Compiled by Jamie Greer; rankings voted on by full LWOPW staff.
We continue our annual tag team series with the second part of the Hot Tag 100 ’18, looking once again at the best tag teams of the past year in wrestling around the world, from major to indie. Last year, The Young Bucks finished #1 on the list – will the Jackson brothers repeat? We’ll have to find out! The Hot Tag 100 is a four-part series, with each part focusing on 25 of the entries, counting down. This part looks at #75 down through #51.
For the purpose of context, the dates are from November 1, 2017 through November 1, 2018. 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 2019’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. Number in parenthesis next to name indicates ranking the previous year (DNR indicates ‘Did Not Rank’. To check out many of our entrants, check out how to watch other indies in North & South Americaand the rest of the world)
#75. American Gunz (Ethan HD & Mike Santiago) (DNR)
Titles Held: DEFY Tag Team (98+ days)
Veterans of the Pacific Northwest indie scene, American Gunz are former 4x West Coast Wrestling Connection (WCWC) Tag Champs in Oregon and 2x Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling (ECCW) Tag Team Champs in Vancouver. In September, they won the DEFY 8X Tag Team Grand Prix Tournament, becoming the DEFY Tag Team Champs in the process. Since then they’ve defended against Bandido & Flamita and LAX to end the year still DEFY Tag Team Champions.
#74. The P.O.D (Ashton Smith & Rampage Brown) (DNR)
Titles Held: ICW Tag Team
A deadly combination of speed and power, NXT UK’s Ashton Smith paired up with reigning Defiant World Champion Rampage Brown to form The POD, and have proceeded to lay down the law in the Insane Championship Wrestling (ICW) tag team division this year. The two paired off and on since 2016, but it’s been the past year that’s seen them finally go full throttle, capturing the ICW Tag Team titles for 84 days to start this year. They’re actually in their second reign right now, but they just won them outside the qualifying time frame.
“Two of the UK’s hardest hitters started 2018 off with a bang in ICW as they defeated Polo Promotions within a matter of minutes. Under the guidance of The Wee Man, they’ve destroyed all that have opposed them to enjoy two championship reigns in ICW this year.” Adam Morrison (LWOPW UK correspondent)
#73. WRSTLING (David Starr, Jeff Cobb & Eddie Kingston) (DNR)
Titles Held: AAW Tag Team (57 days)
WRSTLING is a faction that formed in All American Wrestling (AAW) in 2017 with David Starr and Trevor Lee, slowly adding in Jeff Cobb and Eddie Kingston. In August at AAW Destination Chicago, the tandem of Starr and Kingston beat The Besties in the World for the AAW Tag Team titles, with various squads of Starr & Kingston and Cobb & Kingston defending them under Freebird rules. They only held the titles for 57 days, but they continue to cause damage in AAW’s competitive tag team division and could see more gold in 2019.
#72. FireFox (AR Fox & Myron Reed) (DNR)
Titles Held: AAW Tag Team (59 days)
Two of the most athletic and charismatic stars out of the Midwest, veteran AR Fox and emerging star Myron Reed paired up this March and by April were #1 Contenders for the AAW Tag Team titles. They were unsuccessful in their first attempt, but this past October they defeated WRSTLING’s David Starr & Eddie Kingston for the gold they still wear around their waists.
“‘Hot Fire’ Myron Reed didn’t team up with veteran high-flyer, AR Fox until midway through the year but they captured AAW tag team gold on their first year. They gained chemistry from wrestling each other in singles matches before becoming tag team Champions.” Dan Niles (LWOPW Writer)
#71. War Raiders (Raymond Rowe & Hanson) (4)
Last year as War Machine, Raymond Rowe and Hanson were ranked #4 in the Hot Tag 100, after capturing gold in NJPW, Ring of Honor and Defiant Wrestling. Since then, they signed with NXT and while they’re rising in dominance within the NXT tag team division, they’ve often been more distracted by larger battles alongside Ricochet that focusing on the tag team titles. But the high ranking is surely a blip, as they’ll be wearing gold by the end of 2019.
#70. Choc Blockers (Big Fudge & Shazza McKenzie) (DNR)
Titles Held: PWA Tag Team (322 days)
The tag team of Big Fudge and Aussie indie star Shazza McKenzie, known as Choc Blockers, won the Pro Wrestling Australia (PWA) Tag Team titles in the spring of 2017 and held them for 322 days, defending them against some of the Aussie scene’s best teams. They were also in the hunt for the Explosive Pro Wrestling (EPW) tag titles throughout the year, although they haven’t worked together since late spring of 2018.
#69. The BLKOUT (BLK JEEZ & Rukus) (DNR)
Titles Held: CZW Tag Team (92 days)
BLK Jeez and Ruckus have been teaming together since 2004 as BLKOUT, capturing the CZW World Tag Team titles on five occasions throughout their career. Veterans of the CZW tag team division and elsewhere, they reclaimed their spot in the CZW tag division this year with their fifth CZW tag title reign (and first since 2014), in an epic feud with The REP.
#68. Authors of Pain (Rezar & Akem) (18)
Authors of Pain had run riot throughout NXT in 2017 as the new monsters of destruction, but their call-up to the main roster and Raw hasn’t proven to be as dominating as their days on the yellow and gold brand. They spent their first few months off the television before gaining a new mentor at the end of the year in Drake Maverick. Shortly after the cut off for the rankings, AOP found their footing and won the Raw Tag Team titles, so hopefully, they rebound with a stronger 2019.
“One would be hard pressed to find a team on Raw that wasn’t pinned by The Authors Of Pain in 2018. This powerhouse team makes it look convincing every match and fill the much-needed role as heavy-hitters in WWE.” Dan Niles (LWOPW Writer)
#67. Hart Foundation (Teddy Hart, Davey Boy Smith Jr., & Brian Pillman Jr.) (DNR)
Teddy Hart led a new Hart Foundation into Major League Wrestling (MLW) this fall, featuring his cousin Davey Boy Smith Jr. and Brian Pillman Jr. and the trio has become one of MLW’s most dominant forces. Any combination of the three is a deadly tandem and now that Teddy has secured singles gold in the MLW Middleweight Championship, the undefeated Hart Foundation will be looking to add tag team gold in 2019.
#66. SaNitY (Eric Young, Alexander Wolfe & Killian Dain) (38)
Titles Held: NXT Tag Team
Another team that was on the rise with a chaotic but successful run in NXT, where they claimed NXT Tag Team gold, the members of SaNitY have been non-existent on SmackDown since they were called up this year. They’ve still got the talent, so hopefully, they rebound in 2019.
#65. SMS (SnapChad & Unsocial Jordan) (DNR)
Titles Held: PWA Tag Team (105 days), Wrestling GO! Double Medals (223 days)
The SMS duo of SnapChad and Unsocial Jordan gained huge ground in the Aussie indie scene, just as the scene began to break internationally. They captured the PWA Tag Team titles this past February, to add to their collection that also included the Wrestling GO! Double Medals titles acquired last November.
#64. The Aggression (Katsuhiko Nakajima & Masa Kitamiya) (DNR)
Titles Held: GHC Tag Team (2x, 109 days)
Former GHC Heavyweight Champion and 3x GHC Junior Heavyweight Champion Katsuhiko Nakajima entered the tag team division this year, pairing with Masa Kitamiya to win the GHC Tag Team titles on two separate occasions this past year. The partnership didn’t last, however, as Nakajima has moved on to Go Shiozaki, winning another pair of titles with Go shortly after the ranking cut off.
#63. Caveman Ugg & Syd Parker (DNR)
Titles Held: MCW Tag Team (217 days)
Before winning the PWA Heavyweight Championship, Caveman Ugg found tag team success in late 2017 and early 2018 alongside Syd Parker, capturing the Melbourne City Wrestling (MCW) Tag Team titles for 217 days.
#62. Tribe Vanguard (BxB Hulk & YAMATO) (DNR)
Titles Held: Dragon Gate Open The Twin Gate (150 days)
BxB Hulk is one of Dragon Gate‘s most decorated performers, and he added the Open The Twin Gate tag team titles alongside his Vanguard Tribe partner YAMATO in 2018, holding the titles for 150 days.
#61. SCU (Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian & Scorpio Sky) (DNR/66)
Titles Held: ROH Tag Team (61 days)
Last year, Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian were simply a duo, The Addiction, coming in at #66 on last year’s Hot Tag 100. The group expanded to a trio, adding Scorpio Sky and rebranding as SoCal Uncensored (SCU), and the success continued. Outside of Christopher Daniels regaining the ROH World Championship, the trio remained atop the ROH tag team division, as challengers, and for 61 days as ROH World Tag Team Champions.
#60. The Big Guns (Zeus & The Bodyguard) (52)
Titles: AJPW Tag Team (28 days)
The Big Guns remained a huge presence in All Japan this year, capturing their fourth AJPW World Tag Team titles this past February and remaining a credible threat year round. Their tag team dominance was slightly sidetracked this year, as Zeus won his first AJPW Triple Crown Championship, but 2019 will likely see more tag gold for the duo.
#59. JAN (Jungle Kyona & Natsuko Tora) (DNR)
Titles Held: Goddesses of Stardom (54 days)
After disbanding Team Jungle earlier in the year, Stardom veteran Jungle Kyona formed JAN as her new stable, and together with emerging star Natsuko Kona won the Goddesses of Stardom titles in September and made the semifinals of the Goddesses of Stardom Tag League in November.
#58. Le Tabarnak de Team (Mathieu St-Jacques & Thomas Dubois) (43)
Titles Held: IWS Tag Team (2x, 304+ days), CRW Tag Team (989+ days)
TDT remained one of the best tag teams in the Canadian indie scene, capturing the International Wrestling Syndicate (IWS) tag team titles on two separate occasions for over 300 days, as well as continuing their amazing 985+ days run as Combat Revolution Wrestling (CRW) Tag Team Champions. They also continued to threaten for the titles in Smash Wrestling.
#57. Four Nations (Jack Bonza & Mick Moretti) (DNR)
Titles Held: PWA Tag Team (191+ days)
Four Nations is a stable of some wrestling elite in the Aussie indie scene, including Madison Eagles, Shazza McKenzie and others. The duo of former PWA Heavyweight Champions Jack Bonza and Mick Moretti banded together and captured the PWA Tag Team titles this past June and they show no signs of giving them up.
#56. B-Team (Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel) (DNR)
Titles Held: WWE Raw Tag Team (50 days)
After years of bumbling as minions for other people, including The Miz, Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas went out on their own as The B-Team and had one of the feel-good win streaks of the year, culminating in capturing the Raw Tag Team titles in July.
#55. The End (Parrow & Odinson) (DNR)
Titles Held: FIP Tag Team (326+ days)
The tandem of Parrow and Odinson have always been a presence on the US indie scene this year with EVOLVE and Full Impact Pro (FIP), but recently they took it to Japan as part of the All Japan Real World Tag League. While proving their potential in Japan, they also continue a huge run as FIP Tag Team Champions, closing in one year full year as champs.
#54. The Work Horsemen (JD Drake & Anthony Henry) (76)
Titles Held: AWE Tag Team (199+ days), FW Tag Team (192+ days)
The Work Horsemen, former EVOLVE Tag Team Champions, continued to be one of the hardest working tag teams in indie wrestling, currently the reigning tag team champions in both Atlanta Wrestling Entertainment (AWE) and Freelance Wrestling. Individually, they both had breakout years as singles competitors, with JD Drake winning the WWN Championship and Anthony Henry capturing the Full Impact Pro World Championship.
“These two are the model of consistency in 2018. Two tag titles, and a Crockett Cup win solidified these guys as a team to watch in 2019. Two failed attempts against the Street Profits for Evolve gold end of year may have hurt ranking.” Brian Ronovech (LWOPW West Coast correspondent)
#53. Reno Scum (Adam Thornstowe & Luster the Legend) (DNR)
Titles Held: APW Tag Team (x2, 230+ days), UWN Tag Team (380 days)
Reno Scum are legends of the West Coast indie scene who had a brief run with IMPACT Wrestling back in 2017. They continue to wreak havoc on the West Coast, where they won the All Pro Wrestling (APW) tag titles twice and had a 380-day reign as the United Wrestling Network (UWN) Tag Team Champions in Championship Wrestling From Hollywood. Injuries derailed their momentum this year, but look for a hungrier Reno Scum in 2019.
“West Coast tag legends lost tough bouts to One Percent and Warbeast this year, but the Oi Punks were still consistent and will be back in 2019.” Brian Ronovech (LWOPW West Coast correspondent)
#52. The Ugly Ducklings (DNR)
Titles Held: PWX Tag Team (345+ days), FEST Tag Team (57+ days), Innovate Pro Tag Team (105 days)
They’ve only been a tag team since 2016, but The Ugly Ducklings are fast becoming one of the emerging stars of the US indie scene’s tag team, working for Premiere Wrestling Xperience (PWX), FEST Wrestling, Innovate Pro Wrestling (IPW), NOVA Pro and many more. They’re the reigning PWX and FEST Tag Team Champions and also held the IPW titles this year, as they look to emerge beyond the Mid Atlantic regions.
#51. Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) (72)
Titles Held: EVOLVE Tag Team
The Street Profits were one of the surprise rookies of NXT last year and they continued to make waves in NXT this year as well. But they’re defining moment so far came when they headed to EVOLVE as part of the NXT invasion, capturing the EVOLVE Tag Team championships which they still hold.
“The charismatic duo spent much of the year in the NXT tag division’s midcard. Always entertaining but not always featured they have since captured the EVOLVE tag team championships as they get the chance to prove themselves on a regular basis.” Alex Richards (LWOPW UK correspondent)