In the ever-evolving landscape of fandom, there are simply some things that should not have happened. In Retcon This!, we examine some of the more questionable aspects of our beloved geek properties.
This week: Tag Team Wrestling
Yesterday, we took a stroll down memory lane in honor of the golden age of tag team wrestling. It has certainly become a bygone era, which is both confusing and infuriating. As of this writing, in both WWE and TNA, there is a total of merely 11 tag teams, only two of which, WWE‘s Jimmy and Jey Uso, and TNA‘s Generation Me (Max and Jeremy Buck), are “natural” pairings. And one of those 11 teams are Sarita and Rosita, the TNA Knockout Tag Team Champions, a championship even more meaningless than both the WWE and TNA Tag Team Championships combined.
Is tag team wrestling too far gone to revive? Will either company’s Tag Team Championships ever again hold the weight that it did when held by the likes of The Road Warriors, Edge & Christian, or Harlem Heat? What can we do to Retcon the current tag team wrestling landscape? This undertaking might be more difficult than getting Ted Dibiase, Jr. over, but I’m going to do my damndest.
First and foremost, let’s stop with the convenience of pairings. Sure, it makes sense for two faces and two heels to tag against each other to further their individual feuds, but that surely doesn’t make either pairing a tag team. No lie: Santino Marella…the guy that used to dress in drag as his sister “Santina”, and Vladimir Kozlov, the Russian badass that came into the WWE as a heel vs. Triple H and Jeff Hardy, were recently reigning WWE Tag Team Champions.
In the case of current WWE Tag Team Champions, Kane and The Big Show (pictured, left), the pairing makes sense because of both competitors’ immense size, and we’ve seen these imposing monsters team and reign as Tag Champs before. However, their union is most often short-lived, either due to one of the teammates turning on the other, the loss of the Championship, or the mere shifting of storylines and rosters. As Big Show and Kane are currently on separate WWE brands, the moment they lose their Tag Titles and the subsequent rematch, consider the team dissolved.
That’s another thing. Tag teams these days have a half-life shorter than an early 2000’s Triple-H promo. As I mentioned in yesterday’s Holy Crap! Remember… , following Shawn Michael’s break from his Rockers partner Marty Jannetty, and subsequent rise to WWE Hall of Fame status as The Heartbreak Kid, promotions were quick to dissolve tag teams in hopes of creating the next HBK, or simply, because the bookers no longer had fresh ideas for stalled teams.
TNA’s Beer Money, consisting of Robert Roode and James Storm, have been a pair on television longer than any other current team, just short of 3 years. THREE YEARS. Sure, the lack of staying power of tag teams can often be attributed to injuries, releases, etc., but the blame should be shouldered squarely by the promotions and their seeming lack of interest in the division(s).
I want to Retcon the current treatment of the tag team divisions. I want to bring the Tag Team Championship back to prominence and glory. Easiest way to do this is to create and reform talented and capable teams. Starting with the WWE, and looking at two of the more prominent stables, The New Nexus and The Corre, they would both benefit from increasing the visibility of their teams.
CM Punk‘s Nexus followers, Michael McGillicutty and David Otunga (pictured, right), teamed against champs Kane and The Big Show on this past week’s Raw (and Punk and powerhouse Mason Ryan will challenge for their titles at this Sunday’s Over The Limit). If Otunga and McGillicutty continue to tag as The New Nexus, I’d appreciate if they wore more than the Nexus ‘N’ armband to distinguish themselves from other teams. And some tandem maneuvers wouldn’t hurt, either.
Same goes for former champs and two-thirds of The Corre, Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater (pictured, left). First of all, break them from Wade Barrett, give them a team name, matching attire, and add at least ONE tag team move to their repertoire. More often than not, the two seem to work independently, and just so happen to rack up wins as a team.
Shortly, Smackdown newcomer Jinder Mahal and The Punjabi Titan, The Great Khali (pictured, right), will join together in holy tag-trimony, which could immediately elevate Mahal, and give Khali a mouthpiece and allow him to return to being an ominous presence instead of the dancing idiot he has become. But again…they need a chemistry and something to tie them together as a team outside of their home country (both are billed from India).
Looking over the current TNA roster, there aren’t many pairings I could make that wouldn’t be as thrown together as the rest of the division. One team-up that would make great sense, however, would be diminutive X-Division high-flyer Amazing Red and his storyline “little brother”, Crimson, one of the most physically impressive new talents in their company. The juxtaposition of the lucha-style of Red and the sheer power and brutality of Crimson would make for an entertaining team, couple that with a some visually-stunning tandem ass-kickings, and you’ve got new Tag Champs right there.
Call them REDemption, and it’s a license to print money.
TNA, while a little low on new, young talent, has plenty of vets in their midst, and many of them formerly of some of the greatest tag teams in history. When Jeff Hardy returns from his embarrassing match against Sting at Victory Road, reform him with his brother Matt, and keep both as far away from the main event as possible, until they can achieve some semblance of success again as The Hardy Boyz (pictured, right).
WWE did it, and it didn’t work then, and now TNA has done it, and it’s still not working, and that’s breaking up The Dudley Boyz (aka Team 3D, pictured, left). While “Bully Ray” is garnering attention as a singles wrestler, it has left D-Von in the dust. How can you break up The Dudley Boyz, one of the most storied and decorated teams in the history of tag team wrestling? While I appreciate both competitors individually, The Dudley Boyz are a team, should always be a team, and should retire from the ring as a team. The simple fact that The Dudley’s epic finishing maneuver, the Dudley Death Drop (3D), is no longer laying out opponents on a weekly basis is a crime against wrestling fans worldwide.
I spoke of Beer Money previously as the most tenured team in wrestling today. However, Robert Roode seems poised for a singles push, and with Cowboy James Storm‘s former America’s Most Wanted partner, Wildcat Chris Harris, returned to the company, the opportunity is ripe to reform the team. As one of the few born-and-bred TNA Tag Teams, pitting a reformed America’s Most Wanted against The Hardy Boyz and Team 3-D could give the TNA tag division a deserved shot in the arm, and in turn, force the WWE up their game.
Lastly, back to WWE, there is one team that I would like to see reform and thrive more than any, and frankly, this team was one of the main reasons for my two-day manifesto about tag team wrestling. In homage to the wildly successful stable and tag team, The Hart Foundation, and in honor of the wrestling-rich Hart family, came The Hart Dynasty (pictured, right). The Hart Dynasty consisted of David Hart Smith, son of British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith (a tag team champ in his own right with The Dynamite Kid as The British Bulldogs, pictured, below, left), Tyson Kidd, billed as the last graduate of Stu Hart’s Dungeon, and Natalya, daughter of Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart, one half of championship tag team The Hart Foundation (pictured, below, right) with Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart, who, in turn, is also uncle to both David Hart Smith and Natalya.
Smith and Kidd, as The Hart Dynasty, were the first team to hold the unified WWE Tag Team Championship, as given to them by Bret Hart (pictured, left), but the team would implode shortly thereafter. Considering the Hart family’s legacy in professional wrestling and sports-entertainment, it’s bordering on criminal that not only is The Hart Dynasty no more, but all three members are rarely seen on WWE television currently, especially Smith, who is rumored to be trying his hand at MMA. Bring back The Hart Dynasty…nurture their characters and talents, and let the pink-and-black run with the championships for as long as humanly possible. And then, and only then, once they have done everything they can do as a tag team, allow them to explore careers as singles talents, but never dissolve The Hart Dynasty again.
As one-half of the PoP! World Tag Team Champions, The 11th Hour (pictured, right), I have a special place in my heart for tag team wrestling, and I’d like for it to be successful again. I’d want for the WWE Tag Team Championship to be consistently defended at Wrestlemania. I’d kill for new and innovative tag team maneuvers to elevate the young talent putting their bodies on the line. Frankly, I just want WWE and TNA to give a sh– and make tag team wrestling a priority again.
Filed Under: Retcon This!