prime Time Players, or even Team Hell No.
Kirk and Spock ("Star Trek")
Now these two would make a phenomenal tag team. One is brash, bold and primed to act on his emotions and deal with the consequences later; the other is thoughtful, calculated and analytical, willing to view any problem from every possible angle. Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock, stars of that most beloved of sci-fi series, "Star Trek," were the perfect yin and yang of the United Federation Starship Enterprise.
Just like any worthy WWE tag team, Kirk and Spock have traveled together and been through countless battles by one another’s side - from the late 1960s NBC series all the way through the first six "Star Trek" motion pictuers. Formidable to say the least, we think these two would fare rather well inside the ring ... especially if Kirk tried to monkey-flip Jerry "The King" Lawler again.
Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble ("The Flintstones")
The Road Warriors of animated prime time television, Fred and Barney changed the face of TV history just as Hawk & Animal forever altered the tag team landscape. "The Flintstones" paved the way for every prime time cartoon that was to follow. It’s safe to say that "The Simpsons" and "Family Guy" would not exist had the prehistoric pair not endeared themselves to multiple generations of TV viewers.
Revolutionary, funny and always entertaining, we’d watch Fred and Barney challenge The Funkasaurus any day of the week. Wil-maaaaa!
Snooki and JWoww ("Snooki & JWoww")
Snooki and JWoww describe their combo as a modern-day "Laverne and Shirley" (see below), but both girls in this duo know how to talk tough and mix it up when a situation gets out of control. Look no further than Snooki's cartwheel splash at WrestleMania XXVII's Six-Person Mixed Tag Team Match, and you'd know the pint-sized guidette packs some punch as a competitor. ( WATCH) JWoww, who stands 10 inches taller than her BFF, has also shown her willingness for physicality when she got into a fistfight with Sammi during season two — and again during season three — of MTV's "Jersey Shore."
Snooki and JWoww have seemingly mellowed a bit from their hard-partying days at Karma, especially now that Snooki is a new mother. Yet there are still wild adventures to be found on their MTV spinoff show. If the action in the ring is enticing enough, it wouldn't be a surprise to see the bronzed pair bring their high-energy style to the Divas division.
Laverne and Shirley ("Laverne & Shirley")
The show’s theme song lyrics alone made them sound like a tag-team force to be reckoned with: Give us any chance, we’ll take it/Give us any rule, we’ll break it/We’re gonna make our dreams come true/Doin’ it OUR WAY! Truth be told, Laverne De Fazio and Shirley Feeney – played by Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams, respectively – were simply two working-class brewery workers in the 1960s whose high hopes often escalated into hilarious escapades. When it came to comedy, this sitcom duo were often No. 1 contenders – and occasionally champions – in television ratings throughout the 1970s.
Laverne, with her cursive "L"-emblazoned sweaters and milk-n-Pepsi concoctions, was the tough talker of the tandem. However, we’re pretty convinced that Shirley was a dark horse competitor. Despite her sweet, unassuming nature, she often went toe-to-toe with Laverne – both on the series and reportedly in real life – and she always had her stuffed "Boo-Boo Kitty" and sometimes-boyfriend Carmine “The Big Ragu” Ragusa to back her up. But when the ladies worked in unison, there was no stopping them – just ask Lenny and Squiggy, the lovable goofs who often felt the ladies’ wrath.
Mulder and Scully ("The X-Files")
One of the most crucial factors of a successful WWE tag team is maintaining cohesion in spite of any differences. FBI special agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully continually proved they could do that over nine highly acclaimed seasons of FOX's "The X-Files." Scully's scientific background and natural skepticism provided a harmonic balance to Mulder's firm belief in the existence of aliens and the supernatural.
Could the partners behind one of the longest-running science-fiction series in U.S. television history carry over their success to the squared circle? It has been a while since they've joined forces, but the kind of chemistry they displayed usually doesn’t fade with time. And after all the harrowing paranormal cases these agents had to deal with in the line of duty, there’s no way they would be intimidated by even the most fearsome WWE Superstars. We're sure that Jesse "The Body" Ventura and Rob Van Dam – both of whom guest-starred in separate episodes of the series – would concur.
Tim Taylor and Wilson ("Home Improvement")
For eight seasons, Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor bumbled his way through household projects to the delight of fans around the world. One of the most popular sitcoms of its day, "Home Improvement" had the perfect combination of quirky characters, physical humor and just enough heart to make the show a modern prime time classic.
While Tim shared a hilarious partnership with his "Tool Time" co-star, Al Borland, we’d instead like to focus on “The Tool Man’s” unique relationship with his wise neighbor, Wilson. And even though we were never privy to seeing Wilson’s face, his words of advice to Tim were enough to make him a fan-favorite.
Of course, if they had climbed through the WWE ropes, Wilson would have likely donned a mask before battle.
Lucy and Ethel ("I Love Lucy")
A true Diva in every sense of the word, Lucille Ball was unquestionably a singles star with an amazing supporting cast of characters around her as she starred in the revolutionary sitcom, "I Love Lucy." However – and with all due respect to TV and real-life husband Desi Arnaz – pair the incomparable Lucy with the Plain Jane character of Ethel Mertz (played by Vivian Vance), and you have one of the great comedy tandems of all time.
Able to play off one another’s comedic strengths in a way similar to how Mae Young and Fabulous Moolah wore down their opponents, Lucy and Ethel delivered a balanced, and hilarious, comedic attack on a weekly basis – on not one, but five different prime time series ("I Love Lucy," "Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse," "THe Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour," "The Lucy Show" and "Here's Lucy").
Itchy and Scratchy ("The Simpsons")
When we think of great tag teams in WWE history, we typically think of two Superstars who work well together in pursuit of a common goal. You know, like a team. More importantly, though, when we think of tag teams, we think of duos that try their best not to destroy each other.
Then, of course, there are the WWE Tag Team Champions, Team Hell No. Kane & Daniel Bryan have completely shaken up traditional thinking in what makes for a successful tag team. Which, in turn, has us thinking about another "team" hell-bent on killing each other.
Although they are most definitely a (faux) television staple that spoofs Tom and Jerry, the most famous animated (or is that, animated-animated?) denizens of "The Simpsons" universe are the hysterically fierce cat-and-mouse team of Itchy and Scratchy. Utilizing that ever-popular show within a show meme, one of the most vicious cartoons ever has thrilled the likes of Bart Simpson for the last 23 years.
Come to think of it, with the recent success of Team Hell No, maybe there is something to all this hostility ...
Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne ("The Osbournes")
Couples don't get more resilient than Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne. The Grammy Award–winning heavy metal guru and his multi-talented wife have seemingly been through it all in the course of their 30-year marriage. The book of legend is chock-full of stories about the Prince of Darkness’ antics, including biting the head off a bat on stage and being banned from San Antonio for a decade. But for every one of his outrageous stunts, Ozzy has continued to add to his musical legacy with an unmistakable sound. Sharon has paved her own path to mainstream success as a judge on "America's Got Talent" and co-host of "The Talk," all the while managing her husband's 40-plus-year music career.
The yin-and-yang duo has already proven to be quite popular in WWE, having received a wave of cheers as the celebrity guest hosts of Raw and judges of "Raw’s Got Talent" on Nov. 2, 2009. ( WATCH) Ozzy's sports-entertainment presence actually stretches back all the way to 1986, when The Wizard of Ozz co-managed The British Bulldogs at WrestleMania 2. ( WATCH) As Hell in a Cell approaches, it is due time to see Ozzy and Sharon ride the crazy train back into WWE programming.
Kip and Henry/Buffy and Hildegarde (“Bosom Buddies”)
The ABC-TV series was short-lived (1980-82), and its premise – two creative pals donning dresses and makeup to live in an affordable women-only apartment building – was sketchy at best. But the comedic timing between Kip and Henry – or Buffy and Hildy, depending on what time you tuned in to ABC’s half-hour sitcom – was often hilariously memorable. No doubt, of course, due to Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari, the formidably talented tandem that played these characters.
Honestly, the only thing this duo would have going for them in the squared circle – aside, perhaps, the admiration of an "Adorable" Adrian Adonis – is their sense of timing and speed. (Who else could change clothes in an elevator that we think went only four floors?) Plus, we’re not sure how badly Tom Hanks would want to step inside a WWE ring. He already has a golden tag team of Academy Awards in his corner.
Kramer and Newman ("Seinfeld")
It's arguable the more obvious team choice in the “Seinfeld” universe might have been to go with the hilariously at-odds relationship between Jerry Seinfeld and George Costanza. However, we decided instead to go with the oddball pairing of the show’s two biggest oddballs. (Both of whom were, interestingly enough, known only by one name ... kind of like WWE names, no?)
Kramer, the wackiest neighbor in television history, and Newman, the mailman who put the "postal" in ... umm, "postal," made for one of television comedy’s classic one-two punches.
There’s very little chance that either of the two eccentric characters would ever, on any conceivable level, be effective inside the squared circle. Still, Kramer & Newman in tag team ring action would definitely be fun to watch – and would force Michael Cole to incorporate "Yada-yada-yada" into his announcing of the match.
Abbott and Costello ("The Abbott and Costello Show")
Peanut butter and jelly, steak and potatoes, Abbott and Costello. Some things just go well together, and this tandem is proof of that. Over the course of their 36 feature films, the legendary comedy duo of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello became the top box-office draw in the country, and saved Universal Studios from certain bankruptcy in the 1940s.
Following their silver screen heyday, the pair went on to conquer the small screen, starring in prime time TV’s "The Abbott and Costello Show" in the early 1950s. Despite the fact that they weren’t that close off-camera, the pair perfectly played the straight man/funny man team on screen, proving time and again that they possessed that ever-elusive element that has also made up every great tag team in WWE history: chemistry. ( READ: "Breaking Down Tag Team Chemistry")
Starsky and Hutch ("Starsky & Hutch")
The stars of ABC-TV's eponymous 1970s cop show, Starsky (Paul Michael Glasser) and Hutch (David Soul) were one of prime time TV’s coolest crime-busters, and one of the few teams on this list that might actually stand a chance inside the ring. Not only would they be able to hold their own against bad guys in the ring (check out the 1976 episode "Omaha Tiger"), but pulling up in Starsky's trademark Ford Gran Torino, they'd also make a pretty awesome entrance.
They had the right amount of cool, the right amount of swagger and they could back it up. Most important, if they needed anyone with "Slick" moves in their corner, they had their informant extraordinaire, Huggy Bear!
Crockett and Tubbs ("Miami Vice")
Cool cars, hot women and Ray-Ban sunglasses at night. They were the cops of the 1980s – and the reason why many of today’s middle-aged men are leery about seeing classic photos of themselves sporting a Don Johnson ‘do or pastel-colored ensembles. But hey, that’s how they allegedly rolled in the vice squad of Miami’s police department back then. Twenty-eight years later, we might think the true criminal of Michael Mann’s music video-esque police procedural was style. Nevertheless, once Detectives “Sonny” Crockett and “Rico” Tubbs (Philip Michael Hall) were on the scene, the dispensation of cool-looking justice – and Phil Collins’ edgy lyrical warbling – really was “in the air tonight – hold on…”
As for how TV's fashionable fuzz might fare inside the WWE spotlight, it's safe to say they’d give any tag team of the 1980s a run for its money – and perma-stubble burns if anyone tried putting either of them in a headlock. Plus, Crockett would never let himself be trumped by ring duos with mascots (we're talking to you, Matilda): if the going got tough, he could call on Elvis, his pet alligator. (Not to be confused with the scaly-skinned Edward James Olmos; he was the squad captain.)
Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy ("The Muppet Show")
Let's be honest here: Kermit the Frog's a lover, not a fighter. But if you think that means you can simply push over the adorable green fellow, just be ready to face the hog-wild wrath of a karate-chopping swine.
Ever since "The Muppet Show" first aired on prime time in 1976, Kermit – or "Kermie" as she calls him – has long been the object of Miss Piggy's affection ... and anger, depending on her mood at the moment. On the Halloween episode of Raw in 2011, the mercurial Miss Piggy bumped chests with Vickie Guerrero, unleashed her rage on both Kelly Kelly – who planted a kiss on Kermit – and Hornswoggle, and let the entire WWE locker room know that her elegant looks can be deceiving. Kermit, meanwhile, had a paper bag placed over his head by Cody Rhodes.
Miss Piggy and Kermit brought humor and character to every appearance as guest stars on Raw, and would certainly be a welcome addition to future episodes as well. As far as the possibility of in-ring competition, the docile Kermie would be best served by leaving all the fighting to his paramour – with perhaps Beaker in her corner, seeing how helpful he was in Santino Marella's match with Jack Swagger. ( WATCH)
Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton ("The Honeymooners")
Like Laurel & Hardy and Abbott & Costello before them, Ralph Kramden & Ed Norton are one of the most legendary comedic duos of all time. Featured players in what is arguably the greatest sitcom in television history, "The Honeymooners," bus driver Ralph and best friend and sewer-dweller Norton provided viewers with some of television’s most classic moments.
The pair engaged in a series of madcap antics over the course of the benchmark series’ 39 episodes in 1955-56, ranging from Ralph’s disastrous appearance on "The $99,000 Answer" to Norton’s hilarious golfing lesson "First, address the ball ... Hello, ball!"). Through all of their fights, however, one thing was always made crystal clear: Ralphie Boy and Norton were teammates, plain and simple.
Shawn and Gus ("Psych")
A fake psychic who throws caution to the wind in police investigations and his measured, logical-thinking buddy, "Psych’s" Shawn and Gus are quite the prime time pair — a new, classic television tag team, for sure. And they’re avid WWE fans, to boot.
Seen on their hit USA show creating action figures, reliving classic WrestleMania moments, and meeting up with WWE Superstars like John Cena and The Miz, Shawn and Gus have a thorough appreciation for WWE history. For that reason alone, they’ve made our list.
"Pysch" can be seen on USA Network (shameless plug).
Larry and Balki ("Perfect Strangers")
WWE spotlights exciting Superstars from around the world: Mexico, Japan, Italy, Ireland … the list goes on. So who's to say an odd ex-shepherd from the island of Mypos can't make it?
Yes, we're talking about the lovable Balki Bartokomous, along with his distant cousin Larry Appleton, who kept audiences chuckling at their adventures over eight seasons of "Perfect Strangers." Each of them had their quirks – Balki with his cultural naivety and Larry with his hair-brained plans – but together, they were a perfect pair that always seemed to come out of any difficult situation with big smiles on their faces. That kind of good fortune would serve the Chicagoans well in WWE as they'd possibly cross paths with the irritable Second City Savior himself, CM Punk.
Have doubts that Larry and Balki would be able to handle in-ring competition? Don't be ridiculous! All it takes is one "Dance of Joy" from Balki to distract their opponents, allowing Cousin Larry to sneak in for a schoolboy pin en route to victory.