WWE Tag Teams: Steps to Improving the WWE Tag Team Division
As of late, it seems the WWE Tag Team division is sliding slowly, but surely back into its old ways, after a briefly entertaining few months of resurgence.
The interesting thing about the predicament WWE finds itself in, in regards to tag teams is—it's not really their fault.
Granted, the Creative Team has not been doing themselves or the divisions any favors, but there have been instances where simple bad luck has played a role in the divisions' fall to life-support. Even more interesting is, it seems Creative is looking to perhaps remedy the situation.
WWE has had a problem with tag team stars getting injured in conjunction with the dissolution/supposed dissolution of other teams, and this has led to a tag title picture that becomes bleaker by the day.
Even with the introduction of the newest team to step up to the plate: Planet Funk (I don't know what Tensai and Brodus are calling themselves, but it's essentially a stable with two divas and two superstars, so for now, bear with me.)
So, taking into account where I think WWE is going, according to a couple of rumors and using a bit of creativity, I will establish a few steps to help remedy the tag division while not interfering with any "important" parts of the programing (or at least not doing much to them.)
Step 1: While Building Up Planet Funk, Find a Team to Step Up...and Lose
I hate to say it, but when Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow formed Rhode Scholars on the heels of the creation of Hell No, I commented that Rhodes and Sandow were meant to provide a challenge to Hell No.
They weren't really meant to hold the tag titles. Having Hell No lose to the first team that fought them would make the teaming pointless. In the end, it seems I was right. I find little joy in that.
Though, to be fair, WWE was actually going the correct route. For every Optimus Primal, you need a Megatron. Hell No had Rhode Scholars. Now WWE has to find a team to step up, and challenge Planet Funk, but ultimately lose. It pains me to say this, but I think the most obvious candidates would be 3MB.
The trio of Heath Slater, Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal has entertained me in their own way, and I honestly think that they could be tag team champions in the future. Now, is not that time, however.
The building up of 3MB wouldn't be far different than how WWE has gone about them for the most part: Wins over Team CoBro, The Usos, maybe even an upset over the NXT Tag Champions, before ultimately scoring the biggest win of their career over what I would expect to be the former WWE Tag Champions, Team Hell No—whether by hook or by crook.
This provides a team to challenge Planet Funk, and also does some good for 3MB as well. What would it say for Heath Slater to pick up a win over Daniel Bryan? Or Kane to tap out to Jinder Mahal.
When you throw in their gimmicks and the fact that Heath, Brodus, and to a lesser extent Jinder, and Tensai are all passable talkers, I expect a fun feud over the months, possibly starting at Extreme Rules and ending at maybe No Way Out, or perhaps even Money in The Bank.
Planet Funk would manage to hold their belts, and 3MB look like legit threats to be reckoned with later down the line. However, while building up 3MB to be the number one contenders, we need a team traveling in their wake.
To go back to my Transformers analogy, Optimus Prime and Megatron always battled head-on, but Starscream was usually performing dastardly deeds behind the scene.
Step Two: Building Up The Prime Time Players to potentially Take the Titles!
Meet the team that serves the role of Starscream in this analogy. While 3MB battle the champions, The Prime Time Players can easily copy these victories, and perhaps beat a couple of makeshift teams, calling out NXT teams in the process.
They could even work a similar angle to Beer Money Inc.'s "Off The Wagon Challenge," where they would wrestle teams with the pinned superstar being fired. (That's an interesting way to get heat on a team, as well as a way to trim the roster of anyone unwanted.)
Now, of course I'm aware a few people have heard that the WWE may have plans to split Young and Titus up, and give Titus a singles push. It's a shame, because I feel they've worked well together, but WWE may want to pounce on Titus's charisma, given he's not exactly a Spring chicken.
So how do we go about pushing a tag team if one-half is leaving the group? Well, we could always use a new face in the midcard.
I'm sure some of you are aware of a team that, before Young and Titus were calling for "Millions of Dollas," were calling for "Money, money (yeah, yeah.)" Of course I'm referring to Cryme Tyme, and while the team may no longer be around, one-half is currently working the undercard in JTG, who actually mentored Young for a time on NXT.
It could easily start out with JTG managing the group. (He's actually not a bad talker, and did a good job that one time with Tyson Kidd.) It could lead to JTG getting in his head, about how the bigger guys tend to get their heads swollen after a time, (referencing his failed partnership with Shad Gaspard,) and provoking Young, letting him know he needs to get Titus, before Titus gets him.
This leads to Titus getting a two-on-one beatdown before being ousted and replaced in the tag team by JTG. After a short feud (where we can have Young come out on top, with help from JTG to make the team look good, since Titus doesn't need to as of yet,) JTG and Young show that they can work well together, before stepping up to take the place of 3MB as challengers for Planet Funk.
Step 3: Follow Impact's Example, and Have a Contingency Plan
At one point last year, people were unsure of who would be defeating Bobby Roode for the Impact Heavyweight Championship between James Storm and Austin Aries.
Storm had the built-in storyline, but Aries was simply too good to ignore (he's The Greatest Man that Ever Lived, so that's not surprising), and eventually, he ended up dethroning Bobby Roode for the World Championship.
Again, WWE were actually on the right track. The top face team being pushed alongside Hell No was SinSterio, but even they had another team in their wake.
International Airstrike would often times team up with the masked high-flyers and even picked up a win at Survivor Series in a five-on-five elimination match, where Justin Gabriel got time comparable to that of Mysterio, and looked good in the ring. I have to think that Airstrike was being positioned to take over as the top face team once SinSterio and Hell No were split. Due to injury though, that won't be happening.
Still, the idea remains valid. Invoking my Transformers/Beast Wars reference once more, consider Planet Funk to be Optimus/Optimal, 3MB to be Megatron/...Megatron, The Prime Time Players to be Starscream/...Starscream, then there needs to be a Cheetor/Hotshot in this scenario.
(By the way, how confusing is this Transformers stuff anyway? There's like 20 different versions of everyone, and usually half of them have the same design, and when they don't have the same design they have the same name but are supposed to be different people! My head hurts.)
At this point, there are three options.
A. Team CoBro: Zack Ryder/Santino
B. Jimmy and Jey Uso
C. Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder: The Major Broskis
Honestly, I like all three teams, and I know a lot of people really want to see The Usos pushed but being that I'm a long time member of The Zack Pack, I gotta go with giving Z and C the nod.
The two reuniting would do a lot, considering Zack is already over; they're former WWE Tag Team Champions, and the reunion would make for a feel good moment for people, if Zack were to save Curt from a beatdown/help him win a match or vise-verse.
Step 4: With All the Players in Place, We Still Need Filler
This step basically lists where everyone stands. Basically, every team listed here would be used to put over The Major Broskis, Prime Time Players, Planet Funk, and 3MB.
Rhode Scholars: Perhaps they could join forces once more under the assumption that they may have ended things too soon, after Rhodes assisted Sandow in winning a match or the other way around. Though, they'll sadly have to be sacrificed for the greater good, but from this, I would have Cody eventually turn face, following a beatdown at the hands of Sandow.
Kofi Kingston and R-Truth: Truth has nothing to do; Kofi has nothing to do; they could take the time to actually name this team. (I like the name Hip-Hop Express.)
Primo and Epico
Mysterio and Sin Cara: At this point, they've become somewhat unreliable to be put in big situations and would be better served helping put over other teams, assuming they're healthy at this point.
San-Toshi: Santino does good work as a tag team guy, so having him and Yoshi Tatsu in a team wouldn't be a terrible idea.
Going back to the Prime Time Players, they could even challenge teams from the local cities (jobbers,) in segments similar to the fifteen minutes of fame one, done by John Morrison on ECW. (If you get pinned/submit, or can't pick up a victory in 15 minutes, you lose, and you can never come back. Ever.)
Step 5: Introduce the NXT Tag Team Division
WWE NXT Recently held a tournament to crown the first ever NXT Tag Team Champions. Sorry, but I'm not all that aware with the taping/viewing schedule for NXT so...SPOILER ALERT.
The team of Adrian Neville and Oliver Grey (collectively known as British Ambition) would win the tournament and the titles defeating 3MB, Kassius Ohno and Leo Kruger, and finally The Wyatt Family along the way.
Though they won, one has to remember there were eight teams in that tournament—only two of which are a part of the main roster—meaning there's untapped potential in the other teams and as such, should be examined and spoken of a bit more.
WWE has slowly been bringing people up to date on NXT and what it is. Though, this step may be a long time coming, as WWE doesn't even mention Big E. is the NXT Champion.
Until such time as Big E. walks out with the title or it's mentioned, I don't think we'll see much of the NXT Tag Champs. Still, there's teams such as The Wyatt Family, The Hollywood Express (though they were vacant from the tournament), Kruger and Kassius, and of course British Ambition.
The WWE has a wealth of talent to use as tag team stars in the developmental league. There's a reason they are there, I know. Still, one has to think that some of these men and women may be ready for the big time.
There is a lot more WWE can do, but these are simply the steps how I would rebuild the division.
Some people will have to be sacrificed for the greater good, but the needs of an entire division are worth the cost of having my personal favorite superstar (Cody Rhodes,) essentially be used as a jobber, along with other promising prospects like Sandow and The Usos.
Hopefully, injuries can be lessened, and WWE can actually get going with their plans without fear of "Can this superstar compete? How's he feeling?"
Thanks for the read, and hope you enjoyed.