Throughout the history of the wrestling business, tag team wrestling has always held a special place on the card. It served as a launching pad for legends of the future. At times it allowed for the fans to build excitement in superstars that would, under normal circumstances, not have the ability to be in the main event. It gave way to innovative move sets that defy imagination and that influence the stars of today.
Despite the historic contributions of some of the most amazing tag teams of all time, WWE has fallen on tough times as far as tag team wrestling is concerned. I would argue that Sheamus and Cesaro are a complete tag team and one that feels like a throwback to a time in the past when tag teams were a focal point of the show. Unfortunately, after the Bar, there aren’t many teams that are on their level. The New Day includes three members which has always been a strange circumstance. The Usos are fine but it is like watching one wrestler at all times since they have identical moves sets to go with their twin nature. There is an influx of teams like Gallows and Anderson, The Revival, the Authors of Pain, and maybe sAnity but none of those are in a position to challenge the Bar as a classic tag team feel.
WWE’s Mistreatment of Tag Team Wrestling
WWE management has long refused to support the tag team division the way it should. For years websites posted articles claiming that Stephanie McMahon was not a fan of tag team wrestling and that WWE was not placing a focus on teams as a whole. The lack of top tier teams is not a new issue. Today, WWE would have a tough time recreating the excitement of the first ever TLC match. That is on top of the fact that they have no teams that come anywhere close to the popularity of teams like the Road Warriors or even the Outsiders who could be relied upon to carry the main event spot on a given card. This is an indictment of the booking.
In the past, tag teams would spend an extended amount of time together on the road and spend a great deal of their time living almost as if they were family. They had chemistry in and out of the ring. Stories are talked about throughout the business about how the end of a team often was the result of wrestlers being fed up with each other after spending so much time on the road. The British Bulldogs, The Rockers, The Minnesota Wrecking Crew, and many others ended up at odds after years of being together all the time. Despite the negative outcome after those years, what did come of those pairings was incredible in ring performances. Many fans of 80s era wrestling reflect very highly on feuds like the Von Erichs vs the Freebirds, the Rock N Roll Express vs the Midnight Express, the Road Warriors vs the Four Horseman, or the British Bulldogs vs the Hart Foundation.
Those matches always saw incredible action and in ring talent that rivaled the world champion. They were used as an integral component in every show. Fans would be worked up into a frenzy at the first few notes of a team’s entrance music. There were many shows when you would see the Road Warriors close out the evening.
The Task of Creating a Team
Sometimes the team is created in a very organic way. Two talents looking to make it in the professional wrestling business are paired together as a promoter attempts to find a way to best use their skills on their show. Perhaps they are relatives who are looking to break in together. In yet another scenario, momentary programming needs create something no one could see coming as was the case with the formation of the Four Horsemen. These days, the WWE seems to do it in two ways. Either they book two talents together and give them a gimmick that, once on the main roster, gets buried by the creative team (Breezango anyone) or they sign an established team and try to capitalize on their previous success (War Machine). That is part of the issue. WWE has little in the way of an established formula for team formation. That has led to as many teams failing as being successful.
What do they have to do?
What WWE truly needs is to foster the division with both creative and expressive in ring action combined with the formation of new and organic teams who are willing to make a career of being tag team wrestlers. One of the things that fans find so endearing about the Hardys is their ability to reform as a team whenever the circumstances align. This is how WWE needs to address their teams. The Shield, the Bar, and the New Day could all be those teams but they need more.
With the enormous number of talents on the roster and the limited creativity in booking as of late, WWE should really capitalize on the popularity that tag team wrestling can bring to the show. If you have talent that you will never consider for a world or universal championship run then use their skills as a top flight tag team in much the same way they did with Sheamus and Cesaro. If you are never going to promote Finn Balor, Elias, Big Cass, the Miz, or a host of others to world championship status, give them a partner and allow them to add credibility and legitimacy to the tag team division.
As a die hard fan of tag team wrestling, I have thought about this at length. Here are five teams I think WWE should sign to a contract:
5) The Young Bucks
4) The Briscoe Brothers
3) The Guerrillas of Destiny
2) Veterans of War
1) The Killer Elite Squad
These are a few they should create:
3) Finn Balor and Neville
2) Sami Zayn and Dolph Ziggler
1) Elias and Baron Corbin
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