With the GPW tag team division hotting up to boiling point, this blog shines a light on the history of the tag team division and some of the most influential teams of the past 14 years.
2006 – 2007: The First Champs
Despite GPW’s first show being in July 2003, it wasn’t until March 2006 until we introduced a Tag Team Trophy at our March event “Hold Tight” watch here on demand. That night 4 teams competed to become the first ever GPW Tag Team Champions in a 4-Way Tables match main event! Those teams were; long term GPW tag team Damage Control (“Dragon” Sean McLeane and Dom Travis), lovable fan favourites Kev ‘n Krev, high flying new comers WKD (D’Lyrium and C-Juice, now CJ Banks) and the eventual winners, Project Ego (Scotty Hexx and Kris Travis).
The team of Project Ego will be known to many British wrestling fans as Kris Travis and Martin Kirby, but before Kirby there was Hexx. He and Travis made the perfect team of lightening fast pace and brute strength. The two had a dazzling moveset and rightfully emerged as the first ever GPW Tag Team Champions after an impressive main event performance.
Since Project Ego’s win, there have been 16 other reigns, of which only 3 teams have held the title twice. More on them later. Check out our Wiki page for a full break down of who, what, where, when and for how long.
Hexx and Travis held the title for almost a year before losing to WKD v.2 (D’Lyrium and “Super” Sam Bailey) before splitting up. WKD carried the championship for 6 months before losing to the longest ever reigning Tag Champs of Grand Pro history, the Mil-Anfield Connection (JIggy Walker & “The Model” Danny Hope).
2007 – 2009: The Longest Reigning Champs
The Mil-Anfield Connection were a pairing of two complete opposite lifestyles. Jiggy Walker, the Scouse football thug, Danny Hope the catwalk model more used to the streets of Milan than Liverpool. But, their combination worked and the team worked for each other, at all costs. And, the pair didn’t let the rules stand in their way.
They first formed in September 2005 and were a team for nearly 2 years before winning the trophy. With a string of victories over The Geeks and The Holmes Brothers, one memorable match being a first ever “Lego Hardcore Match”, they took the titles in a special Tables, Hubcaps and Chairs match at “Collision Course”. .
Successful defences came against Hubba Bubba Lucha (Bubblegum & El Ligero), Next Generation Superstars (Dave Rayne & Harry Doogle) and The Young Offenders (Damon Leigh & Joey Hayes) until MAC were finally derailed in a match for the trophy against The Young Offenders at Back With a Bang 2009. The loss brought to end their record breaking reign of 546 days, which has still never been beaten. At the time of print, the closest single reign has come from the Island Brothers with 483 days, more on them later! An incredible 2 and a half years for Walker and Hope.
2009 – 2011: Riches to Rags
The Young Offenders run with the title didn’t go on quite so long before they ran into some stiff competition. Old foe of both Hayes and Leigh, Heresy returned and brought the debuting Kastor LeVay, who Heresy said he’d found among the flames of hell to form impressive and unorthodox tag team, Paradise Lost. And it was Paradise Lost who proved to be the undoing of The Young Offenders.
Following a rally of mind games, the stipulation of the Losers Must Split Up forever was set when Paradise Lost met Young Offenders for the title in July 2009 at Heatwave. With Heresy and LeVay raising the trophy for the first time, it signified the end for The Young Offenders who were forced to split up and have never tagged together since.
Paradise Lost took over the division in dominant fashion but ran into a problem when pitted against colourful tricksters The Mystics (Voodoo & The Great Suzuki) who surprised everyone by beating the much fancied champs in an upset during Jam Hot in April 2010. The right to a re-match was exercised immediately and the stakes raised as the trophy was defended in a brutal No Holds Barred match. The rules played straight into the hands of Heresy and LeVay who took full advantage and reclaimed the trophy. Watch the entire match here for free – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tGlQkvUqG4
Paradise Lost ruled atop of the tag division without interruption this time for nearly a year defeating worthy contenders such as The Eastern Bloc along with Roberts & Valour. The champs locked horns with a new team, Ricky J. McKenzie (now Sam Gradwell) and Sam Bailey managed by Miss North West, Rebecca Jayne. The two were determined to prise the trophy away from Heresy and LeVay but the masters of the mind games were always one step ahead. Heresy and LeVay had not only managed to turn the glamarous beauty queen, Miss North West against Bailey and McKenzie they had also succeeded in putting Sam Bailey on the injured list leaving RJM to fight the fight on his own. That was until, the determined Ricky J. McKenzie turned the tables on the champs by surprising them when he recruited Chris Echo to return to the ring and replace former partner, Bailey and the new team came together to overthrow the champs at Battlefield in May 2011.
Enter the reign of RJM & Echo, and a strange time for the tag division as it wasn’t a reign that was covered in glory, and it took a while for our established tag division to recover…
2011 – 2012: Re-Building
The start of a new year in 2012 brought with it new promise for the tag division with fresh teams introduced, however, it didn’t go to plan.
Tag Champs, Echo & RJM defended their trophy against new team, The Blackpool Blondes. The Blonds had joined the roster as part of the North West Rookie League and made their way to No.1 Contenders to the title and took the title in one of the easiest tile wins in GPW history.
Minutes into the match, RJM tore his quad and struggled to make it through the remainder of the match. In a cruel twist of fate, it was once a determined McKenzie who had battled for the tag titles on his own whilst previous partner, Sam Bailey was sidelined, now it was role reversal while McKenzie had to watch Echo defend the trophy 2 on 1 and was ultimately overcome. RJM was put on the injured list for 12 months and never teamed up with Echo again. With no team to exercise a rematch, The Blackpool Blondes now reigned supreme.
Many claimed that The Blondes hadn’t earned it and didn’t deserve their title. Their run as champs, they did little to convince fans otherwise as they hand picked soft opposition such as unknown duo AJ Chase and Mark Starr and Track & Field. However, their easy run wasn’t going to last forever.
In November 2012 at GPW: Fireworks, much to the fans delight, Heresy said enough was enough and brought in a man he had teamed with on the European circuit for 7 years, and no stranger to GPW, Mark Kodiak. The pair, known as The Killers had held multiple championships in The Netherlands and came together in GPW for the first time with much anticipation.
In a match stipulation that suited the two brawlers down to the ground, the defeated The Blackpool Blonds in a No Holds Barred match for the trophy the Blonds had never really won. And, since losing the trophy to RJM and Echo back in 2011, nearly 12 months later the trophy was back with Heresy, although this time he had the ruthless, Mark Kodiak with him and the fans loved them.
With huge fan support The Killers looked unbeatable as champs. But, there was another team coming up through the ranks who were actually unbeaten, a team that would help re-define the tag division as being one of its most dominant forces. That team came to GPW thanks to Simon R. Valour, that team was Tabu and Rio, The Island Brothers.
The Island Brothers were brought into GPW in mid 2012 by Simon R. Valour claimed to have travelled the world looking for a team of unforgiving savages, just like Rio and Tabu and he’d brought them in to wreak havoc in the tag division, and from their very first appearance, that’s exactly what they did.. They tore through teams such as Track & Field, Notorious B.A.D and The Hunter Brothers which put them on a path right to the tag champs, The Killers.
At GPW’s 10th Year Anniversary show, GPW: “X”, The Killers did indeed meet the savages and put their trophy on the line in what was an almighty battle. Almost a year on from their first appearance in GPW, The Island Brothers left the Ballroom that night as new tag team champions, finally dethroning Kodiak and Heresy, and so began what turned out to be the second ever longest single reign.
2012 – 2016: The New Era
The first reign of the Island Brothers included a string of impressive defences against the likes of: Track n Field, Science Fiction, The Hunter Brothers, and a long feud with impressive duo, The Proven. The GPW tag division was once again a vibrant space and led by Simon R. Valour, The Island Brothers thrived in it.
Whilst Rio and Tabu enjoyed their spot in the sunshine, Chrissy from New York had emerged in GPW promising to put together the wildest tag team we’d ever seen. And he did. A re-invented Ian Field became better known as party loving “2 Shades” Jet Fashion before Chrissy gave the hi-vis wearing Ste “Bin” Man a makeover and debuted not only one of the wildest teams we’ve ever seen, but probably the most popular tag team we’ve ever seen, a team known as The Midnight Bin Collection.
Whilst Bin Man and 2 Shades were winning matches and winning the fans over, there were problems in the Island Brothers camp. The man who had brought them into GPW had become the reason the wheels looked to be coming off their near record breaking run as champs. It came to a head at Final Fight, November 2014 when in a match against Midnight Bin Collection, The Island Brothers let the trophy slip through their fingers and into those of the challengers.
The internal problems with the Island Brothers only got worse following the defeat when Valour continued to manipulate and intimidate them which kept them well away from re-challenging for the titles. Meanwhile, The Midnight Bin Collection began increasing their stock in the division with some important wins. However, every Ying has its Yang and for the MBC that is The Bad Lads, Drill and Micky Barnes. A rough and ready pair of bruisers who have no regard for the rules, or their opponents welfare The pair had both debuted in July 2013 at GPW: “X” in the Past, Present and Future Battle Royal and after nearly 2 years on the roster, they wanted their shot at the trophy and in May 2015 at Battlefield, they got it when they defeated MBC in a straight tag match.
However, the unexpected loss seemed to light a fire under the former champs as they invoked their right to a rematch at Cruel Summer, July 2015 but this time – they raised the stakes and challenged the Bad Lads to a first ever Tag Team Dumpster Match. In a fabulous, wild and crazy spectacle that might have just been that year most underrated match in the UK of 2015, the MBC reclaimed the Tag Trophy becoming only the second team in GPW history to have a second run with the trophy.
With the Bad Lads vanquished to the back of the queue, there were a host of other viable contenders in the mix. Namely, The Hate League. Dursun and Danxig, who represent the faction in the tag division quickly positioned themselves as No.1 Contenders to the MBC’s second title reign. Things happened quickly for the tag team who after just one month of being formed, found themselves in a tag title match against the MBC. Some might say, that was down to the magic touch of attorney and manager, Alan A. A. Tasker.
in February 2016, at GPW Bad Blood, Alan Tasker added more gold to his managerial career as his team of Dursun and Danxig became the Tag Team Champs at the first time of asking and so began a dominating reign of 12 months.
In a thriving tag division, The Hate League enjoyed success over every team in it: Well, almost every team. The Bad Lads, Kirby & The Sheikh, Midnight Bin Collection and The Circus all fell to defeat by Dursun and Danxig. But there was one team who they never actually pinned. A team who had held the tag titles before and had reformed in an effort to hold them again, that team was The Island Brothers, and this time – much to the fans delight, ,they were without Simon R. Valour.
2017 – Present: New, Old Faces
Rio and Tabu finally derailed the tag champs to become the second team to hold the title twice. They lifted the trophy 12 months after The Hate League had won it at Bang With A Bang 2017. But their second reign would prove to be nowhere the length their first. They immediately put the trophy on the line at Northern Soul 2 with the stipulation that they would defend the title against any new team. But, ti wasn’t this team who would defeat the brothers for the titles.
Their open challenge was answered by new team T-Bone and Craig Kollins, a physically imposing duo who gave the Island Brothers a run for their money, so much so their subsequent match ended in a no-contest. Pride took over as they were determined to find out who was the better team. It was this pride that distracted the brothers and how they lost their title.
They faced Kollins and T-Bone for a second time at A Night to Remember 2017. Also that night, Big Joe (3rd member of The Bad Lads) competed in the Fast Track 4-Way match and earned himself a title shot that night against any champion he wanted. He rallied the troops backstage and picked his moment beautifully. After rallying partners, Drill and Barnes the trio waiting until The Island Brothers and Kollins and Bone had worn each out for the second month in a row, and cash in his chance with his tag partners against 2 time champs, Rio and Tabu.
Moments following the cash in, the trophy was back in the hands of current holders, The Bad Lads and the brothers’ second reign was over. The Bad Lads claimed the title for the second time to become the 17th team to hold the trophy but the only team in the trophy’s 11 year history to be held by 3 individuals.
The Bad Lads have stated that the title will be defended by any combination of the 3 representatives and all 3 men will be recognised as title holders. Their first outing as champs will be at The Great British Beatdown, July 28th in perhaps the biggest 8 man tag in history!
The Bad Lads join forces with the team they owe a debt of thanks to, Bone and Kollins to take on two former tag champs – The Midnight Bin Collection and The Island Brothers.
Who do you think is the greatest team to have reigned in the division? Tweet us @grandpro and tell us at facebook.com/grandprowrestling
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