Tag team wrestling has a special part in wrestling history. Depending on where you grew up and first started watching wrestling, it was either a focal point or it was a side attraction. Rarely has it ever been perfected, but when that magic is captured, you feel it. There are tag teams synonymous with the sport of professional wrestling and while few have made it to those echelons of “Legendary” status, a few men who did have graced the rings of MLW.
A man known not only for his toughness but for what he brought to tag team wrestling came to MLW with a single goal in mind. To help bring some new talent and teach what he had learned throughout his storied career. That man was Dr. Death himself, Steve Williams. The first two on two tag match in MLW was ‘Dr. Death’ Steve Williams and an unknown P.J. Friedman defeating Afterburn & Eric Adams. P.J. Friedman may not sound familiar but if you’re keeping your eye on one of the top wrestling companies in the world and their developmental territory then you probably know him as James Bronson. At the time Dr. Death was taking Friedman as a protege to teach P.J. what he knew and to this day, it truly shows. They would go on to team and defeat former top talents such as Mike Sanders and Jimmy Yang, yes THAT Mike Sanders among others, but it would be one of the most influential factions in MLW that would be Dr. Death’s constant enemy.
MLW brought a lot of styles and excitement to their tag team ranks. Teams such as The Samoan Island Tribe (Samu & Mana), Los Maximos, Quiet Storm, & The Stampede Bulldogs more recently known as the Hart Dynasty, consisting of TJ “Tyson Kidd” Wilson and Harry Smith. At the time and probably even to this day, you won’t find many tag teams with the caliber of talent all together let alone so different and memorable.
During the years of 2002-2004 you could not find a team more wanted by promotions than Los Maximos. They were all over the place. Jose & Joel Maximo were making names with the high flying, death defying style. When they were the SATs teaming with Amazing Red, the fans were almost always ready for a show stealing performance. Their Spanish Fly to this day is still one of the most impressive finishing moves of any tag team tandem and truly set them apart from the competition.
Samu & Mana. What even needs to be said about these two that isn’t already known. Samu, part of the famous Anoa’I wrestling family and Mana who came from New Zealand to the United States to live his dream of being a professional wrestler teamed together to form one of the most brutal tandems in MLW. They would have violent matches with Los Maximos and they defeated Monsta Mack & B-Boy in falls count anywhere match that took the crowd to a whole new level. The only time they would lose was to The Extreme Horsemen of CW Anderson & Simon Diamond.
You cannot speak of the tag team division in MLW without talking about The Extreme Horsemen which consisted of Steve Corino, C.W. Anderson, Justin Credible and Simon Diamond. They took evil to a whole new level and were by many standards one of the most vicious groups on the wrestling circuit at that time.
The Extreme Horsemen were the first MLW Tag Team Champions when they won the Global Tag Title Tournament defeating Dr. Death Steve Williams and P.J. Friedman in the finals after defeating Los Maximos to get their shot. But they wouldn’t leave anything to chance, as I was told when researching for this article I can only quote the devastation they left on their quest, “Doc was mentoring PJ Friedman however Friedman suffered a near career threatening injury during the Global Tag Team Title Tournament Finals in May 2003 when (P.J.) was ruthlessly attacked by CW Anderson & Simon Diamond as Steve Williams and Friedman came through the curtains. They shredded his shoulder with a chair that ultimately lead to him having reconstructive shoulder surgery a week later. “
This gives you a glimpse as to what the Extreme Horsemen would do to gain what they wanted. After this heinous attack Dr. Death would employ other “extreme” talents to wage war against them. Men such as D-Lo Brown and The Sandman came to the call but were generally defeated as the Extreme Horsemen did what they had to do to retain those coveted MLW Tag Team Titles. At War Games in September of 2003 Dr. Death would join the Funkin’ Army of Terry Funk, Sandman, Steve Williams, Sabu and Bill Alfonso to defeat The Extreme Horsemen who at the time were Steve Corino, Simon Diamond, C.W. Anderson, P.J. Walker/Justin Credible, and Barry Windham to gain some revenge for what they had done to his protégé.
MLW brought many other tandems into their promotion as well and always wanted to give a diverse group of talents with differing styles the chance to compete against some of the best in the world in front of some of the most loyal and hardcore fans of the industry. You had the technical abilities of The Stampede Bulldogs. The high flyers of Los Maximos and Quiet Storm. The brutality of the Samoan Island Tribe. But above all else you had the truly dastardly Extreme Horsemen who brought not only top notch technical ability but mixed it with sheer evil to bring out some of the best in tag team wrestling warfare. Overall you had a cocktail for destruction and entertainment all in one as MLW presented some of the best tag teams in the world during its tenure.