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6 Ideas That Could Strengthen the Tag Team Division in WWE

Paul McIntyreCorrespondent IIIDecember 15, 2011

6 Ideas That Could Strengthen the Tag Team Division in WWE

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    Behold the masters. Frankly, it's impossible to mention the Tag Team division without referencing them at some point.

    Edge and Christian, possibly the greatest tag team of all time, were absolutely phenomenal in their promos. This, coupled with their gimmick as a satire of goofy, catchphrase recycling surfer dudes, made every segment they had backstage (especially those with Mick Foley) comedy gold.

    To put it bluntly: Their nuts are safe for consumption.

    Of course, it helped that they were best friends for many years, granting them flawless on-screen chemistry. They also had natural charisma that translated to backstage promos with ease. For those without those tools, that is were a manager/valet comes in handy.

    It doesn't have to be a comedy style promo, like those Edge and Christian mastered. Others, like the Road Warriors, preferred to display aggression and intensity in their promos; again, this reflected their characters, who were tough and unstoppable.

    Overall, it's well known that promos are the best way of putting yourself over, so logic dictates that working on your promo skills in order to endorse your own team is a necessity in becoming a good tag team. This, and the other ideas mentioned, is what would help revive tag team wrestling.

    Have any other ideas that you think would benefit the tag team division? Do you think any of my ideas are wrong or badly thought out? Tell me about it in the comments section.


Valets/Managers

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    This slide wasn't an excuse to display a picture of Stacy Keibler. I swear.

    Joking aside, there was a time when the WWE was rife with managers and valets, for tag teams and singles wrestlers. It made sense allowing one person to represent a team, particularly if they had no personality.

    A purported tag team of Mason Ryan and Ezekiel Jackson, for example, couldn't get themselves over on the mic if they had an entire PPV to talk.

    On the other hand, give them a manager like Michael Cole, and instantly they are the most hated team in the company, because he talks about how great and imperious they are.

    Michael Cole, by the way, is just one of the men who could fulfill the role of manager for the shocking amount of boring characters in WWE.

    It's an idea that could work for plenty of people. Rather than having Santino perform as a jobber, it would be better to build a character for him, make him someone's manager and have his boundless charisma make them either popular or unpopular with fans.

    Where valets are concerned, sending out a team of two burly men accompanied by a gorgeous diva is an unsubtle tactic, yes, but it works in catering to the predominantly male audience that is the WWE universe.

    Luckily, the company seems to have realised this; in using Rosa Mendes as a valet for Epico and Primo, they've enhanced a burgeoning team by using a diva with nothing else to do.

    And if they have personality, like the former "Duchess of Dudleyville" did, that only helps more. 

The "Freebird Rule"

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    While wrestling in various affiliates of the National Wrestling Alliance like Georgia Championship Wrestling, a team known as the Fabulous Freebirds had several reigns as Tag Team Champions.

    Lasting as a team for 15 years (1979 - 1994), what was unique about the Freebirds was the way in which they held these various Tag Championships.

    As can be seen here in their GCW days, Michael Hayes explained that, as Tag Team champions, anybody challenging the Freebirds could expect to face any variation of the team.

    See, unlike today's Air Boom, or any conventional team, the Freebirds consisted of more than two wrestlers.

    There was the aforementioned Hayes, as well as Terry Gordy and Buddy Roberts, all of whom were considered Tag Champions despite their only being two belts.

    When defending the belts, two men would turn up, but it could be any of the three that decided to participate in the match while the other one sat out until another time.

    This became known, after its namesake, as "The Freebird Rule", and since being innovated has been used sporadically by other wrestling tag teams like Demolition (Ax, Smash and Crush), the Wolfpac (Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and Syxx) and in WWE the Spirit Squad (Kenny, Johnny, Mitch, Nicky and Mikey).

    Since WWE has a vastly inflated roster, and an apparent inability to market a tag team with some form of gimmick, introducing "The Freebird Rule" as a formal regulation would allow wrestlers who are floundering in mid-card anonymity too compete for the Tag Team Championships.

    This would put something of an emphasis on stables as well as traditional Tag Teams.

    Just as an example, if the new team of Epico and Primo were joined by Hunico to form an anti-American stable, they could compete as a triumvirate, allowing any two of them to compete each week while giving all three television time. Variations would include: 

    - Epico/Primo

    - Epico/Hunico

    - Primo/Hunico

    All three would be tag team champions, and any one of those duos could defend the titles. It would have worked a month or two ago when Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger were contenders, if Vickie Guerrero employed someone like Drew McIntyre as a new client.

Tag Team Money in the Bank

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    The Money in the Bank is a phenomenal concept. It's been proven. There are three reasons in particular that it has become such a mainstay of WWE programming.

    1. It delivers a great match.

    Whether it is contested at its original home of WrestleMania, or at its namesake, the Money in the Bank PPV, it is a match that always delivers excitement. Sure, these type of matches don't appeal to the purist wrestling fan, but in truth even they find it hard not to enjoy this sort of match. Often decried unfairly as spot fests, these matches can actually be classics if the write psychology is applied. Guys like Shelton Benjamin and Kofi Kingston may not be main event superstars, but when given license to thrill in this environment, they and many others took that chance with aplomb.

    2. It adds intrigue to the person who wins.

    Following the framework laid out by original winner Edge, almost all MITB winners have cashed in their World Title opportunity when the current champion is in a vulnerable situation. People wait on the edge of their seats every time a champion is badly hurt, on the off chance the MITB winners' music will hit and they will become the new World Champion.

    John Cena and Undertaker, both victims of Edge, were brutalised beyond belief when the Ultimate Opportunist preyed on them. People want to see the MITB winner, so they know what they’re doing, and when and how they're doing it. In fear or anticipation of the current champion losing out, the WWE universe is always aware of the MITB winner hovering somewhere.

    3. It makes them relevant up to and when they cash it in.

    Linked to the intrigue the MITB winner establishes, holding the briefcase usually makes them relevant to WWE programming even when they're not cashing in the briefcase. While the main aspect of the winners future is cashing it in, there are other storyline possibilities such as feuding with another wrestler over the Briefcase, making both them and their rival important to fans. And of course, when the winner cashes in, they have instant heat with the fans.

    How then, would all this apply to a Tag Team division?

    Well, generally a MITB match consists of eight men, so instead you would simply need four teams, makeshift or established. In fact, if a makeshift team were to win that could actually solidify them as a genuine team in the minds of the WWE universe.

Merchandising

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    Even now, the one thing that holds back Air Boom from being entirely legitimate as a tag team is that whenever they are seen backstage, Kofi and Evan are wearing different shirts. Not subtly different, but different in colour and, most essentially, different in the logo they are displaying.

    It is because they are individual pieces of merchandise. That's not how to promote a tag team.

    Where are the Air Boom shirts?

    Kofi and Evan should be wearing shirts that proudly endorse their team, inscribed with their name and a unique logo that is their emblem; it is something the creative staff are supposed to address if they want a tag team to be considered entirely as a tag team, rather than two aimless superstars randomly paired together.

    It's not essential to some teams, but to the faces of your tag team division, it is. The Hardy Boyz, for example, had 'Team XTreme' merchandise that they, and Lita, would all wear. They could be slightly different colours with slightly different lettering, but every attire endorsed their team.

    Simple psychology indicates that if you see two people interacting, they have some form of relationship. Simple psychology also indicates that if you see two people who are wearing the same shirts interacting, that they probably have something in common.

    What's more, an established team are more likely to sell t-shirts than two average mid-carders. Do the math, WWE.

Gimmicks

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    The Spirit Squad were awful. But they were also memorable.

    Why? Because they had a gimmick.

    Seriously, having a gimmick is one of the most important aspects of being a professional wrestler. In WWE, were you must be a sports entertainer, it's doubly important.

    So why are WWE letting the art of gimmicks die?

    One reason is social media, with sites like Twitter and Facebook giving fans insight into the lives of wrestlers more than they ever had in the 80's and 90's, which were a boom period for outlandish, sensational gimmicks.

    Where those gimmicks are concerned, the only survivor, of course, is the Undertaker. Never again will there be an un-dead wrestler from hell, because frankly that illusion is impossible to sustain nowadays. Nonetheless, that shouldn't mean gimmicks are dead.

    Is Stone Cold Steve Austin a hell-raising, boss-beating, pain-defying bruiser who punches everything with a pulse? No.

    Is Stone Cold Steve Austin an aggressive, confrontational, straight-speaking tough guy whose not afraid to stand up for himself? Yes.

    The best gimmicks, as it's well established, are simply an exaggeration of one's self. See Austin, as well as Mick Foley and The Rock.

    Air Boom have something like that going on, since they were teamed together primarily on the basis of being high flying daredevils, so that's a start. Looking a bit deeper into their characters, and the characters of other teams, would do wonders for the division.

Promos

7 of 7

    Behold the masters. Frankly, it's impossible to mention the Tag Team division without referencing them at some point.

    Edge and Christian, possibly the greatest tag team of all time, were absolutely phenomenal in their promos. This, coupled with their gimmick as a satire of goofy, catchphrase recycling surfer dudes, made every segment they had backstage (especially those with Mick Foley) comedy gold.

    To put it bluntly: Their nuts are safe for consumption.

    Of course, it helped that they were best friends for many years, granting them flawless on-screen chemistry. They also had natural charisma that translated to backstage promos with ease. For those without those tools, that is were a manager/valet comes in handy.

    It doesn't have to be a comedy style promo, like those Edge and Christian mastered. Others, like the Road Warriors, preferred to display aggression and intensity in their promos; again, this reflected their characters, who were tough and unstoppable.

    Overall, it's well known that promos are the best way of putting yourself over, so logic dictates that working on your promo skills in order to endorse your own team is a necessity in becoming a good tag team. This, and the other ideas mentioned, is what would help revive tag team wrestling.

    Have any other ideas that you think would benefit the tag team division? Do you think any of my ideas are wrong or badly thought out? Tell me about it in the comments section.


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