The 10 Best Non-WWE Tag Teams of the Decade
Scott runs down some of the best tag teams outside WWE over the last 10 years
Despite it being a new decade, we’re still looking back at the decade that was. A while back we did a whole show on the best WWE tag teams of the decade but in terms of tag wrestling that was just the tip of the iceberg.
This past decade has seen the rise of Independent wrestling and the emergence of major alternatives like NJPW & AEW. All these promotions has led to a lot of class tag team wrestling. Given Vince isn’t too high on tag wrestling the difference in quality between WWE’s main roster and the indies is often night and day.
Some of the best teams in WWE started on the indies so it shows they’re paying attention. So, I’m looking back at the last decade to see which teams made the most Nosie outside of Vince McMahon’s walls.
There will be no mention of the likes of Gallows & Anderson, War Machine and Fish & O’Reilly as they signed with WWE this decade. This will be exclusively teams that didn’t sign with WWE.
Honourable Mentions: Kings of Catch, Golden Lovers, Roppongi Vice & Killer Elite Squad
10. Best Friends
This team makes the list for their popularity rather than for how many tag titles they’ve won. Mainly because they’ve never won tag titles together. Their main accomplishment is winning the Dynamite Duumvirate tag team tournament in PWG in 2014.
It just speaks to how entertaining they are that they remain so popular. Most tag teams build up to a big match ending double team finisher whereas these two build to a hug in the middle of the ring.
Trent and Chuckie T can be considered tag team specialists as they’ve been part of other successful tag teams. Chuck with Johnny Gargano as F.I.ST in Chikara and Trent with Rocky Romero as Roppongi Vice in New Japan.
Hopefully the fact they’ve never won tag gold together will lead to an interesting story with AEW in this new decade.
9. Guerrillas of Destiny
When founding Bullet Club member Tama Tonga’s brother joined the group these two easily filled Gallows & Anderson’s spot as Bullet Club’s dominant heavyweight tag team.
With 5 reigns as IWGP tag champs as well as holding the ROH tag titles at the same time this is a team in a league of their own. With feuds against teams like War Machine and Evil and Sanada there are few in New Japan better than G.O.D.
What stops them from being higher is that there is probably still so much more they will accomplish in the coming years. It feels like the reason their last title reign went as long as it did was because there weren’t enough credible teams to challenge them.
8. Motor City Machine Guns
At the start of the decade there few teams outside WWE as popular as the machine guns. Thrown together at the end of the 2000’s it proved to be the best thing for them. They had great matches with Team 3D, Beer Money and an outstanding series with Generation Me (whatever happened to them).
They would be higher on this list if their momentum hadn’t been hindered by untimely injuries. They did reunite in ROH in 2017 picking up a near 6-month reign with the tag titles showing they could still go with the teams of today.
Shelly being on NXT with Kushida just makes it even sadder we never saw the Machine Guns in WWE.
7. Santana & Ortiz
There didn’t seem to be too much buzz around the new LAX. History has shown trying to replicate the success of a once popular team is always a disaster.
However, Santana and Ortiz helped carry Impact’s tag division during a rough period for the company. The addition of Konan as their mouthpiece helped give them credibility as a heel team before naturally transitioning to being faces.
Across 4 reigns as tag champs they had violent feuds against oVe, the Lucha Bros and even the original LAX. As Proud & Powerful in AEW it’s only a matter of time before they hold gold again. As well as their association with Jericho it seems big things are in their future.
6. Polo Promotions
Now for a team closer to home.
This was difficult as many of the top UK tag teams this decade have signed with NXT UK. When looking at the tag scene in ICW would we have such a good division without Polo Promotions.
While there were the Bucky boys and the NAK before this Polo & Coffey brought something different. They were a no-nonsense team who choose scoop slams over flashy moves. They took tag team wrestling seriously.
They still hold the record for most and longest reign as ICW tag champions, they defeated the legendary Team 3D at the hydro and were part of long-term stories with the 55 and The Marauders.
Despite breaking up in 2018 they reunited a year later for one more night in a tribute match for Lionheart against the Kinky Party.
5. Lucha Bros
Both Pentagon and Fenix are such skilled as singles competitors that sometimes their work as a tag team gets understated.
However, you look at their record they’ve won tag titles in PWG, MLW, AAA and Impact. Over the last two years they really came into their own as team with multiple high-profile feuds. Putting over LAX on their way out of Impact before helping establish AEW’s tag division in an amazing series of matches with the Bucks.
A feud that got fans who likely never watched Mexican wrestling invested in the AAA tag titles.
4. Bad Influence/ The Addiction
Before joining up with Scorpio Sky to from SCU Kaz and Daniels had a lot of success as a tag team.
If you were watching Impact in 2012, you’ll remember the horrible Claire Lynch storyline. What was lost in that was Kaz and Daniels forming a very cohesive team winning the tag titles twice. They proved they could take whatever was given to them and make it entertaining. It seemed to surprise people that they worked so well together but it was case of two guys who’d known each other for years but hadn’t really had a chance to work together.
When they went to ROH they re-branded themselves the Addiction and more tag title wins followed. It was here they got to test the waters of how they could do as faces. It would be in ROH that they would form SCU with Scorpio Sky which lead to one of AEW’s most over acts.
3. The American Wolves
Reuniting at the start of the decade after some singles success Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards would win the ROH tag titles for a second time.
In 2014 they arrived in Impact now just called the Wolves they shot right to the top of the division. Winning the tag titles on 5 separate occasions even feuding with the Hardys. They would have more singles success with Eddie winning the world title. It would be Davey’s jealously over this that lead to the breakup of the team in 2017.
2. The Briscoe Brothers
Regardless of your thoughts on the views of the Briscoes share outside the ring their record speaks for itself.
They’ve been the standard baring team in ROH from the beginning of the company’s existence and that hasn’t slowed down this decade. Even with Jay’s foray into the world title scene they showcase a chemistry only true brothers can display.
Their recent lose at Final Battle ended their record 11th tag title run and with ROH’s relationship with NJPW they’ve had 2 runs as IWGP tag titles. Having made that point about them being brothers there was one brother team that managed to outshine them this decade.
1. The Young Bucks
You can hardly be surprised.
This is a team whose whole persona was based on the fact they were happy not to go to WWE. Through their merch sales they were some of the first people to show you could make a living out outside of WWE. Their mainstream appeal was evident when they got their t shirts in Hot Topic.
They dominated the jr tag division in New Japan before moving up to the heavyweight division. They were one of the most talked about acts whether through the number of stars their matches get or from old timers like Cornette disapproving of their antics.
It helped that they’re were part of the Bullet club and the Elite who’ve been the most talked about groups of the last decade.