Ten Best Tag Teams of All Time: Number 3
The Dudley Boyz– Bubba Ray (Mark LoMonaco) and D-Von (Devon Hughes)– have amassed the most Tag Team Championships in all of professional wrestling with 23 titles reigns in total. They are the only tag team to hold the tag team titles in WWF/E, TNA, NWA, ECW, WCW, and IWGP. They were also a part three classic matches that involved the Hardy Boyz and Edge and Christian.
Bubba Ray and D-Von began in Extreme Championship Wrestling in 1996 as part of the Dudley Family stable. While Bubba Ray was a stuttering hillbilly, D-Von was the only serious member of the “family.” Eventually, Bubba Ray and D-Von kicked every other member of the family out and formed their own tag team. The Dudley Boyz won their first ECW Tag Team Championship over The Eliminators at Hostile City Showdown on March 15, 1997. After losing the titles back to the Eliminators at ECW’s first pay-per-view, Barely Legal, they would regain the titles on June 20 from Kronus– in what turned out to be a handicap match due to Saturn’s injury.
After losing the belts to the Gangstas in Steel Cage Weapons match, they would regain at Hardcore Heaven in a rematch with the Gangstas for their third tag titles. By the end of their run in ECW, the Dudleys had won 8 ECW Tag Team Championships.
In 1999, the Dudleys joined World Wrestling Federation and quickly became heels. They had a penchant for driving women through tables with signature move, the Dudley Death Drop (3D). At Wrestlemania 2000, they engaged in the first ever Triangle Tag Team Ladder Match with the Hardy Boyz and Edge and Christian. Edge and Christian would come out victorious.
The Dudleys would become faces at King of the Ring when they took on the villainous Degeneration-X in a Table Dumpster match. The match culminated with the Dudleys driving Tori through a table. At SummerSlam, they would take the Hardys and Edge and Christian once again in the first ever Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match. Once again Edge and Christian would win the match and the WWF Tag Team Championship.
At Wrestlemania X-Seven, the same three teams took part in the second TLC match for the tag titles. After each team had someone interfere in the match on their behalf (Spike Dudley for the Dudleys), Edge and Christian again came out victorious. Later in the year, the Dudleys again became heels when they joined the Alliance, a stable made up of ECW and WCW wrestlers intent on taking over the WWF. During this time they were managed by Stacy Keibler– referred by Paul Heyman as the “Duchess of Dudleyville”– but eventually was driven through a table after she cost them a key match. During this time, the Dudleys became the first tag team to hold the WWF, ECW, and WCW Tag Team titles.
After the now renamed World Wrestling Entertainment began their Brand Extension, creating Raw and Smackdown as competing brands, the Dudleys were separated as Bubba Ray was drafted to Raw and D-Von to Smackdown. During this time, Bubba Ray was a face, but D-Von was a heel as Reverend D-Von with his bodyguard Deacon Batista. They would be on opposite corners for a WWE Women’s Championship match between Trish Stratus and Stacy Keibler. After Stratus won, Bubba and D-Von stood in the ring and shook hands before a fight broke between them.
The Dudleys reunited at Survivor Series, when D-Von helped Bubba Ray in a match. After eventually all ending up together on Smackdown, the Dudleys won Smackdown’s version of the WWE Tag Team titles– becoming the first team to win both versions of the WWE tag titles (WWF and WWE). The Dudleys made their final WWE appearance at the original One Night Stand event in 2005. In July 2005, the Dudley Boyz didn’t have their contracts renewed by WWE. Spike was also released due to budgetary reasons. In August, Bubba Ray and D-Von were given notices notifying them they couldn’t use the Dudley name (which was trademarked by WWE). Even though they had been using the Dudley name since 1996, WWE now owned the intellectual property of the name after buying out all ECW properties stemming from ECW’s bankruptcy case. This created acrimony with Paul Heyman, as they thought Heyman had granted them the rights to the name.
By 2005, they had joined Total Nonstop Action (TNA) Wrestling and were known simply as Team 3D. Individually they became Brother Ray and Brother Devon. They would win their first NWA World Tag Team titles in 2007 over the Latin American Xchange in a Electrified Six Sides of Steel Match at Lockdown. However, on May 13, NWA stripped the Dudleys of the titles due to the discontinuation of the relationship between the NWA and TNA. TNA would continue to recognize Team 3D as the World Tag Team Champs and award them the newly christened TNA World Tag Team Championship a mere three days after NWA stripped them of the NWA titles.
In 2009, the now face Team 3D and current IWGP Tag Team titleholders put up their belts in a Title vs Title match with TNA Tag Champs Beer Money Inc, winning their 22nd overall tag titles. At Bound for Glory 2009, after several months of coming up short in their attempts for the tag titles, they beat Beer Money Inc, British Invasion, and the Main Event Mafia’s Scott Steiner and Booker T for their 23rd tag title belts in a Full Metal Mayhem Tag Team Match. With both the TNA and IWGP tag titles, they captured the IWGP titles , which the British Invasion had taken from them. That would be the final time the Dudleys would hold any tag titles. By 2010, Team 3D would dissolve the team.