I absolutely love tag team wrestling. When I begun watching wrestling in the early 90s, tag team wrestling was arguably at its peak. Teams like The Hart Foundation, and Legion of Doom were lighting it up in the WWF while over in WCW “Stunning” Steve Austin was forming a successful team with Brian Pillman as the Holywood Blondes.
It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when the big wrestling promotions lost interest in tag team wrestling but what can’t be argued is the lack of emphasis that both WWE and TNA place on their respective tag divisions.
By Craig Wilson – @CraigW4584
When the Monday Night Wars were in full flow during the late 80s, when some 20million people in the USA alone were watching wrestling every Monday night.
Now, the tag team division in the WWE consists of four teams: the champions The New Age Outlaws, fresh from winning the straps for the first time in over 15 years, two former champions Goldust and Cody Rhodes and Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns of The Shield and The Usos who have been there or thereabouts for a number of years now.
Of those four teams the end seems to be nigh for both The Shield and the Rhodes Brothers with feuds imminent meaning there are certainly slots to be filled in the WWE tag team title division. But are there those ready to fill in one of those blanks.
If rumours are to be true the division will be supplemented soon enough by the duo of Dolph Ziggler and The Miz with their shtick being that they are that frustrated at their lack of opportunities as singles guys that they are teaming together. Good angle, wrong guys.
When you add in Los Matadores – a team that’s short-lived lifespan expired a few months ago – there isn’t really all that much strength in-depth. There is of course the Wyatt Family but that appears to be a vehicle to get Bray Wyatt over and already the threesome appears above the tag team title picture.
For a while both The Real Americans (Jack Swagger and the now titled Cesaro) and The Prime Time Players looked set to be more than bit part players in the tag division but with Cesaro having moved onto bigger and better things with his place in the Elimination Chamber on Sunday night and the TPTPs have split up and are embarking on a feud amongst each other.
At times it almost seems like the WWE are only interested in having tag teams in order to create the ‘tag team fall out and feud with each other’ angle. It’s what is being teased with The Shield, what has happened with The Prime Time Players and what everyone is expecting to be the end result of Cody Rhodes teaming with his half-brother Goldust.
But what is the rationale for the WWE’s lack of interest in a healthy tag division? If the company are going to say that there is no money in tag team wrestling in the modern era then I would be more than happy to bow to their superior knowledge.
After all, who am I as just a fan to argue with the most successful wrestling company in history if they are to say that there’s more money to be made from singles wrestling. But I think there’s more to it. Maybe the company just don’t see the point in the hassle of throwing a tag team together and trying to get them over.
A look at what is essentially the WWE’s feeder division NXT shows a very limited interest in tag wrestling. Adrian Neville and Corey Graves had formed an interesting team but they too are now playing out the ‘tag team fall out and feud with each other’ angle.
As for the NXT tag champs, The Ascension, while they may be physically imposing their gimmick is dated and unlikely to successful translate from development territory to the main roster.
In my eyes it doesn’t take much to put a team together. Give them matching uniforms and a team name and you’re more than half way there. With the amount of superstars languishing with little to do the WWE aren’t lacking in superstars that can be put together.
Taking that team and getting them over with a series of wins on NXT before moving back up to the roster will have created a buzz and an interest in that team.
While I’ve only talked about WWE tag team wrestling here the same points apply, largely, to TNA. I’ve also wondered why TNA don’t bolster their tag ranks and put more focus on tag wrestling particularly as it would, create a dividing line between them and the WWE. Something that is long overdue.
Perhaps, though, we’ve seen the peak of tag wrestling in the WWE and that I should just get used to singles wrestling. Still, as a huge fan of tag team wrestling, I can but dream of rejuvenation of tag team wrestling.