Oh You Didn’t Know? Tag Teams Better Call Somebody…
As I watch the current WWE product, I can’t help but to get discouraged about a few things. The growing insignificance of mid-card titles and storylines (i.e. the IC and US titles), heels NEVER seeming to get the clean win, and the over-abundance of comedic “filler” segments are a few of my issues, but NONE of these bother me as much as the persistent misuse of the tag team division.
Fans that just started watching wrestling in the last 8-10 years may not understand how VITALLY IMPORTANT tag teams are to the sports entertainment business. Many of the industry’s biggest names were launched into superstardom AFTER being in a successful tag team. Stars like Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold Steve Austin, JBL, Edge, Christian, Sting, Ultimate Warrior, Booker T, Bully Ray, and Jeff Hardy are prime examples of those who got to hone their craft in a tag team, THEN transition into main event singles competition.
One of the most interesting (and extremely beneficial) concepts of a tag team is the blending of multiple people’s gifts and talents into a unified force. You get one man’s strengths and weaknesses paired with another’s, and if this pairing is right, the weaknesses disappear and we just get to see each wrestlers’ strengths shine in the ring. Not every tag team has had the ability to work and create “singles competition” stars. Some tags like the Legion of Doom, Demolition, Powers of Pain, Too Cool, Gene and Ole Anderson, Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson, The Briscos, The Midnight Express, The Fabulous Freebirds, and the New Age Outlaws were NECESSARY to create stars.
Would Hawk or Animal have ever worked as singles competitors from the very start? Would Arn Anderson be a legend without his tag teams EVER existing? People like Brian Christopher (Grandmaster Sexay), Michael Hayes, and The Barbarian would NEVER have been household names without their tag team. Some stars had to even jump from tag team to tag team before FINALLY get paired up with the right person/people for them to REALLY matter. Take the New Age Outlaws for example. They are arguably the best tag team in the last 25 years, however both men struggled between undercard and lower mid-card status until they were put together. Once the magic started between the two, they had one of the most successful tag teams of ALL TIME.
The WWE desperately needs their younger talent to start growing up and connecting more with the fans. In my opinion, that’s been one of their biggest struggles in the last 10 years. If they want to start doing this more effectively, they simply need to rejuvenate the tag team division. It seems like they begin to do this once every 2 or 3 years, and then they kill it after 10-12 months by splitting up whatever teams they’ve thrown together. Most recently we saw this beginning after WrestleMania 28. Tags like Mysterio/Sin Cara, Team Hell No, and Team Rhodes Scholars were added to the mix with the other teams in the division (that nobody cared about).
Fast forward 10 months later and only 1 of those teams remain…the ones that have held the Tag Team Championships the entire 10 months, Team Hell No. A team of 2 well established singles stars that were seemingly thrown in the division to give it a big boost and establish new tag team stars…yet we see the result. The Usos, Primo and Epico, and the Prime Time Players are still all relegated to the company’s B, C, and D shows that air on Saturdays and online (unless they are going to job to Ryback on RAW). Team Rhodes Scholars and Mysterio/Sin Cara have both split back into mediocre singles runs or the injured list. However, the random pairing of Kane and Daniel Bryan, 2 former world champions put together via comedic chemistry, STILL have the tag team title belts and NEVER seem to defend them.
It’s frustrating. I had big hopes for Rhodes Scholars because both men are talented, but I only can see Cody Rhodes being a superstar IN a successful tag team like TRS. I still think that the tag division can and SHOULD be saved. Not only would it lead to the creation of future stars, it would save some of the current and talented mid-carders’ careers as well.
Only good things can come from a new, FULLY FOCUSED push for the tag team division. Here’s to hoping that happens sooner rather than later.