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The New Faces of Tag Team Wrestling: The Wolves

 By Gerry Strauss
In the 1980’s, pro wrestling had become a circus. Skill and athleticism had become overshadowed by crazy personalities, cartoons and action figures, and the concept of “entertainment” had seemingly distracted even the most skilled wrestlers from doing what they do best.
In the midst of the madness, a no-nonsense team emerged that provided a breath of fresh air to wrestling fans. Known as the British Bulldogs, Davey Boy Smith and The Dynamite Kid were athletically-superior, hard-hitting competitors  with an unmatched blend of power, speed and conditioning. All business once the bell rang, they were both old-school and innovative, mixing  “dungeon”-style  physicality with high-flying techniques learned in their travels throughout the world.  Nobody – then or afterwards -  could touch their skills, athleticism, or work ethic.
Until now.
IMG 6123In a sport where even the biggest stars can come from anywhere – football, basketball, reality TV – all Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards ever wanted to do was wrestle. Despite growing up in vastly different parts of the country – Richards hails from Washington state, while Edwards was born in Boston – both dedicated themselves to  their goals at a young age, and neither would accept failure as an option. Edward’s entire scholastic athletic career was dedicated to preparing for the pursuit of his dream, while Richard’s success in amateur wrestling and Muy Thai & Brazilian Jiu Jitzu training were done to give him an edge over his opponents in the squared circle.
The parallels continued as both young men embarked on their pro wrestling careers.  While Richards trained under the likes of hard-nosed legend Paul Orndorff, Edwards learned the ropes from the late “Killer” Kowalski – both of whom carried reputations as  “take-no-prisoners” competitors and teachers.  Edwards and Richards traveled around the country searching for opportunities to compete and learn for several years… a journey that eventually brought both to Japan.   After earning international reputations both here and abroad, their paths finally crossed in 2008, and a new team was born. Honing their chemistry for several years while dominating competition throughout the world, the Wolves began plotting their breakthrough to Impact Wrestling, and their arrival earlier this year was met with great anticipation from hardcore wrestling fans who were excited to see what these young warriors could do in a TNA ring.
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Meanwhile, When Robbie E and Jesse Godderz – the Bro-Mans  got their super-tan hands on the TNA Tag Team Titles, substance took a backseat to style. The champions were clearly more interested in taking selfies with the straps than actually defending them, and with DJ Z added to the mix,  it felt like the party might be going on for a long, long time – whether anyone liked it or not. Unfortunately for them, the Wolves have never been in a partying mood, and an instant rivalry emerged.  TNA had never seen, nor had The Bro-Mans ever  faced, a team that was so in-sync, so skilled in everything from martial arts to submissions, and so downright aggressive. For Robbie, Jesse and DJ Z, the party was clearly over… but for fans of exciting tag-team wrestling, the fun is just beginning.
At  Sacrifice, Richards and Edwards defeated the Bro-Mans and DJ Z  to win the Tag Team Championships for a second time. While their first brief reign ended in controversial fashion, Sunday’s victory was decisive and dominant, as the focused challengers plowed through all three opponents. On this night, the Wolves simply would not be denied. Now that they hold the gold, can anyone stop them?
Welcome to a new era in tag team wrestling. Welcome to The Wolves.