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 Wide Wrestling Federation/World Wrestling Federation/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 only 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 into the Unified WWE Tag Team Championship. The World Tag Team Championship was decommissioned in 2010. The championship was contested in professional wrestling matches, in which participants execute scripted finishes.
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 the Unified WWE Tag Team Championship.
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). Despite this, holders of the WWE Tag Team Championship in recent years have honored holders of the original title when citing former champions.
The inaugural champions were Crazy Luke Graham and Tarzan Tyler, who defeated Dick the Bruiser and The Sheik on June 3, 1971. The record for longest reign was held by Demolition, whose first reign lasted 478 days. Three teams tied for a record with shortest reigns. Jules Strongbow and Chief Jay Strongbow had their titles taken away shortly after winning them on June 28, 1982 when it was determined that Mr. Fuji, one half of the reigning champions with Mr. Saito, was pinned with a foot on the ropes. Owen Hart and Yokozuna lost their titles on September 25, 1995 to the Smoking Gunns shortly after having the titles returned to them. On December 19, 2000, Edge and Christian defeated The Hardy Boyz to win the titles only to lose them later that night to The Dudley Boyz.
The Dudley Boyz held the record for most reigns as a team with eight. Edge held the record for overall reigns as an individual with twelve, seven of which were with Christian. He also won the titles with Hulk Hogan, Chris Benoit, Randy Orton, and Chris Jericho (after the titles were unified).
The final champions were The Hart Dynasty (David Hart Smith and Tyson Kidd), who won the titles from ShoMiz (The Big Show and The Miz) on the April 26, 2010 edition of Raw. After the World Tag Team Championship was deactivated, the duo continued to serve as the WWE Tag Team Champions until their loss at Night of Champions on September 19, 2010 to Drew McIntyre and Cody Rhodes.
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