If you’ve been reading my work on TJR since last year, you know that I’m all about character and character development, a little cynical, and a huge mark for good Tag Team wrestling. This is precisely why I have been feeling slightly withdrawn as a viewer of WWE programming in recent years, watching and taking everything in, but being left a little cold afterward. Yes some great stuff has happened over the years including the beginning of The Nexus Angle, the Summer of Punk, and The Rock Returning to WWE TV after seven years, but I just wanted some inspired storytelling in the Tag Team Division.
You see, nothing irks me more than lazy storytelling, like the makeshift Tag Teams that have been thrust into the WWE’s non-existent Tag Division. Having Tag Team Champs like John Cena and Batista, and the current Tag Champs, R-Truth and Kofi Kingston. I wanted real Tag Teams, that were committed to being a pair for the long haul, that had an arsenal of double-team maneuvers in their repertoire, matching ring gear, etc. The WWE’s constant disbanding of good teams too soon (Cryme Tyme, Hart Dynasty) and with no plan, and the title reigns of teams like Show-Miz, made me lose all hope in a Tag Team Revival.
It’s truly sad, because Tag Team Wrestling has produced some of the most exciting matches I have ever witnessed, and is a breeding ground for great storytelling. It’s also a great way to cultivate talent for future singles runs, when the time is right and you have things properly mapped out. Instead the WWE chose to ignore the division, much to my dismay. That being said, in the last month or so, I have found reason to hope that things would get better in the Tag Team Division. I have my fingers crossed that the summer of 2012 will spark a real Tag Team revival in the WWE. I can already hear quite a few people asking, what reason do you have to be hopeful for a tag team revival? Well ladies and gentlemen, I have four.
Reason I – No Way Out’s Tag Team Fatal 4-Way
I can’t remember the last time there were enough Tag Teams in the WWE to hold a Fatal 4-Way Tag Team bout. Hell, I can’t remember the last time I saw a 4-Way Tag Team Match at all, but at No Way Out, the WWE Universe was privy to seeing Team Tarot (Justin Gabriel & Tyson Kidd (tell me their matching ring gear doesn’t look like a deck of tarot cards!)), The Usos, The Colon Cousins (Primo and Epico), and The Prime Time Players, go at it for the right to face the Tag Champs.
I loved it! Was it the best 4-Way Tag Team Match I’ve seen? No, but that didn’t matter. I couldn’t believe that I was seeing a 4-Way Tag Team contest on a WWE PPV. Tag Team matches rarely get on WWE PPVs, so I was just happy to see this one. I would have preferred that the WWE cut out the Ryback squash (not a PPV attraction) and made this tag team match a Four Corners Elimination match, but beggars can’t be choosers. Besides, If it had been elimination match, while we would have gotten a longer match, we wouldn’t have had the twist at the end, and my second reason to be hopeful about the Tag Team Division this summer, none other than…
Reason II – Abraham Washington
A few weeks ago, I did an AMOC on Abraham Washington, outlining my high hopes for his agent character. He has certainly lived up to them recently. The silver tongued devil talked his way into the camp of the enemy (The Colons) and screwed them out of their re-match for the Tag Titles, while putting his real clients The Prime Time Players in prime position to steal the Number One Contender slot. It was a brilliant piece of strategy by A.W. and accomplished so much for the Tag Team Division.
He legitimized the Tag Titles by going to such lengths to keep Primo & Epico out of their rematch, and getting the shot for his clients, the PTP, he created sympathetic characters out of the Colons, who he conned, and subsequently dumped, and most importantly, he started a real feud in the Tag Team Division, one that the fans can truly care about, that has high stakes, and character. In one nicely maneuvered twist, the WWE, with Abraham Washington as the catalyst, have started to push for a brighter future in the Tag Team Division. I sure as hell hope it comes to fruition.
Reason III – Suspensions & Injuries
This is obviously the most negative of the reasons to be hopeful, but it has created hope for the Tag Team Division regardless. With Chris Jericho, Randy Orton, and Rey Mysterio being suspended, not to mention Alberto Del Rio’s recent concussion, the WWE has needed the services of a lot of the singles guys they’ve tied up in the Tag Team Division. In particular, Dolph Ziggler has officially separated himself from his sometimes Tag Team partner Jack Swagger, in order to take Del Rio’s place in the World Heavyweight Championship match at No Way Out against Sheamus.
I’m hoping that once the titles are taken off of Kofi and R-Truth, that the two can go their separate ways and leave the Tag Team Division to the other tag teams. I would rather see both be pushed in the upper mid-card, which is lacking legitimate talent. Santino and Christian need more people to compete with in the mid card, and being totally honest, a program between Christian and Kofi kind of excites me. Would be a great opportunity for Kofi to improve and show the world what he can do against one of the most consistent workers in the WWE.
Reason IV – The Ascension
Those of you that haven’t seen the first episode of the new NXT, or any episodes of FCW featuring this team, are quite frankly missing out on one of my favorite acts in Wrestling. The Ascension might just be my favorite Tag Team in Pro Wrestling right now, that’s how high on these guys I am. Kenneth Cameron and Conor O’Brian (love to see that he’s found something that works) as pair of dark, brooding, mystical and ominous figures on the NXT landscape just feels so damn refreshing. I am literally counting the days until they are allowed to compete on Raw and Smackdown, and take the WWE Tag Team Division by storm.
A part of me would rather have them taking on two jobbers each show instead of Ryback (who if you haven’t guessed, I’m not sold on, much like most of the WWE Universe). Have them destroy the two jobbers and then abduct them for some nefarious purpose that we will wonder about for weeks and weeks. These guys have a great look, can both wrestle their asses off from what I have seen, and have truly committed to the characters they are portraying so intensely, which is always great to watch. They are certainly a reason to be excited about the Tag Team Division going forward.
If things keep getting better which I hope they will (despite the fact that it’s the WWE and I should know better) the Tag Team Division will be resurrected and launch the careers of new stars, who will put on incredible Tag Team bouts, including a possible return of the epic Tag Team TLC matches I fondly remember.
There you have it, but what do you think? Are you as hopeful as I am? What are your thoughts on Ascension, AW, Team Tarot, and essentially the entire state of the tag team division? Do you think we are close to my dream of seeing a new series of ultra entertaining Tag Team TLC matches? Feel free to post some of your favorite Tag Team memories, and possible Tag Team combinations.
For those who care, I thought I’d include my ideal Tag Team Division just for fun. Here it is:
The Colon Cousins
The Prime Time Players
Justin Gabriel and Tyson Kidd
Team Jacked (Big E Langston & Nick Rogers)
Until next folks, I’m Matty J. Douglas saying School’s Out For The Summer! And to all the High School Grads of 2012 (including my cousin) have a hell of a Prom! It’s nothing like the Disney flick, I Swear!