Death of Tag Team Wrestling: FS Reprint
January 03, 2011
I wrote the following for my ďStorm FrontĒ article for ďFighting SpiritĒ Magazine, back in June, and it is being reproduced with permission from Uncooked Media Ltd.
I often get asked if I think there will ever be a return to the glory days of having a legitimate tag team division in pro-wrestling. This is a very frustrating question for me because I am a huge fan of tag team wrestling and would like to see this as much as anyone, but unfortunately I think the chances of reviving tag team wrestling in the current state of pro-wrestling are almost nonexistent.
There are a ton of reasons why I think true tag team wrestling is becoming a thing of the past, so I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the current tag team scene and see why things have gotten this bad.
When I look at the current landscape in pro-wrestling, at least in what Iíll call the big leagues (WWE & TNA), there may only be one true tag team left in the industry, and thatís Team 3D. Team 3D (or the Dudleys if you prefer) might be the last great tag team left in the industry. There are others tag teams competing in the industry but I think a case can be made to say that none of the others can truly be considered a legitimate tag team and are more just temporary makeshift tag teams.
Letís look first at WWE because that is where the situation is the bleakest. If you go to the roster section of WWE.com There are no tag teams listed at all and every performer is listed with a singles bio. Big Show and The Miz are listed as Unified World Tag Team Champions but both are listed with separate bios in the Superstars section and were really only put together as a team to win the titles and do this specific tag team run. Both were hired as singles guys, and I would be completely dumbfounded if they remained a team for more than a month after they drop the titles.
There are only two other regular competing tag teams that I can even think of, in WWE, those being Cryme Tyme and The Hart Dynasty. Cryme Tyme just recently split up, and The Hart Dynasty, while really great as a duo, did not debut together as a team (both started as singles competitors) and where put together as a unit after the fact. While The Hart Dynasty could, over time, become a legit tag team (you donít have to debut as a team to become one) but I seriously doubt they will go the distance and not be broken up and feuding with each other in a year or two tops. They will need to last as a unit for several years before I will consider them a true long term legitimate tag team.
The situation in TNA is slightly better but still a bit sad. In the roster section of TNAWrestling.com they do in fact list two teams as true tag teams; Team 3D and Generation Me. None of those four have singles bios listed; they are solely listed under their respective team names. While that is a big step up from WWE.com, TNAís World Tag Team Champions are listed as Matt Morgan. Yes the Tag Team Champs in TNA arenít even a tag team; the belts are held by one single competitor. I know some will argue that Matt Morgan and Hernandez are the true champs and Morgan is just carrying both titles because Hernandez is out hurt, but Iím just relaying what the official website lists and according to TNA, Matt Morgan alone holds the TNA Tag Team Titles.
I personally would include The Motor City Machine Guns and Beer Money to the list of TNA tag teams, but for some reason they are not listed as such on the website. Even if we consider both of those teams as tag teams, a case can still be made that they are but make shift tag teams rather than true tag team combinations. Sabin and Shelley have been with the company for many years and I would think more than half of that time has been spent as singles competitors rather than as partners. They certainly werenít hired as a team and I doubt anyone thinks they will finish up as a team. The same can be said for Beer Money. Storm and Roode both started in TNA as part of different groups. Storm was part of the Americaís Most Wanted tag team and Roode was a long time member of Team Canada before both separated from their respective partnerships and formed Beer Money. While both teams are great at tag team wrestling, itís likely fair to say they are but tag teams for now, not true exclusive permanent tag teams.
That leaves us with Team 3D and Generation Me. Generation Me was hired as a team after competing together in Dragon Gate, so thus far they are a legit team but I think itís way too early to give them much credibly. If they can remain as a team for a number of years (5 or more) and maybe even change companies as a team then they will prove me wrong, but for now the jury is still out. That leaves the last and only true tag team in the Industry today, Team 3D. Team 3D or The Dudley Boys debuted as a tag team in ECW in 1996, and with the exception of a brief singles run in WWE in 2002, they have been an exclusive tag team for 14 years. They have worked as a team in ECW, WWE, TNA, and a couple companies in Japan.
Gone are the days of teams like The Midnight Express, The Road Warriors, The Rockers, The Rock & Roll Express, etc.; teams that remained together from territory to territory and had long term success and impact on our industry. Teams like that canít exist anymore because angels and programs move to quickly now on TV and there arenít enough places to work.
Even if you want to be a tag team and can get signed as such in WWE or TNA how long can your run possibly last? As a generally rule if they like you and want to push you, you get your run towards the titles, your reign as Champions, and then once you lose the titles youíre likely split up and moved in different directions. With the speed by which WWE and TNA television runs nowadays that entire program lasts a year to 15 months tops. Most talent sign longer term contracts than that so unless you have the political pull to remain as a tag team for the duration of your contract you are going to get broken up. Even if you can manage to remain a team through the duration of you contract where do you go from there? Without a number of companies to jump back and forth between, options for teams are really limited once theyíve done that initial tag team run. Angles and programs just move too fast nowadays. No matter how good they are, good teams run their course and get broken up before they ever get the chance to be great.