Restoring The Glory To The Tag Belts
August 17, 2006 by Chris Evans (UK)
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At the time of writing, the RAW tag belts are held by the Spirit Squad, and the SmackDown belts belong to London and Kendrick, with neither team really doing much as far as angles go. However, this can and should change relatively easily in the near future.
Much has been said about the WWE's abandonment of tag wrestling over the last couple of years, and I'm not here to bemoan it further. What I intend to do is outline a few scenarios that will immediately get the tag straps back into the public eye and up the card like they were in the Edge and Christian/Dudleys/Hardy Boyz days.
...Which leads me nicely to my first point. Jeff Hardy is coming back, and with brother Matt currently residing in a booking black hole (is he a cruiserweight, is he a midcarder, should he be further up or further down the schedule"), this is the perfect opportunity to inject life back into the tag division. Tag wrestling went to pieces during the Roster Split, and in my opinion that was the worst upshot of the Split. This would be one step to replacing missing parts of the puzzle on the SmackDown side of the equation.
SmackDown, plus the reunited Hardy Boyz, would then have 5 teams: London and Kendrick, The Pitbulls, The Mexicools and Scotty and Funaki. Now, whether these 5 would be enough to put on a proper rush for the belts is another matter - Scotty and Funaki I don't think would be up to the schedule, and The Mexicools seem to get injured fairly regularly and their gimmick sucks. However, Gymini are down in OVW and could be used, and I was highly impressed by the showing of Idol Stevens and Kasey James. Also add to this that Terkay and Burke will need an angle soon other than squash matches, so I wouldn't be surprised to see that happen with the current state of SmackDown's roster. This to me creates the perfect tag scenario - you need a face team (Hardy Boyz), a heel team (The Pitbulls), a high flying team (The Mexicools), a power team (Terkay and Burke or Gymini), a job team (Scotty and Funaki), and another team that will check multiple boxes, in this case London and Kendrick.
Focusing our attentions on RAW now, and Kane has just become the number one contender for the Intercontinental Championship, for which I have one word I've very rarely used when it comes to WWE booking: GENIUS. Absolute genius. Ignoring the tag situation for a second, this allows Carlito to continue his mini-feud with Edge with the chivalrous run-ins to the aid of Trish Stratus, which has been genuinely entertaining and allows Lita to get more in-ring time. This allows Shelton Benjamin new avenues as far as his future goes - more on that in a second. This gives Kane a much needed push, and will set up some interesting matches in the future. Back to the point at hand though:
If Nitro drops the belt to Kane (and for the benefit of this article, let's assume he will), MNM is ready to go when Mercury is back. With Shelton Benjamin off the IC belt hunt, that allows Charlie Haas (another wrestler in a booking black hole, seeing as the Viscera/Lilian Garcia angle appears to be over) to reform the World's Greatest Tag Team. Straight away, that's two already established teams ready to go, and it's two more than RAW had before. If you were to take DX out of the question as far as tag wrestling goes (which again for the purposes of this article, we will), that leaves RAW with 5 serviceable tag teams - The Spirit Squad, The Highlanders, Cade and Murdoch, MNM and The World's Greatest Tag Team. That to me seems plenty enough, and doesn't remove any of the involved parties from current angles.
However, there needs to be something else to make this work. The Umaga unbeaten streak will come to an end at some point, and Viscera is so deserving of a push it's untrue. Armando Alejandro Estrada makes for a brilliant ringside presence, and both men are seasoned tag wrestlers. See where I'm going with this" There's your power team, with a great manager to go along with it. Ladies and gentlemen, your: face team (The Highlanders), heel team (Cade and Murdoch), high flyers (MNM, I know that's stretching it a bit but bear with me), powerhouses (Umaga and Viscera), jobbers (Spirit Squad, and really, this is where they belong), and your team for all occasions, The World's Greatest Tag Team - they can go face or heel and they can fly.
Also a major part of the tag division is getting the main eventers involved when the division has evolved - we've seen it with the first iteration of DX, we've seen it with The Brothers of Destruction and we've seen it with The Rock and Sock Connection to name but three, and this time round should be no different. RAW has a team already built in to go in the form of DX, whereas SmackDown might require a bit more thought. My immediate thoughts, with Booker and Batista going at it and his angle currently not doing a whole lot, was Rey Mysterio plus one other - but who" Ladies and gentlemen, Chris Benoit. Yes, yes, he's injured, but remember that the main-event-team-dominating-the-division stage doesn't happen until the division is established. It gives Benoit an angle to go straight into, gives Mysterio a direction I feel he'd be more suited to than the World title, and both men have had long enough reigns to make their domination believable.
Remember in the three previous teams mentioned above, they've all been face teams, they've all had World/WWE title reigns each and the tag divisions have been better each time for their input, even if their reigns as tag champs don't last particularly long. In the case of DX it would also add to their current 'We're taking over RAW' shtick, and that can only be a good thing.
Now, whether any of this is plausible or not, I'll leave it to you. I personally can't see any problems with the scenarios I've displayed from a purely logistical side of things, but if there's any reasons why any of these can't happen, by all means respond to this article. Whether my proposed SmackDown realignment can or will happen with the current roster troubles it's having remains to be seen. Whether this will once again elevate the tag division(s) to the heady days of TLC, who can say. I sincerely hope you've enjoyed my first article here for OWW, and I hope you can all find the time to post some comments, good or bad.
by a href="mailto:[email protected]">Chris Evans (UK)
Rob O'Daniel wrote:
I think the reestablishment of the tag divisions comes at the expense of the Intercontinental and United States Championships, as proven by your plan of action, especially for the RAW side of things. Johnny Nitro and Shelton Benjamin would move to the Tag Division (with Joey Mercury and Charlie Haas) to form MNM and the World's Greatest Tag Team. This would leave only two men vying for the Intercontinental Championship in Carlito and Kane. Add in the fact that there really is only John Cena and Edge battling for the World title right now and singles seems a little thin.
Therefore, I feel that the first step to reforming the tag divisions is to abolish the Intercontinental and United States titles. They simply have never had that much heat behind them (even at formation) during the brand extension and continue to be virtually unwanted with at most three men in the divisions for the past year or so. Therefore, you could, as you say, move Shelton Benjamin and Johnny Nitro to the tag division.
Kane is a former World champion, he would be fine as an upper midcarder/main eventer. Carlito is the odd man out, but he could make his way up without the Intercontinental title as a crutch. After all, he's in a mini-feud with Edge right now. On the Smackdown side of things, William Regal and Finlay could reunite and make for a fine tag team, leaving only Bobby Lashley who might as well be a main eventer by this point anyways.
As for your team alignments, I dislike how you have the Spirit Squad as jobbers, especially when you have Umaga and Viscera getting a push. I personally am not a fan of either man, and feel that pushing them in the tag division would lend to rather sluggish matches especially against a top team like the Highlanders. I would push MNM and the World's Greatest Tag Team as the top teams on RAW in the beginning and then move on from there. Benjamin and Haas could turn face since they've been heel for so long its started to get stale if it already hasn't.
The Smackdown team alignment doesn't seem as friendly with two rookie teams, a legitimate jobber team like Scotty and Funaki, and a just returning (rather old) team like the Hardy Boys. I'm not exactly sure how refreshing they'd be, especially seeing how dull with age teams like the James Gang and the Dudleys have become over in TNA, but they'd help get over younger teams like the Pitbulls and London and Kendrick more. I like the overall idea.
Jonathan Preston wrote:
Good article!! The WWE has the potential to put out some really good tag teams. Especially considering that their competition is KILLING them in that area. The TNA tag teams are way greater than WWE right
now. They need to put Jeff and Matt Hardy back together. That's a
must. But I have to disagree with putting Umaga with Viscera.
I like Umaga as a singles wrestler. If anything they should bring back Rikishi and put them 2 together. Kind of like the new Headshrinkers.
That would be cool!! Viscera and Val Venis would be a good tag team, but the WWE never gave them a real opportunity to shine. But good article and I look forward to reading others!!
Jeff Skwierz wrote:
Pure genius. You should be working for the WWE. That is why so many of these newer superstars fail, because they get pushed to singles spotlight way too soon when having intial tag success is the way to go. I don't like Nitro as IC champ. I'm not an MNM fan either, but as far as tag teams go I have a lot of respect for them, and they are quite entertaining as a heel team. Benjamin/Haas, now that is something I would love to see again. I think Shelton has the stuff to be a WWE or World Heavyweight Champ as well, but for the time being, this exciting athletic team should reunite. Hardy Boyz is a no brainer. They need to be on the same show and doing the ladder matches of past. That alone will give a lot more focus and excitement here. I hope Turkay/Burke become a tag team, but that doesn't seem likely.
They'll probably make Turkay be the Undertaker's next big nemesis and I don't want to see that, because look at guys in the past, who took off for a few months in an Undertaker feud, then quickly disappeared and were gone. Personally, I liked the Snitsky/Goldust tag team. The two weirdos. I don't understand the point of bringing Goldust back if he was only in there for a few months and this tag team didn't get to accomplish much aside from one title match on RAW and being mostly on HEAT. But, back to the Tag Teams now, I would have to say Hacksaw Jim/Eugene is a formidable team that should stay together and get a title shot. It's perfect, because you have Eugene with one of his favorite legends, and well winning a tag team title with Hacksaw, well that would make the special one very happy. But great stuff, I think this division needs more focus and you can't push everyone to singles success, well not right off, but throw them in the tag division to make a name for themselves and then give them that individual push.
By the way, Kane getting that IC title push, is the greatest thing the WWE can do. Now hopefully John Cena could lose some steam and we could see guys like Triple H, Michaels, Flair, The Big Red Machine who deserve title shots getting those opportunities.
Charlie Eccles wrote:
Nice work my friend. You have a definite eye on what's going on in the WWE. One problem with your article I thought though, Nitro is doing an amazing job as a midcard heel. He has talent and his persona is something that suits his style. I wouldn't suggest bringing back Mercury to Raw, but it was a definite thought. I strongly disbalieve that their is someone out their who wants to see an MNM reunion. Definately a thought for the near future, but not right now. It might work well to have a dream match, placing the Hardy Boyz against DX in any kind of match. That's something that would bring in the viewers and restore the glory that once was the tag team division. Awsome job man, keep writing, you have a gift.
David Dayus wrote:
I thoroughly agree with the gist of the writer's article. Back in the "glory days" - ok back when I was a kid there were the Tag Teams.
The Bulldogs, the Hart Foundation even the stink up the ring Killer Bees.. but they were important and great. Who couldn't mark out to Demolition or the "Mega Powers" as tag team partners"" D-X the first time through, the NOW, the 4 horsemen, the mob that the rock took over who's name eludes me, the APA, the Dudleys, I hate to say it but I even enjoyed a Hardy boys, edge and Christian match once. Man there were a lot. The Steiners, there was Andre and was it big john stud under the Weasel's tutelage" Harlem Heat - if ever I was a mark for anything it was those guys. SO many of my many moments of loving the wrestling.
There was in my world a World Tag Team Title, a World Heavyweight Title belt, and then an intercontinental belt, a women's belt and some other belts like Euro, light heavyweight and heaven remembers what else.. all after the first four were for moving about in house show so people thought they'd seen something.
The Tag Teams have always been my favourite division. There's far more action than a one on one match, far more chances for outright cheating, they usually involve managers (another favourite thing) and foreign objects (my favourite favourite favourite thing in wrestling - William Regal's "The power of the Punch" stuff made me giggle.
There should be a World Championship, and an Intercontinental Championship and a Tag Team championship all of which float between Raw and Smackdown. The rest should basically be fillers to mark the 'number one contender' between the brands. This would be cool - you'd have the top stars from either side looking for THE titles, building a following for one of the other brand You've a white hot feud for the secondary titles 'cause that's the number one contendership. You have titles that will change hands less often 'cause they're only really up for grabs every month on PPVs and every 3 months if you're a staunch "X-brand" fan.
I would also have the opportunity for an 'inter brand' match on alternate shows alternate weeks so you can build old school "long term" jealousies not only between wrestlers but between whole BRANDS..
I think the ECW should be kept separate though.. that's a fun place that should be kept as such - almost a feeder league..
I'd like to be identified as "Eno the Wonderdog" should this be chosen for publication.
Paul McCarthy wrote:
Great article the titles havent looked good recently and i agree
with the facts about the teams but wouldn't it be great to give
the raw titles to D-X and involve them in the dx mcmahon feud
Kane deserves some sort of title run ( definately needs the mask back)
All in All good article
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