WWE Raw Tag Team Championship
|WWE Raw Tag Team Championship|
|Date established||October 3, 2002|
(Riddle and Randy Orton)
|Date won||March 7, 2022|
The WWE Raw Tag Team Championship is a professional wrestling world tag team championship created and promoted by the American promotion WWE, defended on their Raw brand division. It is one of two male tag team championships among WWE’s two main brands, along with the SmackDown Tag Team Championship on SmackDown. The current champions are RK-Bro (Riddle and Randy Orton), who are in their second reign as a team.
The championship was originally established as the WWE Tag Team Championship on October 3, 2002, and the team of Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit were the inaugural champions. It was introduced for the SmackDown brand as a second title for tag teams in the promotion to complement WWE’s original World Tag Team Championship, which became exclusive to Raw. Both titles were unified in 2009 and were collectively referred to as the “Unified WWE Tag Team Championship” while officially remaining independently active until the World Tag Team Championship was formally decommissioned in 2010. As a result of the 2016 WWE Draft, the championship became exclusive to Raw with a subsequent rename, and SmackDown created the SmackDown Tag Team Championship as a counterpart title.
Upon the WWE brand extension in 2002, the company’s original World Tag Team Championship initially became exclusive to the SmackDown! brand and was later reassigned to the Raw brand, leaving the former without a tag team title. As a result, then-SmackDown! General Manager Stephanie McMahon introduced the WWE Tag Team Championship and commissioned it to be the tag team title for the SmackDown! brand on October 3, 2002. She stated that the inaugural champions would be determined from an eight-team tournament. On October 20, 2002, the team of Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit defeated Rey Mysterio and Edge at No Mercy in the tournament final to become the inaugural WWE Tag Team Champions.
On October 17, 2007, SmackDown! and ECW announced a talent sharing agreement that enabled talent from either brand’s roster to compete on both brands. As a result, the title became eligible to be contended and defended on both brands. In late 2008 through early 2009, then-WWE Tag Team Champions The Colóns (Carlito and Primo) engaged in rivalry with then-World Tag Team Champions John Morrison and The Miz, which resulted in the announcement on the March 17 episode of ECW that at WrestleMania 25, both teams would defend their titles against each other and the winning team would hold both titles. The Colóns 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 officially remained two active championships that were now collectively defended. The championships would be defended as the Unified WWE Tag Team Championship on any brand until August 2010. That month, the Anonymous Raw General Manager announced that the World Tag Team Championship would be decommissioned in favor of continuing the WWE Tag Team Championship, which received a new, single set of championship belts, which were presented to then-champions The Hart Dynasty by Bret Hart. The WWE Tag Team Championship became the sole tag team championship in WWE and was defended on any brand. The first brand extension ended in August 2011.
Following the reintroduction of the brand extension in July 2016, then-champions The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston, and Xavier Woods) were drafted to the Raw brand, making the championship exclusive to Raw. In response, SmackDown created the SmackDown Tag Team Championship on August 23, 2016. The WWE Tag Team Championship was subsequently renamed to reflect its exclusivity to Raw. In 2019, WWE’s former developmental territory NXT became the promotion’s third major brand when it was moved to the USA Network in September, thus making the NXT Tag Team Championship the third major tag team title for men in WWE.
At WrestleMania 34 on April 8, 2018, then-Raw Tag Team Champions Cesaro and Sheamus were scheduled to defend the titles against Braun Strowman and a partner of his choosing. At the event, Strowman revealed that his partner would be a fan from the live audience. He then went out into the crowd and picked 10-year old Nicholas, and the two defeated Cesaro and Sheamus for the titles. This made Nicholas the youngest WWE champion in history. Nicholas was also revealed to be the son of WWE referee, John Cone. The following night on Raw, the two relinquished the titles.
Following the events of the WWE brand extension, an annual WWE draft was established, in which select members of WWE’s roster are reassigned to a different brand. After the WWE Tag Team Championship was unified with the World Tag Team Championship as the Unified WWE Tag Team Championship, the champions could appear and defend the titles on any WWE brand. The titles were combined as the WWE Tag Team Championship in August 2010 with a single set of belts, and continued to be defended on any brand. The brand extension was discontinued on August 29, 2011, but it was revived on July 19, 2016. The following is a list of dates indicating the transitions of the WWE (Raw) Tag Team Championship between the Raw, SmackDown, and ECW brands.
|Date of transition||Brand||Notes|
|October 20, 2002||SmackDown||Championship established as the WWE Tag Team Championship for SmackDown after the World Tag Team Championship became exclusive to Raw. Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit became the inaugural champions at No Mercy.|
|November 13, 2007||ECW||The WWE Tag Team Championship moved to ECW after John Morrison and The Miz, members of the ECW brand, defeated Matt Hardy and Montel Vontavious Porter to win the WWE Tag Team Championship. However, as part of a talent exchange agreement between SmackDown and ECW, teams of either brand could challenge for the title.|
|July 20, 2008||SmackDown||The WWE Tag Team Championship returned to SmackDown after Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder, members of the SmackDown brand, defeated John Morrison and The Miz to win the WWE Tag Team Championship. The talent exchange agreement was still in effect during this time.|
|April 5, 2009||N/A||At WrestleMania 25, The Colóns unified the WWE Tag Team Championship and World Tag Team Championship as the Unified WWE Tag Team Championship. Both titles remained active and were defended on any brand.
The World Tag Team Championship was decommissioned in August 2010, and “Unified” was dropped from the name.
|July 19, 2016||Raw||Reintroduction of brand split.
WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston, and Xavier Woods) were drafted to Raw during the 2016 WWE Draft.
The title was renamed to Raw Tag Team Championship after SmackDown introduced the SmackDown Tag Team Championship.
In August 2010, the WWE Tag Team Championship received a redesign. Taking inspiration from Greece, the belts feature a center plate dominated by two Spartan helmets facing outward and the center plate is encircled with a meander pattern. At the top of the center plate is the WWE logo and at the bottom is a banner that reads “Tag Team” on one line and “Champions” below that. On both sides of the center plate are two side plates. The inner side plates feature the WWE logo and are encircled with the meander pattern, while the outer side plates feature a single Spartan helmet facing inward. When this belt design was introduced in 2010, the plates were bronze colored and featured the long-standing WWE scratch logo and the straps were black. In August 2014, the belts, along with all other pre-existing championship belts in WWE at the time, received a minor update, replacing the scratch logo with WWE’s current logo that was originally used for the WWE Network.
In August 2016, after the reintroduction of the brand split and the creation of the SmackDown Tag Team Championship, the WWE Tag Team Championship was renamed to Raw Tag Team Championship. The belts received an update on December 19 that year to reflect the name change. Featuring the same physical design, the plates were made silver and the straps changed to red, countering the silver plates on blue straps design of the SmackDown Tag Team Championship belts. While all of WWE’s other championship belts have been updated to feature customizable side plates for the champion’s logos, the Raw and SmackDown tag titles and the 24/7 Championship are the only championship belts in the promotion that lack this feature.
As of March 29, 2022, there have been 87 reigns between 67 teams composed of 98 individual champions, and one vacancy. The team of Cesaro and Sheamus and The New Day (Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods) have the most reigns as a team at four, while individually, Kingston and Seth Rollins have the most with six. The New Day’s second reign is also the longest reign at 483 days and they are the only team to hold the championship for over one consecutive year—Big E is also credited for this reign as during New Day’s first two reigns, Big E, Kingston, and Woods were all recognized as champion under the Freebird Rule (Big E was split from the team in the 2020 WWE Draft). John Cena and The Miz‘s sole reign is the shortest reign at 9 minutes, due to The Corre invoking their rematch clause immediately after losing the title. As a team, The New Day (across its two different variants of team members) also have the longest combined reign at 627 days, while Kingston individually has the longest combined reign at 912 days (910 days as recognized by WWE). Nicholas is the youngest champion at 10 years old (also making him the youngest champion in WWE history), while Billy Gunn is the oldest champion at age 50.
RK-Bro (Randy Orton and Riddle) are the current champions in their second reign. They defeated previous champions Alpha Academy (Chad Gable and Otis) and Kevin Owens and Seth “Freakin” Rollins in a triple threat match on March 7, 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio on Raw.
- During their first two reigns, Big E was also recognized as champion under the Freebird Rule.
- During their first two reigns, The New Day, which at the time consisted of Big E, Kofi Kingston, and Xavier Woods, defended the championship under the Freebird Rule; Big E was split from the team in the 2020 WWE Draft.
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