14 Awesome tag team finishing maneuvers
In the aftermath of their monumental win against United States Champion Santino Marella & Zack Ryder on the May 11 edition of SmackDown, the tag team of Darren Young & Titus O’Neil asked one simple question of the WWE Universe: “Do you all know the difference between [us] and the rest of the tag teams here in WWE?”
Their “million dollar” charisma notwithstanding, the promising duo can distinguish themselves with the one thing they already have in common with some of the greatest duos in WWE history: a distinct tag team finishing maneuver.
The backbreaker hold-diving elbow drop combination that Young & O’Neil execute brings them into elite company, as they join a proud tradition of sports-entertainment pairings who have used the power of teamwork to deliver a devastating knockout blow to their opponents. To see how their climactic finale stacks up, WWE.com takes a look at 14 signature finishers that other tag teams have relied upon to rough up a rival in the ring.
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 cared 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 collaborating on a clobbering 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 was nigh: the Doomsday Device. With Road Warrior Animal keeping the opponent on his shoulders, Road Warrior Hawk chose to leap from the top rope to connect 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 render his opponent lifeless in one renowned move. ( WATCH)
3-D (The Dudley Boyz)
Between their bombastic personalities and the hardcore heritage from their formative years in ECW, 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 the “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. ( WATCH)
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. The technical Hart and gregarious Neidhart made for an odd couple in their corner of the ring, but the former’s calculated strategy and the latter’s brute 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 featuring Neidhart known as The Hart Attack. With The Anvil forcefully embracing their adversary with a bearhug, Hart rushed to the ropes before returning with a flying clothesline that sent his opponent crashing down onto the apron. ( WATCH)
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 one of ECW’s most feared and revered tag team pairings. 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 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 looking to carve out its place in ECW’s hardcore history.
Double Chokeslam (The Brothers of Destruction)
Attempting to achieve any kind of success against either The Undertaker or Kane appeared daunting enough, but expecting a win against both demonic Superstars at the same time just seemed cruel. Yet that fraternal bond brought unbridled fear into WWE’s tag team ranks as The Phenom and The Devil’s Favorite Demon joined forces as The Brothers of Destruction.
One chokeslam by either skyscraping competitor can annihilate any adversary. But two? 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-ever Unified Tag Team Champions; the only real shocker was that they somehow relinquished the titles. ( WATCH)
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 that “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 strength and technical prowess.
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 rendered every adversary lifeless. ( WATCH)
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 shines through with a finishing move called the “Rocket Launcher.” Popularized by Condrey & Eaton, the latter stood 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.
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 Championship 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 know-how to brawl 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, a tactic where Blanchard leaped from the top rope to push down an opponent’s feet while Anderson executed a punishing piledriver. It’s a maneuver that’s literally designed to bust a rival’s brain, which seems fitting for an all-business, no-nonsense pairing like Anderson & Blanchard. ( WATCH)
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, 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 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 Steiners. ( WATCH)
Double Superfly Splash (The Usos)
Of course, Darren Young & Titus O’Neil aren’t the only modern WWE tag team that can double up the damage against a common foe. Jimmy & Jey Uso come from the storied Samoan Anoa‘I family that includes such legendary competitors as WWE Hall of Famers “High Chief” Peter Maivia, Yokozuna and The Wild Samoans. When names like The Rock are in your family tree, some of that talent undoubtedly rubs off.
So, how better for The Usos to acknowledge their heritage than by paying their 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 Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka. ( WATCH)
Heat Seeker (Harlem Heat)
SmackDown color commentator Booker T takes every opportunity to tell the world that he’s a five-time WCW World Champion, but he should take equal pride in being half of the 10-time WCW World Tag Team Championship pairing known as Harlem Heat. The brotherly alliance of Booker T & Stevie Ray won more tag team titles than anyone in WCW history and accomplished that notable feat with a nice blend of brute force and street smarts.
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 incredibly powerful when it hit 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.
Power Plex (Power & Glory)
United by their mutual hatred for The Rockers, Paul Roma and 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 one 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.
G9 (Cryme Tyme)
The Brooklyn-born duo of JTG & Shad Gaspard hustled and bustled to prominence during Cryme Tyme’s two tours of duty in WWE. The street savvy duo showed a toughness and tenacity in the ring and a mischievous streak away from it that helped the graduates from the School of Hard Knocks stand out from the run-of-the-mill tag team in WWE.
Of course, it also helps that Cryme Tyme could fire off their signature G9 in stunning fashion. As Shad set up their foe for a fierce Samoan Drop, JTG capitalized by connecting a corkscrew neckbreaker designed to leave no doubt about the outcome of the bout being in Cryme Tyme’s favor. ( WATCH)
MNM had style and grace, but the troublesome trio of Joey Mercury, Johnny Nitro and Melina could always give as good as they got in the squared circle. Any pairing of MNM proved daunting to a rival, even if the threesome ultimately came apart in three years’ time. Still, there’s something to be said for a trio achieving three WWE Tag Team Championship reigns in three years.
Further proof of their prowess comes with their signature finisher, the Snapshot. In one fluid motion, Mercury held up an opponent in a flapjack until Nitro came flying in to execute an elevated DDT. The flashy combo furthered the exploits of MNM, as the self-absorbed Superstars fueled their egos with the results of their in-ring performance.