It was last year I was running down the sixteen tag teams that were vying for a chance at The Crockett Cup, and the National Wrestling Alliance is upping the ante this year with twenty-eight tag teams wanting to make a name for themselves on the signature double pay-per-view held in Winston-Salem, NC on June 3rd and 4th.

The Briscoe Brothers claimed the vaunted Cup in a tough field in 2022 and Dem Boys stood tall to the delight of the fans in the Knoxville Fairgrounds.  Yes, that memory is bittersweet given that Jay Briscoe is no longer with us but looking ahead there is a diverse group of men that run the gamut of long tag team experience and others that look good on paper but are yet to be determined how they will mesh once the bell rings.

On their YouTube Channel, the Nwa showed a recap of past matches featured in The Crockett Cup if you want to go ahead and take a look at some of the teams that have stood out in the tournament.

With that said, I will go over the seeded teams, and how they will mesh in in the first round of the brackets.  I’ll have another article later going over the second night of The Crockett Cup and the singles action that will take place over this two-day event.

The Tag Teams and Seeding

Courtesy of the NWA.

1. La Rebelión (Bestia 666 and Mecha Wolf)

No other team in the Lighting Era of the NWA has matched the speed, power, and cunning of the current NWA Tag Team Champions like Bestia 666 and Mecha Wolf.  While they came up short in last year’s Cup losing to The Commonwealth Connection of Harry Smith and Doug Williams in the semifinals, they are looking to ensure that history doesn’t repeat itself.  Look for Bestia’s dad, Damian 666 to be in the picture to add interference for La Rebelion.

Courtesy of the NWA.

2.  The Midnight Riders (Chris Adonis & Tyrus)

If ever the adage “If you can’t beat them, join ‘em” was apt, it would be this duo.  Even though Tyrus holds the Ten Pounds of Gold, he doesn’t want to do a singles competition.  Rather, he wants the Cup, and who did he pick to team with him?  None other than Chris Adonis, who recently challenged Tyrus at the NWA 312 PPV and came up short.  The team’s name is an homage to Dusty Rhodes’ masked character from yesteryear, as Tyrus seems to have lately borrowed some of his mentor’s move set in the ring (e.g., the bionic elbow).

3.  Mike Knox and Trevor Murdoch

Once bitter enemies but now best buds, after shaking off his ties with Matt Cardona and The Cardonas, Knox mended fences with Murdoch when he was getting beaten down by Daisy Kill and Talos, and they look to run roughshod over everyone in the Cup.  Murdoch gives the team an advantage as he is not only a two-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion, but also a former WWE Tag Team Champion, so between him and Knox there is nothing they can’t do.

Courtesy of the NWA.

4. Myzteziz Jr. And Octagon Jr.

This is the first of many international tag teams looking to make an impressive debut in The Crockett Cup, as well as one of many talent swaps AAA seems to like to do with American promotions.  Recently featured during The World Is A Vampire festival in Mexico, Myzteziz Jr (not to be confused with Mistico/Sin Cara/Myzteziz) and the former Kalistico really put forth a fantastic show and are one of two teams that could rival the lucha libre offense La Rebelion employ so well.

Courtesy of the NWA.

5.  A Cut Above (Thom Latimer and Rhett Titus)

If anyone knows tag team success in the NWA, it’s the current NWA Television champion, Latimer.  This man has gone as far as the Crockett Cup finals with his former tag partner Royce Isaacs as The Wildcards in 2019 and even held the tag team belts with him.  It’s been years since Latimer was in a tag team having focused his energies on singles competition.  But he has an ace in Rhett Titus.  Whether he was Addicted to Love or The Professional, Titus in his tenure in Ring of Honor was a multi-time tag team champion with various partners.  This is one of the four sleeper teams to keep an eye on in the tournament.

6.  The Mortons (Kerry and Ricky Morton)

Nobody is as synonymous with NWA tag team wrestling than Ricky Morton himself.  While the former Rock n’ Roll Express member isn’t tagging with Robert Gibson these days, he has channeled his knowledge into his son Kerry Morton.  Kerry has been quite a wonder in the ring and is the current holder of the NWA Junior Heavyweight championship.  But there is friction between the family members as Kerry has developed a cockiness of late and used some maneuvers to ensure he gets the win by any means necessary, much to his father’s chagrin.  Expect that this will come to a head sooner or later in the tournament.

Courtesy of the NWA.

The Country Gentlemen (“The Legacy” AJ Cazana and “The Thoroughbred” Anthony Andrews)

Cazana and Andrews haven’t teamed for very long, but they have found lots of success together in the tag ranks, especially after winning the recently resurrected NWA US Tag Team titles from The Fixers.  Both these southern Gentlemen have placed their titles up for grabs in the NWA as well as on the independent scene.  Definitely the second sleeper team to focus on, despite their ranking in the Cup.

8.  Blunt Force Trauma (Carnage and Damage, with Aron Stevens)

Faster than you can say “DOOM”, Aron Stevens put together a masked duo that is like the reincarnation of Butch Reed and Ron Simmons.  While Stevens put on the gag that Rodney Mack was “The Question Mark”, this evolved into something more as the former Marshe Rockett entered the fold.  With Stevens as the mastermind and mouthpiece of the group, there has truly been a ton of damage left to any tag team foolish enough to enter the squared circle with these monstrous men.  Expect them to play the spoiler for any tag team that is foolish enough to stand in their way.

9.  The Great Cyon and Jordan Clearwater (with Austin Idol)

Clearwater makes his second appearance in the Crockett Cup, albeit this time without Rockett.  But now as he pairs up with Cyon, both members of the IdolMania Sports Management stable look to move farther in the Cup, and Clearwater is surely looking to avenge his quarterfinal loss last year.

10.  Kratos and Odinson

If you thought Blunt Force Trauma is monopolizing the power game, look at these two gods of war.  Both are tag team specialists, Kratos with Aron Stevens once upon a time and Odinson with Parrow as part of The End.  Both have had some success in singles competition, but paired up together, they look to cause some hurt in the ring.

11.  Toxin and Arez

The second of the two AAA wrestlers making their way into The Crockett Cup.  While not much is known about the masked Toxin, Arez is no stranger to fans in Mexico and in the United States, having recently competed in Major League Wrestling.  One thing is certain, Arez is the “King of Strange Style” and if Toxin is by his side, things will get very weird in the squared circle.

How weird you ask.  Maybe not “Dirty Sexy Boys” weird, but closer to Danhausen weird, if I had to venture a guess.

12.  The Fixers (Jay Bradley and Wrecking Ball Legursky)

Again, don’t let the seeding fool you.  Both Bradley and Legursky have been featured in many segments with the NWA and have proven they are formidable as a tag team, having recently won the NWA US Tag Titles in a battle royale before losing said belts to The Country Gentlemen.  They have been in something of a slump, so look for them to play the second of two spoiler teams in The Crockett Cup.

Courtesy of the NWA.

13.  The SVGS (Blake “Bulletproof” Troop and Jax Dane, with Chris Silvio, Esq.)

If want to talk about a highly decorated NWA champion, then look no further than The Dane Event himself.  Mostly Dane has made a name for himself in singles competitions and held many a title, including the Ten Pounds of Gold.  But now he wants tag team glory and needs a partner that can keep up with him.

Enter the MMA fighter turned professional wrestler, Troop.  Since his debut with the United Wrestling Network, Troop has shown fans that, although he is green, he is not someone to be trifled with.  He has quite a few catchphrases like “Tap, Snap, or Nap” or “Bang bang.  Lights Out!”, but he backs them up just as well with hand grenade punches and unique submissions.  The SVGS currently have some heat with The Country Gentlemen and they want the gold that’s around their waist and came very close to taking the belts away.  While they are on the other side of the bracket, you know they will focus on them just like they are focused on the Cup, and they are the third sleeper team of the NWA.

14.  Magnum Muscle (Dak Draper and Big Strong Mims)

Having met as a team during The Champion Series, Draper and Mims have really gelled together and have found some success in the tag ranks.  They recently came close to taking the NWA Tag titles from La Rebelion twice but came up short whether from interference from the outside (Damian 666 spraying the mist) or a technicality like on the recent NWA POWERRR. They want redemption, and this may be the way they can ascend back up the top of the tag ranks.

15.  Max the Impaler and Judais, with Father James Mitchell

Remember a few paragraphs ago when I said Toxin and Arez were the weirdest tag team, and that Blunt Force Trauma were a monster duo?  Yeah, let’s put that on the back burner because these two combines both aspects.  With Mitchell guiding them at ringside, you know someone will be hurt coming out of the gate as they face The Priest of Punishment and The Non-Binary Nightmare.

(Author’s Note:  Now I know there are some “purists’ that will take issue with Max being in a men’s division after having mostly competed against the women of late.  You might go down a darker path with that idea.  So, for those of you who say Max doesn’t belong allow me to say two things:

  • It’s the 21st Century.  Walk upright and evolve.
  • You really wanna be the one to tell Max where they belong in professional wrestling? Good f***ing luck with that, Junebug.)

16.  Fodder and Flip Gordon

This one comes out of left field.  Gordon last entered The Crockett Cup back in 2019, and Fodder is still relatively new to the NWA, having recently been part of EC3’s Control Your Narrative.  Nonetheless, both men look to add something into the tournament with Gordon’s penchant for high flying and the Psycho Boy’s love of wanton violence, this is something that could have some legs.

17.  Sent 2 Slaughter (Dan Maff and Shawn Donovan)

Maff is no stranger to ROH and Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW) fans over the years, and the New Jersey native is making his way into The Crockett Cup alongside his journeymen partner Donovan.

They will face off against Fodder and Flip Gordon in the first round of the Cup and expect the match to be a brawl for all.  As for who wins?  It’s a toss-up but I’ll go with Fodder and Flip for the win to advance.

The Now (Vik Dalishus and Hale Collins)

Fan favorites of The Crockett Cup, Dalishus and Collins are looking to go farther this year than they did last time in The Cup.  However, in fairness, they faced off against The Briscoe Brothers in the first round and if you must lose to a tag team, that’s one where you can hold your head high.

They will face Max and Judais in the first round, and one can hope The Now won’t see another early end of their run in the tournament.

19.  The Spectaculars (Brady Pierce and Rush Freemen, with Rolando Freemen)

The Former Ill-Begotten member Rush (more on that later) has found a new life as he teamed up with Pierce.  With great smiles and bowties aplenty, it was only when Rush’s “big brother” Rolando came on board that fans have a new favorite tag team, a la The Fantastics.  While their tag team success is mixed of late, They hope to turn their fortunes around.  However, they’re seeded to face Magnum Muscle in the first round.  Unless Rolando becomes involved in some way, expect a quick exit in spectacular fashion.

Courtesy of the NWA.

T.N.T. (Terrell and Terence Hughes)

Some of you might not be familiar with this brother tag team. But they carry a special lineage heading into the Crockett Cup as they are of the sons of one Devon Hughes, a.k.a. D’Von Dudley, a multi-time tag team champion alongside his brother Buh Buh Ray (now Bully Ray) Dudley.

Oh, yes, my brothers!  Testify!!

*ahem* Sorry, couldn’t resist.

Now obviously the Hughes brothers have a long way to go in forging their own path, but they’re sure to make an impact heading into the tournament.  Their first test will be taking on The SVGs in the first round, and here hoping TNT doesn’t fizzle out quickly.

21.  Yabo and Ruffo The Clowns

Yabo made his debut during NWA 312, and I’ll admit my thing about clowns in the ring is lukewarm at best.  But now there’s Ruffo the Clown to join him.  I would like to say Doink the Clown is rolling over in his grave (whichever one that was), but I can appease myself knowing that they face The Fixers in the first round.  Be sure to say “Fixers Rule” as they send these clowns out of the tournament in the little car they came in.

22.  The Heat Seekers (Matt Sigmun and Eliot Russell)

Another favorite of the NWA is the team of Sigmun and Russell. Having once been at the top of the hill in the NWA as Tag Team Champions they still want to claim that top spot again since they never lost the titles in the first place.  Last year they were part of a Play-In Four-Way match that saw the Bad News Boyz claim the final seed of the Crockett Cup, so they missed out through no fault of their own.  They will face Toxin and Arez in the first round, so this is another pick ’em.  I would like to see The Heat Seekers go farther in the Crockett Cup, so I think they will advance.

23.  Brian Brock and “Magic” Jake Dumas, with CJ

Dumas has hit his stride in the NWA, and with CJ in his corner, he has been…yeah, maybe “magical” isn’t quite the word to use, but he has been very versatile since coming into the NWA.  Brian Brock is a new face, having primarily wrestled in the Florida scene.  Will these two pull off a trick and advance in the tournament?  If they manage to get past Kratos and Odinson, that will be a magic act worth seeing.

And that now leads to who will take the number 24 spot in the Crockett Cup. Initially, Kyle Davis announced three teams but recently on NWA’s website, there is mention of a fourth team.

The four vying for the coveted spot in The Crockett Cup will be:

Courtesy of the NWA.

Daisy Kill and Talos vs. The Miserably Faithful (Gaagz the Gymp and Sal the Pal) vs. Jeremiah Plunkett and Eric Jackson (with Danny Dealz) vs. The Outrunners (Truth Magnum and Turbo Floyd)

Since coming to the NWA, Kill and Talos have tried to stir up trouble at every turn, specifically towards Trevor Murdoch.  Gaagz and Sal are now free from the control of Father James Mitchell’s Miserably Faithful.  As for Plunkett and Jackson, the story goes that The Ill-Begotten is no longer a tag team because Dealz made a decision that cost the group.  Plunkett is now sans partner until Dealz made an offer that I guess he couldn’t refuse.  The Outrunners have mostly been keeping busy in Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) and this will be their first debut in The Crockett Cup.

Given that whoever wins will face Cyon and Clearwater in the first round, I predict that Kill and Talos will advance.  The simple reason is that they can channel The Power of Douchenozzlery™.

As for who’s taking the Cup this year?  Honestly, that’s anyone’s guess.  I incorrectly figured La Rebelion to take it last year, as I assumed The Briscoes wouldn’t make it into the final round due to AEW owner Tony Khan’s recent purchase of ROH.  Worst mistake I ever made.

I’m going to err on the side of caution and say that The Country Gentlemen have a good chance of winning the whole thing.  But stay tuned for more this week as we have upcoming interviews and more of what to expect from the double PPV.