In a glimmer of time that can only be recalled upon now as the Golden Age, tag team wrestling was at its height. Men such as the British Bulldogs, The Rockers, and The Hart Foundation were running across the WWE's tag team landscape.
Three of the most well respected names in the history of tag team wrestling, which produced some of the biggest stars of an earlier generation.
A look on old times will tell you quite a lot for the traditional grappling style of the former tag teams. Each of the listed teams were truly spectacular in their own rights, and performed on a level that few other duos had done up until that point.
Each of the teams were masters of their craft. The Bulldogs and the Hart Foundation had immense technical prowess, as well as incredible power, while The Rockers carved a niche for themselves with their aerial prowess, and their innovative styles back in the AWA, and later in the WWE.
These three teams may well be the most known names of Tag wrestling from the 80's, and into the early 90's.
Without a doubt, they are names that the educated fans will know for a long time to come, and those who witnessed them will always remember the spectacle that they were witnessing, as they watched the art of Tag Team wrestling unfold before their eyes.
Fast forward ten years, and the waters of the WWE have shifted to create a new environment. Gone are the days where subtle grappling, and the art of tag team wrestling are the most appreciated aspects of wrestling.
Gone are the days where Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannety are the most innovative, high flying tag team in the world.
The days of Tag Team wrestling had died down, and the entity itself was now gasping for breath as it tried to find the will to live on.
Since the teams mentioned prior had vanished, the WWE's tag landscape is forgettable, to say the least.
There were glimmers of greatness, however the time that spanned here was primarily used for the rocketing of singles success.
However, even then, glimmers of the old greatness could be seen in the men who now carried the main event on their backs.
Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart, one half of both of the previous tag teams, had transcended their limits as a tag team, and had risen to the platform of the main event.
During this time, a young man was making waves in the land.
Fighting to make a name for himself, wrestling against all comers, and even wrestling the great behemoth, Vader's final match.
This young man was tall, he was fit, and he was destined for greatness.
During this time, Edge burst onto the scene. He was tall, he was in better shape than he is now, he was young, and he was absolutely champing at the bit to prove that he belonged in WWE.
He had worked hard on the indy scene, as well as in WWE's developmental camp, impressing Dory Funk and Hayes enough to bring him up to the main roster, along with a young Val Venis.
Edge seemed poised from the beginning to go on to greatness. The WWE showed a lot of faith in him by pairing him as Sable's mystery partner at Summerslam, as well as by having him go over in Vader's last match in WWE.
While Vader had not been the beast he had been in WCW, it was still quite an honor, and one that Edge did not take lightly.
Even after having wrestled with the company for several months, his first true challenge would come in his first singles bout. Glimpses into the awesome future of the young man would be shown during his first singles bout on Pay-Per-View.
During his first singles bout inside of a great coliseum, this young man wrestled against a legend of the Hart, and fought him to a standstill, before finally gaining the upper hand.
The young man roared as he prepared to end the match, before glancing down to the ringside area, and locking eyes with fate itself.
The match was extremely good by all counts. Edge had gotten in a lot of solid offense, and had looked extremely good against Owen, while not making Owen look weak in the slightest.
At times, it seemed almost as if Edge were on the cusp of an Earth shattering singles victory over Owen Hart in his first ever singles Pay-Per-View bout. However, that end was not to be, and a much more momentous event occurred on that night.
Christian made his debut with the WWE. He ran from the crowd, and jumped the barricade to the ringside area while Edge was preparing to finish the match.
By doing this, he provided the distraction that Owen Hart needed to recover, and to roll Edge up and attain the win.
The match served a number of purposes. It truly made Edge look like a much stronger entity in WWE, as he had very nearly beaten a legend in Owen Hart, and only lost because of the distraction at ringside.
It also introduced us to Christian, who the announce team did a fairly good job of describing as a young man who looked similar to Edge. It gave us a glimpse into the brother storyline, but few would have expected it to rise to the heights that it did.
Finally, the Edge was found, and in a moment of un-Christian reverence, a vampiric duo was born into the darkness. The dying entity jolted as its life force began to renew itself with the power of the duo that was Edge and Christian. The Brood had been born. The new age of the great art had finally come.
In the beginning of this, it looked as if the pair would begin to feud, rather than to team. Christian had aligned himself with Gangrel, and Edge seemed to be wanting no part in that. However, shortly thereafter, Edge stepped to the dark side, and joined his brother and Gangrel to form the immensely popular vampire stable; The Brood.
Stepping forward into the long-dead ashes of the tag scene in the WWE, Edge and Christian faced a daunting challenge in revitalizing it.
Even so, Edge and Christian stepped up to the plate, and they continued with their vampire shtick. Despite being a heel faction, their fan reaction was undeniably positive, and Brood merchandise absolutely flew off the shelves.
However, even so, the Brood could only go so far as a pair by themselves. They had attempted to join the Undertaker's faction at the time, however the pops never stopped for the pair, and they were soon separated from the faction to keep the heat off of the Corporate Ministry, and to keep the pop on the Brood.
Soon after, the Brood would have to break up, with Edge becoming a Babyface, and Gangrel becoming a Heel. Christian had been left in limbo to await his chance to rise amongst the stars.
He did not have to wait long. As Edge and Gangrel feuded, during the last match of their series, a Bloodbath match, Christian emerged.
Though it appeared at first that he would rejoin Gangrel, the lights went out, and Gangrel had been knocked unconscious, and was covered in blood.
Edge and Christian rode again.
However, for true life to be granted to this once powerful body again, it would need more than just this new and powerful entity.
It would need another group of tremendous power to form; another group to form, and to clash! After grueling battles, a final sword was found, and the world would change forever.
Even so, all great eras in all wrestling facets has to have a great rivalry to send it to the stars. The rivalry that would be found is one of the most longstanding, and greatest rivalries in history. The feud of the Hardyz (then the New Brood) vs. Edge and Christian.
The pair competed in a tournament for the managerial services of Terri Runnels, as well as a hundred grand in cash. The rivalry was good, but the final match would change the course of tag wrestling, and even arguably the WWE forever.
The final match of their series was a ladder match.
While the Ladder Match concept had been done by this point, and Shawn Michaels and Razor will always be credited with having pioneered the concept to mainstream WWE audiences, this match took the foundation they had laid, and built a mansion atop it.
High spots abounded in this match, and by the end of the match, the crowd was solidly behind both of the teams involved.
The respect for what the guys had put themselves through all to entertain them was remarkable, and the match would forever alter the WWE mold.
Even to this day, this match alone forever altered the style with which performers wrestled, as it demanded a more fast paced match, with flashier, higher spots being demanded.
When the dust settles, the mighty duo had fallen in ashes of glory. Like a phoenix, however, the pair reemerged, and had become more powerful, and more hungry than ever before.
They set their sights on capturing the source of this great colossus power. They met their hated enemies once more, as well as a new threat who had emerged from a barbaric land where their dreaded wooden weapon was commonplace.
While Edge and Christian did not win this match, it undoubtedly solidified both of the teams places in the company, and it was the final shot to the heart that revitalized the tag division for the years to come. That was when the four men began to focus on winning the big Gold for their division.
Before long, the final piece of the puzzle would be added to their collective, in the Dudley Boyz. The duo had arrived from ECW, and they were immediately hot as a team.
They did incredible work fast, and suddenly, they were in the fray with the other two teams, in another series of matches that would forever change the landscape of the WWE.
The first attempt was in a triangle Ladder Match at Wrestlemania 2000, which was all of the men's debut at Wrestlemania.
The match was the worst of the three matches in popular opinion, but it still helped to set the groundwork for the greatness that was to come.
Going into this match, it was intended to be Edge and Christian's final match as a tag team. Christian was meant to turn on Edge, and they were meant to feud, as they seemed to have gone as far as they could go as a tag team, and they did not appear to be getting anymore over.
However, all of this changed when they were given the opportunity to provide commentary on a match. The pair absolutely soared to new heights with their antics. They were hysterical, and their newly displayed golden mic skills carried them as to new heights as a tag team.
WWE creative ate it up.
When the dust settled once more, the conquering heroes emerged, and this time, not with empty hands! They stood atop their tower, and cries of victory, and tears of elation fell to the ground far beneath them! They reveled as they were acknowledged to be the greatest in the land.
The three men put themselves through Hell, and created an absolute train wreck in the center of the ring, with tables broken, ladder toppled, chairs dented, and men fallen all around the ring.
Some of the sickest spots that have ever been witnessed occurred in this match. Spots that include a Swanton from the absolute top of a ladder that was set up too close to a table, and with a landing directly on concrete, a powerbomb through a table on the outside, and a sick flip through a table from the top of the ladder scaffold.
Atop a scaffold comprised of two ladders, and a table set atop the pair, stood the triumphant duo who had finally attained their dream of being the tag team champions together. They cried atop the scaffold, and they both sat their in awe at what they had accomplished.
Throughout the legendary battles, however, the duo had not slain their great enemies, and they returned to them not once, but twice more. These times, on two of the largest battlefields of all. They rose, mightier than ever to destroy the pair, before the largest coliseums in all of history! The grandest spectacles emerged, as the trio of duos did battle once more!
Edge and Christian continued their awesomeness as they battled their way through the TLC series of matches, through which they were undefeated for the first two.
Both the TLC matches had been absolute interstate pileups of the worst kind. Tables were broken, ladders were strewn around the ring, and chairs sat in eerie silence at the atrocities they had committed upon human skull.
Through all of it, Edge and Christian persevered as a team. They turned away the Hardyz and the Dudleys at the largest events in the industry, three times. The trio all performed incredible feats, but there is still something to be said for winning.
Alas, despite the efforts of their opposition, which had been mighty, once more emerged the conquering heroes! Their alliance with the mighty stampeding Rhino had once again laden the conquering pair with Gold!
On the Grandest Stage of All, we see who it is that is truly being shown faith. It's where we are shown who the top dog in a section of pro wrestling truly is. It says something that on the largest pay-per-views, it was Edge and Christian who repeatedly came out on top.
It speaks volumes for the level of commitment the WWE showed in revealing that they were truly the leaders of the tag scene at that time, which was undoubtedly the greatest time in tag team wrestling.
Matt Hardy summed it up best, when he said:
"People talk about how great the days of the Bulldogs, and the Hart Foundation were, but they never co-main evented a Wrestlemania. Their tag team age can't compare to ours."
The pair struggled, and eventually, as happens with all pairs that become truly powerful, the power separated them. An Alliance of powers conspired against the now lone hero, with his brother leading the forefront of the attack.
A lot is to be said for breaking up a team. If a team is broken up out of no where, or badly, it shows that the team was losing steam.
With proper build, a break up is the beginning of launching their collective skills, which produced a greater period during their time in the tag scene, into the singles world, where they can be even greater appreciated.
The break of the greatest duo in the history of Tag Team wrestling was well documented, as a rift gradually formed of jealousy from Christian, as Edge continued to gain accolades that Christian did not.
Edge had become a two time Intercontinental Champion, and a King of the Ring winner before the team split, with plenty of subtle hints that it was coming.
The story fit nicely into the Invasion storyline which was going on at the time, which helped to advance the story of Edge and Christian, with Christian joining the Alliance to help surpass his brother, Edge.
The pair battled int he match that they, along with the Hardyz, had brought to new heights, with Edge coming out on top. The pair had split, and have since not reconnected, other than brief glimmers of what once was. A scarce example of this is during the first Money in the Bank match, where Christian and Edge joined forces temporarily in a gambit to win the Case.
Despite the fall of the mighty pair, the duo must always be remembered for what they were; the greatest in their craft. The true kings, who revived the mighty entity once more. With the power that that entity gave unto them, they both rose to unimaginable heights that exceeded even the greatness of the entity who has since fallen back into its slumber.
When it's assessed as to who was the greatest tag team during the Attitude Era, the Hardyz and the Dudleys may jump to some people's minds. However, when we look at all the factors, it becomes apparent that the true Kings of Tag wrestling were, and will forever be, Edge and Christian.
With their formation, they began the revitalization of the tag industry. Without them, the New Brood would never have been capable of forming; the ladder match would never have evolved as it did; the TLC match never would have existed; and we would never have been treated to a new day of Tag Team wrestling.
There is always going to be something to be said for who won on the big stages. While it may be disagreed upon by some, the many will have to agree that the men who won at Wrestlemania were labeled as the guys.
The men who won at Wrestlemania were the ones who were labeled as It. The men who won at Wrestlemania were absolutely awesome.
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