The Destruction of Tag Team Wrestling
September 5, 2005 by Jake Hamar
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Growing up as a kid and being blessed with cable television, I got to enjoy all of the major territories that were around in the mid-1980's. You had WWE on the USA Network. NWA on TBS. And World Class and AWA both on ESPN. More territories meant more tag team combinations. In some cases, a territories Tag-Team Championship meant as much as a singles title. The Road Warriors are a great example of a tag team being as popular as a singles competitor.
The WWE and NWA were the hotbeds of great tag team wrestling. In the NWA, you had The Rock and Roll Express, The Midnight Express, Arn Anderson / Tully Blanchard and The Road Warriors all putting on spectacular matches. In the WWE, it was just as hot. The British Bulldogs were doing moves that were at least ten years ahead of their time, and paving the way for guys such as Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, Owen Hart and Chris Jericho. The Bulldogs along with The Hart Foundation, The Killer Bees, The Rougeaus, The Rockers and Strike Force were making high flying moves look easy. Good continuity along with fluid movement made tag teams hot commodities in the business.
But now it seems the art of tag team wrestling is lost. A few years ago, the geniuses at WCW decided to put the tag team belts on Buff Bagwell and his mother Judy. While most casual wrestling fans would probably think this move was done primarily for comedic value, I
immediately saw that the organization had not seen the lineage of the tag team belts and had not realized how important they were or maybe they just didn't care. It is like the time they decided to throw the World Television Title in the trash and have Hacksaw Duggan wear it to keep up his pants. Total disrespect, and not to mention neglect for titles that meant so much over the course of fifty years.
When the Bagwells won the WCW World Tag Team titles, that confirmed the downward spiral of tag team wrestling. Sure, the WWE was having unbelievable matches with The Hardys, Dudley Boyz, and Edge / Christian, but after that, they too succumbed to the cancer of mediocrity in the tag team ranks. Now, that division is lead by The Hurricane and Rosey. Not to take anything away from Shane Helms. He is a tremendous performer and can put on great matches. But you can tell the live crowd is not into them. The only two teams that I see having a future in that company are MNM and The Heart Throbs. These teams could be what the Hardy Boyz or Edge and Christian were five years ago. They just need some seasoning under their belt, and they will be fine.
When it comes to NWA TNA, they could use some improvement as well, but their tag division is more relevant than WWE's is. They have a lot of guys backstage that could possibly teach the young talent what the definition of tag team really is. There needs to be an emphasis on the Tag Team Champions and the chase of their challengers. If you got that mixed in with interesting characters that the fans can really feel, then there's money to be made.
It's a scary situation where one of the most important ingredients of a good wrestling promotion could be on the verge of extinction. Eric Bischoff didn't see the value of tag teams in WCW. Their business went down the tubes. Vince and his writers in WWE obviously don't either. The live gates and cable ratings for WWE are not what they used to be. See a pattern" Maybe TNA will make tag team wrestling alive again in 2005.
by Jake Hamar ..
Jacob Kuhn wrote:
Well I have to say first that I am no longer a fan of tag team wrestling. Atlhough I have never been that huge of one to begin with. Tag team wrestling is the most routine of all wrestling. One babyface gets his butt kicked throughout the match, the other babyface eventually gets tagged in and beats up both heels (who up to that point dominated the match) and then one of two things happens: 1. Babyface gets a clean pin or 2. Heel cheats while ref's back is turned and wins.
This has not ALWAYS been the case, either, as some tag teams have put on awesome matches. The 80's will never be duplicated with the great tag teams such as Road Warriors, Midnight Express, Rock N Roll Express, Hart Foundation, Strike Force... amazingly I can go on and on. There seemed to be a decent resurgence in the late 90's and early 2000's with tandems such as the Hardy Boyz. But now, as usual, tag teams are in a lull.
But for someone who hates tag matches, I have to say I honestly like TNA's tag team division. One doesn't have to look any further than the classic match between XXX and AMW at Turning Point last year. Then, the Naturals have had the most impressive tag reign of the year 2005. It's one of the things that have drawn me to TNA as my favorite promotion.
WWE seems to be trying to revive the tag team division. As I have never run a wrestling promotion, I really don't know how difficult or easy this can be. Still, it seems WWE is more concerned about tag team characters than tag team wrestlers. Time will tell whether or not they can recover from their drought.
Possibly one of the issues might be that wrestlers prefer to shine on their own" Egos in wrestling are as bad if not worse than they ever have been. Perhaps guys don't like to feel watered down in tag teams.
I feel that tag team wrestling has become terrible. The days of LOD/Road Warriors (whatever u like to call them), Strike Force, Rockers, RnR Express, were great times for pro wrestling. Now today its just become horrible but I do like how NWA TNA paired up Sabu/Raven and Monty Brown/Kip James. The only improvment WWE made with their tag teams was by bringing in Animal and teamed him up with Heidenreich to make the "new LOD." Its an improvement since they brought back a legend to start up new tag teams. Hopefully Road Warrior Animals return and his reign as tag team champion with "new Road Warrior" Heidenreich finally gives us a new tag team to look forward too.
Christopher MR FN BALLS Gilmartin wrote:
I agree totally, the glory days are over Im afraid. We have Matt Hardy taking the money and running back to the WWE. (Who could blame him, bigger spotlight and more money. I would do the same thing) So a reunited Hardy Boys in TNA isn't gonna happen any time soon. The Dudleys are looking for the highest bidder so those damn Dudley's aren't gonna be back anytime soon. Christian has the peep show and well Edge, my mother always said "if you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all".
However we have the (Vince don't sue me) the new age outlaws in the wings at TNA, The Candido Cup is a wonderful tribute and lets hope we get a couple of great teams out of it. (Personially I thought Shark Boy and Abyss was a good pairing, James Mitchell could have turned him into JAWS! LOL) I hope this becomes an annual tribute.
We still are looking at AMW, The Naturals and Team Canada in TNA, There is also a bunch of single wrestlers that could be thrown into the mix. One name that stands out is Lance Hoyt. A big guy that has no mid-card belt to aim for and isn't ready to be pushed into the Heavyweight Title hunt.
Lets look at the Raw division, yea Hurricane and Rosey. I think the superhero angle has ran its course get serious damn it. Hey I just saw a team Im dubbing the V-Spots (get it g spot) Visera and Val Venus. Of course they won against the current Tag team jobbers The Heart Throbs.
How about this new team Lance (please don't call me Garrison) Cade and Trevor Murdock. Hey I made some "comments" about these two in a responce to an article and let me say Boys Im eating my words, damn that was impressive. Beating the world tag champs in your debut match on raw.
Im almost done, but this Trevor Murdoch, he was going as Trevor Rhodes for a while in some dark matches and on the indy circuit. Now he is going as a Murdoch, (Now that was a tag team Dick Murdoch and Dusty Rhodes The Texas Outlaws.) So if anyone is reading this article tell me is he related to either one of them" (yes I know he looks like a young Dick Murdoch)
In closing my friend, its a little dry right now but if we think about it, It looks more like a phoenix rising from the ashes once again.
Doug Twinn wrote:
I think we all have to agree that right now in the WWE both tag team divisions are dead , the biggest mistake the WWE made was making two tag team divisions instead of one , the only way they could have a chance right now at making the tag team divisions any good is to make one tag team division instead of two.
Nick Currier wrote:
I for one love tag matches i feel they are a welcome change from single matches and i would have to disagree that WWE tag divisions are not dieing with the introduction of Heidenriech(i think that's how it is spelled) and Road Warrior Animal, also Cade and Murdock I think WWE is trying to revive the tag division of anything
Theodore Williams wrote:
I feel that the WWE has great potential, I would like to see Dave Batista and Tyson Tomko team up, they can be a great team, I would also like to see La resistance team back up and feud with MNM, I mean after all MNM is Hollywood Models, and La Resistance can be fashion Models from Europe, The have great Potential I know the WWE will do it again, it's all a matter of time
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