World Tag Team Championship (WWE)
|World Tag Team Championship|
The World Tag Team Championship belt's final design (used from 2002 to 2010) being worn by two-time champion John Cena.
|Date established||June 3, 1971|
|Date retired||August 16, 2010|
|Promotion||World Wrestling Entertainment|
The World Tag Team Championship was the original professional wrestling world tag team championship contested for in World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). It served as the premier title for tag teams in WWE from 1971 until 2002 when a second WWE Tag Team Championship was established. Both titles were unified in 2009 and were collectively referred to as the Unified WWE Tag Team Championship while essentially remaining independently active until the World Tag Team Championship was decommissioned in 2010. The championship was generally contested in professional wrestling matches, in which participants execute scripted finishes rather than contend in direct competition.
The World Tag Team Championship was originally known as the "World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF) World Tag Team Championship". Following the title's introduction in 1971, Luke Graham and Tarzan Tyler became the inaugural champions on June 3. In 1979, the title became known as the "World Wrestling Federation (WWF) World Tag Team Championship" when the promotion was renamed the World Wrestling Federation. It began to be referred to as the "WWF Tag Team Championship" for short in the mid 1990s.
In March 2001, the World Wrestling Federation purchased World Championship Wrestling. Soon after, "The Invasion" took place in which the WCW/ECW Alliance was ultimately dismantled. At the 2001 Survivor Series pay-per-view, the title was unified with WCW Tag Team Championship in a Steel cage match. The WCW Tag Team Champions, the Dudley Boyz, defeated the WWF Tag Team Champions, the Hardy Boyz, and were named the last WCW Tag Team Champions while becoming the new WWF Tag Team Champions.
After the WWF/WWE name change in 2002, the championship was subsequently referred to as the "World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Tag Team Championship". Then, during a period of open free agency after the Brand Extension, the Tag Team Champions were signed to appear and defend the title on the Raw brand only, leaving the SmackDown! brand without a tag team title. As a result, SmackDown! General Manager, Stephanie McMahon, commissioned a new WWE Tag Team Championship to be the exclusive tag team titles for the SmackDown! brand. With the introduction of the World Heavyweight Championship on the Raw brand after the WWE Championship was moved to the SmackDown! brand, the Tag Team Championship on Raw was now being referred to as the "World Tag Team Championship". This was done so that the names of both tag team titles would mirror the names of the top championships on their respective brands. When the WWE Championship and World Heavyweight Championship switched brands during the 2005 WWE Draft Lottery, however, neither of the tag team titles was renamed.
In late 2008 through early 2009, WWE Tag Team Champions The Colóns (Carlito and Primo) engaged in rivalry with the World Tag Team Champions John Morrison and The Miz, with the two teams exchanging victories in non-title matches and retaining their respective titles against each other. On the March 17 edition of ECW on Syfy, it was announced that at WrestleMania XXV both teams would defend their titles against each other and the winning team would hold both titles. The Colons defeated Morrison and Miz, and thus unified the titles into what became known as the Unified WWE Tag Team Championship, the umbrella term for what essentially remained two active championships that were now collectively defended.
As the Unified WWE Tag Team Championship, the champions could appear, and defend the titles on any WWE brand. On August 16, 2010, the World Tag Team Championship was decommissioned in favor of continuing the lineage of the WWE Tag Team Championship following the presentation of new championship belts to then-champions The Hart Dynasty (David Hart Smith and Tyson Kidd).
The final champions were The Hart Dynasty (David Hart Smith and Tyson Kidd), who were in their first reign. They won the titles from ShoMiz (The Big Show and The Miz) on the April 26, 2010 edition of Raw. After the retirement of the World Tag Team Championship, the duo continued to serve as the WWE Tag Team Champions until their loss of the titles at Night of Champions on September 19, 2010.
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