2016 has been a great year for tag team wrestling in both NXT and WWE. Here the five tag teams to look out for in the new year:
- #DIY – When Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa arrived in NXT in the fall of 2015 for the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, fans of the duo were anxiously anticipating remarkable matches with developmental’s finest competitors. In 2016, what we got didn’t disappoint, as Gargano and Ciampa cemented themselves not only in the tag team division, but as single competitors as well, having one of the best matches in the Cruiserweight Classic against one another in the summer. Their battles with The Revival for the NXT Tag Team Championships have been nothing short of spectacular, with the two teams bringing a feeling of drama and excitement back into tag team wrestling. With their feud with The Revival seemingly over, #DIY could perhaps produce more instant classics with teams such as TM-61, Sanity, or even The Authors of Pain in the New Year. Now as Tag Team Champions, NXT is their kingdom, and no doubt they’ll be sure to have a long and dominant reign in 2017.
- Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson – When the rumors circulated last January that former Bullet Club members, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson were on their way to WWE, speculation ran rampant about how the former 3-Time IWGP Tag Team Champions would enter the company. Would they arrive with AJ Styles and bring Bullet Club dominance to WWE? Would they head to NXT and reunite with their old leader, Finn Balor and take over? Or would they be the tag team to finally dethrone The New Day of their WWE Tag Team Championships? Unfortunately these ideas didn’t exactly pan out, and Gallows and Anderson have somewhat lost their luster since making the jump from Japan. But 2017 is a new year, and with a feud with current RAW Tag Team Champions Cesaro and Sheamus seemingly on the horizon, the Magic Killers are ready to dominate the tag team division in 2017. One shouldn’t be too surprised to see gold finally around their waists in the next 12 months.
- American Alpha – Drawing comparisons from the likes of The Steiner Brothers and the World’s Greatest Tag Team, there was little doubt that Jason Jordan and Chad Gable were destined for greatness. Cementing themselves in NXT with remarkable battles against The Revival for the NXT Tag Team Championships, the dynamic duo proved they were a forced to be reckoned with. With the second Brand Extension in 2016, American Alpha were drafted to SmackDown, becoming the blue brand’s first tag team pick overall, and their first draft pick from NXT. While their main roster run was off to a slow start, mainly staying away from the title picture, it took a sharp turn into success with their bouts against The Usos, and their impressive performance in the Raw vs. SmackDown Tag Team match at Survivor Series. Jordan and Gable finished off this year with a surprising victory over The Wyatt Family, capturing the SmackDown Tag Team Championships, becoming the only team to win championships in NXT and WWE’s main roster in the same year, and kicking off the Era of Alpha. With their amazing athleticism, stellar teamwork, and absolutely devastating suplexes at their disposal, it is safe to say that American Alpha will continue to dominate the SmackDown tag team division in 2017.
- TM-61 – Making their name in their native Australia, and Pro Wrestling Noah in Japan, Shane Thorne and Nick Miller were an independent tag team that fans were hoping WWE would snatch up. They got their wish in the spring of 2016, as the two made their arrival in NXT. Things kicked off with a bang, as the two debuted in great fashion, coming up short in an excellent match against #DIY, Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa. Later in the year, Thorne and Miller entered the 2nd Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, making it to the final match of the tournament before falling to The Authors of Pain at NXT Takeover: Toronto. But even with several great matches under their belt, TM-61 have barely begun to scratch the surface of their potential in WWE. 2017 could be the breakout year for this formidable tag team, and perhaps a tag team title match with #DIY may even be in their future. The NXT tag team division will surely be a sight to behold in the New Year, with the duo from down under being a centerpiece for action and excitement. One thing is for sure about these two men, they are the mighty, and the mighty don’t kneel.
- The Revival – Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder had, arguably, the best year in terms of tag team wrestling in 2016, putting on two match of the year candidates against #DIY, not to mention their remarkable battles with American Alpha in the early months of last year. With their dominance in NXT highlighting the better part of 2016, one has to ask, what is left for the 2-Time NXT Tag Team Champions? A main roster call-up obviously comes to mind, with the southern duo having endless possible classic encounters with the likes of The New Day, Gallows and Anderson, and Cesaro and Sheamus on RAW. Or perhaps a rivalry rekindled with SmackDown Tag Team Champions American Alpha is on the horizon over on the blue brand? Either way there is no doubt about it, The Revival is here to dominate, and 2017 will be their year.