Everyone and their mother on the Bleacher Report have talked about the death of tag team wrestling and why and when it died.
Every time I see one of these articles I feel that the writer has left something out or over looked a few reasons. Sometimes I comment on these articles adding factors and reasons for tag team wrestling’s decline, but today I am here to really set the record straight and throw my opinions out there.
I would like to repeat that these are solely my opinions and my views and yours may be different.
I, however, do not think tag team wrestling has lost all relevance in today’s world of pro wrestling. At least not yet anyways.
A tag team match is a gimmick match.
Whether you think it is or not, it is a gimmick match. It is a gimmick match like a ladder match or a cage match is. It is such a good gimmick match that it spawned its own division and championships. However, like all gimmick matches, they can be misused and poorly booked and have been.
Which pro wrestling promotion has the best tag team division?
The fact that tag team matches are never booked high on a show or event's card is a contributing factor to the "misuse" I am talking about.
An up and coming wrestler will start out low on the card, but he will continue to rise on the card if he improves and someday may be in the main event, but a tag team will never be able to work their way up the card collectively.
They can be the greatest tag team in wrestling history, but 7 out of 10 promoters will still put a tag team match on the lower half of the card.
This is an effect which is caused by the next factor that is contributing to the death of tag team wrestling.
The misuse and poor booking of the tag team match is only a very small reason the division is in such a horrible state. The misuse and poor booking is an effect of the fact that every wrestler wants to be the next big wrestling superstar.
That is right; the biggest factor leading to the death of tag teams is that every pro wrestler is out for themselves.
It is Social Darwinism at its finest. Social Darwinism is basically the idea that the most capable person succeeds and the ones who are not capable do not succeed or survive. It is basically another way of saying survival of the fittest.
Every pro wrestler wants to try and be the biggest star in the promotion they perform for, and they don't think they can achieve that if they are part of a team or a group of people.
Why is this so?
A big reason is that because the highest paid individuals on the roster are the people who hold World Championships or guys who have had long successful singles careers.
This is largely the WWE’s fault. The guys at the WWE have always put a huge emphasis on single’s wrestling which has made it hard for tag teams to find any success elsewhere.
As a result of this idea, many tag teams end up disbanding and the two members end up going their separate ways. Some achieve greatness and others do not.
Shawn Michaels turned on Marty Jannetty and HBK went on to become what many consider to be the greatest pro wrestler of all time. However, this pattern is being repeated far too often without the same results that Michaels got.
Almost all tag teams break up so that both members can try and achieve success on their own and someday fulfill their dream of becoming a World Champion.
See, the Tag Team Championships are supposed to be the tag team equivalent to a World Heavyweight Championship. However, this has never really been the case as most promotions in North America only have a hand full of tag teams in their promotion at any one time.
The last time any tag team has reached the status of tag team “legends” was back in the early 2000s when the three teams of the Hardy Boyz, the Dudley Boys, and Edge and Christian revolutionized ladder matches. This was also the last time the WWE had any sort of entertaining tag team division.
It seems like the WWE does not know how to make a team of individuals who want to work together to achieve a common goal.
It is almost like they don’t understand the concept of teamwork and don’t think the fans will buy it even if they tried to do so.
The writers must think we always expect team members to turn on each other now. This is why we will never see another legendary tag team in the WWE.
The guys who write for the WWE never give anything any time to develop. Successful tag teams take years to make. They do not understand that anymore. They try and rush everything and if it isn’t working within a few weeks then they get rid of it. They have been doing the same thing with their World Championships.
There are tons of legendary tag teams who have made a huge impact on their industry and they will never be forgotten.
The impact of tag teams like the Fabulous Freebirds, the Hart Foundation, Road Warriors, the British Bulldogs, the Rock 'N' Roll Express, and many more will be felt forever, but it took these teams a long time to build their legacy.
Time the WWE will never want to spend on developing successful teams. When will be the next time a tag team has the chance to make an impact like these teams made? In the WWE? Most likely never.
Vince McMahon does not seem to know what to do with his tag team division anymore.
He only knows how to make odd pairings of singles competitors that aren’t doing anything else like Matt Hardy and MVP, or The Miz and The Big Show. I like to call this the “Two Man Power Trip Effect.”
The last time they had a successful tag team was when John Morrison and The Miz became tag team partners and afterwards Morrison admitted neither one enjoyed being a part of the team. That is another example of every up and comer being more interested in becoming the World Heavyweight Champion.
You can’t blame them though because that is where the big money is. So the fault once again belongs to the promoters. In this case the WWE. Who would have guessed?
TNA has had much better luck in recent years. I consider America’s Most Wanted as the greatest tag team of the 21st Century.
They have also had great teams like Triple X, Team Canada, Latin American Xchange, Beer Money, Motor City Machine Guns, and the lone exception to this entire article, Team 3D.
So maybe TNA has been doing an okay job, but lately we have seen the breakup of LAX and I thought we were seeing the breakup of Team 3D, but I guess they will remain a team.
I find it funny that TNA has been screwing up almost everything yet they still manage to have better tag team matches than the WWE.
So I could go on and on about this but I think I got across most of the major points I wanted to talk about.
So before I wrap up this article let us review the main reasons for the impending death of tag team wrestling:
1. Misuse/Poor booking
2. Social Darwinism amongst performers
3. The only truly financially successful wrestlers are singles performers
4. Promoters don’t put any effort into making a tag team division.
5. Promoters Inability to invest time into developing a team
6. The "Two Man Power Trip Effect"
So there you have it. These are all of the major factors that I see contributing to the inevitable death of tag team wrestling.
While most of these solely apply to the WWE, I see similar things going on in TNA and I am not an authority on ROH so I’m not sure how the tag team division is there. However, I have heard many good things about the American Wolves and the Briscoe Brothers.
So maybe ROH is an exception to this article, but WWE and, to a lesser extent, TNA are both guilty to contributing to the demise of one of the greatest gimmick matches of all time.
I have very little faith that the WWE will ever have a legitimate tag team division again, but TNA clearly is not afraid to put time into building teams so I would say TNA is in a position where it could go downhill or they could redeem themselves.
Anyways thank you all for reading and be sure to leave a comment with your thoughts on this very debated topic. Check out some of my old work that you might not have read before!! : A Man Who Deserves Your Respect: "The Hardcore Icon" Terry Funk (originally posted on August 15, 2009) WWE: People Do Not Understand You; Therefore They Hate You (originally posted on June 28, 2009) FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER!: http://twitter.com/RossRutherford
Anyways thank you all for reading and be sure to leave a comment with your thoughts on this very debated topic.
Check out some of my old work that you might not have read before!! :
A Man Who Deserves Your Respect: "The Hardcore Icon" Terry Funk (originally posted on August 15, 2009)
WWE: People Do Not Understand You; Therefore They Hate You (originally posted on June 28, 2009)
FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER!: http://twitter.com/RossRutherford