To Tag or Not to Tag
While watching the WWE now a days, it makes me think back to the days of old when I was just a child and how different wrestling was back then. Back in the day, you could hit someone with a chair to the side or top of their head, but not anymore. When I was younger you would see several different people use Pile Drivers as a finishing move, now only Taker and Kane are allowed to do that because they know how to do it safely. I even remember when you could NOT hit someone with a closed fist, you either chopped the chest or you hit them in the head with your forearm, now it seems everyone is throwing rights and lefts around the ring especially Big Show with his Knock-Out Punch finisher. The thing that has changed the most however and that I miss the most is a thriving large Tag Team division. Wait you say, doesn’t WWE have a Tag Team division. Well sure they do but let me ask you something, how many superstars that are popular now as singles performers had their start in a Tag Team? Lets list a few.
Triple H (DX), Shawn Michaels (DX, The Rockers), Christian (Edge and Christian, The Brood), Randy Orton (Evolution, Legacy), Cody Rhodes AKA Stardust (Legacy, Rhodes Scholars, the Brotherhood), Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose (all from the Shield), The Rock (Nation of Domination).
These people made a name for themselves first by being in popular face or heal tag teams. Now look at the current Tag Team Division, how many of them do you think will become prominent singles superstars? I would say Bray Wyatt but probably no one else.
I would also ask you to look at the number of Tag Teams we have right now compared to in the past. Who did we have in the 80’s? Lets see we had the Bolsheviks, Brain Busters, British Bulldogs, Beverly Brothers, and the Bushwakers (a personal favorite of mine.) We also had the Can-Am Connection, Colossal Connection and the Road Warrior wanna-be’s known as Demolition. There was the Dream Team, the Fabulous Rougeaus, the Hart Foundation and the Heavenly Bodies. We’re not done yet though! There was also the Heenan Family, the Islanders, the Killer Bees, Los Conquistadores, the Machines, the Mega Bucks, Mega Powers and Mega-Maniacs. The Million Dollar man had Money Inc, but there was also the Nasty Boys, Natural Disasters, the Orient Express, Power and Glory, Powers of Pain, Rhythem and Blues, Strike Force and the Young Stallions! The list seems to just go on and on and this was only in the WWE Promotion!
So who did the WWE have in the 90’s? Lets see there were the Allied Powers, The Bodydonnas (Yes I like many others had a huge crush on Sunny), The Executioners and the Godwins. The Samoans were around with the Head Shrinkers and then there was a huge team (weight wise) known as Men on a Mission and then we had the Million Dollar Corporation. Lets not forget The Smoking Gunns, Shawn Michaels and Kevin Nash, Tekno Team 2000 and Well Dunn and this was just those that were popular for a 2 year span, now lets look at the Attitude Era.
So for the rest of the 90’s we had the APA, DX, the Brood, the Corporation, the Corporate Ministry and the Disciples of Apocalypse. We also had the tag team of Edge and Christian, the Hardy Boyz, the Headbangers, the Dudley Boyz, the Holly Cousins, J.O.B Squad, Kai En Tai, the Kliq, Lo Down, Los Borcuas, Los Conquistadores, and the McMahon-Helmsley Faction. We also had the Mean Street Posse the Ministry of Darkness, the Nation of Domination and the New Age Outlaws. Hold on though there’s more we have the Oddities, the Power Trip, Pretty Mean Sisters, the Radicals, and the Right to Censor (who spoiled many a good character.) We’re in the home stretch now with the Rock ‘n’ Sock Connection, T&A, Team ECK, Too Cool, The Truth Commission, the Union, Vince’s Devils and finally X-Factor.
Even in the beginning of the new millennium, we saw a lot of various tag teams that had some staying power. Teams such as: the Alliance, Air Boom, Billy and Chuck, Brothers of Destruction, The Cabinet, the Colons, the Corre, Deuce ‘n Domino, the Heart Throbs, the Highlanders, Miz and Morrison and La Familia. We also had La Resistance, Cade and Murdoch, Los Guerreros (we miss you Eddie!), and the Mexicools. Lets not forget MNM, the Nexus, Rated- RKO, Rosey and the Hurricane, the Spirit Squad, the Straight Edge Society and 3-Minute Warning.
That last list had some more flash in the pan teams and some older teams as well. The problem is this list only goes up to about 5 years ago. I know not all of these teams were around at the same time but many of them did overlap and they were all good in one way or another. It was always very rare to see only one or two teams on top and the rest of them just really not make an impression. In the past five years the Tag Team division started to fail from what it was. Now my lists here are no where near complete for those years but take a look at them and remember how many of them became hugely successful to the fans even if they didn’t pick up the championship. There are so many good memories that have come from the Tag Team division, and yet year by year it keeps losing ground as the WWE starts to focus more and more on the muscle bound types for their singles division and let the tag teams fall to the wayside. I keep hearing that Triple H wants to bring the Tag Teams back to it’s past glory but I can honestly say I have yet to see any real proof of this. Lets take a quick look at who we have recently and who’s still around and what they were like.
Team Hell No- One of the worst matched teams ever with each of them saying that they were the Tag Team Champion in the single tense. It was so much fun to watch Daniel Bryan and Kane stare each other down and yell at each other “I am the Tag Team Champions!”, “No! I am the Tag Team Champions!” They were such an odd couple but they were a dominant Tag Team that no one could really beat. However I have to say were because even though they were great they are gone.
Prime Time Players- Titus O’Neil and Darren Young were another great Tag Team in their way. They were some great heels that almost held the tag titles. They tended to drive people crazy with how cocky they were and their little dance that they did as they sang over and over three simple words “Millions of Dollars”. This team looked good and had great chemistry, but then again they have been known to say they are best friends outside of wrestling. However the PTP is no longer around. Darren Young came out as being gay and they suddenly went from being heels to having overwhelming support from the fans. It didn’t make them any more successful though and so Titus turns on Darren and the team is no more. It’s a huge shame because this was another team that could have been great.
3MB- Where to even start with these 3. These guys are some of the worst cast people I have ever seen. I have seen all 3 of these guys wrestle in NXT and then in the FCW when it became the new NXT. All three of these wrestlers are very good in the ring, not sure if they are great but they are all very talented. Drew McIntyre was even known as “The Chosen One” before supposedly as the hand picked champion of Vince McMahon. So what happens when these three get together? They suck! That’s also putting it mildly. These three were used as the worst Jobbers in the industry losing to EVERYONE even a midget in a bull suit. I would have liked to see 3MB used properly but that won’t be happening anytime soon as two of the three members were just recently released from the WWE.
Tons of Funk- Take a fun loving Funkasaurous, a heavy tattooed man, two gorgeous black cheerleader/dancer types and put them together and you get Tons of Funk. Tons of funk was a fun team that like many other teams these days could have been great but just sat in the middle of the tag team card not really standing out but not really failing either. Fans loved them as they were two huge guys who got down and danced in the ring with two lovely ladies. These guys were fun to watch until the WWE brought Xavier Woods up to the main roster and made Brodus Clay feud with him. Woods could have joined Tons of Funk but instead they made Tons of Funk split up because of this feud, and then shortly thereafter, Brodus Clay got fired.
The Shield- A heel faction that ruled the ring for almost two years. The Shield were truly talented as a stable of three bad asses that did great whether they were in a one on one, a tag team, or a three man tag match. The Shield spent most of their time as heels but they were just about to start towards facedom when the WWE creative team strikes again with yet another unbelievable story line. As the Shield takes on and defeats the reformed Evolution in two separate Pay Per Views it seemed the Shield was on top of the world but then Seth Rollins the supposed architect of the Shield, the planner, the brains then turns on the Shield to back the losing team of Triple H and Randy Orton. So no longer will you see the Shield together as even Reigns and Ambrose have struck out on their own for the most part very swiftly since Rollins went rogue.
Los Matadores- Formerly known as Primo and Epico this tag team disappeared from the limelight for a while when they were doing OK. After a few months they came back looking to me like a pair of Gay Zorro wannabe’s. I have to admit I have enjoyed watching them but they aren’t getting the push that they really deserve. These two members of the Colon family have upped the ante with their moves since they were gone, however I think in the fans eyes they are being upstaged by the midget in the bull costume. I remember the night they debuted twitter was all a tweet about how awesome their entrance was and when I watched it I honestly had no idea what all the hype was about. While I would like to see these two get a good push I don’t think that will be happening soon since one of them is out with an injury and I doubt they will get the push they deserve when they get back.
Rybaxel- two people that are a better tag team than they are singles competitors. However considering what they did alone it’s not too hard to be better as a tag team because they were less than impressive alone. In all honesty Ryback was a good smash wrestler coming out and just having great short matches where he would decimate every wrestler he went against. Back in the day, the crowds would cheer him and chant “Feed Me More” every time he flexed his right arm. Then the WWE screwed his character like they do with so many others by turning a good wrestler into a heal with just one simple segment on the microphone against John Cena. Ever since Ryback went heel, his popularity and his in ring style have seemed to tank. Then take Curtis Axel, I think he has some good moves but then again with his pedigree he better have good moves. Unfortunately I also think he is bland as hell when using the moves and bland as hell on the Microphone. He certainly is NOT better than perfect, but he might be if he had spent some more time in the NXT. Put these two failing superstars together and what do you get, well a somewhat good tag team that has a name that makes you think there should be warning labels on them as they sound like the newest asthma medicine or allergy drug out there. Ryback needs to go back to being the smash em up hero again, because people want to cheer for him. However, until that happens he needs to be in a tag team like Rybaxel. In fact he is good enough in this team that he is starting to get the “Feed Me More” chant again and as such is obviously carrying this team.
Stardust and Goldust- This is a great team and I really hope that Cody is getting a better perspective on what his brother has been doing all these years and is enjoying it as much as his brother has. I have often heard that Goldust practically feels naked without his face painted and such, and I have also heard that Cody has never understood it. I am hoping that Cody is getting a new respect for this type of character. Many had speculated that there was a storyline being setup to have Cody and Goldust feud when Cody was starting to hit a large slump and losing a ton of matches for the team. Thankfully, it was just a way to get Cody to slip into his new guise as Stardust. To me Stardust is a WWE version of the Joker and is a great pairing to Goldust’s weirdness. I am loving the TV time they are getting together where Stardust seems to surprise even the odd Goldust. It seems Cody is really getting into the character and I hope to see a lot more of these two as they are a hell of a team. So please WWE don’t do your typical job of screwing up this team, leave them together and let them be the dominant force that they can be.
The Uso’s- When I say Uce you say O! The twin sons of Rikishi are certainly making their dad proud as the WWE Tag Team Champions. These two high flying Samoans have been making waves in the Tag Team division even before they became the champs and they have been awesome fighting champs. I love everything about these two from their awesome entrance war chant to their high flying style. They truly deserve to be where they are and even if they lose their titles I would say that they should stay within the top 3 tag teams, that is assuming WWE allows there to even be three full time tag teams.
The Wyatt Family- A dominant stable where the leader takes on all Singles Competitors and the two followers are a dominant Tag Team. Sometimes you get a 6 man tag match and those three become even more dangerous. They were the only stable or team to be able to go toe to toe with the Shield and believably hold their own against them. The Wyatts seem to be a steady stable if ever there was such a thing in the WWE and I hope to see great things from these monsters.
So as you can see, while there have been numerous Tag Teams in the past couple of years, most of them are now gone and of the few left you either have dominant tag teams or just plain losers. It used to be if you had a tag team you were one of the big dogs and everyone you ran with were the big dogs. Very rarely did you have a jobber Tag Team like 3MB was forced to be. I would love to see a return to the days of the Tag Teams that stayed together for several years instead of several months and where all of the teams were awesome instead of one or two good ones and the rest being jokes. I’d rather not see a team thrown together simply to get the belt to move somewhere else but to see actual established teams with real team names. That is what I think would be best for business!
Photos courtesy of:
Team Hell No- prowrestling.wikia.com
Prime Time Players- community.wwe.com
Los Matadores- onlineworldofwrestling.com
Stardust and Goldust-smarkoutmoment.com
Wyatt Family- villains.wikia.com
Tons of Funk- wwe.com
Tag Belt- allwwewrestlers.com/