Here at Pro Wrestling Ponderings we are proud of our efforts to represent all corners of the wrestling world in our coverage, something we will attempt to prove with our 2016 Year End Awards. A host of PWP writers past and present as well as some special guests were invited to make their picks for each category and if our mission statement holds true the results should prove interesting. Our next award is for Tag Team (or Trio) of the year!
Alex Torres: D.I.Y.
Would the makeshift team break up? Would they achieve their joint destinies? Ciampa and Gargano’s emotional narrative, encompassed by both the Cruiserweight Classic and NXT Television, proved to be the best aspect of their feud with the Revival. Despite inner turmoil and a dominant rival, D.I.Y. overcame the odds in one of the best matches I’ve seen this year and solidied themselves as not only the best tag team in NXT, but in the WWE overall. Maybe they won’t make it past 2017, maybe their friendship and the titles will keep them together. That’s what’s best about these two: while they are two separate individuals with competing motives, they still find a way to stand together.
Barry Murphy: D.I.Y.
Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa bolstered their already impressive singles resumes with an amazing calendar year as a tag team. Ciampa’s hard-hitting straight man routine, fused with Gargano’s enthralling babyface selling made this one of my favourite teams in years.
Dylan Hales: Team IOU/The Carnies
No team expanded their reach and profile more than Team IOU did in 2016. Rebranding late in the year as The Carnies, Kerry Awful & Nick Iggy became perhaps the top act for Atlanta Wrestling Entertainment, and worked shows for more major independent promotions east of the Mississippi River than any other tag team, having strong matches everywhere they went.
Eamonn Bell: The Revival
God, how great are The Revival?! Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson had a tremendous 2016, with the high point being their classic series against Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa that culminated in WWE’s Match of the Year. The Revival are wonderfully unlikable, with brilliant, detail orientated work that emphasises the rules and how they get around them. Both Enzo & Cass and American Alpha had their best matches against The Revival in a year where the NXT Tag Team Championships really took the spotlight.
Eddy Cornelison: The Young Bucks
This team spent 2016 swimming in gold. They’re the top draw in Ring of Honor and one of the most over teams in New Japan Pro Wreslting. I’m not really sure what else you can say about them at this point except no other team really comes close.
Eric B: The Young Bucks
The Bucks of Youth have once again proved their worth in 2016. The current Ring of Honor, New Japan IWGP Junior and Pro Wrestling Guerilla tag team champions are great workers, world traveled and are members of the infamous Bullet Club faction.
Jennifer Logsdon: The New Day
There are certain folks that I will always stop what I’m doing to watch, and Kofi Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods are three of them. This year they held onto their WWE World Tag Team Championships long enough to set a new record, holding the belts for 483 days, beating out the previous record of 478 days by Demolition. Throughout their title reign, they had some of the more memorable matches and segments (the time machine skit where Kofi wanted to stay in 2009 as it was his “best year!” had me roaring with laughter.) They brought fun and laughter whenever they were on the screen, combining that with excellent matches no matter which two of the three were in the ring. For me, truly the New…Day Rocks! New…Day Rocks!
Justin Houston: The New Day
Any answer other than this is racist. Did you go with D.I.Y. or The Revival or The Young Bucks or some pair of ancient Japanese fart-knockers? RACIST. Also, you should be picking up a theme from all of my award picks: the best people this year are the ones who overcame unbelievably bad booking decisions the best. New Day may be the strongest of the bunch. They still somehow got cheers after repeatedly cheating to continue a nearly 500-day tag team title reign in an absolutely stacked division. They were booked like losers. Hilarious, invented, charismatic, undeniably talented losers. They basically got The Miz’s WWE Title booking. Donald Trump’s cabinet would book The New Day the exact same way: Holders of belts, but not champions. Five black wrestlers celebrated their achievements on Twitter and a week later only one of them was holding a title. 2016 in a nutshell. Big E for Universal Champion!
Honorable Mentions: NOBODY RACIST.
Matt Waters: The Revival
It’s pretty refreshing to have had so many legitimate alternatives to The Young Bucks for once this year. As ecstatic as I am to see the return of my all-time beaus, MCMG, The Revival’s main event presence and consistency is hard to mess with. From their surprisingly great main roster trial by fire against Enzo & Cass at Roadblock to their feuds with American Alpha and D.I.Y. they put on tag team wrestling clinics all year long.
Papa Hales: Team IOU/The Carnies
Team IOU continues a meteoric rise in the tag team division. Kerry Awful & Nick Iggy are a compelling duo of Carnies who consistently mystify fans and other tag teams. And Kerry’s Earthquake is one of the most stunning moves in all of wrestling to boot.
Rich Laconi: D.I.Y.
The Revival are an amazing duo that oozes the 80’s heel tag team style reminiscent of Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard, but what they’re missing, for lack of a better word, is flair. Arn and Tully enjoyed Ric Flair’s charisma and personality. The Revival, as good as they are, have been elevated by D.I.Y. Johnny Gargano’s ability to portray the underdog and the obviously legitimate friendship between the two is incredibly engaging. They made The Revival that much better during this past 6 months and will no doubt continue to do the same with other teams in 2017.
Stu Rodgers: The Young Bucks
I’m always going to go with the guys that entertain me the most, and for all the things that may be considered ‘wrong’ with what they do in wrestling, that’s still The Young Bucks. Like Will Ospreay, they have been involved in numerous entertaining matches across the globe throughout 2016 and have been for the past few years, so The Bucks get my pick.
We’re almost at the halfway point and today’s article has illustrated what a tremendous year it’s been for tag team wrestling. Want to sing the praises of somebody not mentioned above? Comment! You can tweet any of our contributors by clicking their name but let’s keep it civil, eh? Tomorrow we reach the Storyline of Feud of the Year, so stay tuned to PWP for more 2016 Year End Awards!