Many fans may remember seeing The Rockers win the WWE Tag Team Championships. However, others may claim that the history books never have them down as champions. As it turns out, both are correct. It’s very confusing, but is part of one very interesting part of the history of WWE. But first, let’s look at exactly who The Rockers were in the WWE.
The Rockers were a tag team in the World Wrestling Federation (now WWE) in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The team consisted of two young and talented wrestlers, Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty. They were known for their high-flying and fast-paced in-ring style, which made them fan favorites and one of the best tag teams in the company.
The duo were signed from the AWA in 1987, but the WWE fired them after just one match. After a fight in a bar after their debut, as well as seemingly disrespecting their opponents after the match, Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty were cast out of the company, although just one year later they would re-sign to the company, with a huge push in their future.
The Rockers’ matches were always exciting and unpredictable, as they often utilized double-team moves and high-risk maneuvers to wow the crowd. Their signature move was the “Rockers’ Dropkick,” where they would simultaneously “dropkick” their opponent from opposite corners of the ring.
The Rockers later became infamous for the contrast of the two men’s careers in the years following their split.. In the years following their famous breakup (where Michaels threw Jannetty through a barbershop window), Shawn Michaels went on to great success, while Jannetty floundered. This has led to a new term being invented in wrestling – “The Jannetty” – which is used to describe when one tag partner becomes a singles star after their break-up, while the other struggles and eventually fails to achieve much of note.
The Rockers’ Canceled WWE Tag Team Championship Victory
The Rockers won the tag team championships in 1990, in a match against the Hart Foundation. Bret Hart later said that it was one of the most hotly anticipated tag match in WWE for years, and the two teams were ready to put it all on the line.
While The Rockers won the tag team titles, they never got to be the champions. This may make literally zero sense, it actually has a very interesting story behind, and was thought up by the often erratic and eccentric mind of Vince McMahon – then the Chairman of the WWE and the sole mind behind the creative direction of the company.
This one is one story that you would not believe. I certainly didn’t when I read it. Despite being one of the best tag teams of the 1980s and 1990s in WWE, the Rockers never had a run with the WWE Tag Team Championships.
Their fast-paced matches and impressive double team moves wowed fans, who had never seen workers like Marty Jannetty and Shawn Michaels. They were one of the top teams in the world, and both Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty seemed to have big futures as single stars in professional wrestling. However, the Rockers never officially won the WWE Tag Team Championship.
The key word here being OFFICIALLY.
In 1990, the Rockers took on the Hart Foundation in a championship match for the WWE Tag Team Champion. The Rockers defeated the team of Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart on Saturday Nights Main Event, and won the WWE Tag Team Championship.
However, the top rope snapped before the first fall in this “Best 2 out of 3 falls matches. The four men did their best to work around it, and produced a fine match by all accounts.
However, due to the breaking rope, Vince McMahon decided the match was not fit to air on TV. Vince didn’t want the lasting memory of the Rockers title win to be that of a snapped top rope ruining the show.
Thus, he reversed the decision, cancelled the match and decided to give them the belts some time later.
Sadly, that time never came. A year later, Shawn Michaels would turn on Marty Jannetty, throwing him headfirst through a barbershop window and turning heel. Michaels would go on to be WWE Champion and in the Hall of fame, whilst Jannetty would not amount to much in the WWE.
Despite the phantom title win, the Rockers remain the best of the teams that never won the tag team championships. While Shawn Michaels went on to win the belts multiple times (even wrestling his partner, John Cena, in the main event of WrestleMania 23 when the pair held the titles), Marty Jannetty’s career was less successful, and he did not achieve even a fraction of the success The Heart Break Kid did.
While Shawn Michaels has been inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame twice, Marty Jannetty is not in the WWE Hall of Fame. Click the link to learn more about the reasons, including the rumors that he committed murder, incest and a whole host of crimes since Marty Jannetty was fired by the WWE.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.