World’s Cutest Tag Team EXPLODES! The End of an Era?

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Photo: Bar Wrestling

It’s been a buzz for weeks now, since Candice LeRae appeared in a dark match at last weeks NXT tapings in Atlanta and reports that she was in the final process of getting a WWE contract, that we were getting closer and closer to seeing Johnny Gargano‘s extremely talents indie superstar wife in an NXT ring. She was a standout in last summer’s Mae Young Classic and has been a huge part of the indie wrestling landscape for the past five years. A large part of that has been as one half of The World’s Cutest Tag Team, alongside Joey Ryan. But a recent poster for Ryan’s own Bar Wrestling event Bar 8: Happily Ever After seems to imply it’s a swan song for the duo, adding more weight to the rumours of LeRae’s impending WWE debut.

The name itself, Happily Ever After, implies the end of a fairy tale story, which is something that would be very fitting for such an iconic and necessary fairy tale story of The World’s Cutest Tag Team.

The duo was formed in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG) in May of 2014, when Joey Ryan, coming off a disappointing run the year before with Impact Wrestling, paired up with an up-and-coming Canadian indie wrestler who was making waves on the US indie circuit. They debuted at PWG Sold Our Souls For Rock N’ Roll on May 23, 2014 in a winning effort over Best Friends (Trent Barreta & Chuck Taylor). A month later, in only their second match as a team, they won the DREAMWAVE Tag Team titles in Illinois. While intergender wrestling was becoming a growing trend in the independents, having a male and female work side-by-side as an equal unit, taking on promotions best, was an inspiration – it was camp without being a novelty. Behind the sugary charms of Candice LeRae and the licorice swagger of Joey Ryan, there lay the foundations of two very solid wrestlers. The gimmick was just the lacquer on the blow pops.

Photo: PWG

But it was on July 26, 2014 that The World’s Cutest Tag Team entered wrestling lore forever. A determined WCTT challenged Matt & Nick Jackson, The Young Bucks, for their PWG World Tag Team titles at PWG ELEVEN. While not the international megastars they are now, the Young Bucks were still considered “the elite” of the indie tag team scene. That night the two teams embraced in a no-holds barred, no disqualification match that made Candice LeRae into an indie legend. Candice fell victim to a Superkick Party from the Young Bucks near the matches end, but the boots were “spiked” with thumb tacks. By the time the match was over, LeRae was a crimson mask and a red sweater. But alongside her partner Joey Ryan, she held up the PWG World Tag Team titles, ending the Bucks’ 3rd PWG Tag Team title reign at 560 days.

Photo: PWG

They would go on to defend those titles three times over 300 days, against The Inner City Machine Guns (Rich Swann & Ricochet), The Addiction (Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian), and F.I.S.T. (Chuck Taylor & Johnny Gargano).

They took their act on the road and across the water as well, wrestling in England against such teams as The London Riots (Rob Lynch & James Davis), The Hammerlock Wrecking Crew (Jimmy Havoc & Jon Ryan), Lucha Lee Ray (El Ligero & Kay Lee Ray), The Thrillers (Mark Haskins & Joel Redman) and The Dangerous Bastards (Dave Mastiff & Danny Garnell). They competed in Germany’s tough wXw, in Canada’s Smash Wrestling, Japan’s otherworldly DDT Pro, and all across the United States, facing some of the top up-and-coming tag teams and indie stars, many of whom you see in the WWE, Impact Wrestling or Ring of Honor today. They’ve influenced not only intergender wrestling, but tag team wrestling.

With Ryan’s newest promotion venture, Bar Wrestling, WCTT continued to set the bar (no pun intended) and continued to gain in popularity and expand on their legacy. At Bar Wrestling’s recent Christmas show, in a match with Dick Justice against HATE (Peter Avalon & Ray Rosas) and former WWE Superstar Swoggle, WCTT were aided by Macaulay Culkin in very Home Alone fashion, making mainstream media entertainment outlets.

Not just proving it in the ring, WCTT have also been strong advocates for women’s equality, in the ring and outside of it, within the wrestling industry and outside.

So while it’s exciting to see Candice LeRae move on to the next inevitable stage of her already magical career by going to work side by side with her husband Johnny Gargano in NXT, there’s a pain in the old heartstrings knowing that The World’s Cutest Tag Team is surely coming to it’s bitter end. But like any true fairytale, this one will live on forever, Happily Ever After.

Photo: Bar Wrestling

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