FTR Pick The Classic Matches That ‘Define’ Tag Team Wrestling, Recall Their Feud With American Alpha

FTR

The Watch List takes a look at what matches you should be watching while you’re at home and they come recommended by your favorite professional wrestling stars.

WrestleZone recently spoke with Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler of FTR, who have redefined what tag team wrestling is in the modern-day world of professional wrestling and look to do the same in All Elite Wrestling. Dax and Cash proudly claim that they follow the rules—and work around them—and work to uphold traditions from the “glory days” of wrestling all while becoming the best team in the world today.

Dax says it’s hard to point to one match that shows who they are as a team but their NXT feud with American Alpha really turned the page on what tag team wrestling was and now means for a nationally-televised wrestling company. Following up on that, he said that one classic match that does stand out featured the Midnight Express against The Fantastics and explained why it exemplified his point.

Dax: “I’ll let Cash speak for himself but I don’t think there’s one match that encompasses our style. I think this past Wednesday at Fyter Fest, I think we proved we can hang with some of the indie guys that like to go out there and do their superkicks and their flips. I think we showed on the first week of Dynamite that we can take some guys like Butcher and Blade, who haven’t been featured that much, and have a kick-ass, killer match. Then we can go out there with guys like American Alpha, who are so athletically superior to anything that I’ve ever met in the ring, and we can redefine tag team wrestling. Look at tag team wrestling from before 2016 and you look at tag team wrestling after that, and I’m speaking specifically on a mainstream level—it was completely different. Before 2016, you had two guys going in there doing their individual stuff, hitting their individual moves, tagging in and out just to get their own stuff in. Then 2016 rolls around and two five-foot-ten North Carolinians come in and we change the whole game with American Alpha. We had a kick-ass, knock-down, drag-out tag team match in Dallas and from that point on, tag team wrestling would be changed in the mainstream.”

“Now with me saying that after a shot of whiskey and two cups of coffee, I’ll tell you that I think the one tag team match that maybe encompasses what tag team wrestling should be and what it can be now is the Midnight Express against The Fantastics from Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1988. It’s so beautiful—four guys who are trying to outwork each other and keep that cutting pace that not too many guys can keep up with. It’s so beautiful and it comes to a crescendo, a peak, and they go home at the perfect opportunity and that’s me spewing my love for tag team wrestling.”

Formerly known as The Revival in WWE, the duo stole the show many times in NXT during their feud over the tag team titles with American Alpha. When asked to pick a match that exemplifies who they are as a team, Cash also said that it’s hard to choose one but the American Alpha trilogy was memorable for many reasons, including one of the matches that almost didn’t happen. The two explained that Dax was dealing with a knee injury but the fans never caught on. Cash also said he considers it to be an underrated match not only because they overcame the injury but also because they gave it everything they had.

Cash: “I can’t single out a match either. I love the trilogy with American Alpha. I think the most overlooked match of that, and probably one of my favorites was the two-out-of-three falls with American Alpha. I think it’s overlooked because it was a TakeOver match—and this is no offense to Full Sail—but it was held at Full Sail instead of on the road before a WrestleMania or before a SummerSlam. It’s a smaller arena, it’s a more intimate atmosphere and if you look at Brooklyn or Toronto, those crowds are just off the charts all night. I think that added something to those matches. As far as in-ring work and all four guys just going and just giving it every single thing they have—especially knowing Dax could barely walk going through that because his knee was bothering him at that point…”

Dax: “That’s another story.”

Cash: “Just a little aside with his knee, he ended up having surgery not long after this to get his knee cleaned out. His knee locked up…”

Dax: “Real quick, Cash, I’ll let you finish but that was in July and they wouldn’t let me have the surgery until October.”

Cash: “His knee locked up maybe three minutes before the match and we’re all freaking out because he can’t walk and by the grace of God, with a last-minute Hail Mary, the bone chip that was locking it up moved out and he was able to get through the match. But to watch the match back, you would have no idea that he was a one-legged man minutes before that. That’s one of the matches where I’m so proud of it and I wish that it got more love than it does because we all poured our hearts into it. Obviously I like the DIY stuff, the tag match where we won the titles on RAW for the first time from [Chad] Gable and Bobby [Roode] is another one of my favorites.”

Cash also called back to the NWA days for his classic match pick, coming up with Ole and Arn Anderson against the Rock ’N’ Roll Express. Dax noted that this match was also recommended to them by “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, with Cash adding that it’s a must-watch because of the execution of the finish.

Cash: As far as just old-school matches that I think are the epitome of tag team wrestling, there’s one between the Andersons and Rock ’N’ Roll in ’86—I think it was part of the Starrcade tour—it’s 25-26 minutes and man, it is a masterpiece. The Andersons show you exactly how to just isolate and pick somebody apart.”

Dax: “Our good friend “Stone Cold” Steve Austin sent us that match.”

Cash: “That’s true. Ricky does his thing, sells better than almost anybody in the world ever did, but Robert comes in and the last couple minutes of that match, it’s just so beautiful to watch. If you watch [that match], I can’t remember the exact month, it might be July actually, but that’s a must-watch.”

We added FTR’s NWA match recommendations to the list; you can check out the full-length matches from their feud with American Alpha on WWE Network.

Ole & Arn Anderson vs. Rock ‘N’ Roll Express

NWA World Championship Wrestling — July 19, 1986

Midnight Express vs. The Fantastics

NWA World Championship Wrestling — April 26, 1988

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