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[2022-04-06-AEW Dynamite] FTR vs The Young Bucks

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At their worst, I find The Young Bucks overbearing, but when there’s a team like FTR to rein in their worst instincts, they’re capable of creating magic. That magic was on full display here. The early stages of the match are playful, with newly-minted babyfaces FTR mocking The Bucks. A hockey fight breaks out, with all four getting in the ring. The common theme early on is that FTR’s always one step ahead of The Bucks. That is until the brothers Jackson begin to isolate Cash Wheeler.

Everyone’s on their game here, but I especially want to single out Wheeler as the babyface in peril. He delivers right hands with vigor, sells his butt off when the time calls for it and milks the crowd reaction for all it’s worth. The Bucks, of course, are one of the most well-oiled machines in tag team wrestling, cutting Cash off at the pass by wearing him down with double-team maneuvers. Cash narrowly escapes the clutches of Matt Jackson and goes to tag in his partner, only for Dax Harwood to be superkicked off the apron. Oh, those dastardly Young Bucks. Wheeler finally makes the tag to Harwood, and the place comes unglued.

While things broke down a bit, they never lost the thread. Too often, I’ve seen lesser teams spill in and out of the ring without consequence. Without rules or structure, what makes a tag match any different than, say, a scramble match? Whenever someone entered the ring illegally, it always had a purpose. For example, The Bucks would cheat, only to get laid out by an FTR member running interference. It’s a small thing, but one so many tag matches get wrong. Another thing I see overdone is saves, which after a slew of near falls, begin to feel meaningless. This match had one save towards the end, once again maximizing the crowd’s reaction.

Nick goes for a moonsault off the apron but gets hits with a Brainbuster by Harwood. The Bucks rally and, in a bit of stolen valor, attempt the Big Rig on Wheeler. Matt and Nick go for every signature move they can think of, but it feels more out of desperation than “let’s see how many kickouts we can do.” Nick goes to grab one of the ROH titles and after a brief struggle with Harwood over it, hits Cash with the belt, but Dax makes the save.

The finish is delightful. Thinking they have the match won after a BTE Trigger, referee Rick Knox informs the Bucks that Cash’s foot was on the ropes. The Young Bucks attempt a Meltzer Driver, but Dax catches Nick with a Powerbomb. FTR gets some payback for earlier, hitting their own BTE Trigger and a Big Rig for the win.

This match is my ideal of what modern tag team wrestling should look like, a classic formula coupled with new wrinkles. The match shouldn’t have resonated with me as well as it did, as far as my issues with most tag matches go. But it did, and it’s great.

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