WWE Tag Team Championship: Ever More (Oxy)Moronic

Ben SixContributor INovember 20, 2010

LAS VEGAS - AUGUST 24:  (L-R) Wrestler MVP, boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. and wrestler Mark Henry celebrate at the end of a tag team match during the WWE Monday Night Raw show at the Thomas & Mack Center August 24, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mayweather was a special guest host during the broadcast.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Speaking as a bit of an outsider I'm not sure why people get so narked with the wrestling in PG-era WWE. Sure, it's nowhere near as extreme as the old days but within the more comfortable confines of family entertainment Daniel Bryan, John Morrison, CM Punk and others are as talented in the ring as any guys I've seen.

A bigger loss of recent times has been creative storytelling.

Increasingly, heels and babyfaces tend to be just "bad" and "good": thus, a rash of one-dimensional villains—Del Rio, say, or the Miz—and the charms of Cena or Mysterio. Randy Orton and, perhaps, the Undertaker are exceptions, but the latter is winding down towards his final resting place and the former has presence but scarce little character (what do those voices say to him beyond "start punching the floor"?).

Feuding is often reduced to moral dichotomies or plain convenience. Take the "grudge" between Sheamus and John Morrison. It entailed the J-man beating the white wonder's ass after he tried to use Santino's head as a rugby ball. Then it happened once again. And again. And, yes, again. No changes; no development: just bish, bash, "bravissimo!"

I know Morrison isn't a wizard with the mic—still trying to reach that balance of physical and verbal dexterity I like to call getting stuck between the Rock and a Hart place—but that hardly makes for an enthralling bout. Cena and Wade Barrett's generously hyped shenanigans might catch us off-guard—as they've been the primary focus for six weeks you'd hope so.

The dearth of creativity is most evident, I think, in the near-oxymoronic Tag Team Championship. A good tag team needs two distinct wrestlers with things that both unite and divide themselves. Otherwise, they've got the chemistry of two chairs, or Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley.

Then, of course, they need to face another tag team with the same qualities, and have a motive to inspire the match. That's a lot of narrative for a show that's hook is guys knocking lumps out of each other.

The WWE can't seem to muster up the energy to craft a fitting storyline. Gabriel and Slater are both decent wrestlers, but they've spoken less than Buster Keaton with chronic tonsillitis. Facing them are Santino "Aren't Italians Funny!" Marella and Vladimir "Aren't Russians Funny!" Kozlov. Neither man is short on skills, but they've been reduced to a joke; the set-up for Sheamus's literal punchline.

It's like the mascot at a baseball game wrapped its furry paws around the bat and wandered out to compete for the World Series. Elsewhere, the Hart Dynasty has splintered; the Dudebusters have been split; Rhodes and McIntyre are feuding and the Usos are, well, a bit dull.

There's nothing inherently "adult" about good storytelling. You need some emotional intensity—why would people square off otherwise?—and distinctive characters who bump off each other in an entertaining way (both physically and figuratively).

Sure, McMahon isn't obliged to cater to my demands—heck, I'm more a curious onlooker than a fan. Energising the tag team division, though, would, make sound business sense. Jobbers who are now stagnating in the dreaded mid-card would have the chance to perform while—as I suspect they've been doing with the Nexus—letting loose new talent would allow wrestlers to stand and fall.

Moreover, restoring the prestige of other titles would take some pressure off the main eventers. There's no sense in a wellness policy if you're going to overwork the guys. It's like saying to a cyclist, "Great! Now you're off drugs. Go and cycle 3,000 miles before the Tour de France."

Anyway, what are your ideal tag teams? Mine's the Warrior and Terry Funk. Oh, sure, they'd be dreadful in the ring but at least they could name themselves WTF.