wrestling / Columns

The 411 Wrestling Year-End Awards: Part Three – The Best Tag Teams of 2016

January 4, 2017 | Posted by Larry Csonka
The New Day

Welcome back to the Wrestling Top 5, year-end awards edition! What we are going to is take a topic, and all the writers here on 411 will have the ability to give us their Top 5 on said topic, and the end, based on where all of these topics rank on people’s list, we will create an overall Top 5 list. It looks a little like this…

1st – 5
2nd – 4
3rd – 3
4th – 2
5th – 1

It’s similar to how we do the WOTW voting. At the end we tally the scores and get our overall top 5! It’s highly non-official and final, like WWE’s old power rankings. From some of the best and worst, the 411 staff is ready to break down the awards! Thanks for joining us, and lets get down to work.

 photo TagTeam_zps024366aa.jpg

Jake Chambers
5. Catch Point
4. Sheamus & Cesaro
3. The Revival
2. Fenix, Drago & Aerostar

1. Worldwide Underground – To me tag team wrestling is kind of dumb. I’m not sure I even understand the point of it anymore. If you were a pro-wrestler in all these fictional universes, why would you want to join with a partner to compete in the “tag team division”? The tag titles in most professional federations have no meaning, if you hold them or pursue them you’re working at a lower level. In what profession would say, The New Day, achieve anything by fighting for and holding belts that mean you never work the main event, you never face A level competition, and, at best, if you resonate with the audience through a gimmick you’re still kind of a joke. With the WWE expanding its tag team titles again I feel like this is all just lip service to a time when tag teams held an important position on the card like 30 years ago. Sure, The Revival had some fantastic matches this year in NXT, but at best that makes them faceless tag team champions in the WWE “developmental” system who are still not anywhere near the top tier of even that federation. So this is why I’m nominating the Lucha Underground teams above teams that might have technically had better matches, because at least I feel like there is some legit stakes for the LU Trios Championship, as the fictional world where they come from is so tightly produced that when Johnny Mundo and his team of arrogant jerks came together and worked their way up to capturing the titles it felt like it mattered in some regard to the greater narrative flow of the show.

5. The Dudleyz
4. American Alpha
3. The Revival
2. #DIY

1. The New Day – See, no bias from me. Even though they didn’t defend the tag titles at Survivor Series 2015 (last year), Fastlane, WrestleMania 32, Payback, Battleground, and Survivor Series, yeah. With non-title losses all the time and multiple pay-per-view losses in between, of course. Nothing I have not already said a million times, so we can move on to why they are my #1 pick. Simple. Despite all the faults of their Honky Tonk Man style run as tag team champions, the fact remains they DID set the record for longest reign ever. Thus, for history alone, The New Day get the top spot. Whether it is actually deserved or not is up to you.

Chad Perry
5. Catch Point
4. D.I.Y.
3. The New Day
2. The Young Bucks

1. The Revival – Had someone told me at the start of 2016 that American Alpha would not be my #1 team, or at least in the top five, I would have called them a liar. However, a year later and they were leap frogged as the best team in NXT by Dash Wilder & Scott Dawson. While teams like Matt & Nick Jackson have been in more matches in my top 100 of 2016, they have also had a lot more chances to shine. Every time The Revival has been put into a tag match on an NXT special this year they have delivered. The Revival is one of the bet tag teams in the WWE system in years, and should have ended their 2016 by ending New Day’s streak on the 12/11 edition of Raw in a shocking debut.

Kevin Pantoja
5. Momo No Seishun
4. #DIY
3. The New Day
2. American Alpha

1. The Revival – Come on. I can’t fathom a world where any team is ranked ahead of the Revival. They’ve mastered tag team wrestling. In a world where everyone says that wrestling is evolving and things like that, the Revival wrestle an old school 80’s style and it is brilliant. Five of the top six tag matches I saw in 2016 involved the Revival. Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder are scary good. They hit every single note that a tag team should. They cut the ring off, user all the little tricks and just do everything so well. Seriously, if you list things that a tag team should do, the Revival checks every box. They stepped their game up the most on the TakeOver specials. There is no better big match tag team. Honestly, there is no better tag team on the planet.

Mike Chin
5. American Alpha
4. The Worldwide Underground
3. The Broken Hardys
2. The New Day

1. The Revival – When it comes to purist tag team wrestling–working a heat segment; pulling off fluid, effective double teams; cutting off hot tags; and pulling fast ones behind the ref’s back, The Revival pushed their game to a new level, and a downright science this year. I feel thankful they remained in NXT so they didn’t get lost in the shuffle or wind up sacrificial lambs to The New Day on the main roster, though, just the same, I’m looking forward to a day sooner than later when they do make a big splash on Smackdown or Raw in the future.

Jack McGee
5. War Machine
4. DIY
3. The Broken Hardys
2. The Revival

1. The Young Bucks – The Revival had an absolutely outstanding year and are #TopGuys for sure, and their top end stuff was spectacular. But to me, the Young Bucks have a higher volume of great overall work; they sell a ton of merchandise and help move ticket sales like a main event act. I take nothing away from the Revival’s work, but the resume of the Bucks is just too big to ignore.

Paul Leazar
5. War Machine
4. American Alpha
3. The New Day
2. The Young Bucks

1. The Revival – The Revival are simply the very best tag team on the planet. They’re such classic heels, and it shows every time they show up on screen. Whether they’re cutting a promo, beating some chumps up, or working their magic between the ropes, Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder have earned every bit of their success. Their body of work this year is insane, and when you watch them on the TakeOver specials from this year, they didn’t have a match below four stars. When the bright lights were on, there wasn’t a tag team on the planet who could touch them. I really hope to see these guys on Smackdown next year, and watch them make some magic all over again.

Mike Hammerlock
5. #DIY
4. New Day
3. The Broken Hardys
2. The Revival

1. The Young Bucks – At this moment they hold the ROH World Tag Team Championship, the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championship and the PWG World Tag Team Championship. They even held the NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Team Championship along with Kenny Omega at one point this summer. There was also that MOTY contender the Bucks and Adam Cole put on against Matt Sydal, Ricochet and Will Ospreay on the second night of PWG’s Battle of Los Angeles. I know others are voting for the Revival, and that team had an outstanding year, but the Young Bucks are the top tag team on the planet. They rule the roost in multiple promotions and they probably should become only the 2nd team to win Wrestling Observer’s tag team of the year crown three years running (hasn’t been announced at the time I’m writing this), following in the shoes of the Midnight Express 1986-88. It’s time to start comparing the Jacksons to the all-time greats.

Jack Stevenson
5. Catch Point
4. #DIY
3. American Alpha
2. The Young Bucks

1. The Revival: It was an outstanding year for the Revival, one that started well and just kept getting better and better. Having been treated as an afterthought since roughly 2002, tag team wrestling is, on NXT at least, once again an integral, prestigious part of the booking. This isn’t entirely because of the Revival, but they deserve more credit than any other duo. They are remarkably consistent, endlessly adaptable, and basically just very, very good. They present themselves as a no nonsense, meat and potatoes tag team, but construct matches with real flair and energy, matches that hook you with thrilling twists and turns and don’t let you go until the finish. In the space of a year, they have cemented their position as one of the best tag teams of their generation. The concern is that their gritty appeal might be limited on the main roster, which would be a shame- the Revival deserve the grandest stage possible to display their talents.

Larry Csonka
5. Broken Matt & The Nefarious Brother Nero
4. Roppongi Vice
3. War Machine
2. The Young Bucks

1. The Revival – In 2016, we got to watch a beautiful thing happen. In 2016, The Revival took their old school formula, hard work and dedication and turned themselves into the best big match tag team in wrestling. They have been a joy to watch, delivering top end greatness with DIY as well as American Alpha. The funny thing is that a lot of people said that their old school Tully & Arn act would fail, but it is that uniqueness that sets them apart from everyone. Their teamwork and riming comes off effortlessly and I can’t remember being disappointed by the team in 2016.

AND 411’s TOP 5 Tag Teams of 2016 ARE…

5. DIY11 points

4. American Alpha13 points

3. The New Day21 points

2. The Young Bucks26 points

1. The Revival45 points

* The Biggest Disappointment of The Year: The WWE Cruiserweight Division – 28points
* The Best Non-Wrestler: Dario Cueto – 45 points
* The Best Tag Team of The Year: The Revival – 45 points
* The Worst PPV/Major Show of The Year: TO BE DETERMINED (JANUARY 5)
* The Best Female Wrestler of The Year: TO BE DETERMINED (JANUARY 5)
* The Best PPV/Major Show of The Year: TO BE DETERMINED (JANUARY 7)

* The Best Promotion of The Year: TO BE DETERMINED (JANUARY 8)
* Most Outstanding Performer 2016: TO BE DETERMINED (JANUARY 9)
* The Best Match of The Year: TO BE DETERMINED (JANUARY 10)
* Most Overrated Performer 2016 : TO BE DETERMINED (JANUARY 11)
* Most Underrated Performer 2016 : TO BE DETERMINED (JANUARY 12)
* The Best Wrestler of The Year: TO BE DETERMINED (JANUARY 13)