• The pro wrestling industry has a history of tag teams breaking up, often leading to singles success for one or both members.
  • Some tag team breakups, like Heavy Machinery and Stardust and Goldust, ultimately failed to provide meaningful storylines or success for the individual wrestlers.
  • The split of The Shield had potential, but Roman Reigns' absence due to leukemia prevented a better rivalry and possible triple threat match between the members. Dean Ambrose's departure from WWE also disappointed fans.

The pro wrestling industry wouldn’t be the same without tag teams. The ruthless action in tag team matches has offered career-building moments for numerous stars. While WWE has added some remarkable faction-based storylines in recent history, they haven't given their tag team division equal time to shine. However, this wasn't always the case when looking back through wrestling history.

While numerous tag teams have been a strong bond between two superstars, a plethora of them have had some issues. The major breakout moment for young stars in the pro-wrestling industry has been moving from a tag team star to a singles star. This has led to a new version of the wrestler being developed and many getting singles championships.

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In history, a lot of factions and tag teams were disbanded after one member betrayed the other for some issues. This has been a WWE trademark, and it's also a very good idea to give everyone a singles run opportunity. Without further ado, let’s take a look at some faction breakups that eventually failed.

10 Heavy Machinery

Image Credits: WWE

After their NXT stint, Heavy Machinery was considered to be a top-tier tag team on the main roster. Their debut brought a new energy in tag team wrestling and the WWE Universe also found some of their moments hilarious.

Otis winning the MITB contract back in 2020 would ultimately lead to the group's downfall. This major win for Otis led to Tucker betraying him during a singles match against The Miz at Hell in a Cell 2020. This was followed by Tucker being released in 2021. However, since then, Otis has been a significant push and is currently a part of the Alpha Academy along with Chad Gable and Maxxine Dupri.

9 Stardust and Goldust

Image Credits: WWE

The Rhodes brothers had a great run as a tag team. Together, they won the WWE Tag Team Championship on two separate occasions, with the last reign featuring Cody as Stardust. However, after WWE decided to split them back in 2015, things went downhill.

Cody was never thrilled about portraying the 'Stardust' gimmick. The feud between Stardust and Goldust was short and lackluster, leading to a mediocre match at Fastlane 2015, which Goldust one. Later that year, Stardust would form a trio with The Ascension, collectively known as The Cosmic Wasteland, which also went nowhere.

By 2016, Stardust became a jobber who lacked direction in WWE. This eventually led to Cody Rhodes asking for a release from WWE which made an impact on the wrestling career of both stars. During their stint in AEW, Cody and Dustin teamed up in a few matches and the wrestling world enjoyed them. They would also battle as rivals in a 5-star classic at AEW Double or Nothing 2019, finally getting the proper one-on-one spectacle that they wanted.

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8 Riott Squad

Riott Squad
Image Credits: WWE

After their dominant debut back in 2017, the team of Ruby Riott, Sarah Logan, and Liv Morgan looked very strong. With their fantastic heel character work, the Riott Squad became a significant part of the Women’s division. However, before a huge impact could be made by the faction, WWE released Ruby Riott in 2021 and eventually Sarah Logan as well which led to the end of their faction.

Since then, Liv Morgan has been portrayed as a top singles star. On the other hand, Logan returned to WWE as Valhalla in 2022. Ruby Riott made her AEW debut shortly after her WWE release, wrestling under the ring name, Ruby Soho.

7 D-Generation X

Image Credits: WWE

One of the most popular factions in the wrestling industry, D-Generation-X has made a huge impact on tag team wrestling. However, splitting them back in 1999 was one of the biggest mistakes WWE made. Though Triple H went to the top with his singles abilities, X-Pac and Road Dogg couldn't find their way to glory.

Eventually, WWE reunited them within months and eventually developed their status in the company to the top. Though the faction again broke up very soon, the WWE Universe couldn't digest the idea. However, DX, with their legacy, has clearly made it to the list of the greatest faction of all time now, They have always been a treat to watch.

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6 American Alpha

The American Alpha
Image Credits: WWE

When it comes to in-ring competition, the team of Jason Jordan and Chad Gable was outstanding. Both men took the tag team division upwards with their brilliant character work and wrestling skills. They won tag team gold in NXT and on SmackDown, but they would split up only one year after they arrived on the main roster.

After they were split back in 2017, Jason Jordan met a serious neck injury that nearly ended his career. On the other hand, Chad Gable is still having a brilliant run as a mentor to Otis.

5 The Shield

The Shield
Image Credits: WWE

In 2018, Dean Ambrose decided to betray the faction when Roman Reigns announced his leukemia. This breakup led to a fantastic rivalry between Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose. However, it should’ve been much better, considering the history all three men had. The first break-up of The Shield, featuring Rollins' betrayal in 2014, was much more well-received than Ambrose's betrayal in 2018.

The reason the storyline didn't live to its potential was that Roman Reigns was not a part of the aftermath. If Reigns was not sidelined due to leukemia, a better rivalry could've been seen between the three brothers and a possible triple threat match between them could have been showcased. In addition to that, the split led to Dean Ambrose deciding to leave WWE, which is still not digestible for millions around the world.

Besides the immense singles success of all three members of The Shield, the group also had its fair share of tag team success as a unit. In 2013, Rollins and Reigns had a notable run as WWE Tag Team Champions. Rollins and Ambrose would also win the Raw Tag Team Titles together on two separate occasions as part of The Shield. The second break-up of The Shield would occur during Rollins and Ambrose's second reign as Raw Tag Team Champions.

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Image Credits: WWE

The team of Paige, Charlotte Flair, and Becky Lynch was considered the future of the women's tag team division. However, after Paige disbanded the trio, her singles career went downhill. This eventually led to WWE putting their focus on a Charlotte Flair vs. Paige rivalry which couldn't live up to the expectations. On the other hand, young stars like Becky Lynch managed to keep up with some exciting performances and rose to the top.

Paige then met with a severe neck injury that almost ended her wrestling career. After some brief WWE appearances, she switched gears and moved to AEW. On the other hand, Lynch and Flair rose to glory and are now considered to be the biggest stars in the women's wrestling industry.

3 The Dudley Boyz

Image Credits: WWE

One of the most dominant and exciting tag teams in the wrestling industry, The Dudley Boyz, is still one of the most popular teams. However, both men were split as a part of the WWE Draft in 2002. This was followed by both Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley having an underwhelming singles careers. Though Bubba Ray was considered a major star, his singles career didn't work very well. Meanwhile, D-Von joined forces with Batista and turned into a reverend, which didn't work either. Soon, WWE decided to reunite The Dudley Boyz and bring back their aura.

Being one of the greatest tag teams in the history of the pro-wrestling industry, WWE opting to split them was none less than shocking. If such an underwhelming split storyline between them never existed, the legacy of The Dudley Boyz would've been more impactful than it is.

2 The Wyatt Family

Image Credits: WWE

The original Wyatt Family included Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper, and Erik Rowan. Though all three stars were fierce competitors, the faction was not very huge in the wrestling industry when WWE decided to break them up in 2014.

Without Bray Wyatt as the leader, Erick Rowan and Luke Harper struggled to keep up in the singles division. This eventually led to WWE reuniting them back in 2015 and adding Braun Strowman to the faction, making it stronger than it ever was.

1 The Bella Twins

The Bella Twins
Image Credits: WWE

While the women's wrestling division wouldn't have been the same if The Bella Twins hadn't made such efforts, when WWE split both women back in 2014, it came in as a shocker. Though their feud against each other was outstanding, both women lost the momentum to keep up as top superstars. This eventually led to WWE reuniting both women and keeping them as a tag team.

However, if WWE made some more efforts in intensifying the rivalry between the twin sisters, a record-breaking storyline could've been developed. WWE could use this underwhelming experience in the future to teach them what not to do with the recent Usos break-up storyline.