FTR’s title victory was a moment fans were waiting to see

AEW, FTR (photo courtesy of AEW)
AEW, FTR (photo courtesy of AEW) /

FTR’s recent AEW World Tag Team Championship victory is a moment that fans had long waited for. 

The recent return of FTR (Dax Harwood, Cash Wheeler) to AEW was very much welcomed by fans. Since becoming one of AEW’s most popular acts in 2022, FTR has dominated tag team wrestling, holding three championships, and having many acclaimed matches.

Despite a great beginning, and an even greater middle, the end of 2022 for FTR was anything less than great as they had five consecutive losses including losing all three of their championships in a matter of weeks.

After they had lost their third title, FTR announced they would be taking time away from the ring to focus on their health and future. As their AEW contracts were expiring, many wondered about what they would do. Would they stay with AEW? Would they go back to WWE? Would they retire?

Redemption Story

Well, questions were somewhat answered when they made their return to AEW at the Revolution PPV in March, confronting The Gunns (Austin Gunn, Colten Gunn), who had just retained their AEW World Tag Team Championships. On the following March 8th episode of Dynamite, FTR stated their intentions of recapturing the AEW World Tag Team Championships. A week later FTR would confront The Gunns, seeking a title shot but was refused. The Gunns only accepted the match when Harwood proposed that if he and Wheeler lost, they would quit AEW.

The match took place in the main event of the April 5th episode of Dynamite, where FTR defeated The Gunns capturing the AEW World Tag Team Championships for the 2nd time. The victory was met with thunderous applause from the fans in attendance, reconfirming that fans had been waiting for FTR to recapture championship gold.

On the April 15th episode of Rampage, FTR announced they had re-signed with AEW for four more years, and after those four years, they will retire. They also proclaimed this chapter of their careers as their ‘redemption story’. They had it all, they lost it all and now they have climbed the mountain once again and are AEW World Tag Team Champions.

FTR has not only been able to win fans over with their in-ring skills but also with their genuine, heart-felt promos. Each time you hear them talk, you can tell it is coming from their hearts and it makes you want to root for them.

A look back at FTR’s 2022.

After a stellar year, FTR (Dax Harwood, Cash Wheeler), was the most dominant tag team in the world. They carried three sets of Championships, and at one point held all three at the same time.

FTR came into 2022 as the AAA Tag Team Champions. They won the ROH Tag Team Championships for the first time at Supercard of Honor XV in April 2022 by defeating the Briscoe Brothers (Jay Briscoe, Mark Briscoe) in what would be the first match in an epic trilogy.

In the following months, FTR would go on a tear, defeating any and all challengers. They were arguably the best tag team in the world, however, this would be put to the test at the AEW/NJPW Forbidden Door PPV on June 26th. In a winner takes all three-way tag team match, FTR defended their ROH World Tag Team Championships, and Great O-Khan & Jeff Cobb defended their IWGP World Tag Team Championships against one another and Roppongi Vice (Trent Baretta, Rocky Romero). FTR would emerge victorious, adding yet another championship to their hands.

Now, as good as their 2022 was and how dominant they were, the end of the year is when the downward spiral of losses began.

The third and final match against the Briscoe Brothers occurred at ROH Final Battle PPV, where they lost the ROH Tag Team Championships. FTR and the Briscoe Brothers produced one of the greatest wrestling trilogies of all time, which began at Supercard of Honor XV and ended at Final Battle. Days after losing the ROH Tag Team Championships, FTR lost to The Gunns on the December 21st episode of Dynamite. Seven days later, they unsuccessfully defended their AAA World Tag Team Championships losing to Dragon Lee and Dralistico at the AAA Noche De Campeones event. On January 4th, 2023 they lost their third and final title, the IWGP World Tag Team Championships, at Wrestle Kingdom 17 to Bishamon (Hirooki Goto and YOSHI-HASHI).

What is next for FTR?

Now that FTR are the new AEW World Tag Team Champions, what is next for them? There are many tag teams, in and out of AEW, for them to face, especially with inter-promotional events happening in the near future.

AEW has put much of its focus on the trio’s division, which came at the cost of its tag team division, which has taken a back seat in recent months. Since the beginning of AEW in 2019, tag team wrestling has been a focal point. It has produced some of the company’s greatest matches; however, in recent months, the quality has somewhat declined, which may result from the trios division as several tag teams transferred from tag teams to trios. Not all is lost in the tag team division, as the recent return and title victory from FTR is bound to restore some of its greatness.

While FTR is a tag team and the current Tag Team Champions, Harwood has publicly stated that he along with Wheeler would love to team up with CM Punk, if he ever returns to AEW, to form CMFTR and face off against The Elite (Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson, Nick Jackson). Harwood believes the match should occur at AEW’s recently announced ‘All In’ show at Wembley Stadium, London, in August. The real-life issues between Punk and The Elite have been well documented ever since the now infamous All Out media scrum from Punk in September of last year. Harwood has also spoken out about the issues he has had with the Young Bucks (Matt Jackson, Nick Jackson) in the past. While FTR and the Young Bucks have met twice in tag team action, producing two of the best tag team matches in AEW history, the two trios have never faced off and many would agree that it is one of the biggest matches AEW can produce at the moment. At the present moment, this match seems unlikely due to the backstage conflict, however, there is still a chance it could happen, and what a match it would be.

When FTR retires in four years, it will be a huge loss not only for tag team wrestling but for wrestling as a whole which is why each match and moment should be cherished.

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