#8 Kane & Daniel Bryan
A wise man once said that all you need is love. Kane & Daniel Bryan might need a little bit of luck to go with it, but against all odds, a tag team that was formed on a wing and a prayer has become one of the most fascinating duos in WWE today. The Devil’s Favorite Demon’s first interaction with Bryan came as part of the romantic Gordian Knot between them, AJ Lee and CM Punk. Eventually the love died down and Kane and Bryan found themselves targeting each other after Punk became thirsty for John Cena’s respect and AJ took office as the Raw General Manager. What ensued was something rarely seen in the squared circle: A rivalry that was deemed too intense for WWE. To help nip Kane and Bryan’s destructive tendencies in the bud, AJ sent them to anger management, where the soft-spoken Dr. Shelby managed to corral the furious foes and, as a last-ditch effort to achieve harmony, made them a tag team.
Radical therapy, but Shelby’s strategy was far from armchair quackery, because it worked! Well, kind of. Kane & Bryan did manage to hug it out (Yes, Kane hugged a man. It was on TV and everything.) and coexist well enough to win the WWE Tag Team Championships from Kofi Kingston & R-Truth. The win was far from harmonious (Bryan basically threw Kane on top of Kofi for the pin), and immediately opened up a can of worms as to which of them was the Tag Team Champions. Time will tell as to how dominant the two rivals will be with the twin titles, but they’ve already got our attention in the way few duos in WWE ever have.
#7 The Rock & The Undertaker
The People’s Champion and The Lord of Darkness together? Believe it or not, it happened. In the halcyon days of the Attitude Era, when Superstars oscillated between allegiances and principles, perhaps the most mind-boggling instance of teamwork was when The Rock found himself teamed up with The Demon of Death Valley. The two didn’t remain champions for too long, and eventually lost the titles to Edge & Christian less than a week after winning them. The two never sniffed tag team gold again, but goodness gracious, what might have been.
#6 The Colossal Connection
Perhaps it’s not quite strange for two members of the Heenan Family to team up, but the notion of seeing two human wrecking machines like Haku & Andre the Giant together was an odd notion in the nascent days of WWE. And as the WWE Universe might expect, they were a holy terror to compete against. Haku & Andre reached the pinnacle of the tag division in December ’89 when they defeated Demolition for the Tag Team Titles, keeping the title gold around their massive waists until April, when Demolition regained them at WrestleMania VI. The loss led to the severing of “The Colossal Connection,” but perhaps it was for the best: No one team should have all that power, and we mean that in the brute strength sense of the word.
#5 “Stone Cold” Steve Austin & Dude Love
Sometimes the biggest saving graces are the ones that you never, ever (ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, etc.) see coming. So when “Stone Cold” Steve Austin captured the Tag Team Championships alongside Shawn Michaels, he never expected to be forced to vacate them when The Showstopper suffered an injury. And we’re sure he never expected that he’d get an offer from Mankind to challenge The Hart Foundation together. And we’re sure he NEVER expected that, despite The Rattlesnake’s rejection of Mankind, Mick Foley would create a whole new personality to team with “Stone Cold”: a peace-and-love daddy-o named Dude Love who Foley conjured up in his childhood fantasies of becoming a WWE Superstar.
Quite frankly, we’re sure nobody ever expected they’d win the titles and retain them for months, to say nothing of the fact that nobody expected Austin & El Duderino (if you’re not into the whole brevity thing) would have to vacate the titles after Austin suffered a neck injury against Owen Hart. In any case, we’re beyond sure that we’ll never, ever (ever, ever, ever, ever … you get the idea) see a tag team this gloriously weird ever again.
#4 Owen Hart & Yokozuna
Brains met brawn in this eye-popping tag team when Owen Hart, he of the Hart Family Dungeon, brother of Bret and all-around technical maven, teamed with the mighty Yokozuna, he of the Banzai Drop and earth-shattering power, to achieve tag team glory in 1995. It began at WrestleMania IX when Yokozuna was revealed as Hart’s mystery partner in a title opportunity against The Smoking Gunns. The pair won the match and proceeded to dominate the tag division for months and months, until a controversial defense against Diesel & Shawn Michaels cost them the championships, despite the fact that Hart was replaced by The British Bulldog. The title change was revoked the next day, but the end result was basically the same: The Smoking Gunns reclaimed the titles that very evening.
#3 Kane & X-Pac
OK, admit it: Nobody saw this one coming. The Big Red Machine had already been a crony of The Corporation’s when the magnanimous faction attempted to have him institutionalized. To counter the suits’ nefarious plot to have Kane committed, D-Generation X came to the rescue of The Devil’s Favorite Demon and assimilated him into their ranks. It was X-Pac, though, who took the biggest liking to the demon in red, joining forces to win the World Tag Team Championships twice. The shaggy-haired degenerate even helped The Big Red Monster speak his first two unaided words, the signature DX catchphrase “suck it.” Like all things that were too good to last, the team eventually went down in flames after Kane’s girlfriend Tori left him for X-Pac. But we’ll always have the memories.
#2 Booker T & Goldust
Was there ever such a mismatched pair of bros in the history of WWE? When you match the streetwise toughness of the five-time, five-time, five-time, five-time, FIVE-TIME WCW Champion Booker T with the “it” factor that made Goldust so great ( … well, we’re not even sure what to call), this odd couple turned out to be not only beloved by the WWE Universe, but also a force to be reckoned with in the ring. It was an admittedly rocky start for the bromance, with The Bizarre One inadvertently costing Booker several matches while trying to convince The Master of the Spinaroonie to form a tag team. Booker eventually came around, though, and the two proved to be among the most dynamic personalities in WWE.
Their backstage antics are still the stuff of WWE legend (see: Booker with the lightsaber), and they ultimately reached the peak of the tag division as well. Booker & Goldust captured tag team gold at Armageddon 2002, defeating Edge & Christian, Lance Storm & William Regal and The Dudley Boyz to adorn their mismatched waists with the twin titles. Their reign was sadly short-lived, but as a brief reunion last year on SmackDown showed, the friendship lived on.
#1 The Rock ‘n’ Sock Connection
Combine the opulent braggadocio of The People’s Champion with the shambling scruffiness of Mankind and you get our No. 1 pick, and one of the most memorable and beloved tag teams in WWE history to boot. Born out of Mankind’s innate desire to cozy up to people who can’t stand him (remember: Mr. Socko started out kissing Mr. McMahon’s boo-boo), the “Rock ‘n’ Sock Connection” was basically a result of Mankind badgering The Rock into becoming a tag team following The Great One’s attack at the hands of The Unholy Alliance (The Undertaker & Big Show). The Brahma Bull accepted and, against all odds, the team won the Tag Titles from their monstrous opponents later that very same evening.
The two’s unlikely union was far from perfect, but the combination of Mankind’s mad desire to emulate The People’s Champion with The Rock’s odd affection for his offbeat buddy produced some of the most memorable moments in Attitude Era history. The two were an unforgettable mix of dominance and comedy. Mankind’s wacky innovation and propensity to humiliate combined with The Rock’s poised execution led to multiple Tag Title reigns and a reunion against Evolution at WrestleMania XX. Let’s just say, when you can successfully conspire to Rock Bottom a man onto a platter of doggy doo-doo, you’ve truly encapsulated the best of two ideologies.