We are still in the big news period of the WWE year as WrestleMania season is finally wrapping up. That means WWE is going to be doing a lot of things as we enter what should be the start of the company’s new season. WWE is actually trying to do a few things differently and one of the last announcements has me rather interested, as it is something that took is LONG overdue.
Back around 2009 (the year isn’t important), WWE held its annual No Way Out/Elimination Chamber event. As usual, the show featured a pair of Elimination Chamber events, with one serving as the show’s main event. During the second of the two matches, Michael Cole said something to the effect of “when have you ever seen this kind of carnage?” Watching at home, I said out loud “about an hour and a half ago.”
One of the most common complaints about WWE is that there is too much. Too much of what? Everything pretty much. There are too many shows, too much content, too much talking, too much bad and too much….everything. This includes too many titles, as at the moment, if you count both World Titles, the main roster alone has thirteen championships. Throw in NXT and NXT UK and it’s TWENTY FIVE. That’s almost a Royal Rumble worth of champions in WWE today. That’s why an announcement on SmackDown was some great news.
Last week on SmackDown, Roman Reigns told the Usos to go to Monday Night Raw and bring him the Tag Team Titles. Reigns said that it is time to unify the titles, meaning that, at least in theory, we could be getting rid of two of these titles. Granted that’s the same thing that they said about the two World Titles, though there is nothing to suggest that one of the belts is going away.
How in the world did it take so long to do this? There have been two sets of men’s main roster Tag Team Titles since 2016 and there has been a grand total of no time when that has been necessary. WWE has not been a big time tag team promotion in about thirty years and there is nothing to suggest that they are doing it again anytime soon. There are a few good teams, but that doesn’t mean there are enough to support two pairs of Tag Team Titles.
Consider the current WWE roster. Here are the regular tag teams, and this would be including the bottom of the barrel teams who aren’t coming close to the titles anytime soon: the Usos, Los Lotharios, Sheamus/Ridge Holland/Butch, Viking Raiders, Jinder Mahal/Shanky, Gunther/Ludwig Kaiser, RKBro, Street Profits, Apollo Crews/Commander Azeez, Hurt Business, Alpha Academy, Edge/Damian Priest, Dolph Ziggler/Robert Roode. That’s hardly a who’s who of teams but somehow a lot of them are title contenders.
So counting a lot of stretching (Mahal/Shanky, Gunther/Kaiser, Crews/Azeez and Sheamus/Holland aren’t getting near the titles anytime soon), you have thirteen teams over two sets of titles. Back in 1987, the WWF had a ten team Survivor Series match and probably didn’t even include every team. That was for one set of titles, and being realistic, there are now twice as many belts to go around.
Other than for the sake of toys/merchandise and having another title match to throw on house shows, is there any reason to have multiple Tag Team Titles on the main roster? The answer to that would be a simple “of course not”, as the tag team divisions tend to max out at about three teams that matter, plus a few other teams who never come close to the titles no matter what they do. Being realistic, you have five teams to go after the titles. That’s not even enough for one set, and thankfully it seems that WWE is finally getting the hint that everyone else has known for the better part of ever.
As you have probably felt before, the whole issue is that the titles feel diluted. How much can I care about one team holding championships and being seen as the best when there is another Tag Team Title match being held later in the same show? That isn’t an idea that is going to work and it isn’t even unique to the tag team division.
Again, consider Elimination Chamber 2009 (the year actually does matter this time). After losing the WWE Title in the first Elimination Chamber match, Edge attacked Kofi Kingston and took his spot in the main event, where he won the World Heavyweight Championship mere hours after losing the other title. This was playing up Edge as the Ultimate Opportunist, but it wound up being more a shining example of how stupid the whole setup really was.
The World Title is supposed to be the top prize on any given show and everyone’s ultimate goal. That has made sense throughout wrestling history, but how much value does it have if someone can say “oh well, I’ll just win the other one”? If it’s a problem with the most prestigious title in the company that everyone wants, how bad is it going to be with far less important titles that have far fewer contenders?
That’s what makes this possible change (as I have almost no faith that they will stick with any change they might make) so refreshing. It isn’t often that WWE goes in the opposite (and in this case) right direction and it makes a lot of sense in this case. The tag division can’t support two sets of titles so tie the two halves together and let someone look like they’re actually above everyone else for once.
As a bonus, we should be in for a heck of a match. WWE has built up RKBro as one of the best things going in the company at the moment. They are the most popular act on Monday Night Raw and can have a good match against just about anyone. Save for that short Alpha Academy reign, they have held the titles for about eight months now and have been together for around a year. The Usos are an all time team and this could be a co-main event on just about any pay per view. When is the last time that was something that could be said about a Tag Team Title match?
For once, WWE has actually done something right and set up something that I want to see. That is a sign that they are on the right path and making an interesting story. RKBro vs. the Usos might not be a dream match, but it is absolutely a match that feels important and should be a heck of a fight. WWE has trouble making a World Title match and now they’re managing to make it work in one of their weakest divisions. Maybe they stumbled into some success but I’ll take what I can get, especially after spending so long with the two sets of titles making things into this much of a mess.
This is an area where WWE has had issues for a long time and it isn’t just the main roster tag division (see also: both sets of Women’s Tag Team Titles, two nights of WrestleMania, two Royal Rumbles in one night etc). It is rare enough to see WWE actually contracting one of their longstanding ideas and that is something so refreshing for a change. I know WWE loves the idea of everything being bigger and bigger, but it is nice to see them understanding that for once, less is more.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 60,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 6,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books.
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