Before AEW became prominent in 2019, many mainstream wrestling fans weren’t too familiar with the idea of Six Man Tag Team Championships. That just wasn’t something most casual fans grew up watching in WWE. The last major promotion to feature Six Man, or Trios, Tag Team Championships before AEW was WCW way back in 1991.
Since then, promotions like Ring Of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling have featured Six Man Championships, though they mostly flew under the radar with casual fans. Regardless, there have been some great Six Man Tag Team Champions over the years. Here are some of the most memorable ones and a few you might not remember.
10 The Fabulous Freebirds
We start the countdown off with one of the most iconic trios in wrestling history, The Fabulous Freebirds. Today, many fans might be familiar with Michael Hayes in his role as a WWE official. In the 80s though, Hayes, Buddy Roberts, and Terry Gordy were one of the hottest factions around. They would win championship gold all across the country.
This included five stints as WCCW Six Man Tag Team Champions. In 1991, a revamped version of The Freebirds would also capture the WCW Six Man Tag Team Championships. This version was made up of Hayes, Jimmy Garvin, and Badstreet, who was Brad Armstrong under a mask.
9 Junkyard Dog, Ricky Morton, & Tommy Rich
Admittedly, this is arguably one of the most random triads ever assembled. That’s part of the reason it was included in the countdown. Even the most avid wrestling fans likely don’t remember The Junkyard Dog, Rick Morton, and Tommy Rich’s short-lived alliance. It happened though. Furthermore, this group even captured gold together.
In 1991, WCW decided to revive the former NWA World Six-Man Tag Team Championships. Believe it or not, the inaugural champions were JYD, Morton, and Ol’ “Wildfire” himself. They’d hold on to the titles for a few months before dropping them to The Fabulous Freebirds in June 1991.
8 The Elite
You can’t call yourself “The Elite” in the wrestling business without collecting quite a bit of championship gold. Luckily, Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks never had an issue doing that. This trio is as elite as it gets in the wrestling business. The only reason they don’t find themselves higher on this list is because it should come as no surprise to any fans that this group held Six Man Championship gold.
In 2016, NJPW introduced the NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Team Championships. Omega and The Bucks would become the third team to hold those titles. They would win the championships on two occasions in 2016. The trio was also the inaugural AEW Trios Champions, though most current-day fans already knew that.
7 The Road Warriors & Dusty Rhodes
In 1991, WCW decided to revive the old NWA World Six-Man Tag Team Championships. The main difference between the two sets of titles, besides the name change was the level of competitors who held them. The original NWA versions of the championships were held by a lot more big-name stars than the subsequent version.
Probably the most star-studded trio to ever win the NWA World Six-Man Tag Team Championships were The Road Warriors and Dusty Rhodes. At the time, The Road Warriors were arguably the top tag team in all wrestling and Rhodes was a former World Champion and main event draw. They’d hold those titles twice, though their second reign ended controversially.
6 The Road Warriors & Genichiro Tenryu
After one peaceful reign as NWA World Six Man Tag Team Champions, The Road Warriors and Dusty Rhodes’ second reign would be cut short thanks to a betrayal. After nearly four months as champions, The Road Warriors would turn on Rhodes. This would cause the titles to be vacated.
Eventually, Road Warrior Animal would beat Rhodes and the Road Warriors would win possession of the titles and the right to name their new partner. They’d pick Japanese wrestling superstar, Genichiro Tenryu. Unfortunately, The Road Warriors and Tenryu’s reign would be very brief due to Tenryu’s pursuit of the Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship in All Japan Pro Wrestling.
5 Toru Yano & The Briscoes
During the mid-2010s, NJPW experienced a boom period, unlike anything the promotion had seen in quite a long time. This was largely due to the incredible depth of their roster at the time. The promotion’s working relationship with Ring Of Honor and other promotions gave them access to some incredibly talented performers. This included Mark and Jay Briscoe.
In 2016, The Briscoe Brothers linked up with NJPW stalwart, Toru Yano. At Wrestle Kingdom 10, the trio would become the inaugural NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Champions. Their initial reign would last a little over a month before they were dethroned by The Bullet Club. Their second reign would be even shorter lasting only three days before dropping the straps to The Elite.
4 Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii, & Hiroshi Tanahashi
There’s an old adage in wrestling, “The championship doesn’t make the performer. The performer makes the championship.” While that hasn’t always been the case, this super team of Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii, and Hiroshi Tanahashi, is certainly putting quite the shine on the NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Championships.
As of this writing, this trio is the current holder of NJPW’s Six Man titles. This might be the most star-studded team to ever hold the belts. Ishii is tough as nails and an incredible competitor. Moreover, Tanahashi and Okada are among the biggest Japanese wrestling stars ever. Their winning these titles only added more prestige to them.
3 The Young Bucks & Cody Rhodes
Today, Cody Rhodes is arguably the biggest babyface performer in all pro wrestling. Cody’s road to the top wasn’t a short one though. After leaving WWE in 2016, “The American Nightmare” rebuilt himself piece by piece. He would join The Bullet Club and form a close alliance with The Young Bucks. Their close-knit friendship would eventually result in the formation of AEW.
Inside the squared circle, the trio also accomplished quite a bit. All three men collected gold from just about every promotion they appeared in. This included winning the ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Championships. Perhaps one day, these three will be reunited and continue the dominance they displayed on the Indies and AEW.
2 The Hung Bucks
If we were ranking these teams solely on their names, this one would’ve been the top entry by a mile. Not many AEW fans are casual fans. Most AEW viewers are very familiar with “Hangman” Adam Page and The Young Bucks’ history together. However, their alliance is certainly worth revisiting. While all three men were tearing it up on the independent scene, Hangman would join Bullet Club and link up with The Bucks.
The association was fruitful for all three parties. Eventually, The Hung Bucks, as they would come to be known, would capture championship gold together. The trio would capture the ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Championships and hold them for nearly seven months before dropping them to SCU.
1 Rey Mysterio, Prince Puma, & Dragon Azteca Jr.
In 2014, AAA decided to try and expand into the United States. They did so by creating Lucha Underground. LU wasn’t exactly a promotion as much as it was a television show. Regardless, during its existence, Lucha Underground featured some incredible action, captivating storytelling, and even some surprising appearances. In 2015, it even featured the legendary Rey Mysterio.
Mysterio’s time in LU wouldn’t last too long but he sure made an impression while he was there. Arguably the highlight of Mysterio’s time in The Temple was winning the Lucha Underground Trios Championships alongside Dragon Azteca Jr. and Prince Puma. Their reign would only last a week which is why many fans might’ve missed it but it was awesome while it lasted.