Tag team wrestling in the WWE had been a bit subdued in 2017 due to injuries and fluctuating creative. However, that didn’t stop the biggest wrestling company in the world from tearing down the house with some amazing tag team matches.
Here are my favorites from the year:
5. 30-Minute Iron Man Match: The Bar vs. The Hardy Boyz at Great Balls of Fire
The Hardys’ return was one of the highlights of 2017, and their greatest opponents this year were The Bar. The two teams traded a few great matches in the middle of 2017, but without a doubt, their best was the iron man: a 30-minute wrestling clinic in which the fan favorites were fighting from underneath against the cunning and vicious antagonists. It’s a match chock full of surprises and cool moments, solidifying Sheamus & Cesaro’s status as the top team on Raw.
4. NXT WarGames: Sanity vs. The Undisputed Era vs. Roderick Strong & The Authors of Pain
NXT was setup to have a rebuilding year as many of its top stars were brought up to WWE. However, this WarGames match was a beacon of light signaling that the brand is alive and well. It was built up so strongly heading into the show that I didn’t think it could deliver, but boy, was I happy to be wrong. They kept the old-school strategy of the original concept, but then added tenfold to the brutality. These three teams left it all in the ring using every weapon under the sun. There’s even bloodshed, which is a rare sight nowadays. Of course, The Undisputed Era survived, establishing themselves as the force to be reckoned with, baybay!
3. Hell in a Cell: The New Day vs. The Usos
For the better part of four years, there have been two teams that have dominated tag team wrestling in WWE: the Usos and The New Day. This last year has been about the continued dominance and popularity of New Day, but on the flip side, the Usos have had a career resurgence as heels. Jimmy and Jey finally found themselves as characters, taking their place among the top tag teams of all time. But in wrestling, there is only room for one team at the top, so the Usos would go on to battle Xavier Woods and Big E in one of the most brutal matches of 2017. Inside the Cell, each team brought out the most deadly weapons they could, with the Samoans ultimately emerging victorious.
2. Ladder Match: DIY vs. The Authors of Pain at NXT TakeOver: Chicago
Holy cow, DIY were over in the beginning of this year. As the ultimate underdogs, Ciampa and Gargano were friends that were closer than brothers. After losing grasp of their Tag Team Titles to the monster duo known as the Authors of Pain, Gargano and Ciampa would put their bodies on the line in a ladder match. The two best friends fell just short of glory against the almost inhuman durability of the champions. What would happen next would be the biggest heel turn of the year! You need to see it for yourself, it’s incredibly well done.
1. The Bar vs. Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins at SummerSlam and No Mercy
Boy, was the reformation of The Shield so brilliantly done. It was kicked off by Rollins who wanted to make amends with Ambrose, his top rival for the longest time since the group split up in 2014. The weekly progress of this story was so good – the “will they” or “won’t they” was one of the best angles of the summer. It ended with the two former Shield members going from fist fighting to joining forces against a common enemy, The Bar. The stage was set for SummerSlam as the first match in a series of exciting bouts matches. Plus, it was Dean and Seth’s first match as a team against The Bar, who had already established themselves as viciously cunning heels, so how could the reunited friends possibly win? This match is one of the best examples of in-ring storytelling and the rematch at No Mercy is an excellent sequel.