With FTR’s Tag Team Appreciation Night coming up as part of next week’s episode of AEW Dynamite, we thought it’d be appropriate to show some of our own appreciation of some of the best tag teams in the world today.
Tag team wrestling has seen through its peaks and troughs, having been shepherded by some of the absolute greats in The Fabulous Freebirds, The Rock N’Roll Express, The Hardys, Dudleys, and in recent years, the likes of The Usos and The New Day.
When done right, tag team wrestling can be the highlight of any given wrestling card. Over the last few years, we’ve seen some 5* classics from NXT, AEW and even some lesser known independent crew’s tag division, building one of the most exciting and malleable genres of the sport in amongst today’s industry.
In this piece we’re going to run down the very best of the best from wrestling today. Our list will span the mainstream and independents, giving you a who’s who of tag wrestling and a bucket list of tag matches that you need to track down if you haven’t had the chance before.
Make sure you leave your own appreciation down in the comments section, who are your favourite tag teams? What were their best matches? Let’s talk shop.
10. Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch
The on and off tandem of Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch have become one of the most underrated tag teams in the business today. Having occasionally been featured in NXT Tag Team title matches against the likes of Imperium and The Undisputed Era, Lorcan and Burch have done more than enough to prove themselves worthy of being one of the best duos on the NXT roster, making them one of the more popular tag teams on the brand.
They’re certainly deserving of a title run somewhere down the line, having put together some hard-hitting affairs with just about everybody in the division. The two are even breaking ground as part of 205 Live, making them the perfect candidates for the inaugural Cruiserweight Tag Team Championships, should they ever be introduced.
Despite their size, these two brawlers can sock it to anyone and make for an excellent match wherever they compete.
9. Grizzled Young Veterans
James Drake and Zack Gibson make up NXT UK’s inaugural Tag Team Champions, having since competed in some absolute belters against some of the very best, including Imperium, Flash Morgan Webster & Mark Andrews and even the briefly reformed team of KUSHIDA & Alex Shelley during this year’s Dusty Tag Classic.
Wherever they go, the Vets are without a doubt one of the most hated acts on the planet, holding a natural heel presence (also known as being a Scouse) that turns even the most die-hard of graps fans against them.
Their cameo during this year’s Dusty Classic made it seem as if the GYV could easily transition over to the American branch once the global pandemic blows over. They’ve honed their craft not just in the ring but also on the mic to make them a marketable duo for NXT.
Whether you love them or hate them, it’s hard to argue that they’d probably wrestle circles around most of today’s top tag prospects.
8. Aussie Open
The team of Kyle Fletcher and ‘Dunkzilla’ Mark Davis have been on a bit of a hiatus since the latter suffered an injury towards the end of last year. Meanwhile, Fletcher has been stealing shows as a singles performer across the UK indie scene, but in the heart’s of many wrestling fans, they’ll forever come as the pair known as Aussie Open.
Davis and Fletcher have started breaking ground outside of the UK, frequently appearing on PWG shows and also competing for the IWGP Tag Team Championships at NJPW’s Royal Quest. It’s only a matter of time before Aussie Open reform and start making career highlights across the world, it wouldn’t shock me if the bigger wrestling promotions start seeking out contract opportunities with them within the next year or two.
If you haven’t watched their instant classics with the likes of the Swords of Essex, Suzuki-Gun or the Guerrilas of Destiny, then you need to get on that right now.
7. SCU (Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian)
First forming in TNA, the team of Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian have been a match made in heaven across many different tag divisions. Having established a chemistry that matches well with almost every tag team in the world today, the team formerly known as Bad Influence tore things up in ROH, putting on instant classic feuds with the likes of the Young Bucks, The Briscoes and more.
Since then, the multi-time tag champs have taken their services to AEW alongside Scorpio Sky to form SCU. The ever-popular stable have remained one of the most consistently booked acts, capturing the inaugural AEW Tag Team Championships and featured fairly regularly since dropping them, forming the foundations for one of the strongest tag divisions across mainstream wrestling.
With Scorpio Sky in the midst of breaking out as a singles star, it once again brings us back to the team of Kaz and Daniels to hold things down in the tag division for many more years to come.
6. The North
Widely considered one of the fastest rising tag teams in the world today, the team of ‘All Ego’ Ethan Page and Josh Alexander have proven themselves able to hang with just about anybody that steps into the ring with them. The North bring a certain intensity that’s needed to swim in the depths of the Tag division, giving their matches a certain edge that’s rarely seen in a tag team.
Page & Alexander made history by dethroning LAX and going on to become the longest reigning IMPACT Tag Champions in the company’s history, which is crazy to think when you look back on the incredible lineage of tag teams that have competed for that brand.
If you’re still vaguely unaware of these two, then check out their series of matches with LAX, which wholeheartedly got me behind them and put this team of the map for the ages. Expect to see big things in their coming future.
5. LAX (Proud & Powerful)
Another tag team that took the world by storm as part of IMPACT Wrestling.
The team of Santana and Ortiz are now best known as Proud & Powerful, two young hoodlums who have struck up a relationship with Chris Jericho as part of AEW’s Inner Circle, but before then, they were stealing shows as LAX. These two hot-heads have been tearing up tag scenes across the world, capturing titles and taking the best teams to the very limit.
Their recent work in AEW has only scratched the surface with how great these two can be in the ring. Their natural chemistry has gelled perfectly with the likes of The Young Bucks, the Lucha Brothers and PROGRESS’ CCK. Definitely a few matches there that you want to line up on your playlists.
It’s shocked me that AEW haven’t handed the tag titles over to Santana and Ortiz just yet, but I suppose all good things come to those who wait and put on amazing matches in the meantime.
4. The Viking Raiders
Erik & Ivar have had a pretty rough ride since first debuting on the main roster, but nobody will ever forget the incredible run they have had together since first forming their Viking-inspired tag team.
These two big lads go back to ROH, where they competed against one another in a singles tournament to earn a ROH contract, since earning each other’s respect, they went on to form War Machine, which took them across the world and to championship glory.
Signing to NXT in 2017, the newly dubbed War Raiders would go on to capture the NXT Tag Team Championships and put on some ridiculously fun big-man matches against some of the brightest tag teams the promotion has ever seen. Their match of the year candidates against the likes of the Undisputed Era and the team of Ricochet & Aleister Black has without a doubt been the peak of WWE’s tag wrestling since DIY/Revival.
Do not give up on the Viking Raiders, with RAW Underground now giving the two Vikings a chance to pummel and pillage, the end is nowhere in sight for this phenomenal tag team.
3. FTR (The Revival)
The throwback style of Cash Wheeler & Dax Harwood is something of a marvel to watch once they get going.
Now signed to AEW, FTR/The Revolt/The Revival have become one of the most talked about duos in all of pro wrestling. It’s only a matter of time before these hard-hitting beer swiggers start firing on all cylinders in matches with the Young Bucks, Lucha Brothers and more, as the AEW tag division takes its place at the top of the food chain.
WWE were fools to let these two go to waste on the main roster, despite having a couple of tag title runs to their name, The Revival were never let loose like they were in their feud with DIY, one that reminded everyone just how good pure tag wrestling can be. I can’t wait to see them return to form in the coming months, potentially being the ones to dethrone Kenny Omega & Hangman Page as AEW Tag Champions.
If it weren’t for these two, and the next two entries, we probably wouldn’t be talking about tag wrestling as much as we are right now.
2. The Undisputed Era (Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish)
Without a doubt NXT’s greatest asset in the tag division, the team of Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish have been killing it for well over a decade as one of the best tag teams in the world today.
Formerly known as ReDragon, Fish & O’Reilly were tearing up the tag scene way before they donned the black and gold alongside Adam Cole and Roderick Strong. Numerous tag title reigns and glorious matches made these two one of the most talked about signings in NXT history.
Since then, they have certainly lived up to their buzz, becoming three-time NXT Tag Team Champions and being a staple of tag wrestling across all of WWE. Even though I’m sure both men could work individually, there’s no way you can’t have these two compete alongside each other for years to come, they just can’t help but get better with every passing match.
Going back to watch some of their NXT Tag Title matches against The Viking Raiders, The Street Profits and even The Broserweights has been an absolute pleasure, these two men personify what makes tag wrestling fun to watch, if only they could one day match up against a certain Elite Tag team by the name of…
1. The Young Bucks
If it weren’t for these two brothers, we wouldn’t be sharing this article with you today. The Young Bucks changed the game for tag wrestlers, putting it back on the map after years of being an afterthought. Their tag matches are incredible, there’s nothing else to say. Their psychology and attention to detail outshines even the main event stars of the singles division.
The Young Bucks hold themselves in such a way that makes them seem like the biggest tag wrestlers in the world today, even if they are slowly approaching the twilight of their in-ring careers. Their innovative spots continue to wow audiences even after a decade of dominance, so it’s great to see these two being put into the position they have been to take AEW’s Tag division to the next step.
Despite the ratings war and tensions between AEW and the mainstream, I do hope we get to see The Young Bucks one day perform in WWE. If only just to get the spotlight put on them for one match where they can prove to even the most casual of wrestling fans that tag wrestling is where its at.
It’s always tricky narrowing down a list to just 10. Tag team wrestling has flourished so much over the past few years that there’s literally handfuls worth of great tag duos out there for you to enjoy.
So without further ado, here’s a little extra appreciation for those that have laid and/or solidified the foundations of their divisions, putting on those matches that often get shoved down the card for the sake of having an incredible opener or means of rejuvenating the crowd.
I appreciate you tag teams out there, keep doing your thing:
The twins that have held down tag wrestling in WWE since Day One Ish.
The New Day
A trio that changed everything in wrestling, not just for tag teams.
The Lucha Brothers
Two high-profiles in independent wrestling, now killing it in AEW.
Absolute lads. Will put on a show wherever they may be.
Slowly coming out of their shell, big things to come.
Rock N’Roll Express
Yep, they’re still going. Somehow still just as fluent as they were in the 80s/90s.
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