FTR is so good that Tony Khan can’t book them on AEW TV

Cash Wheeler (left) and Dax Harwood

Cash Wheeler (left) and Dax Harwood
Screenshot: AEW

FTR — Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler — are the best wrestlers in the world.

I’m not even sure it’s that close right now. This is always a subjective debate, but if we continue to say who has had the most races this year that everyone has talked about, FTR is within striking distance of the field. Roman Reigns may be the biggest name in the industry, but the fact that he steps into a ring once every two months — and it’s almost always against Brock Lesnar — puts him off. Seth Rollins may be doing the best work of his career, but then again, his big matches come sporadically and he spent too much time with Cody Rhodes (admittedly a personal bias, but I’m calling the shots here). There’s been a late push from, shockingly, Chris Jericho, who has spent the last few weeks spouting off one rant after another that he really has no right to produce at his age, but that’s just a late surge.

Jon Moxley and Bryan Danielson are always easy picks and you wouldn’t go wrong recommending them. But most, if not all, of their matches have been on AEW TV, and perhaps their standard is so high that it’s hard for them to stand out.

However, since March or so, whenever FTR steps into the ring, the entire wrestling world is on fire, if not downright riotous. People aren’t just talking about the “Match of the Year” every time the bell rings for another FTR match. They say things like “the best match I’ve ever seen”.

Both of their matches with the Briscoes for the ROH titles have set a standard for tag team wrestling that almost no one else is going to find a zip code for. Of course, FTR set the standard to be surpassed years ago in their feud with Team DIY (Johnny Gargano and Tomasso Ciampa) in NXT. When FTR claimed the AAA tag titles in Mexico against Dragon Lee and Dralístico, most agreed it would have been a contender for match of the year if FTR hadn’t then gone on to wrestle the Exile’s version of Main St . with the Briscoes. The IWGP tag team title run at Forbidden Door over Roppongi Vice and United Empire would have received much more recognition had it not come in the first match with the Briscoes. Or maybe they hadn’t put a six-man barrage next to Trent Beretta against the United Empire a few weeks back I run.

Somehow, their first match with the Motor City Machine Guns at Everything out, a match that fans had been building up in their mind’s lab for years, felt a little lackluster, mostly because of the work FTR did the rest of the year, but also because it was a pointless six-man affair (again, all unnecessary if the Jay Lethal). And then last weekend, FTR had another classic at NJPW’s England show against the United Empire again, retaining the NJPW titles and establishing themselves as a major part of Wrestle Kingdom in January.

For a tag team, it’s an unprecedented run, one that really hasn’t been seen recently since The New Day and The Usos were being thrown every three weeks by Vince McMahon and yet somehow made it work.

Of course, the problem, and one that FTR has been pointing out fairly regularly lately, is that so little of this has taken place on AEW TV. FTR did not appear in either Dynamite the I run on their own as a tag team since May (!). There have been six-man tags with Wardlow or Danhausen or others, and Dax Harwood has been in quite a few singles matches (also all great, even if he loses them all), but the best tag team in the world hasn’t been on TV in nearly six months. How can this be?

They might just be too good.

Although it seems absurd, there was no window for them really. It’s hard to put FTR in simple tag matches under the title for too long, because then it becomes obvious that they should be fighting for the titles. The AEW tag titles started the year by conquering the Jurassic Express in January. Both FTR and Jurassic Express are face teams, and while FTR can do anything you ask of them, it’s easier to make Jurassic Express look good by having them defend against teams that aren’t quite up to par them instead of a group we all know. it is beyond them.

When the Young Bucks defeated the Jurassic Express in June for the titles, AEW was in the middle of Swerve In Our Glory (Keith Lee and Swerve Strickland) and the now-split Powerhouse duo Hobbs and Ricky Starks. Which you should, because both of these teams are fantastic. Both needed the gold rub.

The Swerve at Our Glory stripped the Bucks of the titles within a month, but you don’t shine on a team by having them immediately drop the belts. They need a burn with it. And who in their right mind would buy that a team put together just a few months ago would actually take down FTR?

Soon came the rise of The Acclaimed, and it’s the kind of organic push that no smart company can block. But then again, as popular as The Acclaimed have become, no one is seriously going to have them beat FTR without bullshit, which would fly right in the face of their new babyface charge. The same was true of Swerve In Our Glory, who were also faces until they faced the overwhelming force of popularity The Acclaimed Were. Heel Swerve would have been a great opponent for FTR, but AEW rightly pulled the trigger on The Acclaimed.

And The Acclaimed need some headlining time as well, to fully shake everything off their current buzz. So can you really FTR them? FTR could make any story work, but are we seriously going to take a team that currently holds the tag titles in three different countries doing the job for The Acclaimed? Come. That day may come, but the Honored must assemble some defenses before it does.

So where do you put the FTR? The Bucks are out thanks to their briefcase related post, and even AEW always wanted to save another Bucks-FTR match for a big occasion. So who else? Jurassic Express is no more and so is House Of Black. Santana and Ortiz are in injury hell and the Hardy Boyz are in Jeff Hardy hell. The Luca Bros. are currently tri-champions and nowhere near the tag titles, though that could change. For now, FTR seems to be locked in with the Gunn Club, who they really should ritually kill. Does this buy enough time for The Acclaimed to rightfully stand in a ring with the best the industry has to offer right now? Maybe something with Andrade and Rush to buy more time?

As deep as AEW’s tag division is, there just isn’t anyone on FTR’s level right now, especially without the Bucks. And it may take even longer to get there. It’s really something to be so good that your own company can’t find a place for you.

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