WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship (2016 – Present)
The Smackdown Tag Team Championship was established in 2016 after the WWE brand split. The inaugural Smackdown Tag Team Champions were established with a tournament that ran from late August until early September, finishing at Backlash.
WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship
The WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship is a professional wrestling world tag team championship created and promoted by the American professional wrestling promotion WWE on the SmackDown brand. It is the eighth overall male tag team championship to have existed in the WWE. The title is one of two male tag team championships for WWE’s main roster, along with the Raw Tag Team Championship on the Raw brand. The current champions are The New Day, who are in their record-tying fourth reign.
Unveiled on the August 23, 2016 episode of SmackDown Live, it was created to be the counterpart title to the then-WWE Tag Team Championship, which became exclusive to Raw as a result of the 2016 WWE draft. That title was subsequently renamed after the crowning of the inaugural SmackDown Tag Team Champions, Heath Slater and Rhyno.
Following the reintroduction of the WWE brand extension and subsequent draft on July 19, 2016, then-WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day were drafted to Raw, leaving SmackDown without a tag team championship. Over the course of the following month, SmackDown general manager Daniel Bryan stated that he wanted to build up the tag team division before introducing a championship. Immediately following SummerSlam on the August 23, 2016 episode of SmackDown Live, Bryan and SmackDown commissioner Shane McMahon introduced the SmackDown Tag Team Championship (Raw’s title was subsequently renamed). An eight-team tournament was then scheduled to determine the inaugural champions, culminating in a final match at Backlash on September 11, 2016. The team of Heath Slater and Rhyno defeated The Usos (Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso) in the tournament final to become the inaugural champions.
When unveiled, the championship belt design was nearly identical to the Raw Tag Team Championship, with the differences being that the leather straps were blue as opposed to the former’s original black with a different stitching pattern, and the plates were silver as opposed to the former’s original bronze. The Raw Tag Team Championship belt design was updated on December 19, 2016, with silver plates on red straps to bring both sets of titles more in line with each other.
As of August 5, 2019, overall there have been 16 reigns between 8 teams, and 17 individual champions, with one vacancy. The team of Heath Slater and Rhyno were the inaugural champions. The Usos (Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso) hold multiple records with the championship: they are tied with The New Day’s Big E, Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods for the most reigns at four (both as a team and individually), they are the longest-reigning champions at 182 days for their third reign, and they have the longest combined reign at 381 days (380 days as recognized by WWE). The team of The Miz and Shane McMahon and The Hardy Boyz (Jeff Hardy and Matt Hardy) are tied with the shortest reign at 21 days (although WWE recognizes 20 days for The Hardy Boyz). The oldest champion is Shane McMahon, winning the title at 49 years old, while the youngest is Jason Jordan when he won it at 28.
The New Day (Big E, Xavier Woods, and Kofi Kingston*) are the current champions, in their record-tying fourth reign both individually and as a team. Big E and Woods won the titles by defeating Heavy Machinery (Otis and Tucker) and former champions Daniel Bryan and Rowan in a triple threat match at Extreme Rules on July 14, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.