All Elite Wrestling had a press conference on February 7th, 2019. In front of a raucous crowd in Las Vegas, The Young Bucks walked to the stage. Matt Jackson would proclaim that “tag team wrestling has become somewhat of a lost art.”
He later would say “That the objective of his and Nick Jackson’s was to give the fans the best tag team division in the World.” Nick would add “Can tag team wrestling be the main event?”
The Young Bucks have been successful at stealing shows with their performances over the last decade. Starting in their home state of California with Pro Wrestling Guerilla, The Jackson brothers have been a record setting duo from the jump. As four time PWG tag team champions, three time Ring Of Honor tag team champions, seven time IWGP Junior Heavyweight tag team champs and IWGP tag team champions, their list of major tag team titles held is a mile long. Whether they opened or closed shows, The Young Bucks were out to show you they were worth the price of admissions.
Fast forward to the present day. While we have yet to see a tag team match main event a major pay-per-view, they have floruished in opening shows to get a crowd invested. At a wrestling event, you want to spark that fire with a match that will draw them into the remainder of the card. AEW has capitalized on this on numerous occasions, starting out the night with a tag team bout to wrap the crowd around their fingers and set the tone.
The Young Bucks and a plethora of tag team talent have made good on Matt Jackson’s promise to bring the best tag team division in the world to All Elite Wrestling.
Of the five major pay per views that AEW has showcased thus far, a tag team match has been the performance of the night in two, if not three of the five events. There’s zero question that a lot of thought has been put into tag team wrestling and they will continue to build upon this loaded division moving forward.
The AEW tag team title tournament was front and center on the second episode of AEW Dynamite. An upstart duo from New York, Private Party opened the show against the Young Bucks and pulled off the motherload of upsets by defeating a team they had been idolizing for years. Ever since that time, Isiah Kassidy and Marq Quen are considered to be one of burgeoning young tag teams in the world. They continue to gain valuable experience each week they compete in an AEW ring. Their athleticism is unparalleled by few in the promotion and you’re going to see them continue to grow week after week.
Last night on Dynamite, Private Party had a date with destiny and the AEW tag team titles in their sight. With veteran tag team legend Matt Hardy in their corner, this upstart tandem has looked very fluid with their offense and dynamics in the ring. Hardy brings a stability which Private Party lacked a bit in the past. Matt sees them as a younger version of the Hardy Boys. Which makes complete sense, especially with both Kassidy and Quen growing up idolizing Matt’s brother and tag team partner Jeff Hardy. Private Party fell a millimeter short of claiming the gold, though it could be argued that Kassidy and Quen put on their best performance in AEW in spite of losing the match to the current tag champions Adam ‘Hangman’ Page and Kenny Omega.
The rest of the aforementioned inaugural AEW World Tag Team Championship Tournament featured some phenomenal tag bouts and climaxed with SCU defeating The Lucha Bros in the main event of an AEW Dynamite to become the 1st AEW tag team champions. While the championship bout was the final match on the card, the tag team division brings a high octane dynamic to each show.
The Young Bucks are Executive Vice Presidents of AEW and one of the best tag teams in the world. The buck starts and stops with them in the tag team division. However, they are currently not the AEW tag team champions. That distinction belongs to fellow “Elite” members Hangman Page and Kenny Omega.
Page and Omega are two of the best singles wrestlers in the World. They came together as a tag team late in 2019 and have since gone on a momentous winning streak, capturing AEW tag team gold in a thrilling match against the inaugural champions, So Cal Uncensored (SCU). Since then, they have turned away every challenger they’ve faced, including their friends, The Young Bucks, in what some pundits have claimed to be “The greatest tag team match of all time” at AEW’s Revolution pay-per-view.
The chemistry Page and Omega have developed is a story in and of itself. Hangman is set to eventually break away, destined to become a future AEW World champion. Kenny Omega, “The Best Bout Machine”, seems poised to capture singles gold in the near future as well. Yet, to watch them work together and slowly become a cohesive unit is a revelation for professional wrestling. They have truly become one of the most impressive tag teams in 2020.
SCU with Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky are two incredible athletes. Their brotherhood with Christopher Daniels is very fun to watch. As aforementioned, they were the first AEW tag team champions and will be one of the first names mentioned as threats to unseat whoever the current champions may be. We could see Daniels teaming exclusively with his old ‘Bad Influence’ tag partner Kazarian going forward as Scorpio Sky looks to begin a successful singles career.
We have Best Friends who challenged Hangman Page and Kenny Omega for the Tag team straps on Night 1 of Fyter Fest. Chuckie T and Trent were standout singles wrestlers on the Independent scene, and have tagged up on the indy circuit before heading overseas to New Japan Pro Wrestling. Their experience and charisma make them worthy AEW tag champs and it wouldn’t surprise me if they walked away with the AEW tag team championships in the next couple of years.
What’s more, I haven’t mentioned two of the greatest pure tag teams in the World. Lucha Bros staked their claim, in my eyes, as the best in the world last Summer with their incredible ladder match victory over the Young Bucks at All Out. Those two teams had been at odds for over a year, and their back and forth battles all over the world have proven both teams could stake a worthy claim to be the best.
Their bouts with The Bucks at Double Or Nothing and All Out arguably stole both pay per view shows with their incredible chemistry in the ring. Non stop action with the simple story of “Who is the most exciting/best tag team in the world?” became the backdrop for those exceptional contests.
After the Ladder Match at All Out, both The Bucks and Lucha Bros were attacked by Santana and Ortiz. Formerly LAX, they have renamed themselves “Proud N Powerful” and have aligned themselves with Chris Jericho and the Inner Circle. PNP has been involved in a few excellent tag matches with AEW, yet their work prior to joining the promotion is what garnered attention from fans worldwide. When the proper storyline surfaces, fans will get to see how incredible Santana and Ortiz truly are.
There are a handful of other tag teams within the foundation of the division in AEW. TH2 has displayed some of the best acrobatic work in the company and are itching to prove that they are more than just a beautiful display of aerial offense. Their promos in recent weeks on ‘Being The Elite’ are proof that they should be utilized more heading forward. Sonny Kiss and Joey Janela have joined forces to form ‘The Jersey Boys’, a unique tag team with plenty of moxie and chemistry. They have something brewing with their adopted moniker, ‘Bad Romance’ and are looking to move up the ladder in the AEW tag team division.
QT Marshall and Dustin Rhodes have collected a few victories as a team and are looking to move up the ladder in AEW. These 2 are crafty veterans that can throw a monkey wrench into the tag team toolbox. You also have The Butcher and Blade. A throwback tag team who if given a proper storyline, can garner some more attention from the AEW fanbase.
Evil Uno and Stu Grayson from the Dark Order recently returned after a hiatus from AEW television over the last couple of months. Brodie Lee is the leader of this faction, but you can’t forget that Grayson and Uno were on a big win streak in 2020. Thought highly enough by AEW management, they were the number one contenders for the AEW tag team titles before the pandemic hit America. Mark my words, The Dark Order will come back and attempt to pick up where they left off. To wreak havoc on the AEW tag team scene.
I can now exhale, that’s a lot of teams which I have named who have put a stamp on the revival of tag team wrestling. (See what I did there?)
FTR (Formerly The Revival in WWE) made their presence known in the promotion after hitting the ring after a Young Bucks tag match on AEW Dynamite. FTR is a throwback tag team of yesteryear, patterning their styles after Four Horsemen members and present day AEW managers Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson.
As former NXT and WWE tag team champions, Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler are no strangers to success. The chemistry which they have is 2nd to few in the World today. Simple, formulaic wrestling has been brought back to life with FTR. Utilizing distractions, manipulating body parts and textbook tag team wrestling are their claims to fame. An FTR vs Young Bucks match has been hailed as a dream encounter over the last three years. Dreams indeed do come true and the build to a matchup between these two elite tag teams is forthcoming.
FTR and The Young Bucks teamed together in an 8 man tag match at Night 2 of AEW Fyter Fest. Their opponents were the returning Lucha Bros with The Butcher and The Blade. The duo of Butcher and The Blade have been in AEW for a few months and have flashed some signs of being a solid tag team in All Elite Wrestling.
The action was lightning fast, an incredible display of tag team wrestling. The contrast in styles made this bout one of the best 8 man tag team matches I’ve ever seen. Wrestling fans witnessed one of the most gracefully, breakneck paced, out of control bouts we’ve seen in recent memory. In the end, The Lucha Bros with Butcher and The Blade emerged victorious. If you’re looking for a bout to watch in July, go back and watch this one from Night 2 of AEW Fyter Fest. The innovative tag team maneuvers, chemistry and entertainment value shown is worth it’s weight in gold.
Matt and Nick Jackson have been proven correct. The AEW tag team division is the best in the World. Not since the days of the Road Warriors, Midnight Express, and the Rock N Roll Express, have we seen such star studded tag teams congregate in one promotion on American soil. It’s incredible to see the abundance of talent that All Elite Wrestling has under its umbrella.
The strength in numbers that the tag team division possesses weighs the odds in favor of headlining a big show. In the meantime, you’ll continue to see phenomenal performances every week on TNT. The art of tag team wrestling has been rejuvenated thanks to All Elite Wrestling and is now thriving in the present day, which will lead to that moment the Young Bucks promised on that fateful day in Las Vegas. A joyous occasion where a tag team match will headline a major pay-per-view event in AEW. That’s a milestone which will be historic and groundbreaking in the wrestling industry.