These Tag Teams Are the Future of Wrestling

The Young Bucks are revitalizing tag team wrestling. Here's who's next.

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The Young Bucks are two of the most popular pro wrestlers in the industry, and they’ve been working hard at re-legitimizing tag team wrestling in the mainstream by consistently featuring exciting duos and trios on All Elite Wrestling events. And although their influence reverberates through the business, it’s taking a while for bookers of less prominent federations to get the message.

The fact that the dynamics of tag team wrestling have been consistently underappreciated has been bemoaned throughout the industry. And while tag teams haven’t exactly been rescued from their degraded position on wrestling cards quite yet, several budding talents on the independent circuit are working towards reinventing the whole style.

Now, we’re taking a look at ten indie teams driving the tag team renaissance off the small screen. These pairs and triads are delivering some of the most exciting action on any cards—and it won’t be surprising to see any of them getting signed by bigger companies in the near future.

1. The Carnies

Perhaps the most charming trio of wrestlers in the entire indie scene, Nick Iggy, Tripp Cassidy and Kerry Awful are as good in the ring as they are at smooth-talking their way through crowds. As a head trainer at a Tennessee-based wrestling school, Awful is fiercely protective of the new generation of up-and-comers while espousing the artistic merits of pro wrestling to anyone who will listen—usually while Iggy tells a poorly timed dad joke off on the sidelines. Cassidy is the enforcer of the group, and his prolific experience as a figurehead in the Indiana-based Bizarro Lucha promotion, along with his in-ring prowess, is unmatched.

2. Bird and Bee

The team of Solo Darling and Willow Nightingale were becoming beloved fan favorites since before the latter’s severe neck injury—and their upward momentum hasn’t slowed since Nightingale’s return. The pair are mostly active in CHIKARA but have been spotted pinning opponents in a handful of promotions along the East Coast, alongside their adorable canine manager, Officer Magnum

3. Gaytanic Panic

The newly minted pairing of Effy and Danhausen combine the complementary transgressive pleasures of homoeroticism and Satanism. Both demonic and flirtatious, the duo of indie darlings recently debuted on Uncharted Territory and will likely be in demand far beyond the South and Midwest, from where the two combatants hail. Expect sex appeal, fourth-wall-breaking humor and bizarre, demonic antics in equal measure from this darksided duo.

4. The End

Parrow and Odinson are the ideal big hosses for any indie promotion, easily towering over opponents in any weight class. The two returned from Japan in 2019 to claim several victories in the United States and are likely to return to AJPW again in the near future, where they’ve been poised to snatch that company’s titles. Parrow’s journey through Japan has been particularly notable: as an openly gay athlete, he’s spreading an ethos of radical acceptance in places where pro-LGBTQ messaging is much rarer.

5. Maine State Posse

Aiden Aggro, Dangerkid and Alexander Lee are a gutsy team of trash-talking punks with hearts of gold. Although they’re usually positioned as heels, it’s hard not to fall in love with their overtly feminist ethos. The trio comes with a handful of innovative triple attacks, always executed with perfect synchronicity that juxtaposes their roughshod attitudes. 

6. Ugly Ducklings

Few tag teams get crowds as amped up as the Ugly Ducklings, who are more than willing to take flight from ring posts and rooftops for the sake of a crowd’s amusement. Accompanied by the adorably plump Coach Mikey, Rob Killjoy and Lance Lude have learned an endless arsenal of high flying team attacks. 

7. Sea Stars

It takes literal years for some wrestling fans to figure out the name of this team is a pun: The Sea Stars are comprised of the nautical sisters Ashley Vox and Delmi Exo. Both have shown vast improvement in the past half-decade, during which they’ve toured the United States and claimed victories over opponents as high-profile as AEW’s Proud ‘N’ Powerful (FKA LAX). Vox, the smaller of the two, has even recently appeared on NWA Powerrr and EVOLVE.

8. Butcher and Blade

Hardcore punk meets horror when Every Time I Die guitarist Andy Williams teams up with the fearsome Pepper Parks. The pair cut an intimidating silhouette while issuing violent threats against opponents, easily trouncing smaller foes. Over on their less serious joint podcast, the two are a bit more libidinous than uncanny—but we can’t fault them for that.

9. Bear Country

Although the heavy-hitters will inevitably be compared to WWE’s Heavy Machinery, Bear Country brings their own brand of humor and power to the indies. Bear Beefcake and Bear Bronson are shockingly agile considering their massive size, and the two have an undeniable underdog appeal despite being bigger than most of their opponents. 

10. VeloCities

This Australia-based team stunned audiences at this year’s King of Trios with endless high-flying acrobatics and nimble in-ring movements. Although they were eliminated early in the tournament, Jude London, Paris DeSilva and Matt Diamond made strong showings in singles bouts and other matchups that weekend, earning new scores of fans on this side of the globe. Natural charisma meets crisp execution and dazzling showmanship with these three—and we can’t wait until their back in the United States again.

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