Compiled by Jamie Greer; rankings voted on by full LWOPW staff, plus guest panelist Dave Dynasty of “The Dave Dynasty Show”
We continue our look at the best 100 tag teams of the past year with the 1st annual Last Word on Pro Wrestling Hot Tag 100, looking at numbers 74 down to 50, the halfway point. If you missed part one (#100 through #75), you can catch up here.
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)
#74. Besties In The World (Davey Vega & Matt Fitchett)
Titles Held: MPW Tag Team, Glory Pro Tag Team
These two have been tagging for years, first as Sex Bob-ombs, then Kobra Kai Dojo, but when they repackaged as The Besties In The World, they’ve exploded in the past year. Regular contenders in Illinois’ AAW and Glory Pro, as well as Canada’s Alpha-1, including a solid feud with Scarlet & Graves for the past several months. They recently won the AAW Tag Team titles, but just past the deadline for the ranking, so expect bigger things for The Besties in 2018.
#73. Heavy Machinery (Otis Dozovic & Tucker Knight)
Although they started tagging in the summer of 2016, it was at last year’s Dusty Rhodes Classic that they made their NXT TV debut. Since then, they’ve become a fan favourite tandem with battles against Authors of Pain, SaNiTy, and The Revival. With several top NXT teams on the verge of moving to the main roster, 2018 could be the year Heavy Machinery strikes gold.
#72. The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins)
Another new NXT tag team, they’ve been working Live Events for most of the year before making their NXT TV debut late in the summer. Since then they’ve had a solid winning streak and are poised to become one of NXT’s breakout teams of 2018.
#71. Massive Product (Jurn Simmons & David Starr)
A relatively new tag team combination in Germany’s wXw, it features 2x wXw World Champion Jurn Jimmons and David Starr, and they’ve been impressive in every outing. They seem to have their best battles against RINGKAMPF and it’s only a matter of time before they secure their first taste of tag team gold in Germany.
#70. The Ugly Ducklings (Rob Killjoy & Lance Lude)
Titles Held: PWX Tag Team, Rockstar Pro Tag Team, NWA United States Tag Team, IPW Tag Team
The Ugly Ducklings have been absolute work horses on the indie circuit, carrying several titles over the past year, including the PWX Tag Team titles, NWA Smoky Mountain United States Tag Team titles, Rockstar Pro Tag Team titles, and currently the reigning Innovative Pro Wrestling (IPW) Tag Team champions. They’ve also been contenders for the EVOLVE Tag title several times, as well as fought for CZW, Full Impact Pro, AWE and others.
#69. Liam Slater & Johnny Moss
Titles Held: WCPW Tag Team
The inaugural tag team champions with WCPW (now Defiant Wrestling) in the UK, they beat such contenders as Moustache Mountain, Pete Dunne & Travis Banks, and Swords of Essex, before losing to the Swords of Essex combo of Will Ospreay & Scott Wainright in February. They’ve continued to fight for their spot on WCPW’s tag team ladder, but after failing in a #1 contenders match this past August, the team disbanded when Moss took a job with the WWE as a trainer at their Performance Center.
#68. The Carnies (Kerry Awful, Nick Iggy & Tripp Cassidy)
Titles Held: AWE Tag Team
Although the regularly work 6-man matches with all three, the duo tag matches are principally handled by Awful & Iggy, although Awful & Cassidy held the AWE Tag Team titles together from last December to this past May together. They compete regularly all over the country, with strong showings in CWF Mid-Atlantic, AWE, AIW, CZW, CHIKARA and many more. Another team with the potential to really breakout in 2018.
#67. El Mesias & Pagano
Titles Held: AAA World Tag Team
These two AAA veterans began teaming late last year, hitting their stride around March of this year with battles against La Secta (Cuerva & Escoria) that ended with them taking the AAA Tag Team titles in May. Following their title loss a month later, Pagano returned to his Los Totalmente Traidores stable with the killer clowns, feuding against his former partner. They haven’t paired again since.
“Before becoming bitter rivals they managed to become AAA World Tag Team Champions. Together they would make one of the most intimidating teams in the world, fortunately for teams in AAA they weren’t together for long.” Walter Yeates, LWOPW
#66. The Addiction (Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian)
Talent wise, The Addiction still ranks as one of the world’s top tag teams, but the past year saw both members focus more on singles runs, with Daniels finally claiming the ROH World Championship. They suffered more defeats than victories, at the hands of Motor City Machine Guns, Tempura Boyz (Roppongi 3K), and multiple Bullet Club combinations (Young Bucks, Adam Cole & Hangman Page, Cody Rhodes & Marty Scurll), as well as recently losing out on the #1 contendership to the ROH Tag Team titles to Best Friends (Trent Beretta & Chuck Taylor).
#65. Grizzled Young Veterans (James Drake & Zach Gibson)
This roguish duo has been a thorn in many peoples sides in the UK circuit individually, but together they’ve been causing some real problems for people the past several months, primarily in PROGRESS. They recently captured the PROGRESS Tag Team titles, but it was after the cut off date for the rankings, so expect a much higher grade in 2018.
#64. The Briscoes (Jay & Mark Briscoe)
Similar to The Addiction, The Briscoe Brothers remain one of the world’s elite tag teams, but the past year they concentrated more on singles matches and 6-man tag team matches along side Bully Ray Dudley than they did in traditional tag team wrestling. Most of their few matches were losses in ROH/NJPW co-events, but they had a strong showing late in the year in wXw’s World Tag Team League.
#63. Best Friends (Chuck Taylor & Trent Beretta)
Chuckie T and Trent have a long history of infrequent pairings, but ever since the end of Roppongi Vice earlier this year, the duo have been teaming up more often than any time in the career previous. They recently won the #1 contendership for the ROH World Tag Team titles and have had a solid showing in the current NJPW World Tag League. If they continue the momentum into 2018, they have a strong shot for tag team gold in several promotions.
“They are beginning to make a name for themselves since Roppongi Vice came to an end. Trent moving to the Heavyweight division in New Japan opened the doors for Taylor to join him in the World Tag League. Their future is brighter than Roppongi on the weekend.” Walter Yeates, LWOPW
#62. TenKoji (Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima)
Titles Held: IWGP Tag Team
Also known as Tencozy by some, these two NJPW Legends and 6x IWGP Tag Team champions are approaching their 20th year together as a tag team. They’ve lost a lot of their step, but their veteran presence has served them well in battles this year with War Machine, Bullet Club and CHAOS amongst others, and they even won their 6th IWGP Tag Team titles early this year for a short reign.
“The 6x IWGP Tag Team Champions and 1× NWA World Tag Team Champions proved this year that they are still a threat in a growing New Japan tag team division. They were able to have a short run with the belts this year and aren’t quite ready to quit fighting.” Walter Yeates, LWOPW
#61. NEXTREAM (Jake Lee, Naoya Nomura, Kento Miyahara & Yuma Aoyagi)
Titles Held: AJPW World Tag Team, All Asia Tag Team
One of All-Japan’s many factions, these four men often take part in matches from 6-man to duo, with Nomura & Lee winning the All-Japan Tag Team titles this summer, and Nomura and Aoyagi currently the defending All Asia Tag Team champions.
#60. Extra Talented (Aaron Solo & Ricky Starks)
Titles Held: WrestleCircus Big Top Tag Team
This junior heavyweight American tandem has only been together since last fall, but are already making waves on the global indie circuit. The spent a great deal of time with WrestleCircus, winning their tag titles in October of this year, and have spent a lot of time infiltrating the UK scene, recently facing CCK in a #1 contender match for the PROGRESS titles, as well as in ATTACK!, OTT, SWE and others.
#59. Joel Redman & Charlie Sterling
Titles Held: Rev Pro British Tag Team
These two UK vets began teaming last year and had an impressive run, winning the Rev Pro British Tag Team titles and defending them against the likes of War Machine, The London Riots, and Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI & EVL), before dropping them to CCK in March. Since they’re defeat, they’ve seemingly split up, as Redman has been teaming with Joshua Knott in The Professionals of late.
#58. UK Hooligans (Ray & Zak Knight)
Titles Held: WAW British Tag Team (x2), POW Tag Team, PCW Tag Team
Not a more fitting name for the two thugs who come from UK wrestling royalty, as members of the infamous Knight family (they’re brothers to WWE Superstar Paige). They’re the current Preston City Wrestling (PCW) Tag Team Champs and also held the WAW Tag Team titles twice this year as well in their knockdown assault on the UK scene.
#57. Santana Garrett & Racquel
Titles Held: SHINE Tag Team
Santana Garrett is pound for pound considered one of the top indie women’s wrestlers in the world as a singles competitor, but she’s also a pretty good tag team partner. She held the SHINE Tag Team titles alongside newcomer Raquel for nearly 150 days.
#56. The Revival (Dash Wilder & Scott Dawson)
Titles Held: NXT Tag Team
Last year, NXT’s Revival would have been in Top 5 territory, but the last year has been a bit of a downer for them, and most of it was out of their hands. The started by losing their NXT Tag Team titles to DIY at NXT Takeover: Toronto, and failed to win them back before being drafted to Raw in April. Their Raw ascension started off well, with wins over The New Day, but injuries took Dash Wilder out for a few months. Shortly after Dawson returned from injury, another major injury occurred, this time to Scott Dawson, who still remains on the injured reserve. They still had some fierce battles with The Bar (Cesaro & Sheamus) for the Raw Tag Team titles and scored wins over The Hardy Boys and Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows, but 2017 has pretty much been a wash for the battered Revival.
“F**k ’em.” Walter Yeates, LWOPW
#55. The Club (Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows)
Titles Held: WWE Raw Tag Team
Former Bullet Club members Anderson & Gallows are a long way from their days dominating NJPW’s Tag Team division, but the former 3x IWGP Tag Team Champions were one of the few to defeat The Bar for the Raw Tag Team Champions earlier this year.
“It’s remarkable how WWE Creative managed to turn the hottest tag team in the world years ago to an after thought. The misuse of the team is absolutely embarrassing.” Walter Yeates, LWOPW
#54. South Pacific Power Trip (TK Cooper & Travis Banks)
The New Zealand faction of TK Cooper, Travis Banks and Dahlia Black have become tag team sensations the past year, primarily with PROGRESS in England (although they’ve also wrestled for EVOLVE and at WrestleMania AXXESS this past spring). While they’ve yet to taste tag team gold, Travis Banks is the current PROGRESS World Champion, and they’ve had some fierce battles with the likes of The London Riots, British Strong Style, FSU, RINGKAMPF and Catch Point.
“The Oceanic duo spent the first half of our evaluation period tearing the house down and racking up wins. Were in contention to win the PROGRESS tag titles before VISA and Injury problems.” Alex Richards, LWOPW UK Correspondent
#53. Las Sicarias (Ivelise & Mercedes Martinez)
Titles Held: SHINE Tag Team
Las Sicarias, led by Ivelise, has had many members, such as ACR, Thea Trinidad (now NXT’s Zelina Vega) and Puerto Rico’s La Rosa Negra, but it’s alongside Mercedes Martinez that they’ve scored tag team gold, as the current reigning and defending SHINE Tag Team Champions for over 215 days now.
#52. The Big Guns (The Bodyguard & Zeus)
Titles Held: AJPW World Tag Team (x2)
Two monsters in Japanese wrestling (and former body builders), The Big Guns have dominated All Japan’s tag team division the past year, winning the All-Japan Tag Team titles twice this year alone and dominating this year’s AJPW Real World Tag League.
#51. World’s Cutest Tag Team (Joey Ryan & Candice LeRae)
The greatest intergender tag team on the planet, they hit their peak beating the Young Bucks for the PWG World Tag Team titles back in 2015, but they’re still as competitive as ever. The wrestle everywhere from WrestleCircus to Ireland’s OTT and have had some strong battles against the likes of Ivelisse & Matt Cross, Sami Callihan & Jessicka Havok, Abyss & Rosemary, and recently defeated John Morrison & Taya Valkyrie. Don’t let Candice LeRae’s innocence deceive you. She’s tougher than Joey.
#50. The Chosen Bros (Matt Riddle & Jeff Cobb)
Titles Held: PWG World Tag Team
Only reason they aren’t ranked higher is due to the infrequency of their team ups, but there’s no denying that Chosen Bros could be one of the indie circuits most dominant tag teams. In their limited appearances this year since first teaming up last December, they’ve scored big wins over The Young Bucks, The Unbreakable F’N Machines, OI4K (OvE), reDRagon, and Donovan Dijak & Keith Lee, before winning the PWG World Tag Team titles on October 20 from The Lucha Brothers (Penta El 0M & Rey Fenix).
READ THE WHOLE LISTS BELOW!
The Hot Tag 100: #100 to #75
The Hot Tag 100: #74 to #50
The Hot Tag 100: #49 to #25
The Hot Tag 100: #24 to # 1