Partnership Politics

Updated: Oct 8, 2021

One of the core aspects of AEW Metrics as it relates to all Tag, Trios and Multi (4-on-4, 5-on-5, etc.) matches is not just the team that wins but the individual. This article will focus solely on the Men’s Tag Team Division over the entirety of AEW’s history to date – Thursday, October 7.

Top 10 All-Time Tag Teams (ranked by Quality of Wins):

1) The only Gimmick match result in the Tag Division was from All Out 2019 when the Lucha Brothers defended the AAA World Tag Team Championships against the Young Bucks. Impressively, Penta and Fénix still hold those belts from this same reign and, if last week’s conversation with Andrade El Idolo is any indication, those titles may soon be contested again on AEW programming. Further, the fact this championship is recognized is why the Lucha Brothers’ name appears with the darkened border; in turn, Omega has the same graphic representation. 2) When a wrestler is not the one scoring the decisive fall, he/she is an Other Winner/Loser. This still counts as a win; the only difference is that it does not effective the individual’s +/- (Fall Differential) statistic. 3) The only Multiple match result was the World Tag Team Title #1 Contendership Gauntlet Match from Dynamite #47 in August 2020. This saw Matt Jackson pin QT Marshall, Trent? pin Nick Jackson followed by Dax Harwood submit Chuck Taylor; this was the match that saw Adam Page and the tortured soul of the Anxious Millennial Cowboy give the Best Friends the timely assist to help them defeat the Young Bucks in the second fall of the match. This allowed FTR, his opportunistic, albeit temporary, drinking buddies, to steer clear of the Jacksons en route to facing Omega & Page at All Out 2020 where they won the championships.

4) The Elimination statistic here is separate from that of Battle Royals and still rewards those who score a winning fall but lose the match. The already-noted Gauntlet Match and the 5-on-5 Tag from Dynamite #95 (Fight for the Fallen 2021) are the only two in the company to date.

Assuming you are looking at this for the first time, certain points here might stand out to you, including the fact that a few things might seem not to add up; rest assured, they do. Instead, I’d like your attention to the difference in who wins the deciding fall for his team and how, even within the Top 10, there are significant differences amongst the top teams. This is not a question of workload and who puts in the most minutes in the ring; I’ll save that for the deepest of divers.

Let’s do some quick math:

So why do these totals not always equal 100%? Two factors: First, on occasion, AEW tag matches have ended with Double Pins, which sees both members of the winning team simultaneously pin both members of another. These include one of Santana & Ortiz’ Dark wins and, more memorably, the Bucks on two occasions: first, defeating Butcher & Blade in a Falls Count Anywhere Match on Dynamite from July 2020 and from Road Rager earlier this year in their eighth Title Defense against Penta & Kingston. Second, in 3-way and 4-way tag matches that were one fall to a finish, this produces matches with a single Fall Winner and either three or five Other Losers; in other words, a member of each team does not take the deciding fall.

Enough preamble. Let’s take a brief closer look into the Top Ten teams ranked by Quality Points. Perhaps not coincidentally, these teams also represent ten out of the eleven winningest teams; the only team not included here is the Varsity Blonds (23-12) as their win quality ranks this duo 21st all-time.

> The Young Bucks: Over the long term, the Jacksons have shared deciding wins and losses for the most part but it wasn’t always this way. Nick only scored his first pin, compared to Matt’s five, in January 2020 and didn’t get another until almost five months later. > Best Friends: Considering the sample size, this disparity is quite surprising but at least Trent? take the majority of losing falls as well. Is this giving the people what they want? > FTR: Another fairly even split for wins but Cash has taken the pin in all three losses. Perhaps this is a way to offset Dax’s two Singles losses as Wheeler has yet to have a 1-on-1 match in the company. > Proud-N-Powerful: The realization that Ortiz gets the pin twice as often as Santana was unexpected but this is balanced out by the proportion of Fall Losses. > Private Party: A curious case with almost inverted numbers on the opposing sides of the ledger with Kassidy getting more than 60% of the pins while only taking the 1-2-3 under 40% of the time. > Lucha Brothers: A sibling rivalry never quite dies and the most extreme inversion. In fact, it took until their seventeenth win in the company for Fénix to get a pin for himself. Conversely, Penta has only been pinned once, in the finals of the tournament to crown the inaugural champions. > Jurassic Express: The first to 50 wins and 100 matches, company workhorse Jungle Boy has been featured repeatedly, resulting in him taking the lion’s share of deciding wins and losses. > Dark Order: Being Uno means you’re Number One and apparently it also means scoring the pin twice as often his partner. Losses have been split evenly overall after initially seeing Grayson take almost all of the pins until Uno was pinned by Page in their lone championship match. > The Butcher & The Blade: The only 50-50 split for the winning falls but their progress follows very similar trajectories here compared to Uno & Grayson, including the fact Butcher took the pin to secure the Lucha Bros’ first title defense. > The Acclaimed: A nearly split for wins but Bowens has only taken the pin a single time. At least Caster can think up new rhymes while he is staring up at the lights.

So what does this mean? In some cases, we can probably make some solid inferences while in others this may prove more difficult. For instance, is one of the members expected to be a breakout Singles star in the years to come, such as Jungle Boy or Anthony Bowens? The biggest variable is of course the degree of agency to which the wrestlers themselves decide rather than Tony Khan himself. The CEO has expressed that in certain instances it has definitely been part of his narrative plan, most notably when Scorpio Sky pinned Trent?, Stu Grayson and Pentagón Jr. during the World Tag Team Championship Tournament. And as Sky recently reminded us, he also later pinned World Champion Chris Jericho in SCU's second title defense. This all helped legitimize the Face of the Revolution for his 1-on-1 showdown two weeks later.

In conclusion, for all this data represents, lacking the peek behind the curtain as I do, its true meaning is speculative at best. I accept that just I accept that in most partnerships, that personal politics play a role. Whether it be a major or minor is up to the individuals involved. And Tony Khan.

Anyone with questions or comments is encouraged to respond here or on Twitter @AEWmetrics.

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