Tag Team Wrestling: Alive in some areas, Dead in Others

As a lot of us wrestling fans grew up watching wrestling, we’ve seen many tag teams come and go.  We’ve teams like Demolition, The Powers of Pain, The Hart Foundation, Strike Force, The Legion of Doom/Road Warriors, The Rockers, The Steiner Brothers and so on.  I wish I could say that tag team wrestling was still an appreciated art in pro wrestling in every company you look at. I’d like to say that, but it’s just not true.

When you look at the WWE and TNA and their tag team division, they’re both nowhere near what they used to be.  Over the last few years, anytime the WWE had a tag team that was decent, they sought out to split them up.  One of the earliest that I can remember that was decent as a team but reduced to mediocrity and split up was Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch. As a team, they were decent and slowly brought to mediocrity, well that and giving Murdoch a country singing gimmick, splitting the two up with a rivalry that lasted one week.   Soon they released the both of them, Murdoch ended up with a short lived stint in TNA and Cade ended up being added to one of the long list of wrestlers that have died at an early age.   The two most recent teams the WWE split up were Cryme Tyme (JTG and Shad Gaspard) who had a boring rivalry, Shad being shown the door and JTG reduced to a tackling dummy on Smackdown every week.  Then you have the Hart Dynasty. Just when there was finally something brewing with both those guys as a team and when it looked like there may have been a sign of hope, they split them up and give Tyson Kidd a heel turn and a bodyguard that got floored by Mark Henry and as for David Hart Smith, pushed to Superstars. Do I really need to span how bad that is, especially with WGN pulling the plug on that show?  You even had the Uso Brothers and they’re barely on TV anymore and when they are, they’re getting smashed by Great Khali and Mark Henry.  So now the only tag teams that are barely relevant in WWE are Santino & Koslov and the Corre.  And if you need further proof that the Tag Team division isn’t valued in the WWE, Take a look at their belts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last I checked, a championship belt should look like something prestigious and credible, not like something that you get out of one of those arcade machines with the claw that pick up prizes. And what’s with the Spartan helmets? Did the guys that make these belts at the WWE see the movie “300” one too many times?

Then you have TNA.  Here is what their belts look like:

So far nothing bad happening here.  Then you look at two of their top tag teams, The Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin)

 

 

and Beer Money (Robert Roode and “Cowboy” James Storm)

and once again, so far so good.  So if you have title belts that look credible and two promising tag teams in these two, what’s the problem?  How about the fact that all TNA has in their division is these two teams?  Yes they have teams like Ink Inc. but knowing TNA and the way they’re working lately, they’re aiming to split them up and then you have the Young Bucks, oops sorry, I mean Generation Me but they are getting lost in the mix with a flatlining X-Division.  What happened to the days where TNA had a promising tag team division? This was a company that had a rivalry between Triple X and America’s Most Wanted that lasted almost two years and ended in a Six Sides of Steel match that people still talk about.  They used to have a division where they had plenty of teams to choose from. You had teams like Triple X, America’s Most Wanted, The 3LK, The Naturals, LAX, Team Canada, Team 3-D and so on.  What’s happened in the last 5 years with TNA? They split up AMW, LAX, 3-D and it looked like they were hinting at that with the Machine Guns before Alex Shelley got hurt.  Does somebody need to hold Dixie Carter’s hand in order for her to actually run a wrestling company the right way?

Last we have the only wrestling company that recognizes tag team wrestling as an art form in Ring of Honor, complete with their current tag team champions in Chris Hero and Claudio Castagnoli, better known as the Kings of Wrestling.

They currently have held on to the tag team titles for nearly a year and have beaten just about everybody in the tag team roster for ROH Wrestling from the Briscoes to the Dark City Fight Club and others.  This brings me to the next point is that you at least have plenty of tag teams to choose from in this company. Teams like the Kings of Wrestling, The Briscoes, The Dark City Fight Club, The American Wolves and the World’s Greatest Tag Team (Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin). To add to that roster, you have two new teams on the rise in Kyle O’Reilly and Adam Cole as well as the All-Night Express (Rhett Titus and Kenny King). The most recent PPV that ROH had, they moved the world title match between Roderick Strong and Homicide down on the card and moved up to the main event The Briscoes vs. The World’s Greatest Tag Team.  If that isn’t showing how much confidence this company has in their tag team division, I don’t know what is.

It’s kinda funny how as much mainstream as TNA or WWE might get, they’re leaving crucial elements such as tag team wrestling and managers to some degree (that’s a topic for another blog) out in the backburner.  I guess that’s what happens when you lose your identity and go from pro wrestling to “sports entertainment.” They may shun or look down upon the indie leagues or other places like ROH, NWA or New Japan, but at least those places still believe in the words “pro wrestling,” both in singles and tag team competition. Instead of looking down on them, maybe ought to start paying attention so maybe these companies can remember where this business came from to begin with.

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