Beer Money. The team of Robert Roode and James Storm have been tagging together since 2008, and are currently enjoying their fourth reign as TNA World Tag Team Champions.
Each man came from a successful tag team to form perhaps the best tag team that TNA has ever seen. But where do they rank among the best of all time?
Despite fans’ many criticisms of TNA, including my own, it appears that historically the company does seem to care more about its tag team division than WWE does.
Roode’s former faction Team Canada, Storm’s former team America’s Most Wanted, along with Team 3D, LAX, The Voodoo Kin Mafia, The British Invasion, Generation Me, and The Motor City Machine Guns, have all vied for TNA tag team gold in recent years.
The division has thrived since the beginning of the company, and has been featured on TV and pay per view.
Then there’s WWE.
We all know that the current state of tag team wrestling in WWE is virtually non existent, with the championships currently held by Santino Marella and Vladimir Kozlov.
Bound together by necessity, which is a polite way of saying that WWE creative didn’t really have anything for either guy to do, Marella and Kozlov have actually looked pretty good since winning the straps.
Now, everyone calm down, I didn’t say they were The Road Warriors or anything.
But, for the WWE, we can’t really hope for much more than the tired old formula of two mix-matched guys thrown together for the sake of a lousy, half-hearted push. When it comes to their tag team division, it’s par for the course.
My, how things have changed in this business.
Once upon a time, the National Wrestling Alliance not only featured the greatest singles wrestlers in the sport, its tag team division was second to none with The Rock n Roll Express, The Road Warriors, The Russians, The Midnight Express, The Minnesota Wrecking Crew.
These guys perfected the art of tag team wrestling, and gave Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, and Ricky Steamboat a run for their money when it came to the best match on the card.
Man, where’s the Wayback Machine when you need it?
Of course, WWE hasn’t always neglected its tag team division.
Arguably the greatest era for tag team wrestling in WWE was 2000 to 2001. Three teams came together for a tag team war the likes of which had not been seen since the 1980’s NWA. Three teams redefined tag team wrestling in the business with three little words: tables, ladders, and chairs.
Edge and Christian. The Hardy Boyz. The Dudley Boyz. Three of the best tag teams of all time, blowing the roof off of arenas all over the country every week, each team pushing the other, bringing out the best in every man involved.
This was, without a doubt, a tag team renaissance, a great time for fans who yearned for a revival of the division.
These guys all understood their roles in the company, and fought to carve their names into wrestling history, next to the greatest teams ever. They also wanted to steal the show, and give fans something to remember.
Mission accomplished on both counts.
But with the focus shifted away from tag team wrestling in WWE, and TNA looking to grow as a company, the art of tag team wrestling now has a new pair of Rembrandts. Beer Money.
Yes, that was impossible to say without a smile.
The truth is, Beer Money works on a couple of different levels. One, because of Roode, who brings an intensity and ice-cold determination to his character and approach as a heel. Two, because of James Storm, because he’s funny as hell.
I love this guy. He is a riot, and every time he opens his mouth, or for that matter, just smiles at someone, it’s comedy gold. He makes the team, gives them a bad-boy edge that would make Jake Roberts jealous.
James Storm’s gimmick works so well because it’s so normal. He’s just a guy with a cowboy hat and dark glasses with a beer in his hand.
He looks less like a wrestler and more like the lead singer in a Lynyrd Skynyrd cover band. He plays the part so well, and is more comfortable in his gimmick than perhaps anyone in the promotion.
For me, Storm would be a star in either company, on any level.
Fortunately for fans, right now he is one half of TNA’s biggest tag team, Beer Money. I have to say, I thoroughly enjoy this team and their work in the ring.
Aside from Storm’s comedy, the guy can work, and he is a great fit with Roode. Beer Money, in a lot of ways, is a throwback to the classic heel teams of the NWA.
They have the tough streak of The Minnesota Wrecking Crew, the finesse of The Midnight Express, and the swagger of Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard.
And much like these three teams had memorable feuds with The Rock n Roll Express, Beer Money has had a momentous run against The Motor City Machine Guns.
The pace and tempo of the Guns, matched up against the fierce ground and pound of Beer Money, have made for some great moments in TNA. Both teams are working hard to own the night, every time they set foot in the ring.
That’s what tag team wrestling is all about, and I for one am glad to see it happening again. The only question I have is, how long will Beer Money stay together, before TNA creative, such as it is, decides to split them up?
It would be a shame if their run as one of the best teams in the company lasts only three years. Beer Money deserves to have a legacy, an opportunity to be considered among the all-time greats. But perhaps that is not meant to happen in TNA?
Considering that WWE gave up on its tag team division years ago, the chances of seeing Storm and Roode work for Vince appear to be slim to none.
But, if given a chance, I have to believe that not only would Beer Money make the best of it, they would do what they continue to do every week in TNA: steal the show.
It’s an interesting bit of speculation, when it comes to debating Beer Money’s place in tag team history. Perhaps it’s too soon for that. Perhaps as Storm and Roode continue to build their reputation week in and week out, we should just sit back and enjoy the ride.
Let the renaissance begin…again.
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