#AllEliteWeek: Best Friends Hit The Jackpot

In recent weeks on The Young BucksBeing The Elite web series, All Elite Wrestling (AEW) tag team Best Friends – the longtime duo of Trent Baretta and Chuck Taylor – have been fighting for a better spot on the card for Sunday’s AEW Double or Nothing. Initially, the duo was being split up and entered into the Casino Battle Royale on the kickoff show, The Buy-In, competing amongst 21 other competitors for a shot at the AEW World Championship at a later date. While Trent and Chucky appeared content with their spot initially, it began to weigh on the two and they continued to pressure the Bucks into improving their spot on the card. It was finally revealed last week that they would, in fact, be moved to the main card in a tag team match against recent signees and former AAA and Lucha Underground stars Angelico & Jack Evans. While Baretta and Taylor have been tagging together for years and appeared on some big cards, the two are poised for one of the biggest matches of their career together following two extensive and different careers.

Chuck Taylor made his pro wrestling debut in 2002, a student of Brandon Walker in Kentucky, at the age of 15. He slowly worked Southern and Midwest indies (where he discovered a young Ricochet) for years honing his craft, before debuting with CHIKARA in 2006, the same year he debuted with IWA Mid South and Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW). It was in the wacky world of CHIKARA that he honed, polished and refined the comedic wrestling skills that both made him an indie cult hero and a foil to people like Jim Cornette. In IWA Mid South, he became a 2x IWA Mid South Heavyweight Champion and 2x IWA Mid South Light Heavyweight Champion (in battles with the likes of Jay Lethal, Steve Corino, Low Ki, Davey Richards, Ricochet, Joey Ryan and Cesaro), and even won the IWA Mid South Women’s title. In 2007, he won gold in CHIKARA, winning the Young Lions Cup.

In 2008, he made his debut with Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG), which helped expand his comedic legend on the West Coast as well as the East Coast, and he continued to rise, winning the CZW Junior Heavyweight title in 2008. He would win the CHIKARA Campeonatos de Parejas (Tag Team) titles twice with Johnny Gargano as part of Team FIST. He would also work overseas, with Germany’s Westside Xtreme Wrestling (wXw) starting in 2008 and in Japan in 2009 with Big Japan Wrestling (and Dragon Gate in 2011), and added more US indies like EVOLVE in 2010, where he would win the EVOLVE Tag Team titles with Drew McIntyre in 2016. In July of 2017, he would finally win his first World title, capturing the PWG World Championship, adding a second PWG World title in 2018. Despite having a WWE tryout, Taylor’s unique comedy style seemed to prevent him from reaching a major promotion, as WWE ultimately passed on Taylor, and he never seemed to catch on with other top promotions like TNA/IMPACT Wrestling or Ring of Honor.

Trent Baretta began his wrestling journey in 2004, a student of former ECW World Heavyweight Champion Mikey Whipwreck, and starting off with New York Wrestling Connection (NYWC). As Plazma, Trent became a top star in the New York indies, winning the NYWC Heavyweight Championship, as well as being a 3x NYWC Hi-Fi Champion. By 2007, he had caught the eye of WWE and began to receive tryouts, officially signing with the company in early 2008. He reported to their developmental, Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW, the precursor to NXT) and debuted in February of 2008 as Greg Jackson. By September, he was renamed as his more familiar Trent Baretta.

As Trent Baretta, he would form the stable The Dude Busters with Caylen Croft and Curt Hawkins, winning the FCW Tag Team titles twice. In December of 2009, Baretta and Croft debuted on WWE’s rebooted ECW brand as the Dude Busters, until Croft was released in November of 2010. Trent was shifted over to SmackDown where he worked primarily as a low level enhancement talent, before returning to developmental and heading to NXT in the summer of 2011, before being released by WWE in January of 2013.

Trent returned to the indies and immediately won the Full Impact Pro (FIP) World Heavyweight title in August, holding it a remarkable 462-days. He would also work brief stints with TNA, Dragon Gate USA, PWG, and wXw, but it was in New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) that he made the biggest impact, when he entered the 2013 NJPW Best of the Super Juniors. In 2015, he joined forces with former Forever Hooligans member Rocky Romero in Roppongi Vice, dominating the Junior Heavyweight tag team division for years, capturing the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team titles a whopping four times, before disbanding in early 2017. Trent declared himself for the heavyweight division, but instead of being pushed as a singles star, he was sent back to the tag team division, this time the heavyweight.

Photo: Devin Chen Photography chdevinphotos.com/f323501956

It was during their time together in PWG in 2013 that Trent and Chuck first began to pair up together. At first, it was a seeming ad hoc trios match, that saw Trent partner with Chuck Taylor and Joey Ryan against B-Boy, Tommaso Ciampa and Willie Mack at PWG Battle of Los Angeles that year, but they followed up with a proper tag team match two months later at PWG Matt Rushmore in October. By PWG All-Star Weekend 10 in December, they were officially “Best Friends” and the legend was born. With Trent’s growing New Japan duties, Best Friends would wrestle together sporadically, in PWG, as well as Beyond Wrestling, All American Wrestling (AAW), WrestleCircus and others, but once Roppongi Vice broke up in early 2017, the gloves were off. It was time for Best Friends to insert itself into the global tag team game.

In May of 2017, the two debuted in Ring of Honor, immediately injecting themselves in the hunt for the ROH World Tag Team titles, and by November, Chuck joined Trent in NJPW, as a new peripheral member of CHAOS. The Best Friends competed in both the 2017 and 2018 NJPW World Tag League, but it became apparent that they were a team that was relegated to the mid-card of New Japan and ROH’s tag team divisions and in early 2019, Trent turned down a new contract with NJPW to go freelance. But he didn’t remain freelance for long. On February 7, 2019, Best Friends were announced as new signees for AEW at their first pep rally in Jacksonville, Florida.

It’s been a long road for both competitors to get to the level they’re at now, and now the two best friends who finally decided to take a chance on themselves and their friendship will get to showcase it on the largest stage they’ve competed on together in North America this Sunday at AEW Double or Nothing, when they face Angelico & Jack Evans in what should be an outstanding display of athleticism and fun, and a glimpse at the future of AEW’s talented tag team division.

Check out our other #AllEliteWeek articles for more AEW news heading into Double or Nothing this Saturday!