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WRESTLING COLUMNS

R.I.P. Tag Team Wrestling
March 31, 2005 by Preston Dean


Reading these columns over the past few weeks I've seen and read all the columns about the state of tag team wrestling in the WWE. Lets face it, this is the first time that there isn't a tag team title match at WrestleMania. To be frank, this pisses me off. There are only three real teams in the WWE right now, and none of them are champions. One of those teams isn't even on TV. Those three teams are La Resistance, The Bashams, and The Dudley Boyz.

The WWE could have exciting, new tag teams if they wanted to, but their opinion of exciting and new are two upper mid-card wrestlers that they'll put together for a month or so, due to lack of creativity. Look at the tag team title history over the past few years. How many partners have guys like Kane, Booker T., RVD, Edge, and William Regal had, and how many times have they worn the belts. These are guys that are over enough, that they don't need to be competing for the tag teams titles. I mean, whatever happened to tag teams being of similar build, similar entrance, and similar age.

On RAW, you have Regal & Tajiri, Rosey & The Hurricane, La Resistance...and the occasional pairing of Tomko & Christian, Maven & Simon Dean, and big name guys like Benoit & Jericho. This is ridiculous. WWE should, first off, bring back the light-heavy weight title...Leaving Tajiri, The Hurricane, Maven, and Simon Dean some titles to go after. Where does this leave guys like Regal and Rosey, you ask" Upon Eugene's return you will have a decent tag team in Regal and Eugene. This may be a great way to keep Eugene over before he becomes a mere jobber. The next thing is to bring Jamal (Ekmo) back. Three minute warnings were entertaining, worked surprisingly well for two big men, and with a little help could've been the next big tag team on the show. From what I remember Jamal left on decent terms and is now working in Japan.

But that only leaves three teams on RAW. However, there are a dozen wrestlers currently in the developmental system that are, if not already, gearing to become tag team specialists. First off are the Shane Twins. They've been extremely popular in the indies, have experience in the big time, and are a solid TEAM. They would be perfect for RAW. Other teams that would most likely end up on RAW over SmackDown!, would be The Heartbreakers (Antonio Thomas & Romeo Roselli), The Outlawz (Mike Knox & Derrick Neikirk), and The Thrillseekers (TE3 winner Matt Cappotelli & OVW veteran Johnny Jeter). There you have it, a successful Tag Team Division for RAW.

But, What about SmackDown!" It has the The Bashams, returning Dudley Boyz, Hardcore Holly & Charlie Haas, and the occasional pairing of two-similar superstars. But they still need help in this division. The WWE will most likely bring in Tony Mamaluke full time, after a one night stand, to team with Nunzio and make them Tag Team competitors. This will leave room in the crowded Cruiser-Weight division. The next logical step is for Garrison Cade to return to SmackDown! and team with Mark Jindrak. Jindrak may be a phenomenal athlete, but he is a tag team specialist. These two guys worked a lot better together than Jindrak did with Luther Reigns, and I see this happening down the line. Next, Split up Holly and Haas. This is a Waste of talent for both men. As much as these guys are Tag Team competitors I see no future for them as a Tag Team. WWE can bring up MNM (Joey Matthews & Johnny Nitro) and The Toland Brothers. That, like SmackDown!, is a decent Tag Team Roster.

In conclusion I feel that Tag Team Wrestling in the WWE is dead. It felt good to see a tag team main event on Impact, last week. Something WWE hasn't had in god knows how long. For now the only thing that you can do is remember great teams like the Hart Foundation, British Bulldogs, The Steiners, The Nasty Boys and so on.

by Preston Dean ..


Luis Malave (pronounced Lou-is, Ma-la-vay) wrote:
Ah yes...tag team wrestling. I forgotten how great that division use to be. There were endless amounts of teams on the WWF roster at one point. Can anyone remember: The Hart Foundation, The Rockers, The Smoking Gunns, The Nasty Boys, The Natural Disasters, Demolition, The team of of Phillip LaFonz and Doug Furnas, The Body Donnas, The Godwins, and so, so much more"

But nowadays, as Preston said, there are too many teams being paired up just because the WWE creative teams can't figure out what to do with them. The WWE is basically killing tag team wrestling. The real teams they end up having, they end up splitting them up much sooner than they should have. There once was a great tag team called, "Team Angle ["The World's Self-Proclaimed Greatest Tag Team"]". What did they do with them" Well, they broke 'em up. Now, granted, Benjamin is doing quite alright over on RAW, but what happened with Haas" Oh yeah! That's right! They couldn't figure anything out with him, so they ended up putting him with Rico, and then Hardcore Holly. I am pretty sure WWE could have milked Los Guerreros for longer than they did, but I am not too unhappy about that, for Eddie and Chavo had did pretty well for a little bit. But wait! Isn't Eddie now tag teaming again because the WWE couldn't figure in which direction they wanted to go in with him"

If you haven't caught on yet, you should have. WWE is killing their bonafide tag teams to try and make them singles stars, even though they already have an abundant supply of singles they choose not to use and end up making them tag teams in themselves.

So yeah...I agree with Preston as much as this goes. WWE is killing my [former] favorite division. And it's just a sad, sad turn of events.
HirokishuKeita wrote:
If played right, Holly and Haas are a good tag team. Rather than breaking them apart, give them some spots with a mic and some runs for the tag titles. rey Rey/Eddie should break apart asap to let Eddie reclaim his deserved spot in the upper cards and let Rey Rey make something out of the cruiserweight division while teams like Haas/Holly, Bashams, and maybe even a Heidenreich/Snitsky team (after a draft") could be three of possibly five or six teams for the Smackdown brand.

Rosie and Hurricane is a good combination and should given more wins before they officially turn into jobbers while Tajiri should break away from Regal and team back up with Rhyno. While Regal and Eugene have a relationship because Regal was Eugene's "mentor," Tajiri and Rhyno could partner up because they were two loyal ECW competitors at one point in time. Maven and Simon could be broken apart, but if kept tgether they need to be given a better push. Maybe not necessarily wins, but decent spots on the card here and there. Those four tag teams have some of today's most recognizable, yet downsized superstars on it. Rather than having Chris Benoit and Jericho team up for the titles, let them compete for the World Heavyweight title while Chris Masters and possibly bring in Luther Reigns from Smackdown to help the two improve with their in ring skill.

And this time, don't break any of the teams up after three shows (Kidman/London have been going so well)
nathan jones wrote:
I agree. What happend to the Tag Team division" It use to be my favorite. The WWE has sooo many possible tag teams that it could be a great division once again. On RAW, they could have several teams made up already. First, break up Rosey and Hurricane. But dont bring Jamal back, but team Rosey up with another big man in Viscera. Some good possibilities are Orton/Batista, Rhyno/Tajiri, Edge/Christian, The Rockers (if they wanted another run), Gene Snitsky/Chris Masters, and hell, I could see a team of Benjamin/Richards vs. Maven/Venis. If WWE really wanted to make somthing interesting, have Mark Henry team up with Viscera and Rosey as a faction. On SmackDown!, you have guys like Mysterio and Guerrero teaming up"! No way that that will ever work. Here are some good possibilities for SD! Dupree/Jordan, Booker T/Jindrak, Heidenriech/Reigns, Suzuki/Funaki as the new Kaientai, and even Chavo/Carlito, and Ultimo Dragon/Rey Mysterio. RVD/Akio might not be too bad either. Heck, the same goes for Spike Dudley and Scotty 2 Hotty. As for guys on the Developmental Rosters, you have The Tolands, Matthews/Nitro, Rosseli/Thomas, Jeter/Cappotelli, Derrick Neikirk/Knox, and some other possibilities are Chris Cage/Aaron Stevens, Snuka Jr./Seven(Mordechai), and Puder/Kazarian wouldnt be too bad. And as for teams that could have been: Palumbo/A Train, Rikishi/Rosey, Noble/Sakoda or Akio, Steiner/Stamboli could have caught on, Test/Gunn would have been interesting, and even Rodney Mack/Nowinski was begining to catch on as was Mark Henry/Rodney Mack, and not to mention all of the tag teams on the indy roster. So there you have it, probably 100 possible tag teams the WWE can, should, and even could have had to bring the Tag Team Division to its former glory.
Bill Littlewood wrote:
It's not so much that tag team wrestling is bad, it's just right now they don't have many options to choose from. WWE chose to fire Palumbo and Stamboli after... key word is AFTER they sent Palumbo to Raw. WWE did a lot of stupid moves. Dudley Boys (Bubba, D-Von & Spike) could have feuded with the FBI (Nunzio, Johnny & Chuck) in an interesting twist being that Spike and Nunzio who are the smallest, were the ring leaders behind it.

On Raw you do have Rosey & Hurricane, Eugene & Regal, Tajiri & Rhyno, La Resistance, Simon & Maven and Christian & Tomko. That was just 3 months ago. Now half of those teams are either split or just being jobbed out to main event single stars who end up tagging cause Triple H (at the time) was busy working a program with a guy who isn't even ready to be in the spot light yet (aka Randy Orton).

Smackdown you had Dudley Boys, Bashams, FBI, Rico & Haas, Billy Gunn & Hardcore Holly, Kenzo & Dupree, Rey & RVD, Booker T & Eddie, Kidman & London and Rikishi & Scotty.... wow... none of those teams are around or even existing now!!! Except the Bashams, who weren't doing anything until they got with JBL's group.

Now the case can be brought up that it is because they are breaking up tag teams or that they are not using them right. Wrong!!!! The reason being why tag team wrestling isn't good is seriously because of the roster split.

In 2003 Smackdown had Team Angle, Los Guerrero's, APA, Bashams &, Kidman & Rey (part time)

In 2003 Raw had Dudley Boys, RVD & Kane, La Resistance, Batista & Flair, Storm & Regal and then 2004 had Booker T and RVD and Edge and Benoit.

Now if you had just one roster with the amount of tag teams that the WWE has, then it would make the tag team division exciting.

Remember 2000 and 2001"" Edge & Christian, Taker & Kane, Dudley Boyz, Hardy Boyz, Too Cool, Saturn & Malenko, X-Pac & Credible, Hardcore & Crash Holly, Kanyon & DDP, Jericho & Benoit, T & A, Roaddog & X-Pac etc.

In 2 years there, there was many tag teams. Some were just part time but still, the tag team division was hot. You had around 10 teams. Now with it being Raw and Smackdown you are lucky to get 5 solid teams on each show. Breaking up The World's Greatest Tag Team did suck huge, a lot of people were fans of them, but the reason why we were bothered by it more is because that is the last great team.

If they were on the same roster as La Resistance, Dudley Boyz, Bashams, FBI, RVD & Booker T, Batista & Flair and so on, then nobody would be bothered. The same way when the Hart Foundation or the Rockers broke up. Because we knew there was still 8 or so more teams to cheer or boo.

The roster split did wonders for the single stars at first. Having all of them on Raw now seems ridiculous but that's for another column. The roster split ended up doing lousy for the tag team division.

An interesting solution would have been to have the World, IC and Hardcore Title's on Raw and the WWE, Tag and Cruiser Title's on Smackdown. There would bemore flavour to choose from then the recycled crap we get now.
NPagHarrisonSJ wrote:
I was looking back on my video collection the other day and re-watched a huge 20-man tag. It was the first match of the Second Annual Survivor Series, 1988. There were five teams on each side, and the match contained 4 genuinely classic combinations: The Hart Foundation, Demolition, Bulldogs, Rockers. In addition there were also the Powers of Pain, The Brain Busters and The Young Stallions (of which, one half - Paul Roma - went on to become a team with Hercules as Power & Glory).

So whats the point I'm making" Obvious I think! Several great teams, and veterans such as Arn Anderson and Nikoli Volkoff and future stars such as Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart. And all at a time when there was only one version of the Tag Titles available. Yet the tag team scene never seemed over-crowded. Fresh matches were always available.

Had that match taken place a couple of years later, The Legion of Doom and the Nasty Boys could have participated, and made it a virtual who's who of tag-team wrestling. A few months still and there was Money Inc and The Natural Disasters.

So when did the WWE decide to stop making Combo's with a joint gimmick" Don't get me wrong, I found Booker T and Goldust's odd-ball team amusing, but that can't be repeated too often. Since the recent(ish) demise of The Worlds Greatest Tag Team, and Los Gurerros, there aren't any teams with the 'similar style' look. Thats a shame.

I'm not saying teams have to have the same tights or a team name begining with 'The'.

I know I haven't made any great point or, indeed, told many of you anything you don't already know. But teams can breed future stars, create exiting matches and (perhaps something the WWE would like) give fans a favourite established team that they want to get all available merchandise of!

Looking back over that match from 1988 - ahh, yesterday....
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