Worth The Weight In Gold? How Valuable Are The WWE Title Belts?

Ichigo StarfishCorrespondent IJanuary 24, 2011

World title holders are often referred to as "wearing the gold," but it might be a good idea, given the poverty of the division, if the tag-team champs were now said to be "holding tin."

Title belts are only vital to the Wrestling business for as long as they remain relevant. They are only ever worth as much as they appear to be wanted.

Just as a poor win-loss record or humiliating gimmick can hurt a performer's standing, so too can a belt lose its luster, credibility and and value.

Naturally, every title will have more ups and downs than the springs in Charlie Sheen's Vegas hotel bed, but the tag division currently resides in its coffin. Is it through incompetence or by design that WWE tag-team wrestling is dead?

Arguably, the WWE is guilty of complacency. Possibly there was a feeling the division could take care of itself, that handing it out to randomly thrown together superstars wouldn't dull its reputation.

Perhaps so.

Yet, simultaneously, WWE has invested absolutely nothing in new tag teams, and consequently the division has, like Melanie Griffith, dried up.

Becoming tag champ has become about as prestigious as winning the Australian lottery via a pop up on a dubious website when you haven't even bought a ticket.

The 2010 version of the Hurricane and Rosey, Santino and Kozlov, are a great tag team. The surly Russian is the perfect foil for Santino's shenanigans and WWE should be praised for finding a place for a wrestler in Kozlov who seemed to have nowhere to go after a disastrous main event push.

Their dominance of the division is, however, slightly undermined by being one of only two tag teams.

The Usos—like the Dudebusters before them and the Hart Dynasty and Cryme Tyme and The Dashing Ones and Vance Archer and Curt Hawkins—have been squashed in handicap matches and made to look weak, presumably while Creative decides which one of them to release.

Calling yourself a tag champ used to be a genuine achievement but these days the belts are handed out with the same level of thought and importance as a youth club weekly raffle. 

In September, 2010, Macintyre and Rhodes formed a tag team. On the 19th, they became tag-team champions. On the 24th October, they lost the belts to Cena and Otunga and on the 29th October—the same night their team received its name—they split up.

Altogether, they spent less time as a tag team than George "The Animal" Steele spent shaving his back.

Other belts have seen bad times yet, like Hogan after a vicious heel beatdown, have made a startling recovery.

Both the US and Intercontinental titles have recently adorned performers who now find themselves in the Main Event bracket, Miz and Ziggler. Both men, as mid-card champions, were portrayed as proud of their gold. Presenting Wrestlers as caring about the belts they hold elevates the standing of both, yet who is currently chasing the tag-team titles?

At the start of 2011, WWE is awash with wrestlers whose careers seem to be going nowhere—David Hart Smith, Michael Tarver, Primo, Evan Bourne, Tyson Kidd and JTG, to name just a few.

Most of these individuals will get lost in the mix, miss their opportunity and find themselves released. The same fate could easily have befallen guys like the Hardys, Christian, the Miz or Morrison had not tag-team wrestling allowed them to advertise their skills.

Both current major title holders spent a large part of their early career in successful tag teams, as did legends such as Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin and Bret Hart. Even without the importance of building stars for the future, a vibrant tag division makes for innovative, exciting television as TNA is proving week after week, (in between the monotonous promos and ridiculous storylines).

So why are the tag-team belts headed for the same fate as the European and Cruiserweight titles?

Just like Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull crap or the 1960s and Tom & Jerry cartoons where they talked, the current tag-team division is nothing more than a reminder of how good things used to be and how painfully bad they are now.

WWE doesn't care about the tag-team wrestling division, so why should the tag-team wrestling division survive?