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Ask 411 Wrestling: Has Kane Won WWE Tag Titles with a Record Number of Partners?

September 20, 2021 | Posted by Ryan Byers
Kane WWE Hall of Fame

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Chris asks a question that I almost mistook for slut-shaming:

I’m just wondering who has won tag titles with the most different partners? I thought it was Edge with four (Christian, Hulk Hogan, Jericho and Orton) that I know of, but then I remembered that Kane has at least five (Taker, Big Show, Hurricane Helms, RVD and Daniel Bryan). Is there anybody who tops that?

First off, I’m assuming that this question was meant to ask about WWE wrestlers, since it lists guys who are primarily associated with that company. However, I sort of geeked out in compiling data, so we’ll look at just WWE tag titles first and then perhaps add other companies in to the mix.

WWE has had what I would consider to be three mainline tag team championships throughout its history. The first are the “original” WWWF/WWF/WWE Tag Team Titles, which were established in 1971 and then for reasons I don’t fully understand appear to have had their lineage ended in 2010 when they were unified with what are now known as the WWE Raw Tag Team Titles. The current Raw Tag Team Titles trace their lineage back to the Smackdown brand, being established in 2002 as a counterpart to the original tag titles when they were on Raw. Finally, at the beginning of the current brand split, new Smackdown Tag Team Titles were created in 2016, and they are still the Smackdown Tag Titles today.

If you look at the histories of those three championships, the individual who has won them with the most different partners is:

Kane.

He has captured WWE tag belts with seven different men, those being Mick Foley (as Mankind), X-Pac, the Undertaker, Hurricane, Rob Van Dam, the Big Show, and Daniel Bryan.

Edge follows Kane with six different partners: Christian, Hulk Hogan, Chris Benoit, Randy Orton, Chris Jericho, and Rey Misterio Jr.

Mick Foley, Chris Jericho, Kofi Kingston, Mike the Miz, Rey Misterio Jr., and Seth Rollins have all held WWE tag belts with five different partners.

I also feel like I should give a shout out to Tony Garea. The first time I knew the answer to the trivia question of “Who held the WWF Tag Team Titles with the most partners?”, it was Garea. He became a four-time WWWF Tag Team Champion between 1973 and 1981 with four different partners. His record would stand until the 1990s.

For what it’s worth, WWE has also had four other sets of tag team titles over the years, those being the WWWF International Tag Team Titles (active from 1969 to 1971 with a brief revival in 1985), the WWWF United States Tag Team Titles (active from 1958 to 1967), the NXT Tag Team Titles, and the NXT UK Tag Team Titles. After doing my initial stats, I added those belts into the mix, and they did not alter any of the results that I mentioned above.

Of course, my next question to myself was whether we reach a different result if we add tag team championships from other promotions. I’m still working out the stats on that one, but tune back into the column in coming weeks and I will hope to have an answer.

Tyler from Winnipeg is looking a little pale:

I’m pretty sure in one WWE-produced piece I watched Vince McMahon call Paul Bearer the best WWE manager ever. Thoughts?

I’m not going to begrudge Vince McMahon his opinion, and I’m not going to say that Paul Bearer/Percy Pringle III wasn’t an excellent manager, but I would have a hard time calling him the best in WWE history. You have to keep in mind that the purpose of a top-level manager has historically been to cut promos that talk fans into buying tickets, pay per views, and the like to see their charges wrestle. I would consider the guys who did that and did that well to be the best managers in history, and I don’t know if Bearer was ever put in that position in the WWF/WWE. Even if he arguably was at some point, he wasn’t in that position the way guys like the Grand Wizard, Freddie Blassie, Lou Albano, or even Jimmy Hart were. He was an excellent complement to the Undertaker’s act, but I would put him just outside the tier of the greatest managers that the company had ever seen.

RayS has been struck by cupid’s arrow:

Maybe I’m just a hopeless romantic but I’ve always been interested in real-life wrestling couples (who’s dating/married to who, etc.) like Seth/Becky, Cole/Baker, etc. My question is, who are the longest lasting real-life wrestling couples throughout history? We all know the story of Macho Man and Elizabeth – are there any couples who survived the business to remain happily together?

Maybe this is too obvious an answer, but the very first couple that came to my mind when I read this question was none other than Vince and Linda McMahon. The two of them were married in 1966 – 55 years ago – and they have been working in professional wrestling together the vast majority of that time, with every indication being that they will remain together for the rest of their natural lives.

Another longstanding wrestling couple that is among my favorites consists of Kensuke Sasaki and Akira Hokuto. Sasaki is one of the most decorated wrestlers in pursoresu history, having held the primary championships in New Japan Pro Wrestling, All Japan Pro Wrestling, and Pro Wrestling NOAH. Hokuto is considered one of the greatest female wrestlers to have ever lived, being inducted in to the All Japan Women’s Hall of Fame in 1998. They were never employed by the same promotion during the heights of their careers, since most Japanese wrestling companies feature either men’s wrestling or women’s wrestling but not both. (And there’s nothing wrong with that.) However, in 2005, they did go into business together forming a training camp and independent promotion originally called Kensuke Office and later known as Diamond Ring. Diamond Ring went out of business in 2014. WCW fans might recall these two as well, as Sasaki briefly held the WCW United States Championship and Hokuto is the only WCW Women’s Champion to have ever been recognized in the U.S.

One last example comes from south of the border, with luchadors Billy Boy and Faby Apache tying the knot around 2004. The two of them turned their marriage into a years-long storyline in AAA, which originally involved Faby’s father El Gran Apache, a wrestler in his own right, disapproving of their relationship and targeting Billy. The angle eventually expanded to include others, such as Faby’s sister Mari, luchador Sexy Star as a would-be homewrecker, and even Faby and Billy’s real-life baby son, Marvin. There are some rumors that the two are no longer together, though I have yet to see it definitively confirmed.

Ticking Time Bomb Taz should have moved for the elbow:

I heard rumors that Vader was supposed to win the title from HBK at SummerSlam 1996. Any truth to these rumors?

I’ve heard the same rumors, but, based on the accounts of just about everybody who was there at the time, it doesn’t seem as though the rumors are true.

On their respective podcasts, Jim Cornette and Bruce Prichard have both said that Vader and Shawn Michaels were supposed to have a series of three matches, with Michaels winning the initial championship bout at Summerslam but Vader then claiming he was due a rematch due to the screwy nature of how HBK won at the earlier event. The rematch would occur at Survivor Series, and Vader would win the championship there before dropping it back to Michaels at the Royal Rumble in 1997. However, it is well-documented that Michaels was not particularly interested in working with Vader for a variety of reasons, including miscommunications in the ring and the fact that, according to Jim Ross on his podcast, Vader had a bad habit of not washing his ring gear between matches.

As a result of the discord between the two men, the spot that Vader was supposed to have at Survivor Series ’96 and Royal Rumble ’97 were taken from him and handed over to Sid Vicious.

APinOZ is leaving OZ and heading to Greensboro:

I’ve been watching old World Championship Wrestling shows from 1986 on the Network and got to Starrcade ’86, so I watched that too. It has generated a few questions I hoped you might be able to answer:

By my count, 12 different wrestlers bled during the event. Is this a record for a PPV/major show from the bigger companies?

It is not.

Just a few months earlier at the July 5, 1986 show on the Great American Bash tour, at least THIRTEEN wrestlers bled, with that list including Manny Fernandez, Baron Von Raschke, Wahoo McDaniel, Jimmy Garvin, Tully Blanchard, Ron Garvin, Ivan Koloff, Jimmy Valiant, Bobby Eaton, Dennis Condrey, Magnum TA, Ricky Morton, and, of course, Ric Flair.

I don’t know if that 7/5/86 show is the overall record for wrestlers bleeding on a major show, but, at the very least, it is enough to bump Starrcade 1986 out of the slot.

Also, in an interesting side note, my source for counting thirteen bleeding wrestlers on this card was a 411mania review of the show by Adam Nedeff posted in 2019. If you scroll down to the comment section of that review, the very first comment is from none other than APinOZ, who says:

I always thought Starrcade ’86 got the award for most bladejobs. It seems like this show goes close to equaling it. Easier to list who DIDN’T bleed.

So, actually, it looks like AP answered his own question two years ago – but may have forgotten about it.

There were 5 different gimmick matches on the card: Scaffold match, First Blood match, Last Man Standing match, Hair vs Hair match and cage match. Outside of gimmick-themed PPVs, is THIS a record for gimmick matches on one major show?

Nope.

You can actually answer that question with reference to the same Great American Bash card we referenced above, as it contained the following SEVEN gimmick matches:

1. Manny Fernandez vs. Baron Von Raschke in a bunkhouse match
2. Wahoo McDaniel vs. Jimmy Garvin in a strap match
3. Ron Garvin vs. Tully Blanchard in a taped fist match
4. The Road Warriors vs. the Russians in a double Russian chain match
5. Jimmy Valiant vs. Pez Whatley in a hair vs. hair match
6. Dusty Rhodes, Magnum TA, & Baby Doll vs. The Midnight Express & Jim Cornette in an intergender cage match
7. Ric Flair vs. Ricky Morton in a cage match

Though I did not look over every PPV card in history, I was also able to find a more recent show that beats out Starrcade ’86 as well, as TNA’s 2007 Destination X pay per view clocks in with SIX gimmick matches, those being:

1. LAX against the Dudley Boys in a street fight
2. James Storm & Jacqueline vs. Pete Williams & Gail Kim in a double bullrope matche
3. Low Ki vs. Austin Aries in a match that had to be won with the crossface chicken wing
4. Chris Sabin vs. Jerry Lynn in a two-out-of-three falls match
5. Rhyno vs. AJ Styles in an Elevation X match (basically a scaffold match)
6. Sting vs. Abyss in a Last Rites match

I also note that, to a certain extent, the answer to this question depends on what you consider to be a gimmick match. Wrestling purists would consider three-and-four-way matches to be gimmick matches, but I am guessing most modern fans would not because they have become so common. (Even a tag team match would be considered a gimmick match if you go way, way back.) If you adopt that old school mentality, there are tons of shows that would eclipse even Destination X 2007 and GAB 1986, perhaps most notably Wrestlemania XVI, where the only one-on-one match on the show was between Terri Runnels and the Kat.

Magnum TA’s car subsequent career-ending car crash occurred not long before Starrcade ’86. There did not seem to be an apparent program for him leading up to the event. Given how much of a star he was being touted as at the time, what role was he supposed to play at Starrcade? Was he the one who was going to challenge Ric Flair for the title at the show? (Nothing in the weekly TV show leading up to his accident pointed towards this).

If you look around on the internet, you can find some articles – including the Wikipedia page for Starrcade 1986 – that make the claim Flair was going to wrestle Magnum for the NWA Championship in the main event of that show, but virtually all of those claims are unsourced. Even people who were there at the time seem uncertain as to what was going to happen. On his podcast when discussing Starrcade 1986, Jim Cornette said that he never knew the specific direction to a certainty, but it was the impression of everybody in the company that Flair was going to defend the title against Magnum, with the Nature Boy retaining to set up rematches on the house show circuit, as the real draw was Magnum chasing the title instead of holding in. In a 2016 interview with the Lapsed Fan podcast, Dave Meltzer concurred that Magnum/Flair was the planned main event, though, contrary to Cornette, he speculated we were likely to have seen a title change if it were to go forward.

This is all despite the fact that, as you mention, there was no build towards Magnum TA challenging for the NWA Championship on television prior to the car crash occurring.

And finally, it was Nikita Koloff who wrestled Flair for the World Title in the main event, having turned face after Magnum’s car crash. Would this have happened had Magnum stayed healthy or was a Nikita face turn on the cards regardless?

I have never heard anything that indicates Nikita Koloff’s face turn was anything other than a direct response to the loss of Magnum TA on the babyface side of the card.

That will do it for this week’s installment of the column. We’ll return in seven-ish days, and, as always, you can contribute your questions by emailing [email protected]. You can also leave questions in the comments below, but please note that I do not monitor the comments as closely as I do the email account, so emailing is the better way to get things answered.

article topics :

Ask 411 Wrestling, Kane, WWE, Ryan Byers