The Viking Experience (War Raiders Machine WWE)

War Machine is one of the tag teams that have become popular in recent years. Hanson and Raymond Rowe are the individuals that make up War Machine. Like we have come to expect with changes to the WWE storyline, War Machine currently fights as The Viking Raiders, consisting of Erik (Rowe) and Ivar (Hanson). 

In addition to their WWE appearances, War Machine is also well-known in other wrestling promotions such as:

  • Ring of Honor (ROH)
  • Insane Championship Wrestling (ICW)
  • Progress Wrestling (Progress)
  • Pro Wrestling Noah (Noah)
  • New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW)
  • Revolution Pro Wrestling (RPW)
  • Pro Wrestling Guerilla (PWG)

They won the IWGP Tag Team Championship and during their time in NJPW and ROH, respectively. Their appearance in the WWE began on the NXT brand after signing a WWE contract in 2018. They were also one-time NXT Tag Team Champions before getting drafted to Raw as the Viking Raiders in April 2019. 

New Japan Pro Wrestling and Ring of Honor (2014 – 2018)

The meeting between Rowe and Hanson occurred during the Top Prospect Tournament, where they both entered as participants. After making it to the finals of the tournament, Rowe would suffer a defeat at Hanson’s hands. Their performance as the tag team, War Machine, began soon after this tournament. 

The opportunity to sign a contract with ROH came on April 11, 2014.  A win over Killer Elite Squad on August 22, 2015, would later grant them a shot at the GHC Tag Team Championship. The title match occurred the same year on September 19, and they suffered a defeat at the hands of the reigning champions. 

They would become the Ring of Honor World Tag Team Champions after a win over The Kingdom (Michael Bennett and Matt Taven) on December 18, 2015. At War of the Worlds on May 9, 2016, they lost the title to The Addiction (Frankie Kazarian and Christopher Daniels). They also failed to get to the finals at the New Japan Pro Wrestling’s 2016 World Tag League, in which they had four wins and three losses. 

On their debut for the Revolution Pro Wrestling based in the UK, they challenged Charlie Sterling and Joel Redman. This was for the Undisputed British Tag Team Championship in January 2017, which they lost. 

To clinch the IWGP Tag Team Championship title, they defeated Tencozy ( Satoshi Kojima and Hiroyoshi Tenzan) at the New Japan’s Sakura Genesis 2017. This took place on April 9, 2017, and they would later lose the title on June 11. Their loss came at the hands of Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa) at the Osaka-jo Hall during the Dominion 6.11 event.

This wasn’t the end, as they would later reclaim the title during the G1 Special in the USA on July 1 during a No Disqualification match. Following the same pattern, they lost the title in a three-way match at Destruction in Kobe involving Guerillas of Destiny and Killer Elite Squad, with the latter coming out on top.

The Final Battle event on December 15, 2017, was the last time War Machine participated in ROH promotions. On January 4, 2018, they would also participate in their last matches with NJPW. These were at the Wrestle Kingdom 12 and New Year’s Dash on January 4, 2018, and January 5, 2018. 

Appearances at WWE

NXT (2018 – 2019)

Rowe and Hanson arrived at the WWE Performance Center after signing a contract with the WWE on January 16, 2018. Their debut was an interference in a match between Riddick Moss and Tino Sabbatelli and Heavy Machinery (Tucker Knight and Otis Dozovic). Their interference led to a no-contest end to the match. 

Handing out defeats to teams such as Heavy Machinery and The Mighty over the weeks that followed, War Raiders went on a winning streak. They would later challenge The Undisputed Era (Roderick Strong and Kyle O’Reilly) for the NXT Tag Team Championship. They won the match due to a disqualification decision due to a steel char attack by Bobby Fish. This decision meant they didn’t get to win the Championship titles. 

They would later claim the title at NXT TakeOver: Pheonix. They were also a part of the NXT TakeOver: WarGames II main event, WarGames match, where they teamed up with Pete Dunne and Ricochet to take on The Undisputed Era. 

Their Championship title defense after NXT TakeOver: Pheonix was a success at NXT TakeOver: New York against superstars Aleister Black and Ricochet. 

Raw (2019 – Present) 

Debuting at WWE Raw, Rowe and Hanson took on the names Erik and Ivar of The Viking Experience. On social media, the name got negative reception from fans around the world. They would later change their name to The Viking Raiders while renaming their finisher The Viking Experience. 

At RAW, they defeated a team of Zack Ryder, Aleister Black, Ricochet, and Curt Hawkins after teaming up with The Revival. They would fight at a last NXT match after relinquishing their titles by accepting a challenge by Street Profits. An attack on Ivar by The Forgotten Sons would later end the match in a disqualification.

At Madison Square Garden, during the September 9, 2019 episode of RAW, they decided to save Cedric Alexander from The O.C. Their first time winning the Raw Tag Team Championship was on the October 14 episode in which they defeated Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode. Their first WWE loss as a team was in a tag team turmoil match at Crown Jewel. They lost in the last match against The O.C.

In a champions triple threat tag team match at Survivors Series, they defeated the Undisputed Era and The New Day. This win was the only victory for Raw at the event. NXT would later go on to win the event. 

Their title reign would end after 98 days after suffering a loss to Buddy Murphy and Seth Rollins on the January 20th episode of Raw. In a non-title match, they defeated The Street Profits, and this would lead to a feud that cut across several unique competitions. The “Anything You Can DO, We Can Do Better” series as it was dubbed included competitions like axe-throwing, bowling, basketball, decathlon, and golf. The series was a tie after a 3-3 result in the end. 

One of the notable running gags during the series was how the women in the competition chose to completely ignore Erik while flirting with Ivar. Although a match for the Raw Tag Team Titles was scheduled at Backlash, a backstage brawl between both teams stopped it from happening. 

There was also a need for both teams to work together in fending off an attack from Akira Tozawa and a motorcycle-riding gang of ninjas. After successfully fending off the attack, they resumed their brawl and only stopped after falling into a dumpster. 

Their shot at the Raw Tag Team Title finally came on the June 22 episode of Raw, which they ultimately lost. 

List of Accomplishments

Some of the notable accomplishments and championships won by the War Raiders/ Viking Raiders include: 

  • 1-time BCW (Brew City Wrestling) Tag Team Champions
  • 2-time IWGP Tag Team Champions
  • 1-time ROH World Tag Team Champions
  • 1-time VIP Tag Team Champions
  • 1-time WCPW Tag Team Champions
  • 1-time NXT Tag Team Champions
  • 1-time WWE Raw Tag Team Champions
  • Hanson and Rowe were ranked #108, and #97 on the Pro Wrestling Illustrated PWI 500 in 2016

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