Remember When a Tag Team Was A Tag Team
March 18, 2005 by Phil T.
The year was 1987 and the WWF developed a match involving ten LEGITIMATE tag teams. At the inaugural Survivor Series in Richfield Ohio on Thanksgiving night, the WWF put together a classic Survivor Series elimination match with five LEGITIMATE tag teams on each side. When a partner was eliminated in any fashion his partner was eliminated as well. The winners of this historic match were the Killer Bees and The Young Stallions. Where am I going you ask" For all of you recent wrestling fans out there, there was a time in WWE history where such a match was possible. What has happened over the years to the WWE tag team divisions" Let us take a trip down memory lane. For you old school fans I hope you enjoy the trip of reliving both great and utterly shameless happenings in the WWE tag team divisions. For anyone who has been a fan in the last five years or less, you're just going to have to trust me.
In the 80's and early 90's the WWF put as much thought into a tag team championship match as a world heavyweight title match today. Who can ever forget the Hart Foundation vs. The British Bulldogs" These teams had a feud that lasted for months. That wasn't a typo. I said MONTHS not WEEKS. The WWF put so much time and effort into their storylines, a wrestling fan waited for their championship match as eagerly as they would a world heavyweight match. Another great feud back then was the Hart Foundation and Demolition. The storylines for this feud took place in 1990 and lasted from April, Wrestlemania 6, till August, Summerslam. Now back then I realize it went Wrestlemania and then Summerslam, whereas today there are four other PPV's sprinkled in between the two. Bottom line - when the Hart Foundation regained the tag team titles at Summerslam from Demolition it meant something. A tag team title match with an actual story behind it" Believe me there was such a time. The tag team title match was one of the most look-forward to matches on the card. All the months of build up led to a classic two out of three fall match that was a pleasure to watch. Today you're lucky if the tag team championship for either RAW or SmackDown! is announced a week prior to the next PPV and not just thrown in on heat as a bonus match. All I can do is shake my head and say over and over, "Why doesn't the WWE have any respect for their tag team division anymore"" They put more work into their storylines around the Women's Championship than their respective tag team Championships. Never in a million years could I have ever predicted that.
Let me take a moment to talk about the current tag team champions of the once great WWE. This will only take a second, trust me. RAW has Tajiri and Regal and Smackdown's top prize in the tag team division is currently held by Mysterio and Guerrero. Now I am a fan of all four of these superb wrestlers, but to put them together respectively because the WWE ran out of ideas for them is insane. But the WWE always wants to get the most out of every situation. So one day they said, "What the hell, lets put the tag belts on each team and see where it goes. It's a great idea right." WRONG!!!
Now a few wrestlers have had great careers going from singles to tag. The last great team I feel to have accomplished this was Edge and Christian. They were both well over as singles wrestlers, but when the WWE decided to take a chance and combine their talents, that chance paid off big time. One reason is that the WWE didn't have them win the tag belts 24 hours after their inception. They put some time and thought into the persona of Edge and Christian. This led to them being seven time tag team champions, but most of all it jumped the stock of the tag team division 100 points. As a team they could main event any Monday or Thursday night and deliver without question. Can any team in the WWE do that today, my thought, "NOT A CHANCE IN HELL." Can you picture a tag team title match as a main event on RAW or SmackDown! I can't. I'm not knocking the tag team superstars of the WWE, I am knocking the writers. The way the WWE has lost touch with the respective tag team divisions will boggle my mind till the day they get it right once again, if ever. A few weeks ago they put together Edge and Christian on RAW and the fans couldn't get enough. When the WWE decided to shake things up in 2001 by breaking up one of the most successful tag teams they have had in the last ten years I stood by and watched. Edge and Christian both went on to "decent" single's careers with both having IC title runs, but neither have ever come close to their popularity or success as they did as a tag team. Today both Edge and Christian's personas are stale to say the least. WWE please listen and give the fans what they want. If the WWE were ever to put them back together again I truly believe it would be as big as if the Mega-Powers, (Hogan & Savage), would have been if they reformed in the 90's. Edge and Christian were that important to the success of the WWE tag team division. If the WWE would rather have Christian team up with Tyson Tomko God help us all.
One other team that many may have probably forgotten or never even heard of I feel could have been a great success in the 90's. WWF decided to put two mid-card wrestlers together, as with Edge and Christian and see what happened. The team was Hercules and Paul Roma, together they were called, "Power and Glory" and managed by Slick. These two had okay singles careers and WWF decided to put the two together. I feel they had the talent to take the straps off the Hart Foundation, but the WWF opted for the Nasty Boys to upset the Harts and take the straps at Wrestlemania VII. For those who don't know the Nasty Boys were a team consisting of two fat, repulsive human beings who had as much wrestling skill as a newborn baby, but that's another column. Power and Glory had one of the best finishers I have ever seen from any tag team ever. Picture this, Hercules would put his opponent on the top turnbuckle and deliver a vicious superplex. Roma would be on the top rope turnbuckle fifteen feet away from Hercules, (turnbuckle next to Hercules not opposite or diagonally across.) As Hercules would be half way to the canvas delivering his superplex, Roma would already be fifteen feet in the air waiting to crash on the opponent with a Super Fly Splash. To say that this maneuver took precise timing is an understatement. A second too early or an inch off would result in one, two, or all three men being seriously hurt. The WWF had a great tag team in Power and Glory and flushed them right down the toilet.
The best part of the Monday night wars in the late 90's and early 21st century for me was one week seeing a RAW superstar on Nitro and then another week seeing a Nitro superstar on RAW. The WWE needs to go out and sign LEGITIMATE tag teams to their company. TNA, ROH, and other independent companies have great up and coming tag teams that the WWE could get just by snapping their fingers. First to come to mind is America's Most Wanted, the TNA world tag team champions. Picture watching RAW one night and out from the crowd, out of absolutely nowhere, AMW appears and beats the hell out of some team, ahh the good old days. America's Most Wanted, used in the right way and I do have to say again, "In the right way", would be a tremendous asset to the WWE.
I hope the day will come when tag team wrestling means something again in the WWE and not used as a way to fill TV time. Tag teams have become a huge joke in the WWE. Speaking of a joke here's one, having Tajiri and Regal as the RAW world tag team champions would be like having Trish Stratus lose the Women's Title to Gene Snitsky. Now that's a scary thought, but would it really surprise anyone the way the WWE is booking matches these days. I don't think so. Hope you enjoyed my perspective on the current state of the WWE tag team division. Feel free to drop me any comments.
by Phil T...
Sean Youins-Martin wrote:
Am I the only fan left who mourns the loss of the truly great tag team" In recent years we have been forced to put up with sub par tag teams (too many to list but Superheroes and La Resistance) or make shift Tag teams (any combination of Edge , Rey Misterio, Christ Benoit, Chris Jericho, Eddie Guerrero, Rob Van Dam or any one of half a dozen superstars that is treading water and wants a shot at a belt - any belt.).
Whatever happened to the truly great WWF/E tag teams such as The Hart Foundation, The British Bulldogs, Demolition, The Headshrinkers, the APA, The New Age Outlaws, E&C, The Hardy's and the Dudleys
Or great WCW teams like the Horsemen, the Midnight Express, The Freebirds, The Road Warrirors, The Steiners, Doom and the Samoan Swat team"
It seems like every major federation had a great tag team division but didn't develop new teams when the older ones left or split. I did hold out some hope for WCW when they introduced some good new times like Kronik, Palumbo and Stasiac, Jindrak & O'Haire and the Outsiders, and the WWF gave the Hardy's a push, brought us the New Age Outlaws, made E&C into a good team and let the Dudleys run wild but it didn't last. To this day one of my all time favourite matches is from Halloween Havoc 90 when the Nasty boys tried to take the US titles from the Steiners and we Had a fantastic but short brutal match. Personally I don't think there is any Finish that is better to watch than a signature tag finisher like the Elimination, The doomsday device, the heartbreaker, or any one of a dozen that the steiners Used to use.
Lucky for the Tag Team fans out there it looks like NWA;TNA is hoping to provide us with some truly great times. We already have AMW, The Naturals, 3LK, Team Canada and the Disciples of Destruction. I just hope that they continue the trend as Vince McMahon seems to genuinely dislike real Tag teams, he has either broken up or tampered with every decent team ever to pass through the WWE.
I remember when I first started watching wrestling in the mid 80's, every supercard Had 2 -3 decent tag matches on them and when the alternative was Radioactive Baldie (Hogan to everyone else) against someone without a hope of getting the world title away from him, then the Tag matches were infinitely more entertaining.
Occasionally a hybrid tag team of two superstars thrown together works (Chris Benoit & Chris Jericho, Austin and HHH, Foley and the Rock or Owen Hart with anyone) but On the whole you usually end up with two competing egos and it is normally a set up for an angle between the two down the line.
I know that most of the great teams are either too old now, retired or sadly have members that have passed away but there must be more people out there like : - Chris Harris & James Storm, Chase Stevens and Andy Douglas, the guys in 3LK and the Dudleys over In WWE that enjoy being a tag team and looking out for a partners interest as well as their own.
Who could honestly say that they would enjoy a card of purely singles and gimmick matches" I for one wouldn't pay my hard earned money to see one.
William Wentworth wrote:
I have been saying this same thing for years! Where has the tag teams gone" TNA most likely and even there the question is for how long. They broke up XXX for both single careers of Daniels and Skipper. 3 Live Crew is next so they can reform The New Age Outlaws. Tag teams in the 80's were awesome, with Strike Force, The British Bulldogs and Demolition in the WWF. In the NWA you had the Road Warriors (The greatest tag team of all time), The Rock-n-Roll Express and their hated rivals the Midnight Express. Of course you can't forget about Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard of The Four Horseman. This is when tag teams ruled, not like now when they throw two guys together and say "hey go after the tage belts." You had a tag team division, you could tell who the number 1 top contenders are and enjoy a really good fued for awhile. Now if you could name more than two tag teams in the WWE, I'd be impressed.
As much as I enjoyed and agree with your column, there is one team your forgetting. The Dudley Boys. Let's face it, these guys are the last of a dying breed. When their heels, they can be the most hated team on the planet (see ANY ECW dvd for verification) and when their faces, who doesn't enjoy seeing a 3D. But let's face it, it took a genius like Paul Heyman to make these guys the team they were in ECW. WWE has just watered down even them. WWE really needs to get it head examined.
--Dave Hanson wrote:
Finally, somebody else gives props to Power & Glory! I thought those guys were awesome, and I also agree that they had an awesome finisher. The Harts against Power & Glory instead of the Nasty Boys at WM7 could have been one of the best tag championship matches of all time--especially if they had done a best-of-three-falls match like the Harts vs. Demolition at Summerslam 1990. Hell, I'm still wondering why they never put the belts on the Rockers. A Rockers/Harts feud would have been both fantastic, and at the same time ominously foreshadowing of things to come from Shawn and Bret. I only saw the Rockers and the Hart Foundation fight each other once, and that was on some old random WWF compilation tape, and even then, the Fabulous Rougeaus (remember them") interfered, ruining the match. I think the WWE's main problem now is having two sets of tag belts. No way are there enough teams to justify both shows having a tag championship. And while La Resistance and the Bashams may not be the best tag teams ever, you have to at least respect that they act as a team and are designed as a team, and they aren't just two singles wrestlers thrown together. At least Power & Glory had a team name, and a team uniform.
Still though, I have hope; everything runs in cycles--in your article, you forget to mention that WWE had a huge lull in the tag team division before--remember when the tag team division pretty much just consisted of Owen Hart/Yokozuna and the Smoking Guns dropping the belts to each other over and over" Or the Men On A Mission/ Quebecers feud" Then along come the Hardyz, the Dudleys, and E & C to change all that (much respect to E & C, Christian is one of my favorite wrestlers right now, but you can't give them SOLE credit for beefing up the tag team division without mentioning the Hardyz and Dudleys). I will end my comments just by naming a bunch of great tag teams (in my opinion) that never get talked about anymore: Strike Force, The Bushwhackers (come on, they were fun!), The Powers of Pain (who in WWE's history had more raw power than the Barbarian"!), and Orient Express.
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