I think we’re all aware by now that with the exception of places like Ring of Honor, the Indy leagues and maybe in Japan and NWA, tag team wrestling is not what it used to be. The WWE have reduced their tag team division to mediocrity and TNA seems to have a hard-on for splitting up the teams they have. If you don’t believe me, look at Team 3-D and the past when they split up LAX and America’s Most Wanted. I thought that I would list the top ten tag teams that I’ve watched the last ten years that stood out and prove that tag teams can still exist even with the form of it not being what it was. Unlike the last blog post I wrote where I talked about wrestlers that I’ve seen the last ten years, this one I’ve taken the time to list them in the order that I felt they made the most impact. I’ve also taken the time to list who I feel is on the rise as well as an honorable mention.
HONORABLE MENTION: America’s Most Wanted (Wildcat Chris Harris and Cowboy James Storm) When tag team wrestling was circling the drain and TNA was at it’s best, one of the most decorated teams TNA had was America’s Most Wanted. Not only did they set the standard and were multi-time tag team champions. But they had some of the most signature feuds with many teams in TNA. The Naturals, Kid Kash & Lance Hoyt, Team Canada, LAX, AJ Styles & Christopher Daniels, and their most famous feud in TNA was the feud with Triple X which lasted nearly 2 years and ended in one of the most talked about Six Sides of Steel matches in TNA’s history (Don’t believe me? Check out that hurricarana that Elix Skipper did to Chris Harris off the top of the cage right after Skipper tight rope walks along the cage.) It’s a shame that the team had to end right when there could have been a great feud between AMW and LAX. But at least Harris and Storm put on one hell of a Texas Death Match like the one they did.
UP AND COMING TEAM: The All Night Exrpress (Rhett Titus and Kenny King)– When I first started watching Ring of Honor, I thought there was potential in Kenny King, even though for the most part, he had the cocky playboy attitude that was kinda like we’ve seen it all too many times before. And then you had Rhett Titus who had this lady’s man gimmick that was too humorous to be taken seriously. Then you put them as a team and at first, it looked like it was just something to boost up Austin Aries during his feud with Delirious. That was before I saw the match between the Kings of Wrestling and the All Night Express, where Titus and King showed a little bit of what they can really do as a tag team. And I’ll admit it that they left me eating my words on what they’re capable of as a team. Then you have the matches with the Briscoes and what has now become a feud between an apparent face ANX against a heel Briscoes team. I’ll make this prediction that at some point this year or the next, we’ll see a tag team title reign for Titus and King.
10) The Dark City Fight Club (Corey Chavis and Jon Davis) If you took The Alpha-Male Monty Brown and made a clone tag team of him, it’d be the Dark City Fight Club. The only difference would be the fact that these guys are big, brawlers and powerhouses and they use it well in the ring. Even in their promos they do their best to sound intimidating by saying their catchphrase of “If you don’t like it, do something about it! We Dare Ya!” You also look at their finisher and while it’s a simple powerbomb and neckbreaker combination, the way the two make it look is enough of a seller. The only drawback is that they got lost in the mix with the other teams in ROH. Its a pity because these guys do spell tag champs when you see them in the ring.
9) Kevin Steen & El Generico Two wrestlers with two completely different gimmicks and styles usually makes for a decent tag team. You have an example of such a team in Steen and Generico. While the gimmick for Generico comes off as being humorous and not that serious, the same can’t be said about Generico’s style in the ring. NOt to mention they had a pretty killer combo finisher of Generico’s brainbuster with Steen’s package piledriver. Much like America’s Most Wanted, the two split up but did put on one of the most memorable feuds of 2010 for ROH and finished it with a match at Final Battle that’s considered high up for match of the year. Hopefully soon we see Steen return to ROH, and though it’s a long shot, a match between Haas & Benjamin vs Steen & Generico would be an epic tag match.
8 ) Paul London & Brian Kendrick One of the last good tag teams that the WWE had when their tag division was beginning it’s downward spiral was these guys. It was after London had a decent tag team run with Billy Kidman, leading to a rivalry between the two before Kidman was fired and when the WWE finally decided to ditch the whole crap that was Kendrick’s “Spanky” nickname. The two held on to the tag team titles for a solid year before they lost the belts to a team that looked like something the movie “Grease” puked up in Deuce & Domino. Then there was the draft which split up London and Kendrick that lead to London eventually being shown the door and though he had a brief singles run as “THE Brian Kendrick,” Kendrick followed suit months after he started that gimmick.
7) The Latin American Xchange “LAX” ( Homicide & Hernandez ) Even though the team was originally Apollo and then Homicide, and then instead of Apollo we got Machete, the team finally hit their mark when they paired Homicide with Hernandez. For a while they had Konnan at their side and it lead them to the tag team titles in TNA. They had a feud where they won the tag titles from AJ Styles & Christopher Daniels and were the team that split up AMW and had a long feud with Team 3-D/The Dudley Boyz. They maintained as a team and had different managers such as Salinas and even Hector Guerrero. The team split up a little bit after they lost the belts to Beer Money and Homicide turned against Hernandez to join the World Elite stable. Homicide left when that stable went nowhere. Both guys were brawlers and combined the X-Division style flying of Homicide with the agility and raw brute force of Hernandez. TNA at one point were talking about reuniting LAX, but with Homicide’s departure it was as if he was saying “Too Little, Too Late.”
6) Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team ( Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin ) When tag team wrestling in the WWE was rising up, this was one of the teams that were the cause. Originally brought in as Team Angle, Haas and Benjamin came into their own, feuding with many tag teams including Los Guerreros and lost the belts to the team in a ladder match. The draft split the two up and while Shelton went up in singles for a while, Charlie didn’t reach similar stardom. The WWE teased at the team reuniting in a match or two, but neither was anywhere close to what they were in the beginning. Years later, they reunite in ROH and take on the Kings of Wrestling in their first match, losing the match but nevertheless taking the Kings to the limit. After announcing the team wanting to stay put in ROH, they took on the Briscoes next at a PPV where their match became the main event. Then at the Honor Takes Center Stage PPV, WGTT was reborn as they defeated the Kings of Wrestling and ended the Kings nearly a year long title reign, with Haas & Benjamin becoming ROH tag team champions and the following night, putting on another dream tag match against the American Wolves. Should be interesting to see what ROH does now that they have acquired Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team.
5) The Briscoes ( Jay and Mark ) Multi-time tag team champions totaling six and clearly set the standard for tag teams in Ring of Honor. A perfect balance of brawling, agility, speed and brute force is what you’ll find in Jay and Mark Briscoe. Their most recent title win was against the American Wolves to avenge Mark Briscoe’s injury and to become six time tag team champions. They lost the belts to the Kings of Wrestling, and despite numerous chances, were never able to reclaim the belts in 2010. Now, the Briscoes after losing many times to the Kings, to Haas & Benjamin and to the All Night Express, the Briscoes have now developed a mean streak with Jay Briscoe simply saying to the crowd “We ain’t losing anymore!” Should be interesting to see what happens with a now heel version of the Briscoes.
4) Beer Money ( Cowboy James Storm and Robert Roode ) Two former rivals from the AMW/Team Canada wars, two halves of two of the best tag teams to be formed in TNA. The name itself may have started off as a gag, but Storm and Roode made Beer Money work. Feuding with teams such as the British Invasion, Team 3-D, LAX and even the Motor City Machine Guns, Beer Money has risen to prominence in TNA as one of the last great tag teams that TNA has in their now struggling tag team division. But if you want an example of just how good this team is, look their matches last year including a best of five series against the Motor City Machine Guns.
3) The Kings of Wrestling ( Chris Hero and Claudio Castagnoli ) One of the innovators of ROH’s tag team division, they split up and in 2009 they reunited and in 2010, they reclaimed the tag team titles by defeating the Briscoes and engaging in nearly a year long rivalry with the Briscoes, including their father Papa Mike. They held the belts for almost a solid year and prior to their loss to Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team, they beat every team in ROH including the Dark City Fight Club, All Night Express, The American Wolves, and even visiting tag teams such as the Motor City Machine Guns and LAX. Like them or hate them, nobody can deny the dominance that the Kings of Wrestling display in proving themselves worthy of the name.
2) The Motor City Machine Guns ( Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley ) There are some wrestlers that are so good at high flying and move so quickly, that you’ll miss something if you blink. Sabin and Shelley are two of those guys. The only real gripe that I have with TNA is that they took too damn long to give the guns the belts to begin with. They were on the rise when they had a feud with Team 3-D and then reduced to nothing for a long while. This past year in their matches with Beer Money, including the best of five series, the Guns were able to show what they can do in the ring and demonstrated how they and Beer Money stand on the top of the tag team division. The only problem as I’ve stated before is that TNA has gotten to a point where their tag team division only consists of Beer Money and the Guns. But it doesn’t take away from how good the team is and when they won the tag titles all I could think was that “It’s about damn time, TNA.” Let’s hope it doesn’t take too long before we see them as the champs once again, unless TNA gets stupid again and splits them up like they seem to be doing with almost every tag team.
1) The American Wolves ( Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards ) I thought long and hard about what team I thought I would put at the top and it wasn’t easy, but I picked the American Wolves simply because no team entertains me in singles matches in the same capacity as when they’re a team. The Wolves fought with a lot of teams in ROH from the Briscoes to Steen & Generico and were always complete with their catchphrase always said by Edwards “The Hunt is On.” The Wolves last year showed what else they can do when they wrestled each other in the finals of the TV title tournament. The two were evenly skilled in different fighting and submission styles and could’ve gone either way, but in the end it was Eddie Edwards that rose up. For the most part, the two have gone on their own, with Edwards rising up to become world champ in ROH and Richards being considered by many fans to be the next world champ. IN their match against Haas & Benjamin, despite coming up short, the Wolves proved their not afraid to resume the hunt as a pack and as individuals. With a rematch coming up against the Kings of Wrestling who defeated the Wolves once before, and with Edwards holding onto the world title that Richards craves to win, it should be interesting to see what hunts await the American Wolves, even if it’s against each other.
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