Compiled by Jamie Greer; rankings voted on by full LWOPW staff, plus guest panelist Dave Dynasty of “The Dave Dynasty Show”
Rankings in pro wrestling are a common occurrence, from the PWI500 for male wrestlers, the PWI50 for women, to various top 10 lists on just about every news site. At Last Word on Pro Wrestling, we’ve decided to start our own annual “list” and it’s not from Chris Jericho. We here at LWOPW are big fans of tag team wrestling from around the world, so we’re going to start a Hot Tag 100 – a list of who we feel have been the top 100 tag teams around the world for the past year. For the purpose of context, the dates are from November 1, 2016 through November 1, 2017. We then took the last month to tabulate our rankings internally and do the write up. The criteria we used was as follows: Kayfabe narrative (so winning championships will offer more strength to those who never won, although strong feuds and showings will also count), strength of booking/visibility (so larger promotions will get a bit more prestige in the rankings), skill level, and overall “buzz” throughout that year. We realize that no one will agree completely with this ranking – and nor should they. After all, wrestling is a form of entertainment and should be entirely subjective by the beholder. But we had a blast compiling this list and look forward to seeing how 2018’s list looks!
(EDITOR’S NOTE: This list incorporates traditional two-person tag teams, including men’s, women’s, and intergender; it does not include 6-man tag teams, although trios that employ the Freebird Rule, where rotating 2-person units compete, are included)
THE Hot Tag 100 KICK-OFF (100-75)
#100. The Well Oiled Machines (Braxton Sutter & Psycho Mike)
Based out of Toronto’s Smash Wrestling, they nearly broke up mid-way through 2017 but reunited quickly. Big wins over Super Smash Bros and Fight or Flight in 2017, plus big matches against Tabernak de Team, London Riots and Heavy Metal Chaos. Braxton Sutter is already part of Impact Wrestling, but Psycho Mike recently made the Final Four on Impact’s Global Forged series (under Mike Rollins) and could possibly join Sutter in Impact.
#99. Breezango (Tyler Breeze & Fandango)
Unusual pairing coming out of a story that created The Golden Truth (Goldust & R-Truth). Had several Smackdown Tag Team title matches, biggest was a loss to The Usos at Backlash 2017. Wrestling primarily Live Events, but their Fashion Files segments have kept them popular throughout 2017
#98. Too Salty (Hermit Crab & Cajun Crawdad)
Unorthodox sea creatures with a knack for entertaining wrestling, they’ve yet to challenge for CHIKARA’s Campeonatos de Parejas (tag team) titles, but have big wins over Dasher Hatfield & Mr. Touchdown and the Xyberhawx 2000. Often compete in 6-man tag matches with Merlok. Hermit Crab struck singles gold, holding the CHIKARA Young Lions Cup Championship for 35 days.
#97. Justin Shape & Logan Bryce
Relatively new team on the Irish wrestling scene in OTT, but Justin Shape is a former member of The Gymnasties, whom Bryce and Shape have been feuding with this year.
“Very successful tag team that one their big matches and we’re set to take over the tag division before Shape’s untimely departure.” Alex Richards (LWOPW UK correspondent)
#96. American Wolves (Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards)
Almost any other year, American Wolves would have much, much higher, as they were one of the most dominant tag teams for years in Impact Wrestling and Ring of Honor. They faced the Broken Hardys in a losing effort to claim their 6th Impact Tag Team titles in January of this year and shortly after broke up and feuded with each other most of the year. Their last match together was with Beyond on January 29.
#95. Xyberhawx 2000 (Razerhawk & Sylverhawk)
Another CHIKARA team, the duo of Razerhawk and Sylverhawk combined athleticism and comedy as one of CHIKARA’s most flexible teams. Started off the year slow, but have had a great second half to the year, with wins over The Ugly Ducklings, Too Salty and former CHIKARA tag champs, Cornelius Crummels and Sonny Defarge.
#94. Decay (Abyss & Crazzy Steve)
Decay had an outstanding 2016 with their feud with the Broken Hardys over the Impact Tag Team titles, but when Anthem management took over in early 2017, Crazzy Steve left in the spring. They had a short feud with The DCC (Death Crew Council) then Reno Scum and LAX, but came out on the losing end for all three of them. They’ve reunited a few times on the indie circuit since, but to no great success.
#93. Twisted Sisters (Thunder Rosa & Holidead)
Titles Held: Vendetta Pro International Tag Team
They’ve been partners just over a year now, but these two tough women fight as many male tag teams as women’s, including defeating Extra Talented for the Sabotage Tag Team titles in Texas. Big wins over such teams as Team PAWG (LuFisto & Jordynn Grace), The Killer Baes (Lauren James & Heather Monroe) and Alisha Edwards & Taeler Hendrix this year, but failed to capture the SHINE Tag Team titles from Ivelisse & Mercedes Martinez at SHINE 46 this past October. Next year could be a big one for this duo.
#92. Never Say Die (Alex Cupid & Dillon D’Angelo)
Young team with loads of potential, they’ve been together just over a year now on the UK indie circuit. They wrestle primarily with PROGRESS, with a huge win over Aussie Open, but they’re still finding their true selves. Another potential break-out act for 2018.
“Young tag team that have shown a tonne of heart and potential to go far in PROGRESS.” Alex Richards (LWOPW UK correspondent)
#91. 2 Unlimited (Jay & Patrick Sammon)
Two Irish brothers who have been tagging for years now, starting out with Rev Pro in 2014 and IPW:UK in 2015. This summer they returned home and have become regulars with Ireland’s OTT, with mounting momentum, including a tag team championship match against OTT champs Kings of the North this past September.
“Came into OTT like a house on fire wowing crowds with their Daredevil ways. Came up short against the mighty Kings Of The North in a tag title match and haven’t been seen since.” Alex Richards (LWOPW UK correspondent)
#90. Team PAWG (LuFisto & Jordynn Grace)
This team debuted this January in Beyond, but the pairing of 21-year old Jordynn Grace with 20-year veteran LuFisto has proved to be a winning combination. They’ve got an impressive win-loss record across the indies, taking on men or women, with impressive wins of former EVOLVE Tag champs The Doom Patrol (Chris Dickinson & Jaka) and The Kentucky Gentlemen (Chuck Taylor & Orange Cassidy).
#89. Pretty Boy Killers (Shane Taylor & Keith Lee)
Last year, these two giants were running amok in Ring of Honor, taking out such teams as War Machine, Colt Cabana & Dalton Castle and The Briscoes. But following Keith Lee’s departure from ROH earlier this year, the duo has been split and their run in ROH came to a halt. They’ve still teamed up in the indies from time to time, with WrestleCircus and VIP Wrestling in Texas, but with Keith Lee’s singles career exploding into 2018, this duo likely won’t be reuniting any time soon.
#88. Aussie Open (Kyle Fletcher & Mark Davis)
Titles Held: ATTACK! Tag Team, HOPE Tag Team
The Australian duo of Fletcher and Davis have been making waves in 2017, since first teaming up in July with UK’s ATTACK!. They’ve since wrestled throughout Britain with PROGRESS, Rev Pro, IPW:UK, Lucha Forever, PCW, and HOPE amongst others. They’ve already started their hardware collection, with reigns as ATTACK! and HOPE Tag champs.
“The Australian pair arrived in the UK and have followed in the footsteps of the South Pacific Power Trip. Rocking up wins and impressing crowds all across the UK 2018 will be a great year for Aussie Open.” Alex Richards (LWOPW UK correspondent)
#87. The Iconic Duo (Peyton Royce & Billie Kaye)
If there was a Women’s Tag Team title in NXT, there’s no denying these two would be their reigning champions. The two Australian ladies have been dominant heels in NXT’s women’s division for the past year, either in singles or as a tag team.
#86. Super Smash Brothers (Evil Uno & Stu Grayson)
Titles Held: Lucha TO Royal Canadian Tag Team
Former PWG and CHIKARA Tag Team champions, Super Smash Brothers have spent the past year back in their native Canada, where they’ve been terrorizing such promotions as Smash Wrestling, Alpha-1, Lucha TO and BATTLEWAR. They’re the current reigning Royal Canadian Tag Team Champions in Lucha TO.
#85. Team EatClips (Trey Miguel & Stephen Wolf)
Two distinct singles stars on the indie circuit, Illinois’ Wolf and Ohio’s Miguel, began pairing up in Chicago’s AAW earlier this year with impressive results. Have had some battles against the likes of OI4K (OvE) and Scarlet & Graves. Just hitting their stride at year’s end.
#84. Cornelius Crummels & Sonny Defarge
Titles Held: CHIKARA Campeonatos de Parejas
Debuted with CHIKARA last summer and immediately went on a winning run, defeating The Snake Pit (Ophidian & Argus) and The Colony (Silver Ant & Worker Ant). Held the CHIKARA Campeonatos de Parejas title for over 200 days. Also compete for Premier Championship Wrestling (PCW) in Pennsylvania, where they recently made the finals but lost to crown the new PCW tag champs.
#83. Heath Slater & Rhyno
Titles Held: WWE Smackdown Tag Team
Another tag team who had great success in 2016 that didn’t parlay into a better 2017. Slater went undrafted in last year’s WWE Brand Split Draft, but made his case and joined Smackdown Live when he became Tag Team champion with Rhyno. By December, they’d lost the titles to the Wyatt Family. They’ve clawed and scratched into a few title matches on Smackdown and then Raw, but they’ve been moving lower and lower on the WWE Tag Team ladder of late.
#82. Westside Mafia (Morgan & Tabu)
Titles Held: WWL World Tag Team
The top tag team in Puerto Rico’s WWL, Westside Mafia is also a larger faction including “Mr.450” MechaWolf, but Morgan and Tabu handle the tag team duties. Currently over 200 days as WWL World Tag Team Champions, but have yet to leave the island for more competition.
“It was a breakthrough year for the boys from the west of Puerto Rico. Morgan & Tabu are the example of youth and charisma. When the World Wrestling League revolution started in May, WSM became the poster boys for the Tag Team division, winning the WWL Tag Titles and still holding them while still being a hot act. Their short comedy videos and loyal companion, El Nazareno (who is now in Florida), make Westside Mafia a must-see act in the island.” Emmanuel Rosado, LWOPW Caribbean Correspondent
#81. The Kingdom (Matt Taven, TK O’Ryan & Vinny Marseglia)
The Kingdom has seen a lot of changes since their formation in 2014. All three original members (Adam Cole, Michael Bennett & Matt Hardy) are departed, but early recruit Matt Taven now leads a new unit. Taven usually competes in singles matches or with the unit in 6-man action, with O’Ryan and Marseglia handling the majority of the duo tag matches. An injury to O’Ryan earlier this year disrupted their momentum, but they recently had a tag team title match against ROH Tag Team Champs Motor City Machine Guns last month at ROH Elite in Florida.
#80. Brothers of Obstruction (Jim & Lee Hunter)
Titles Held: Kamikaze Pro Tag Team, ATTACK! Tag Team, 4FW Tag Team
Also competes as The Hunter Brothers, they’re a solid brother duo who work the indie circuit of the UK. Currently reigning tag team champs in ATTACK! and 4FW, they’ve begun working with Defiant (formerly WCPW) Wrestling this year and also compete with Fight Club: PRO, SWE and many other UK indies.
#79. FSU (Mark Andrews & Eddie Dennis)
The former PROGRESS Tag Team champions don’t compete together as often as they used to (especially with Andrews now part of the WWE UK division), but they still compete semi-regularly on the UK indies, although they’ve had more defeats than victories this year.
“We haven’t seen a lot of them this year but they deserve a spot for legacy alone FSU have been stalwarts of the UK scene for years putting on great matches and always being in the title scene of every promotion in the UK.” Alex Richards (LWOPW UK correspondent)
#78. Unbreakable F’n Machines (Brian Cage & Michael Elgin)
The former PWG World Tag Team Champions are both having successful singles careers so don’t compete as regularly as they did earlier in their careers, but they still have some big matches, including recent victories over War Machine and the Young Bucks in PWG and Scarlet & Graves in AAW.
“The huge team of Brian Cage & Michael Elgin had a solid year. In PWG, after losing to the now PWG Tag Team Champions, Matt Riddle & Jeff Cobb, The Unbreakable Machines run through teams like War Machine and The Young Bucks. They fall short because of how few matches they had.” Emmanuel Rosado, LWOPW
#77. Chuck2sis (Chuck Falcon & Sobre2sis)
Titles Held: CNL Tag Team
Arguably Chile’s top tag team and current CNL Tag Team Champions, they’re a fairly new tag team unit this year, but are heading into 2018 with a load of momentum.
“Chuck Falcon and Sobre2sis are standouts as singles, but as a team, they are a well oiled machine for Chile’s Campeonato Nacional de Lucha. The team won the CNL Tag Titles back in August and have beat teams like the New Vegan Order. They are on a 117 day reign.” Emmanuel Rosado, LWOPW Caribbean Correspondent
#76. Anthony Henry & James Drake
Titles Held: EVOLVE Tag Team
Two singles stars (Henry is the current PWX Heavyweight Champion and Drake is a former PWX Television Champion) who paired up and captured the EVOLVE Tag Team titles this past August. They haven’t teamed much since they lost the titles, so it’s unsure if this team will continue or if they’ve returned to singles action heading into 2018.
#75. AR Fox & Rey Fenix
Titles Held: AAW Tag Team
Another makeshift team of two successful singles stars, AR Fox and Fenix joined forces in Chicago’s AAW, winning the AAW Tag Team titles in May and holding them for over two months. They last teamed together in August, so it’s unsure if the team will continue into next year.
“Just 70 days as AAW Tag Team Champions, but boy what a pair those two. Former Evolve Champion AR and former Lucha Underground champion Rey Fenix make a great one-two punch for All American Wrestling. In their reign they were able to beat OVE (OI4K in AAW) and then in another great match, the team of Lio Rush & Shane Strickland.” Emmanuel Rosado, LWOPW