So far we’ve looked at all the title changes on the Grandest Stage of Them All, for the WWE Championship, Women’s Championships and Intercontinental Championships, and this time we turn our eyes towards the title changes of the various incarnations of the WWE Tag Team Championships over the years at WrestleMania!
WrestleMania I: The Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff Defeat The US Express (Barry Windham & Mike Rotundo) for the WWF World Tag Team Championship
The Iron Sheik was only a year removed from being the company’s top heel and WWF World Heavyweight Champion, whose loss to Hulk Hogan launched Hulkamania on the world. A year later, he was partnered with the big Russian Nikolai Volkoff, and guided by “Classie” Freddie Blassie defeated the rising young tandem of Barry Windham and Mike Rotundo, The US Express, to become WWF Tag Team Champions.
WrestleMania II: The British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith & Dynamite Kid) Defeat The Dream Team (Brutus Beefcake & Greg “The Hammer” Valentine) for the WWF World Tag Team Championship
One of WWF’s acquisitions following acquiring Stu Hart‘s Stampede Wrestling was the groundbreaking UK duo The British Bulldogs. Lead by a reformed Captain Lou Albano, and with the assistance of legendary English rock star Ozzy Osbourne, the duo beat The Dream Team for the WWF Tag Team titles at the second annual WrestleMania.
WrestleMania IV: Demolition (Ax & Smash) Defeat Strikeforce (Tito Santana & Rick Martel) for the WWF World Tag Team Championship
Demolition made their first WrestleMania count, when the painted monsters Ax & Smash defeated the popular Strikeforce duo of Tito Santana and Rick Martel for their first reign as WWF World Tag Team Champions, in part to the assistance of manager, Mr. Fuji. They would go on to hold the belts for 478 days, setting a record that would stand until the New Day’s record-breaking reign in 2016.
WrestleMania VI: Demolition (Ax & Smash) Defeat The Colossal Connection (Andre the Giant & Haku) for the WWF World Tag Team Championship
Two years later, and now babyfaces, Demolition faced Bobby Heenan‘s tag team champions, The Colossal Connection. But miscommunication between Heenan, Andre the Giant and Haku cost them their titles and Demolition won their third set of tag team titles. The loss caused Andre the Giant to snap and turn on his manager.
WrestleMania VII: The Nasty Boys (Knobbs & Sags) Defeat The Hart Foundation (Bret “Hitman” Hart & Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart) for the WWF World Tag Team Championship
With The Hart Foundation’s Bret “Hitman” Hart and Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart now fighting for good, their former manager Jimmy Hart recruited new clients in the Nasty Boys to take the gold from his former protegees. The team of Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags did just that at WrestleMania VII in Los Angeles. It was a send off in many regards, as Bret Hart would soon head to singles competition, becoming a multi-time Intercontinental and WWE World Champion in the coming years.
WrestleMania XI: Owen Hart & Yokozuna Defeat The Smoking Gunns (Bart & Billy Gunn) for the WWF World Tag Team Championship
By 1995, Yokozuna was a 2x WWF World Heavyweight Champion, but under the new guidance of Jim Cornette, there were other plans. He was paired with the rogue Hart member Owen Hart and together the two became a dominant force in the tag team division. They finally won tag team gold at WrestleMania XI in Hartford, Connecticut and held the gold for 176 days.
WrestleMania XII: The Bodydonnas (Skip & Zip) Defeat The Godwinns (Henry O. & Phineas I. Godwinn) for the Vacant WWF World Tag Team Championship (Free For All)
Following an injury to Billy Gunn in February, the WWF World Tag Team titles were stripped from The Smoking Gunns and two drastically different teams were slated to face off at WrestleMania XII for the vacant titles. On the Kickoff Show entitled Free For All, the athletic cocky Bodydonnas, featuring Skip (Chris Candido) and Zip (Dr. Tom Prichard) and managed by Sunny, defeated Hillbilly Jim‘s country boys The Godwinns to become WWF World Tag Team Champions.
WrestleMania 14: Cactus Jack & Chainsaw Charlie Defeat The New Age Outlaws (Billy Gunn & Road Dogg) for the WWF World Tag Team Championship
The WWF World Tag Team scene in 1997 was a very different landscape, with D-Generation X running the entire company. Their tag team duo New Age Outlaws, featuring “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn and “Road Dogg” Jesse James were tag team champions and played with the tag team division like a cat with a mouse. But Mankind brought out his violent former alter ego Cactus Jack, who brought out a new partner to face the NOA when he brought out Chainsaw Charlie, an even more twisted persona of his longtime friend and rival Terry Funk. In a foreshadowing to DX’s collapse from power, Cactus Jack & Chainsaw Charlie defeated the Outlaws for the tag titles, hours before their leader Shawn Michaels would lose his WWF World Championship to “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.
WrestleMania 2000: Edge & Christian Defeat The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & Devon Dudley) (c) and The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff Hardy) in a Ladder Match for the WWF World Tag Team Championship
At the turn of the millennium, tag team wrestling saw a resurgence in the WWF not seen since the 1980s, and it was thanks to three very different but exciting tag teams. Edge & Christian, the Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & Devon Dudley) and the Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff Hardy) electrified the audience and the WWE Universe alike with an epic ladder match that remains a classic to this day. But ultimately it was the two Canadian boys who won the match and the gold.
WrestleMania X-7: Edge & Christian Defeat The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & Devon Dudley) (c) and The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff Hardy) in a TLC Match for the WWF World Tag Team Championship
In a rematch from the prior WrestleMania, the teams of Edge & Christian, Dudley Boyz and Hardy Boyz reunited, this time for a TLC match. It elevated all three teams to legendary status, but Edge & Christian proved to be the better big match team, as they won for the second straight year.
WrestleMania XXV: The Colons (Carlito & Primo) Defeat The Miz & John Morrison to Unify the WWE Tag Team & World Tag Team Championships (Kickoff)
With a brand split in full effect but slowly fading, WWE decided to unify the two brand’s collective tag team titles, and at WrestleMania XXV in Houston, Texas, it was SmackDown’s WWE Tag Team Champions The Colons (Carlito & Primo) and Raw’s World Tag Team Champions Miz & Morrison who squared off. After facing weeks of verbal abuse from Miz & Morrison, the Colons silenced their foes and unified the WWE tag team titles on the Kickoff Show.
WrestleMania 33: The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff Hardy) Defeat Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows (c), The Bar (Cesaro & Sheamus) and Enzo & Big Cass for the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship
It would be eight long years before the WWE Tag Team titles changed hands again on the Grandest Stage of Them All, but it was a shocking twist of fate that lead to it. At WrestleMania 33, Raw Tag Team Champions Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson were set to defend their titles against The Bar (Sheamus & Cesaro) and Enzo & Big Cass in a triple threat. But at the last moment, WrestleMania hosts the New Day announced there would be a surprise fourth team entered into the match. At first, people assumed the New Day would be inserting themselves into the match, but once the music hit, there was no denying who it was – despite competing for Ring of Honor against the Young Bucks 24 hours prior, the Hardy Boyz made their shocking return to the WWE and captured their first WWE tag team titles since 2007.
WrestleMania 34: The Bludgeon Brothers (Luke Harper & Erick Rowan) Defeat The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) (c) and New Day (Kofi Kingston & Big E) for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship
Last year saw both tag team championships being defended, following another brand split the year before. The first was The Usos defending their SmackDown Tag Team Championships, but they ran into a monstrous new threat to their reign. While in the midst of a gruelling feud with the New Day, former Wyatt Family members Luke Harper & Erick Rowan reunited as the Bludgeon Brothers, decimating every tag team in their path and earning a spot on WrestleMania in the title match. Their dominance continued, as they defeated both to become SmackDown Tag Team Champions in New Orleans.
WrestleMania 34: Braun Strowman & Nicholas Defeat The Bar (Cesaro & Sheamus) for the Raw Tag Team Championship
The Raw Tag Team Championships were also defended, as The Bar was set to defend against Braun Strowman and a mystery partner of his choice. In an unbelievable moment, Strowman selected a child from the audience, Nicholas, to be his partner, and the Monster Amongst Men would proceed to win the tag team titles single-handedly.
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