Welcome to the Annual SteelChair Magazine Tag Teams of the year. If the Young Bucks were given overwhelming support from our writers last year, things took an interesting twist in 2018. Thanks to the Women (R)Evolution, a female team is entering our ranking. The panel of writers also opened their minds on the whole world of wrestling. ROH, NJPW, WWE, UK wrestling, the Top 10 is showing up the diversity wrestling is now made of.
Rox Blackburn, Laura Mauro, Tom Beasley, Jozef Raczka and myself are proud to unveil this 2018 Top 10 Tag Teams to you. Of course, share your choices and comment this ranking on our social media, @SteelChairMag. So, are you ready?
10. Best Friends (Chuckie T & Beretta) – ROH/NJPW
2018 didn’t get off to the best start for Chuck ‘Dustin’ Taylor & Trent ‘Greg’ Beretta with the aftermath of a PWG World title match putting Greg on the shelf for roughly half the year but such is the enduring, endearing brilliance of the Best Friends that the minute they come back, they’re instantly back in discussion. Between practically propping up the ROH Tag division, a strong run in the 2017 NJPW World Tag League and with the 2018 edition on the horizon, perhaps now is the time for The Best Friends to really make their mark.
9. The Riott Squad (Liv Morgan, Ruby Riott & Sarah Logan) – WWE
The Riott Squad burst onto the WWE main roster a year ago, and while women’s tag belts remain a tantalising rumour, Liv Morgan, Sarah Logan and Ruby Riott have stamped their mark on the women’s tag scene. They’ve gone from a somewhat thrown-together ensemble to a well-oiled unit, and should an official women’s tag division materialise in the near future the Riott Squad must surely be first in line for a shot at the gold.
8. Aussie Open (Kyle Fletcher & Mark Davis) – European wrestling scene
Aussie Open have proven themselves to be an indispensable part of the British Wrestling scene. Whether just the two of them, as part of those dastardly Schadenfreude lads in Fight Club: Pro or getting involved in whatever nonsense they get up to at The Frog and Bucket, it speaks to their credit that over the past twelve months they’ve held titles in Progress, Hope, Attack, Defiant and come close to winning them in OTT, wXw, FCP and others proving that wherever they go, they elevate that company’s tag division. By the end of 2019, expect world domination by these two.
7. The Bar (Sheamus & Cesaro) – WWE
“We don’t just set the bar, we are the bar!” Who thought Sheamus and Cesaro would be able to claim their supremacy when they were forced to become a tag team 2 years ago? The current SmackDown Live Tag Team Champions had had a successful ride on RAW, winning the Red Tag Team belts 4 times. But since their draft to the Blue brand, The Bar has been lost in the middle of a quagmire of teams, all claiming the belts. They tried many times to win them, against The New Day, Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt, The Usos. But at SmackDown 1000, they unleashed the ultimate weapon, in The Big Show, to finally become SmackDown Live Tag Team Champions. A long overdue, and a good sign for a brilliant 2019.
6. The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) – WWE – Were #3 in 2017
In the best shape of their lives, 2018 has been quite the year for Jimmy and Jey. The Uso’s walked into the Royal Rumble as champions. Convincingly defeating Gable and Benjamin in a 2 out of 3 falls match allowed them to build a rivalry with The New Day and The Bludgeon Brothers which catapulted them to their first main card appearance at Wrestlemania, where they subsequently dropped the titles. Acknowledging previous mistakes and committing to a better future is brave and admirable. With two victories over AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan recently, they are once again, legitimate contenders for the titles. 2019 is locked down. Uso’s will be champs again!
5. Roppongi 3k (Sho & Yoh) – NJPW
First ever team to win back-to-back Super Jr Tag League tournaments? Check. Junior Heavyweight Tag Title shot at Wrestle Kingdom 13? Check. Young, good-looking, dynamic and exciting? Check. Rocky Romero’s boys have got it all. The sky is the limit for SHO and YOH, and there’s a strong possibility they’ll walk out of Wrestle Kingdom three-time tag champs. Not too shabby for a team who’ve only been on the NJPW scene for just over a year.
4. The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) – ROH/NJPW – Were #1 in 2017
Without any shadow of a doubt, The Young Bucks are one of the best teams in the world today.. Very few wrestlers are able to match talent, athleticism, charisma and excitement the way they do. Whether in ROH or NJPW, in 2018, Matt and Nick Jackson have won nothing more than 5 Championships, the IWGP Junior Heavyweight titles for the 7th time, the IWGP Heavyweight belts for the first time, the ROH World Six-Man titles twice, and the NEVER Openweight Six-Man belts for the 3rd time. They’re also the creators, with Cody, of one of the most exciting events of the year, All In. So why aren’t they the number 1 this year? One answer could be their involvement in many 6-Man matches this year, with the Bullet Club. Another would be the fact they moved from the IWGP Junior Heavyweight to the IWGP Heavyweight competition this year. But the excitement over the Young Bucks clearly isn’t meant to settle down in 2019.
3. The New Day (Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods & Big E) – WWE – Were #4 in 2017
2018 saw The New Day become three-time SmackDown Live Tag Team Champions and five-time Tag Team Champions. They defeated The Bludgeon Brothers two days after Summerslam. This was likely due to Eric Rowan being injured, but there’s no doubt The New Day belong at the top of the Tag Team division. With The Bludgeon Brothers out of the equation, who would emerge as the next challengers? The Bar has given them their main competition, producing some of the best tag team wrestling WWE have seen this year. The New Day is consistent, solid, competent and technically sound wrestlers. They are fun, engaging and just a little tongue in cheek. Letting their natural charisma shine, they provide much-needed light-heartedness, entertaining matches and comical relief. They lost the belts to The Bar at SmackDown 1000, but there is no doubt they will continue to be a top draw tag team in the future.
2. The Undisputed Era (Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, Kyle O’Reilly & Roderick Strong) – NXT
With the slimy charisma of Adam Cole at its heart, The Undisputed Era has become the dominant team in NXT, whether they have gold in their hands or not. In their most common in-ring incarnation – Kyle O’Reilly and Roderick Strong – the Era has exerted a stranglehold over NXT this year, holding the titles for almost that entire time. All of the members of the Undisputed Era are fully committed to their heel personalities, despite the monster pops that tend to accompany their arrival. In clashes with Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch, Moustache Mountain and, more recently, War Raiders, the Era have shown their tremendous in-ring ability as well as their willingness to cut corners and play the numbers game. A main-roster call-up almost certainly awaits in 2019, where these guys will immediately make an impact as an injection of rock star cool into the occasionally stagnant tag team division.
1. Moustache Mountain (Trent Seven & Tyler Bate) – NXT UK/ NXT/ European, Mexican and Canadian wrestling scene
It has been a hell of a year for British talent in WWE with the launch of NXT UK, but few have had a better 12 months than Tyler Bate and Trent Seven, known collectively as Moustache Mountain. The Midlands duo has excelled both inside and outside of WWE, carving themselves out as the best tag team in the world with a series of terrific displays. Their highlight of the year was undoubtedly the series of clashes with The Undisputed Era over the NXT Tag Team Championship. The Brits won the belts in a shocking result at the Royal Albert Hall, only to lose them in a TV match that was awarded five stars by Dave Meltzer. The chemistry between Bate and Seven is undeniable and their grasp of the tag team dynamic is perfect. Seven proves a great babyface in peril, capable of eliciting real sympathy – most notably in that five-star match in which his suffering forced an anguished Bate to throw in the towel. His partner, meanwhile, has all of the power and charisma necessary to receive a hot tag and kick the match-up into a higher gear. They are absolutely the perfect tag team unit.
All pics and videos courtesy of WWE, ROH, NJPW and OTT.