wrestling / Columns

The Top 7 Tag Teams of the 2010s

September 24, 2020 | Posted by Steve Cook
The Young Bucks

We have reached the end of our Tag Team Appreciation Series. After ranking the best of the 1980s, 1990s & 2000s, now it’s time to take a look at the 2010s. It felt like tag team wrestling was on the backburner for most of the early part of the decade. Things began to change when NXT started featuring lengthy tag team matches on their TakeOver shows. All Elite Wrestling built quite the tag team roster upon its founding in 2019, and their usage so far gives one hope for the 2020s. It should be also noted that the indies did all they could to keep tag team wrestling alive throughout the decade. Not as many HUGE STAR tag teams in the 2010s, but it’s a deep roster.

One issue I went back and forth on while writing this column: Two of the teams on this list have three people. Traditionally, a tag team has two. I couldn’t see myself leaving these teams off the list though, so we’ll Freebird it up in here.

Let’s take a look at the seven most magnificent tag teams of the 2010s.

7. The Bar

The man known as Cesaro in WWE was in quite the array of great tag teams during this decade. He dominated Ring of Honor & other independent promotions alongside Chris Hero as the Kings of Wrestling. His team of Swiss Money Holdings with Ares won championships in Europe & America. He’s won titles in WWE with Tyson Kidd & Shinsuke Nakamura, and also had a fun team with Jack Swagger. It’s tough to pick just one Cesaro team to make this list, but I’m going to go with the one that was originally one of those makeshift teams that tend to flame out quickly.

Cesaro & Sheamus had been feuding on Raw at the end of Summer 2016, competing in a best of 7 series that didn’t have a proper winner. General Manager Mick Foley thought that the two could be even better tag team partners than opponents, and could be Raw Tag Team Champions. They didn’t get along at first, but as time passed they became a heck of a tag team. Eventually they got on that same page and wound up holding five tag team championships during their time together. Sheamus’s bruising style meshed well with Cesaro and they were two mammajammas you didn’t want to mess with. Nothing wrong with that.

6. The Usos

Jimmy & Jey have been continuing the long-standing tradition of Samoans dominating tag team divisions since their arrival in FCW in 2009. They went straight from training under their father Rikishi to WWE developmental, and have spent over a decade on the company payroll. During that time, they’ve won 6 Tag Team Championships and have been part of many of the best WWE tag team matches in recent years. They won their first championship from…the New Age Outlaws? 2014 had some weird stuff going on.

The Usos have had a solid tag team run, but have had problems breaking through to the next level. Injuries have derailed them at various times, and whenever one’s out the other is typically kept off of TV. Jey Uso getting a Universal Championship match while his brother is out with an injury isn’t something that anybody would have considered before 2020.

5. The Revival

Dusty Rhodes saw the men later known as Dash Wilder & Scott Dawson cut a promo together in class & decided that they needed to be a tag team. Dash & Dawson had been friends going back to their days in the indies, and both men shared a love for old school tag team wrestling. It made perfect sense, and The Revival would become a focal point of NXT’s tag team division. They had classic matches with the likes of American Alpha & #DIY on TakeOver events that were regarded as the best tag team wrestling in all of WWE.

They found some success on the main roster, but definitely not as much as they did in NXT. Most of their best matches took place on house shows, where tag teams got time to work. Their NXT work is still well-remembered, and they have a good chance to do even more in the 2020s.

4. Bad Influence/The Addiction/SoCal Uncensored

Back in the 2000s, Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian wrestled in the same circles but were never professionally joined at the hip. They both won multiple TNA X Division Championships and had solid tag team runs with other partners. They also both donned the mask of Suicide at different points. Once the early 2010s rolled around, Daniels & Kazarian found themselves as members of Fortune, a group also involving Bobby Roode, James Storm & AJ Styles. Like most factions, Fortune ran its course, and Daniels & Kazarian started feuding with Styles afterward. The subject of the feud, Claire Lynch, was one of the great Wrestlecrap moments of that era, but Daniels & Kazarian still got over as douchebag heels in the process

They became Bad Influence, winning two TNA Tag Team Championships before leaving the company in 2014. Daniels & Kazarian remained a team, but changed their name to The Addiction after debuting in Ring of Honor. They won ROH’s Tag Team Championship twice before being joined by Scorpio Sky to form the SoCal Uncensored trio. SCU won ROH’s Six-Man Championship & Kazarian & Sky won the Tag Team Championship together once before leaving ROH for AEW, where Kazarian & Sky would become the company’s first Tag Team Champions. Daniels & Kazarian’s entertaining team helped extend their careers and now they’re seasoned veterans in a company that airs shows on TNT. It’s been a good run.

3. The Briscoe Brothers

Jay & Mark Briscoe entered the 2010s as Ring of Honor Tag Team Champions, their sixth reign having started at Final Battle 2009. By the end of the decade, they would be eleven time tag team champions. Jay became a two-time ROH World Champion. They also found some success in New Japan, winning the IWGP Tag Team Championship once & the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship twice alongside the great Toru Yano.

There were other great teams that came in & out of ROH. Chris Hero & Claudio Castagnoli held the championship for 363 days. Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin had a 266 day reign. Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish, the Addiction, the Young Bucks, the Motor City Machine Guns…the list goes on and on, but no team has ever supplanted Jay & Mark as ROH’s top tag team. They’re still in the mix now, and don’t look like they plan on slowing down anytime soon.

2. The New Day

Xavier Woods, Big E & Kofi Kingston are right up there with the most popular tag teams/groups in WWE history. It didn’t start out that way. Back when the three men first got together & talked about the power of positivity, fans responded with “New Day Sucks” instead of “New Day Rocks”. They turned heel, kept doing their thing, and eventually got over as huge babyfaces with their entertaining antics. They’re eight-time tag team champions, Kofi won the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 35, and they sell an insane variety of merchandise.

From time to time, people talk about wanting the New Day to split up. I think those people are insane, and the New Day seem to agree with me. There’s no reason to split these guys up just for a potential singles push or a random PPV match or whatever. WWE fans are happy to have their New Day, and there are always new items that can be sold.

1. The Young Bucks

As the 2010s started, Nick & Matt Jackson were approaching the end of a 616 day reign as Pro Wrestling Guerrilla Tag Team Champions. They would have two more reigns in the next several years, and when it was all said and done spent 2,053 days with those straps. PWG was the Bucks’ home promotion up until April 2018, and was the place where they started to get noticed.

They found other places to work. Ring of Honor creative personnel often disagreed on how to utilize the Bucks early in the decade, but Nick & Matt would win over the crowd & find their way to three ROH Tag Team Championship reigns, along with one 6-Man title reign with Adam Page & another with Cody. Their status in Bullet Club led to quite the collection of New Japan tag team titles. NJPW has a bunch of tag team championships, and the Bucks held all of them at one point or another. There were other indy titles in the collection from Chikara, Dragon Gate USA & many other feds.

Not everybody loves the Young Bucks’ style. There’s a lot of flipping involved. Sometimes there’s silliness. Some of the old school fans really won’t like them getting the top spot. However, it can’t be denied that they were the most accomplished tag team of the 2010s.

I know I could have included a ton of other teams. Who would you have liked to see? Let me know in the comment section & on the Twitter!

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WWE, Steve Cook