October 20, 2002
April 2, 2017
The Hardy Boyz (Jeff Hardy and Matt Hardy)
Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit
The WWE Raw Tag Team Championship is a professional wrestling world tag team championship created and promoted by the American professional wrestling promotion WWE on the Raw brand. It is one of two tag team championships for WWE's main roster, along with the SmackDown Tag Team Championship on the SmackDown brand. The current champions are The Hardy Boyz (Jeff Hardy and Matt Hardy), who are in their first reign as a team.
The championship was originally established as the WWE Tag Team Championship on October 20, 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 draft, the championship became exclusive to Raw with a subsequent rename, and SmackDown created the SmackDown Tag Team Championship as a counterpart title.
After the company's initial brand extension in the spring of 2002, the original World Tag Team Championship was reassigned that following summer to appear and be defended exclusively on the Raw brand, leaving the SmackDown brand 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. 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 XXV, 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 and combined into 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 belts featured a centerpiece dominated by two Spartan helmets, with two side plates on either side, the first side plate with the WWE logo, and the second with a helmet; the plates were bronze colored and the straps were black. 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. In August 2014, the WWE Tag Team Championship belts, along with all other pre-existing championship belts in WWE at the time, received a minor update, replacing the long-standing scratch logo with WWE's new logo originally used for the WWE Network.
Following the reintroduction of the brand extension in July 2016, then-champions The New Day 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. The championship's belt design was updated on December 19, 2016; the basic design is the same, but with silver plates on red straps, countering the silver plates on blue straps design of the SmackDown Tag Team Championship belts.
Following the events of the WWE brand extension, an annual WWE draft was established, in which select members of the WWE 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.
The inaugural champions were Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit. John Cena and The Miz's 9-minute reign is the shortest in the title's history, while The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston, and Xavier Woods) have the longest single reign at 483 days, and the longest combined reign at 532 days (WWE recognizes both as 484 days and 534 days, respectively).
The current champions are The Hardy Boyz (Jeff Hardy and Matt Hardy), who are in their first reign as a team. They defeated Cesaro and Sheamus, Enzo Amore and Big Cass, and previous champions Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson in a fatal four-way tag team ladder match at WrestleMania 33.