Who’s the best tag team in WWE right now?
It’s a claim that has been made time and time again, but has never felt truer than it does today: WWE’s tag team division is undergoing a renaissance.
Defined by parity, the division is packed with experienced duos (The Usos), newly forged teams (WWE Tag Team Champions Cody Rhodes & Goldust) and fresh faces (Los Matadores). But which of the nearly dozen regular tag teams in WWE is the absolute best?
This was the question that was posed to the WWE.com staff. Each editor selected the team he thought most deserves to be called WWE’s top tandem and argued in favor of his choice.
Then, we asked you, the WWE Universe, to vote for the team you believe is the best in the land. Find out which duo you picked!
Cody Rhodes & Goldust
This is a no-brainer. The best tag team in WWE today is … the WWE Tag Team Champions, Cody Rhodes and his older brother Dustin’s face-painted alter ego, Goldust. As pointed out in a recent interview with their father, WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes, for the first time, Cody is having fun because he is teaming with Goldust. Furthermore, Cody is training and traveling with his big brother as well. Being mentored by a 24-year veteran who has held a combined 20 WCW and WWE Championships is unbelievably valuable. Having that territory-tested, Attitude Era icon happen to be your big brother is priceless.
At 44 years old, Goldust is in the best physical condition of his life and his in-ring work has never been better. Many say wrestling is a “young man’s game.” I say wrestling is the best wrestlers’ game. Goldust has more in-ring ability, charisma and respect from the WWE Universe than most of the WWE roster. Cody has upped his game to defend his family’s honor. The recently married man ( have you seen his wife?) has added an aerial arsenal to his grinding ground game. More importantly, the passion of fighting for his father has made Cody better than he has ever been, and at only 28, he’s only going to get better.
To quote “The American Dream,” the Rhodes boys are to be takin’ care of bidness in public, if you will, for a long time, baby. — JOEY STYLES
The Wyatt Family (Luke Harper & Erick Rowan)
I don’t know that Luke Harper & Erick Rowan are the best tag team in WWE right now. The Usos are undoubtedly more exciting and Cody Rhodes & Goldust have far more polish. But I haven’t seen a duo this physically imposing and this sincerely menacing since Dan Spivey & Sid Vicious rocked leather chaps and permanent grimaces as The Skyscrapers back in WCW.
At that time in the 1980s, it was enough for a couple of near 7-footers to lumber around the ring with the grace of twin Frankensteins. This being 2013, big men are expected to go, and Harper & Rowan — at the same impossible size as the average Wookie — are setting a pace that just hasn’t been seen out of a duo with their dimensions. How hillbilly goliaths in street clothes have managed to keep pace with guys like Kofi Kingston is baffling.
As for their menace? A team hasn’t been this vicious since Tully Blanchard left The Horsemen. Watch the way both men peeled open The Miz’s eyes with their greasy fingers on the Oct. 21 Raw and tell me the last time you saw Superstars with that type of depravity.
It’s probably too early to start drawing comparisons between Harper & Rowan and the great big-man tag teams of all time. They’re far too raw and about a hundred trips to the locker room away from grabbing their first WWE Tag Team Titles. But damned if The Wyatt Family doesn’t remind me of Demotion had Ax & Smash been raised by alligators or The Road Warriors if they’d come out of Appalachia instead of Chicago.
Impressive wins over the likes of The Usos and The Prime Time Players aside, a breakout moment has eluded Bray Wyatt’s zombie titans as of yet. Still, with these monsters, it’s a question of when — not if. — RYAN MURPHY
Prime Time Players (Darren Young & Titus O’Neil)
The mark of a great WWE tag team isn't solely about elite grappling ability or pure sports-entertainment pedigree. It's also about cohesion in the toughest of circumstances and the bravado to get things done when it counts the most. Just ask the two bespectacled thugs from Dudleyville; they're the most decorated tandem in WWE history, with nine total Tag Team Titles.
Much like Bubba Ray & D-Von Dudley, The Prime Time Players are always working as a close-knit unit, even in spite of their individual character quirks. Sure, Darren Young may emotionally stomp his feet after a tough loss, and Titus O'Neil may bite off more than he can chew in physical bouts, but the important thing is this: They always remain on a united front. Titus and Darren train together, travel together and always overcome their adversities together.
On the Superstar charisma charts, no tag team outshines The Prime Time Players, and they've more than held their own in the ring as well, especially in demanding, multi-team showdowns. It was at No Way Out 2012, just two months after they made their SmackDown debut, when O'Neil & Young triumphed in a Four-Way Tag Team Match to become No. 1 contenders for the WWE Tag Team Titles. More recently, they pulled off the feat again by toppling four other duos — two of which are on this list — in a Tag Team Turmoil Match at Night of Champions 2013. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough left in their tanks to best The Shield later that night.
Although The Prime Time Players have come up shy with the championship gold on the line, it's only a matter of time before the still-growing twosome finally brings home the titles — and millions of dollars. — TOM HERRERA
The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso)
Although WWE is loaded with tag team talent, no duo can boast the legendary bloodlines, top-notch technical pedigree and wildly explosive skill set of up-and-coming twin brothers Jimmy & Jey Uso.
Descendants of the legendary Anoa’i family — which includes in-ring icons such as their father Rikishi, great uncles The Wild Samoans and even The Great One, The Rock — The Usos are half traditional Samoan warriors, half highly trained modern athletes.
With good size and athleticism to go along with solid grappling and jaw-dropping aerial moves, the third-generation competitors could be the tag team division’s most well-rounded pair. Additionally, few twosomes in WWE history have shown the teamwork and cohesion that The Usos have displayed time and time again in their three-plus years in WWE.
To top it all off, the brothers have an ultra-WWE fan-friendly style. From performing the rousing “Siva Tau,” a traditional pre-match Samoan war dance meant to intimidate opponents, to hitting those adversaries with wild ring-shaking splashes from the stratosphere, Jimmy & Jey truly are must-see entertainment who consistently compete in show-stealing bouts.
The Usos’ impressive ascent up the tag team mountain isn’t just the result of hard work or the fulfillment of a long held goal — it’s a birthright. As the super-talented brothers continue to make their mark in WWE, there is no doubt that they will also make their legendary ancestors proud. The Usos are coming into their own, and the time of Jimmy & Jey is here. For all of WWE’s other tag teams, that’s very, very bad news. — JAKE GRATE
Los Matadores (Diego & Fernando)
Amid all the pageantry that accompanies Los Matadores — the elaborate snorting-bull entrance, muletas and jaunty, Olé-based theme — it’s easy to overlook the very real substance of Diego & Fernando’s talent, namely their well-honed teamwork. No one will confuse the two bullfighters for WWE’s meanest or toughest tandem, and admittedly, they’ve yet to test much of what WWE’s tag division has to offer. Yet, in the current landscape, no other team holds a candle to Diego & Fernando’s fine-tuned synergy and really, isn’t that what tag team action is all about?
Given their closely guarded identities and mysterious backgrounds, it’s unclear exactly how long Diego & Fernando have fought side-by-side, whether in the bullring or the wrestling ring, but their flawless teamwork suggests the partnership is far from formative. So far, they’re undefeated in WWE, and their spotless record isn’t limited to clashes with 3MB, but also includes a pay-per-view win over the hot-and-cold — but undeniably skilled — Real Americans.
With all due respect to The Usos and Los Locales, Los Matadores are the quickest tag team going today, and that’s not even factoring in El Torito, the dynamic little bull who has proven effective at neutralizing the presence of other ringside parties. Diego & Fernando’s obvious lucha libre influence sets them apart from the pack stylistically, while individually, they have the fluidity, poise and grace that recall the finest junior heavyweight duos. Though their masked uniform is suggestive of Los Conquistadors, Los Matadores’ upside potential is more analogous to The Rockers, The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express or Paul London & Brian Kendrick.
Diego & Fernando are also one of the few duos that have a genuine double-team finishing maneuver. It may only be a matter of time before the WWE Universe is not only chanting “Ole,” but also demanding more of the tag team competition as exemplified by the cohesive and symbiotic Los Matadores. — JOHN CLAPP
The Shield (Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns)
If won’t be long before Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns of The Shield reclaim the WWE Tag Team Championship from Cody Rhodes & Goldust for one simple reason: They are the best combination on the roster today.
Don’t believe in The Shield? You’d better. With Dean Ambrose by their side, Rollins & Reigns’ completely united front gives them a three-on-two advantage in almost any tag team contest. Yet, that doesn’t mean they’re only good when they have the numbers advantage, a fact they have proven in numerous Six-Man Tag Team Matches. The Hounds of Justice radiate ruthless aggression like no other team around – the perfect grouping of charisma, technique and brute strength.
It’s true that Rollins & Reigns have been on a rocky road as of late, revealing more than a few cracks in The Shield. This is not, however, a sign of deterioration. Rather, it is a signal of great things to come, since the adversity Superstars face is what makes them elite in the first place.
Furthermore, though they’re not directly connected with The Authority, the tumultuous trio clearly has the favor of the WWE head office, which can only serve to streamline their continued success.
So, the tag team division had better believe in The Shield. Or it might be the last mistake its tandem inhabitants ever make. — MIKE BURDICK
The Real Americans (Jack Swagger & Antonio Cesaro)
Give The Real Americans your tired, your hungry, your poor … and they will beat them mercilessly until they become full, powerful and rich. For you see, that is the example that Jack Swagger, Antonio Cesaro & Zeb Colter are setting for the children of Old Glory: empowerment through hard work.
Not only are The Real Americans workhorses of the highest order (they recently took down the Tag Team Champions on Raw), but every team that faces them and fails is forced to improve as a result.
At this point, whether the WWE Universe agrees with Colter’s “Zeb-itarianism” and his ferocious protecting of “‘Murica’s” borders is somewhat irrelevant. His team is the pinnacle of physical perfection embodied by two of America’s favorite sons — one native, one adopted — and nurtured under the guidance of one of her most grizzled defenders.
Their performance in the ring speaks for itself: A brutal blend of Swagger’s technical precision and grizzly-bear aggression — honed in the halls of Oklahoma University’s wrestling room — and Cesaro’s strength, which is so stupendous one could be forgiven for assuming he hails from Olympus rather than Switzerland. So stand out of your chair, put your hands over your hearts, and pledge allegiance to these homeland titans. Your country demands it. — ANTHONY BENIGNO