The Viking Raiders is an American professional wrestling tag team that comprises of Raymond Rowe (ring name Erik) and Hanson (ring name Ivar). They are currently signed to the WWE where they perform in the NXT brand, the company’s developmental territory. They are also the current NXT Tag-Team Champions.
They are best known for their wrestling in the Ring of Honor, being the former ROH World Tag Team Champions. Outside of Ring Of Honor, they have also worked for multiple independent promotions in the United Kingdom and United States, including Insane Championship Wrestling, Revolution Pro Wrestling, Progress Wrestling and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla. As a team under the name War Machine, Hanson and Rowe have also competed in Japan for Pro Wrestling Noah and New Japan Pro Wrestling, where they are former two-time IWGP Tag Team Champions.
The tag-team saw its genesis in 2014 at the Ring of Honor. The duo participated in the Top Prospect Tournament where they met each other in the finals. Hanson ended up defeating Rowe to win the tournament. Since then, they performed as a tag team under the name War Machine.
Ring Of Honor
On August 22, 2015, War Machine defeated Killer Elite Squad (Davey Boy Smith Jr. and Lance Archer) in a non-title match and afterwards challenged them to a match for their GHC Tag Team Championship, a title owned by the Japanese Pro Wrestling Noah promotion. War Machine received their title shot in Japan on September 19, but were defeated by the Killer Elite Squad. On December 18 at Final Battle, War Machine defeated The Kingdom (Matt Taven and Michael Bennett) to win the ROH World Tag Team Championship. They lost the title to The Addiction (Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian) on May 9, 2016, at War of the Worlds. In late 2016, War Machine took part in New Japan Pro Wrestling's 2016 World Tag League, where they finished with a record of four wins and three losses, failing to advance to the finals. Hanson and Rowe debuted for the United Kingdom based Revolution Pro Wrestling in January 2017, unsuccessfully challenging Joel Redman and Charlie Sterling for the Undisputed British Tag Team Championship.
New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW)
On April 9, 2017, at New Japan's Sakura Genesis 2017, War Machine defeated Tencozy (Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Satoshi Kojima) to win the IWGP Tag Team Championship. They lost the title to Guerrillas Of Destiny (Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa) on June 11 at Dominion 6.11 in Osaka-jo Hall, regaining it in a no disqualification match on July 1 at G1 Special in USA. They lost the title to Killer Elite Squad in a three-way match, also involving Guerrillas of Destiny, on September 24 at Destruction in Kobe. War Machine finished with ROH at Final Battle on December 15, 2017 and on December 16, 2017. They had their final matches with NJPW on January 4, 2018, at Wrestle Kingdom 12, and January 5, 2018 at New Year's Dash.
On January 16, 2018 Vince McMahon’s company, via WWE.com, announced that Rowe and Hanson had signed a contract with the company and would be reporting to the WWE Performance Center. Before NXT Takeover: New Orleans, during a TV taping, Rowe and Hanson made their debut, now under the name "War Raiders", interfering in a match between Heavy Machinery (Tucker Knight and Otis Dozovic) and Tino Sabbatelli and Riddick Moss, which made the matchup to end in a no contest result. The War Raiders won their first championship on January 26, 2019 at NXT TakeOver: Phoenix, during which they defeated The Undisputed ERA (Kyle O'Reilly & Roderick Strong) to become the NXT Tag Team Champions for the first time. This has marked their first championship reign since joining the WWE.
Since arriving at the WWE, their team name has been drawing much skepticism and mockery. They initially decided to change the team’s name from The War Raiders to The Viking Experience. However, they already decided to make another change to their name as they are being referred to as The Viking Raiders on wwe.com, without an official announcement.