WWE Tag Teams: Rebuilding WWE's Tag Team Division from the Ground Up
One of the more undervalued assets in World Wrestling Entertainment recent history is the tag team division. A division that once produced stars and was the cornerstone of the undercard for a number of years was relegated to a mere afterthought.
Tag teams are beneficial to WWE in a number of ways. Mainly they allow undercard workers to get exposure they may not otherwise get because of time restrictions. It’s purely a numbers game, instead of a five-minute match featuring two workers, you instead get four.
Secondly, it is impossible to argue the benefit a strong tag team division had on WWE’s roster in the early to mid 90s. Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels, two of the biggest stars of the era, rose to power through the tag team division.
It is not to say we do not see tag matches—we absolutely do. However, those matches mainly come in the form of Raw main events. We often see two main event feuds brought together in a tag match on the go-home Raw for a pay-per-view.
What the WWE severely lacks is a strong tag team division backed by designated tag teams. Many recent WWE Tag Team Champions have been arguably thrown together and never given the opportunity to grow as a team, but rather, it's a grouping of individuals. Air Boom (the current champions) are a good example of an attempted team, however, we’ve seen thrown together teams like Kane and Big Show, Cody Rhodes and Drew McIntyre and the thinly veiled attempt ShoMiz (Big Show and The Miz).
Here is a list of proposed tag teams to bolster a depleted Tag Team division that WWE has seemingly recognized needs a shot. Many of these names are floating around in the mid to lower card and could use the exposure a tag team division gives.
Justin Gabriel & Trent Barreta
Combined Weight: 408 lbs.
I feel bad for throwing Justin Gabriel back into the tag team division, but he just fits so well. This team has a lot of flexibility in that they could easily play both heel or face.
Gabriel himself has done both just in the past year. Both are extremely strong workers, many have seen Barreta work, but he's been one of the most improved superstars over the past year. Gabriel goes, without saying, as he can wow a crowd with his high-flying arsenal, topped off by a 450 splash.
Appeal-wise both are good looking guys, so they wouldn't have any problem getting the women on their side. Gabriel has actually competed in numerous modeling contests. Of course men can appreciate their high workrate, but also the flexibility of hating them for being pretty boys.
It's a team that works on a lot of levels and can give both of these rising stars the exposure they need and deserve.
Dolph Ziggler & Jack Swagger
Combined Weight: 473 lbs.
This team has been on and off in recent weeks, but I believe it's time to go full boat as a tag team. The former champions are a perfect heel team in the WWE that in time has the ability to build both guys back to the upper midcard or main event.
Both former champions and accomplished amateur wrestlers, this team would have no problem working together or put together great matches. Vickie Guerrero as a manger works well.
The biggest issue I have is WWE's instance on turning their tag team into a constant power struggle. I'd like to see Swagger and Ziggler on the same page.
They look similar as well, which lends itself to a successful tag team. This is another team that I truly believe can launch (or re-launch) either of these men's careers, and if and when this tag team disbands, both men will be in better spots.
Mason Ryan & Ezekiel Jackson
Combined Weight: 569 lbs.
Seriously? How awesome would this be? Granted neither are great workers, but this monster tag team would definitely be one for the ages. Mason Ryan appears to be going in a face direction and being groomed as the next Batista. However, a tag team could cover his limitations.
Both men have connected with the audience, Ezekiel Jackson and his body slams and Ryan's pure girth. A heel tag team featuring these two behemoths and a manager would be extremely entertaining.
A dominant team perhaps, but building these two at the same time can eventually allow them to break off into single's careers.
Ryan especially needs the extra grooming and practice that comes with tag team wrestling. Effectively learning on the job, building his character and experience while at the same time not being relied on to carry a match by himself.
Tyler Reks & Goldust
Combined Weight: 439 lbs.
Why not? One thing this team would definitely be is unique, something every tag team division should have. Like the Headbangers in the late 90s, they'd arguably be the lowest team on the rung, but what's entirely wrong with that?
Goldust isn't a great worker these days and Tyler Reks isn't going to suddenly evolve into a great one at age 32. However, this team would be noticeable and interesting if anything.
Better yet, Goldust can mentor and attempt to help build Reks, who will be limited in time because of his advanced age and lack of experience.
Rek's current teammate, Curt Hawkins, seems like a thrown together team, two crazy, odd-looking performers like Reks, and Goldust seems more fitting for a rebuilt division relying heavily on actual teams.
Ted DiBiase & Michael McGillicutty
Combined Weight: 441 lbs.
These two workers seem one in the same—both third-generation performance and both seemingly lost in the shuffle. Ted DiBiase Jr. has been given chances to catch on as a singles performer but has failed to make any ground.
Michael McGillicutty has been bounced around various tag teams and stables, but it's really time to stabilize his career and hope you can build something off his enormous potential.
Much like The Legacy before them, which DiBiase was a member, the team can tout their third-generation experience and be very much the proverbial cocky, privileged tag team.
While DiBiase and McGillicutty aren't amazing performers, they are adequate and would be able to function well in a tag team envrionment.
There's just something about this pairing that make sense and feels right, both are near their last rope and need a jolt to recover their careers and a pairing could be that jolt.