Updated: Jan 1
For my second end-of-year list for 2022, I thought it would be fun to tackle my favorite tag teams from the past 12 months, mostly because it allows me to talk about tag team wrestling, which is one of my favorite things.
There have been several exciting tag teams to watch in 2022, but the duos on this list are truly the cream of the crop in one way or another. These duos have worked in many major promotions on the planet, including WWE, AEW, New Japan, and Stardom, and they've held a combined 19 tag team titles in six countries. Suffice to say, you couldn't escape the influence of these seven duos if you tried.
Additionally, I've also included 23 honorable mentions because there are simply too many tag teams that have made a mark on my wrestling fandom in 2022. That list is found below my number one selection.
So without further delay, let's get to it!
7) The Briscoe Brothers
Jay Briscoe and Mark Briscoe
Starting off this list we have Jay and Mark, the Briscoe Brothers. The longtime tag team has not only been one of the most consistently fantastic tag teams to watch on the planet for nearly 20 years, but they've also been one of the industry's most successful, as they entered 2022 with 24 tag title reigns under their belt. The Briscoe Brothers added six more belts to their incredible resume over the past twelve months over four different promotions including Ring of Honor and Game Changer Wrestling.
Of course, the Briscoe Brothers' 2022 resume wouldn't be complete without talking about their incredible trilogy of matches with FTR during the first three Ring of Honor pay-per-views under the Tony Khan regime. All three of those clashes were not only among the best tag team clashes of 2022, but among the best matches of any kind in 2022. In fact, their third match from December 12th, the dog collar tag team match in which the Briscoe Brothers finally won back the Ring of Honor tag belts for a mind-boggling 13th time, might be the best tag match I've seen in a decade.
Aside from their incredible three-part masterpiece with Cash and Dax, "Dem Boys" also had matches with some other notable tag teams like Aussie Open, BUSSY, The Dark Order's Evil Uno and Stu Grayson, and the Good Brothers. All in all, the Briscoe Brothers continued to show the wrestling world that not only are they at the top of the pro wrestling pantheon, but they are far from being done.
6) Black Desire
Momo Watanabe and Starlight Kid
While the Briscoe Brothers have been working together as a tag team for decades, my number six selection is a pairing that has only been working together for a year. But nevertheless, these two have displayed an incredible amount of talent together in a very short period of time. Of course I'm referring to Oedo Tai's primary tag team, Black Desire, which is made up of two of OT's most crucial acquisitions from 2021, Momo Watanabe and Starlight Kid.
Black Desire started teaming up way back in January of this year, yet it didn't take long for them to show that they were one of the best in Stardom's tag division. In fact, two months after they started working together, they shockingly beat FWC's Hazuki and Koguma to win the tag belts, thus becoming the 23rd Goddesses of Stardom champions in the process. While their reign as champs didn't last long, as they lost to FWC less than two months later, they wouldn't capitulate as a tag team at all.
Momo and SLK finished this year's Goddesses of Stardom Tag League tournament third in their group, behind both AphroditE (Saya Kamitani and Utami Hayashishita) and meltear (Natsupoi and Tam Nakano). However, while they didn't totally succeed in their goal to win it all, they did have two of the three best matches in the competition.
I'm confident that come 2023, Black Desire will be in the thick of the tag team title race in Stardom, and heck, they might even the belts for a second time by the time I do this list again next year.
5) Aussie Open
Kyle Fletcher and Mark Davis
For as crisp and excellent these two have been together in 2022, it's kind of amazing to think that it's taken until this year for me to finally watch them on a more regular basis. After they were added to The United Empire, which is a faction based in New Japan Pro Wrestling, it was nearly impossible to escape these two guys. Luckily, both Kyle Fletcher and Mark Davis are so terrific at wrestling, that seeing them as often as I have this year has been a blessing.
I always enjoy finding new things to love in pro wrestling, and I can't think of too many things I've enjoyed discovering in 2022 than Aussie Open. These boys have run rough shot on the entire international scene, as they held gold in three countries; Australia, Ireland, and the United States, and also wrestled in Japan and England as well!
Of all the tag teams on this list, Aussie Open best fulfills one of my favorite types of tag teams, the one where that combines a small athletic guy with a hoss. Kyle Fletcher is literally 2022's version of 2016 Will Ospreay in that he seemingly has unlimited energy and can defy gravity like a superhero. And Mark Davis is a lariat throwing machine who would fit right into New Japan's NEVER Openweight Title picture from the mid to late 2010s. Suffice to say, if I could create a tag team in a lab, it would probably look a lot like Aussie Open.
4) The Acclaimed
Anthony Bowens and Max Caster
Man oh man, I absolutely loved watched Anthony Bowens and Max Caster do their thing in 2022. These guys went from being somewhat lost in the shuffle within AEW's crowded tag team mid-card to becoming the company's first home grown tag team to ever win their championships. Their metamorphosis into a main event act wasn't just the best kind of surprising, but also really exciting, as it feels more plausible that Tony Khan and company would be willing to take more chances with elevating their young talent.
I think the thing that has most impressed me when it comes to these guys is that they were able to reach the pinnacle of tag team wrestling in the United States without having to neuter their act at all. To this day, "Platinum" Max is still spitting timely raps about current events all the while Anthony is telling everyone in the crowd, and everyone on television, to scissor with him. While these things might sour the squares in the audience, it clearly works for enough fans that they're among the most popular acts when it comes to merchandise sales and crowd reactions.
And that's not to say that Bowens and Caster aren't great in the ring, because they most certainly are. 2022 has easily been their best year wrestling together, as they've had some barn-burners alongside Swerve in Our Glory, whom they won the titles from, the Gunns, and FTR.
Here's hoping The Acclaimed will continue to raise their game in 2023, and that they reign over AEW's tag team division for many more months to come.
3) Fukuoka Double Crazy (FWC)
Hazuki & Koguma
I simply couldn't have a favorite tag teams of the year list without including my favorite tag team not only in Stardom but in all of women's wrestling, Fukuoka Double Crazy, also known as "FWC". Made up of longtime friends, Hazuki and Koguma, these two have been one of the most consistently great tag teams within Stardom growing tag team division.
In 2022, they ended Alto Livello KABALIWAN's legendary 280 day reign with the Goddesses of Stardom belts, and then after losing said belts a few months later, they regained the titles after beating the previously mentioned Black Desire tag team. With that second victory, they became the first tag team in Stardom's 11 year history to hold the tag belts twice together. While many wrestlers have held the strap before, Hazuki and Koguma became the first to do so together.
Aside from all of that, however, I feel that FWC truly became the backbone of Stardom's tag division. While there are some tag teams in Stardom that have been together longer like AphroditE and MaiHime, Hazuki and Koguma became synonymous with the division, especially after they took the belts for the second time. They really became the measuring stick that all other tag teams in the promotion will have to compare themselves to until another duo is able to replicate or even surpass their success.
I know I said the same with Black Desire, but I hope that FWC is able to win the tag belts in the future one more time where they can then have a more dominant reign before they can move on to achieve more in singles competition.
2) The Usos
Jey Uso & Jimmy Uso
Just like their cousin the "Tribal Chief" Roman Reigns, The Usos reached GOD Mode in 2022. They helped to make the Bloodline the most dominant faction in recent WWE history, they beat RK-Bro to unify the RAW and SmackDown Tag Team Championships for the first time since 2016, and most impressively, they became the first tag team in WWE history to hold any tag team title for at least 500 days. Just think of all the incredible tandems that have worked for WWE, well none of them have had a title reign as long and prolific as the The Usos are right now.
As champions in 2022, they have successfully defended their belts against several notable challengers including The New Day, The Viking Raiders, the aforementioned RK-Bro, The Street Profits, and The Brawling Brutes. Add the fact that they've done all this while both have sustained a plethora of injuries, and it goes to show just how committed these two have been with ensuring their place as the greatest tag team in WWE history.
Aside from all of that, I've really enjoyed how Jimmy and Jey continued to establish themselves as totally different people this year. Jimmy has evolved into the most affable member of The Bloodline, while Jey has gone the other way and become the most aggressive and untrusting. Their character dynamics have added so much not only to their act as a tag team and a faction, but as actual human beings that we can connect with on some level. I hope we see much more of this moving forward, not just with these two, but with all tag teams and factions in WWE.
Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood
While The Usos were dominating WWE's tag team division and break all sorts of records in the process, FTR was committing to world domination in 2022. Dax and Cash reached their own level of omnipotence this past year as they held tag team gold in three different countries, the United States, Japan, and Mexico. And they did all of that while having some of the best tag team matches I've seen in my life.
As I mentioned a million years ago in my section about The Briscoe Brothers, FTR had a classic trilogy of matches with "Dem Boys", but they also had great clashes with other top level tag teams like The Young Bucks, The Acclaimed, and Aussie Open. I also have to mention Dax and Cash's awesome single match against one another during the Owen Hart Tournament, as well as Dax's excellent match with Will Ospreay.
The only thing that was more fun to watch than FTR have an incredible match was seeing them start to embrace the crowd as babyfaces more and more as the year went on. While these guys have always been popular ever since they were putting on clinics with DIY and American Alpha in NXT, they had always worked as the dirtbag heels. But in 2022, the wrestling gods smiled down on all of us, and made FTR not just a terrific babyface tag team, but maybe the best babyface tag team in all of wrestling. They changed their style enough so that they could work underneath. They cut impassioned promos that felt real and heartfelt. And they changed their theme song to a genuine banger that harkens back to what I'm sure old southern wrestling must've sounded like back in the day.
Literally the only thing missing from FTR having the perfect year is that they couldn't tag with CM Punk during the AEW Trios Championships Tournament.
Nevertheless, Dax and Cash have a ton to be proud about when it comes to how 2022 worked out for them. They got drenched in gold. They had some of the best matches anywhere on Earth. They became mega babyface superstars. And they stayed true to who they are as men. I have immense respect for these two guys as wrestlers and men, enough so that I'm actually excited for Dax's new podcast show, and I'm eager to see how they do in 2023.
Finishing the Top 30:
Alto Livello KABALIWAN (Giulia and Syuri - Stardom)
AphroditE (Saya Kamitani and Utami Hayashishita - Stardom)
Best Bros (Baliyan Aki and Mei Suruga - Gatoh Move)
Bishamon (Hirooki Goto and YOSHI-HASHI - New Japan)
Calamari Drunken Kings (Chris Brookes and Masahiro Takanashi - DDT)
Catch 22 (Francisco Akira and TJP - New Japan)
CHAOS (Lio Rush and YOH - New Japan)
D'Courage (Dragon Dia and Yuki Yoshioka - Dragongate)
Dangerous Tekkers (Taichi and Zack Sabre Jr. - New Japan)
Disaster Box (HARASHIMA and Naomi Yoshimura - DDT)
GalaxyPunch! (Hikari Shimizu and SAKI - Freelance)
Los Ingobernables de Japon (SANADA and Tetsuya Naito - New Japan)
Lucha Brothers (Pentagon Jr. and Rey Fenix - AEW)
Luminous (Haruka Umesaki and Miyuki Takase - Freelance)
Magical Sugar Rabbits (MIZUKI and Yuka Sakazaki - TJPW)
MaiHime (Himeka and Maika - Stardom)
meltear (Natsupoi and Tam Nakano - Stardom)
Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin - Freelance)
Pretty Deadly (Elton Prince and Kit Wilson - WWE NXT)
The 37KAMIINA (Konosuke Takeshita and Yuki Ueno - DDT)
United Empire (Great-O-Khan and Jeff Cobb - NJPW)
Young Bucks (Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson - AEW)
Z--Brats (Diamante and Shun Skywalker - Dragongate)
Featured Image Credit - AEW
Contact me at either AndrewSoS@protonmail.com or @SoSBaseball on Twitter if you want to collaborate!