The WWE has received a heavy amount of criticism for their treatment of their tag team division over recent years. There were times when the champions and their belts were rarely seen, rarely booked and even changed hands at house shows.
Since the odd duo of Kane and Daniel Bryan picked up the titles from R-Truth and Kofi Kingston, and became “Team Hell No,” the division has seen a rebirth of attention in its booking and prominence, including a whole episode of SmackDown centered on the division.
What the critics have been ridiculing the WWE for has seemingly been fixed. In the buildup to this year’s Hell in a Cell, an eight-team, month-long tournament took place to determine the new No. 1 contenders. A few months ago, it would have been difficult to name a mere four legitimate tag teams.
But that’s exactly the problem, because there still really isn’t many legitimate tag teams. Teams who have been together for years such as the Usos or Primo and Epico were promptly eliminated from the tournament in favor of toss-together teams like Zack Ryder and Santino Marella, or Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara.
Regardless of the “Rhodes Scholars” (Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow) being a shoo-in from the outset, due to their history with Team Hell No, it was great to see the division receive a whole tournament, and to see more of wrestlers such as Tyson Kidd.
However, is what we’ve seen in this tournament truly the fine and distinct art of tag-team wrestling, or merely singles wrestling with tagging?
Teams with legitimate chemistry and a specialization in tag wrestling, like the Usos or Primo and Epico, were eliminated in the first round. The Ascension, arguably WWE’s best tag team, remained relegated to NXT and absent from the tournament entirely.
Even the champions themselves are a mere toss-together team, and despite their amusing and entertaining antics, are they truly bringing focus back to tag wrestling, or are they burying those teams like the Usos?
The WWE has done well using Team Hell No to bring the division back to relevance, and then to prominence, but now the step needs to be made toward building up the legitimate teams, and not merely tossing together wrestlers. WWE needs to make the Usos a household name, like The Hardy Boyz or the Dudley Boyz, instead of putting together individually established names like Daniel Bryan and Kane.
In the end, we should just be thankful that the spotlight is back on the tag-team division for the first time in years, regardless of who is in that spotlight.