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 411mania » Wrestling » Columns

The 411 Wrestling Year-End Awards 1.07.14: Part Three – The Best Tag Teams of 2013
Posted by Larry Csonka on 01.07.2014

 photo 1Main_Wrestling_Year_zps29c7f780.jpg

Welcome back to the Wrestling Top 5, year-end awards edition! What we are going to is take a topic, and all the writers here on 411 will have the ability to give us their Top 5 on said topic, and the end, based on where all of these topics rank on people's list, we will create an overall Top 5 list. It looks a little like this…

1st - 5
2nd - 4
3rd - 3
4th - 2
5th - 1

It's similar to how we do the WOTW voting. At the end we tally the scores and get our overall top 5! It's highly non-official and final, like WWE's old power rankings. From some of the best and worst, the 411 staff is ready to break down the awards! Thanks for joining us, and lets get down to work.

And now…

 photo TagTeam_zps024366aa.jpg



5. The Wyatt Family
4. Real Americans
3. The Usos
2. The Shield

1. Rhodes Brothers - I chose the Rhodes Brothers in a squeaker over the Shield because it was the Rhodes' win at Battleground that kicked the WWE tag division into high gear. Plus, Cody Rhodes has become close to an A-lister thanks to this pairing. The sad thing is he's so over it spells doom for the Rhodes Brothers tag team (though I want an amicable split instead of one turning on the other) because he almost has to go and win himself a WWE title this year. Goldust is just the coolest going at the moment. He's better than he ever was in his youth. In fact, I'll argue he's currently the best tag team wrestler on the planet. You pair him with just about anyone and they'll instantly give you championship-caliber performance. The grandsons of a plumber are stealing the show night after night.


5. Prime Time Players
4. Bad Influence
3. The Usos
2. Goldust and Cody Rhodes

1. The Shield - The Shield trounced everybody that got in their way upon entering the WWE, and it culminated for Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins with a big tag title win over Team Hell No. The reign lasted a solid 5 months, and they crushed every team in their path. Eventually, Big Show's WMD cost them the titles to The Rhodes Brothers. Still, I don't see any other team who could really claim to have dominated the tag team scene in 2013 the way The Shield did.


5. Monster Mafia
4. Bad Influence
3. The Young Bucks
2. Rhodes Brothers

1. The Shield - Honestly, this is a toss-up. The Rhodes' Brothers were apart of probably the best storyline in WWE this year and have had a countless great matches since October, while The Shield has been the one constant shining light in an up-and-down year for WWE. Whether it was the three of them facing Team Hell No and friends or simply Rollins and Reigns having a 15 minute barnburner with [insert team here]. This isn't the most solid pick of the year, but I'm confident in it. The Shield is the best thing to happen to WWE in a long, long time.


5. Prime Time Players
4. Real Americans
3. The Wyatt Family
2. Goldust and Cody Rhodes

1. The Shield - I wanted to put The Wyatt Family and Real Americans higher on my list, but without gold and/or being on screen all year, it was tough. The Prime Time Players are not my favorites but have been reliable all year. The current tag champs (Goldust and Cody Rhodes) have been a breath of fresh air for both. Once again though, since they have not been together long, it is hard to rank them at the top. Close though, real close. To me, The Shield is the easy vote. Titles or no titles, they have been kept incredibly strong for all of 2013. From The Rock to Ryback to Sheamus to CM Punk to Big Show to The Undertaker to Daniel Bryan to Kane to John Cena, they have all been face to face with the dominant Shield.

J Nguyen

5. Bad Influence
4. The Young Bucks
3. The Real Americans
2. The Rhodes Brothers

1. The Shield - The Shield came to the WWE in quite a dominating fashion. They not only beat everyone that crossed their path, they would demolish them. The Shield and the Rhodes Brothers are really what jumped started the tag team division in WWE once again. If I went back and watched every match from the Shield since their debut, I can almost guarantee that I would not call any of them bad. They are always enjoyable, no matter who they go up against. They also have a talent for making other teams look great. The question is, where to the Shield go from here? With the rumors of Roman Reigns leaving the group, maybe a new face will debut and join Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose.

Larry Csonka

5. The Bravado Brothers
4. Bad Influence
3. Cody Rhodes and Goldust
2. The Shield

1. The Young Bucks - I want to say how great it is that for the first time in years the tag team award really has some big time competition. Most years it is contested between a TNA team or two and then the great teams that have independent scene. But this year, for the first time in forever, WWE is providing real competition. Cody & Goldust and The Shield deserve any and all mentions that they get, and you can make a case for Team Hell No, as they helped establish the new division we're seeing. But for me, I am going with the Young Bucks. These guys have had a career year; they are booked everywhere in the US, they were among the best performers of the year on PPV, they won the PWG Tag Titles, The DGUSA Open the United Gate Titles, the NJPW juniors tag tournament and then the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Titles, which have led them to be booked on the January 4th NJPW show, which is basically NJPW's WrestleMania. These guys have delivered in the past and had an ever better year in 2013. I know that WWE's tag team division is like a new toy to so many, because they haven't lived through a lot of good tag team wrestling, and I have no issues with people praising the WWE teams. But for my money, the Bucks delivered in PWG, ROH, TNA, NJPW, DGUSA, EVOLVE and anywhere else they go. And there were also SUPERKICKS~!

TJ Hawke

5. reDragon (Bobby Fish & Kyle O'Reilly)
4. The Time Splitters (Alex Shelley & KUSHIDA)
3. Goldust & Cody Rhodes
2. The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, & Roman Reigns)

1. The Young Bucks - I'm honestly disturbed by the lack of votes for the clear best team in the world so far. Both from an artistic AND kayfabe perspective, no team has achieved more this year than The Young Bucks. They started the year by winning the PWG World Tag Team Championships for the third time and the annual PWG DDT4 tournament for the third time. They have held those belts ever since. At WrestleCon, they won the DGUSA Open the United Gate Championships and held onto those belts until November. Their biggest accomplishment though was winning the NJPW juniors tag tournament and then the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championships (another championship they have hung onto since). All along the way, the Bucks have performed in some of the most spectacular professional wrestling matches of the year in other companies such as TNA, Ring of Honor, Evolve, FWE, House of Hardcore, and countless others. The Young Bucks are not just the best tag team in the world. They are two of the very best wrestlers in the world.

Jack Stevenson

5. Bad Influence
4. The Shield
3. The Usos
2. The Young Bucks

1. The Rhodes Brothers - First of all, if I was voting for the Shield as an entire stable they would win hands down, but I've decided to interpret the definition of 'tag team' strictly, and as such it's the Rhodes Brothers that get my vote. I was torn over this, because I really like the Young Bucks and the Usos, and Cody and Goldust have only been teaming for about four months. I've decided to give them top spot though because I think, as well as cramming a startling amount of great matches into their brief run so far, they're also the most important tag team of the year. WWE's tag team revival had begun well before they decided to start teaming, but it will be much more sustainable for their presence, because it's possible to build a genuine emotional connection to these guys in a way that it isn't with the cold-hearted Shield or the personality deficient Usos. Both Cody and Goldust have distinct, likeable personalities, they both play their roles brilliantly (is there a better face in peril in wrestling right now than Goldust?) and you get the sense that they're just thrilled to be teaming with each other and having good matches and performing in front of people. That's why their firing and rehiring was such a compelling storyline, despite being as clichéd as anything. It's why their tag title victory, flawed as it was, felt so incredibly satisfying. It's why people react to them in a why they haven't to any regular tag team in at least a decade. Cody and Goldust could be the most perfect team of the modern era.

Robert S. Leighty Jr

5. The Usos
4. The Young Bucks
3. Bad Influence
2. The Rhodes Family

1. The Shield - Rollins and Reigns held the tag titles, but any combination of the 3 or all 3 at once were the best thing on WWE TV on a week to week basis for most of the year. The Rhodes Family came on strong at the end of the year, but from Jan to Dec there was nothing better in Tag Wrestling than The Shield.

Paul Lapointe

5. Team Hell No
4. The Brotherhood (Cody and Goldie)
3. Bad Influence
2. The Young Bucks

1. The Shield - Not since the New Jersey Triad have a trio of wrestlers impacted the tag team title scene as a group quite like The Shield. I am actually not kidding in that statement, I loved the NJT and I vehemently deny the impact The Spirit Squad had as a group. Back on point though is that outside of both making it necessary for people to care about 6 man tag matches again the WWE found a way to make the audience take notice of three NXT call ups almost instantly with the tag title scene getting the rub as well, I would say The Shield did fine for itself. Mostly in years past the WWE has just flung the belts onto a team within just a few months after premiering like MNM as well as Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch but this year they showed patience for once in booking and made there win seem important. Their dominance also allowed time for the E to establish an actual tag division that is not made of makeshift uppercarders for once outside of MysteriShow (MysteryShow?) and maybe The Power Lifters (Big E and Mark Henry). And lastly when was the last time a tag title change meant so much or been so impactful and meaningful when Cody and Goldie snagged them belts huh? Now with the E transitioning the Shield off the ropes as a group next year can they keep all three members on the up and up after all the good they have done time will tell there but as for the tag division I am hopeful, thanks Shield, I believe in you.

Mike Chin

5. Bobby Roode and Austin Aries
4. Bad Influence
3. Team Hell No
2. Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns

1. Cody Rhodes and Goldust - Call me a purist, but in my book tag teams can only have two members. Did The Shield have a phenomenal 2013? No question. Were they the best three-man unit of the decade thus far? Yes. Do they rate among the great small stables in wrestling history? That's premature, but not out of the question. All of that said, their most consistent two-man team (Rollins and Reigns) only registered as the second best of 2013 in my book.

No, the honor of best tag team goes to the Rhodes brothers, an unlikely pairing of perpetual mid-card heel turned face and his all-but-retired older half brother, playing the androgynous character that made him most famous some 15 years ago. There's little sense in this team working in 2013 and yet they've put on one of the most consistently entertaining and easiest to cheer acts in all of wrestling in 2013, more than holding up their end of the bargain against The Shield and thriving against every other combination of performers WWE has thrown at them, from The Real Americans to The Usos to The Wyatts to Axel and Ryback.

Steve "The Impact Playa" Cook

5. The Young Bucks
4. The Real Americans
3. Cody Rhodes & Goldust
2. Team Hell No

1. The Shield - Whether it was the trio of Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins or the tag team of Rollins & Reigns, the Shield dominated WWE multi-man matches this year. People keep wanting to split them up because they want Reigns or Ambrose to be a major singles star, but I see no problem with them contributing to the best WWE tag team division we've seen since the E&C/Hardyz/Dudleyz days. Daniel Bryan & Kane helped start it off during the first half of the year, and Team Hell No played a major part in turning Bryan into one of WWE's most popular wrestlers. Cody & Goldust have had an amazing run over the past few months. The Real Americans get some love here because I like Antonio & Zeb, and the Young Bucks would be rated higher if they did fewer superkicks. Learn a new move, boys.

Ryan Byers

5. Isami Kodaka & Yuko Miyamoto
4. TMDK (Shane Haste & Mikey Nicholls)
3. The Rhodes Brothers
2. Team Hell No

1. The Shield - I was able to come up with the five teams that I wanted to place on my ballot pretty easily, but choosing an order for them was difficult. All five of the teams have accomplished something that could be the basis of an argument for putting them at the top of the list, but, at the end of the day, I decided to go with the Shield because they are the one team that has essentially been on top of their company's tag division for the entire year, and it's something that has taken three relatively unknown commodities in the world of big league professional wrestling and turned each one of them into stars at a level that they could credibly main event any episode of Monday Night Raw.

Perhaps the true brilliance of the Shield, though, is that they've got three members and each one of them brings something to the table that the other two lack. Ambrose is the personality of the group and also the glue that holds it together in the ring, as you can actively see him directing traffic if you look closely. Rollins is the in-ring sizzle to Ambrose's in-ring steak, doing the majority of the trio's high flying and heavy bumping. Reigns, despite being the greenest of the group, still provides an important element in that he can pop in and quickly deliver an impressive power move to change up matches, in addition to being the big guy that gives the team the bulk of its intimidation factor.

As we enter 2014, it looks like WWE is en route to breaking up the group, but, like Cook, I would like to see them persevere. I think there are at least six good months left in the team, if not another year.

James Wright

5. Bad Influence
4. Team Hell No
3. The Rhodes Brothers
2. Austin Aries & Bobby Roode

1. The Shield - While it is six-man tags that are arguably their specialty it is hard to argue with the impact and the cohesion of this group from their first appearance last November. I honestly can't remember a time when the Shield put on a bad match, add to that their lengthy title run and dominating presence and I think that spells Tag team of the year.

The biggest thing I will always tout about the Shield is that in a year they have become one of the best three man teams of all time, becoming legitimate threats that you don't bat an eyelid at seeing in a tag team main event, and that was true six months ago as well, all the while never really having to hold someone back to do so. To me that is almost unheard of in the industry, to get three men over at the same time and yet not be able to truly point to anyone who had to be passed up to do so. To have a team of three individuals who convincingly seem like they could all be breakout stars once the team dissolves. To me that is just remarkable.

Other teams might have had more entertaining or compelling promos in the year, but for overall consistency and ability to work together, even when you minus Ambrose, I don't think you can beat the Shield, so you'd better believe instead.

Chad Nevett

5. The Real Americans
4. The Usos
3. The Rhodes Bros.
2. Team Hell No

1. The Shield - The Shield is more a trio than a tag team, but that hardly matters in wrestling, especially when a team has a year like the Shield had in 2013. They completely dominated the first two-thirds of 2013 by working like the more harmonic and unified team that the WWE has seen in many, many years. There was no weak link, no one member that seemed to carry the group, nothing but fluid teamwork that constantly made three-on-three or two-on-two matches seem like handicap matches. Quick tags, cutting the ring in half, double- and triple-teams, the Shield worked a very basic and effective style that was rooted in the basics of tag team wrestling.

One might point to the Tag Team Championship reign of the group as a weak spot, because it seemed like they went weeks at a time without defending the titles. But, that was how dominant they were. While the tag division in the WWE definitely saw an upswing in 2013, when the Shield was on top, there were no real challengers. They had taken down main eventers in PPVs (John Cena, Ryback, and Sheamus at Elimination Chamber and, then, Randy Orton, Sheamus, and the Big Show at WrestleMania), so it was only natural that they would simply be champions with few challengers. They achieved an almost untouchable place within the WWE.

Despite the past few months where the team lost the titles and even failed to defeat CM Punk thanks to the growing cracks, it was clear that 2013 was the Shield's year. They have beaten everyone from world champions to jobber tag teams and everyone in between. No other team can say that.

Jon Harder

5. Cody Rhodes and Goldust
4. reDRagon
3. Team Hell-No
2. Bad Influence

1) THE SHIELD – Let's be flat honest: I'm incorporating the 3 members of the Shield as a team here. At Survivor Series 2012, who truly thought that Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, and Seth Rollins would have had the impact they had when it came to tag team wrestling? These guys single handedly restored faith in regular tag team wrestling, six-man tags, and multiple man unit matches. As a singles competitor, Ambrose (although he is United States Champion), Rollins, and Reigns weren't as polished; yet in tag team competition, these men were unstoppable! They each had an intangible that the other two had lacked. Ambrose is methodical, Rollins is the innovative risk-taker, and Reigns has unbridled intensity. The Shield all personified the embodiment of team unity.

If you are looking at victories, it's a who's who list of the WWE. At No Way Out, they beat Sheamus, John Cena, and Ryback. At WrestleMania, they opened up with a victory over the "Celtic Warrior", Randy Orton, and Big Show. During the April taped Raw in England, they beat Team Hell-No and THE UNDERTAKER!!! Ultimately, Rollins and Reigns won the Tag Team championships and basically ran roughshod over the tag team scene in every match imaginable. Bottom line, if there is any other team that IS tag team of the year, you are not watching mainstream wrestling properly. The Shield is the Tag Team of the Year. BAR NONE.

Jack McGee

5. The Killer Elite Squad (Lance Archer and Davey Boy Smith Jr)
4. Cody Rhodes and Goldust
3. The Young Bucks
2. Bad Influence

1. The Shield - 2013 has been a tremendous year for tag team wrestling, and thankfully we can include WWE in that discussion after years of them essentially ignoring the tag ranks. I have watched a lot of tag team wrestling this year, and while the Young Bucks are super fun, the Rhodes brothers are a great story and Bad Influence provide me with a lot of entertainment; but at the end of the day, the Shield takes the top of the list for me. The group has been running hot for a year; they were the tag team champions, they are constantly featured on both Raw and Smackdown, they go over main event talent and they have been in a laundry list of great matches between TV and PPV. These guys got the support from the booking team, they delivered in the ring, and are one of the best parts of WWE TV. They need to stay together for another year just to keep WWE TV as fun as it has been (from an in ring standpoint).

Nick Sellers

5. Real Americans
4. Bad Influence
3. Young Bucks
2. Cody Rhodes & Goldust

1. The Shield - Just. It was tough to call between them, as Goldust plays the face-in-peril so brilliantly that I think he's the best individual performer in a tag environment in a decade. The chemistry with Cody is electric and they've done an excellent job of spearheading the WWE tag title scene since winning the straps.

But as fantastic as they have been, The Shield -three rookies on the main roster- immediately brought their A game to the likes of John Cena and virtually any top-of-the-card talent going. They're still doing it now.

Perhaps the biggest reason I went with them as #1 is simple longevity. While Cody & Goldust have had a wonderful second half of 2013, The Shield have been consistently great since their first official match in February.

As much as the Brotherhood are fantastic babyfaces, without heels like the Shield as foil, they're angle wouldn't been nearly as hot. It takes two sides to make a great angle/segment/match, and the hounds of justice deserve just as much credit as their opponents on the night of the belt switch.

Daniel Wilcox

5. Bad Influence
4. The Usos
3. Team Hell No
2. Cody Rhodes & Goldust

1. The Shield I don't normally say things like this, but if you're voting for the best mainstream North American tag team of the year and you're not voting for the Shield, then you are wrong. You can argue the technicality of their best work being as a trio and not a two-man unit, but the fact remains that in tag team matches nobody has been as consistent for anywhere near as long as The Shield. What Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins have accomplished in their first year is unprecedented. the list of names they've fought and beat in their first year is a who's who of the top talent in the industry in the past decade, from John Cena, Kane, Daniel Bryan, Ryback, Sheamus, Orton, Show, Jericho, Punk and the Undertaker; they've fought them all and they've beat them all. In addition to that, the matches have been fantastic. I haven't seen any of these guys involved in a match anything less than good and the majority of them have been great or better. All three men have star potential but their work as The Shield will go down as the reason why tag team wrestling became so important in 2013. WWE saw that fans were invested in all the six man tag matches these guys were having, realized they could make stars out of all of them and then we get a resurgence in tag wrestling in the latter half of the year. I can only hope that WWE holds fire on the break up of this impressive trio because without doubt, they haven't just been the best tag team of 2013, they've been the hottest thing in professional wrestling in 2013.

AND 411's Top Tag Teams of 2013 Are…

 photo teamhellnoyea_zps7a59f0f1.jpg

5. Team Hell No - 23pts.

 photo bad-influenceyea_zps41ec1919.jpg

4. Bad Influence – 28pts.

 photo The-Young-Bucksyea_zps85f6a8cc.jpg

3. The Young Bucks – 32pts.

 photo rhodesboysyea_zps4b078d7c.png

2. Cody Rhodes and Goldust – 66pts.

 photo the-shieldyea_zpsff31f60b.jpg

1. The Shield– 87pts.


  • The Biggest Disappointments of The Year: CHIKARA's Disappearing Act – 44pts
  • The Best Promo of The Year: Mark Henry Fakes His Retirement – 38pts
  • The Best Tag Team of The Year: The Shield – 87 pts
  • The Worst PPV/Major Show of The Year: TO BE DETERMINED (January 8th)
  • The Best Female of The Year: TO BE DETERMINED (January 9th)
  • The Best PPV/Major Show of The Year: TO BE DETERMINED (January 10th)
  • The Best Feud of The Year: TO BE DETERMINED (January 13th)
  • The Best Match of The Year: TO BE DETERMINED (January 14th)
  • The Best Wrestler of The Year: TO BE DETERMINED (January 15th)


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