Since becoming a writer for TJRWrestling.com, I’ve made it abundantly clear that I love Tag Team wrestling. The dynamic a Tag Team brings to a match is one of the most interesting aspects of the wrestling business. Not to say that I don’t enjoy a well-crafted singles match, it’s just that the teamwork aspect of a Tag Team match has always intrigued me. Two men who have chosen to tether their success to one another need to be truly committed to being a Tag Team, and must to put in the extra work to know not only their opponents’ strategies/tendencies, but their partner’s as well.
As you can imagine, I’ve been very pleased with the renewed focus on the Tag Team titles. The belts are being featured prominently on WWE programming, the champions are main eventing and there has even been a Tag Team Tournament to determine new Number One Contenders for the Tag Team Titles (I enjoy a Tournament almost as much as I enjoy a good Tag Team Match). All that being said, I’m not sure I can say that I’m overly pleased with the direction of the Tag Team Division.
I know, I’m a pessimist, and as a fan of Tag Team wrestling I should take what I can get, but as pleased as I’ve been that Tag Teams are being booked strongly again, I can’t help but notice which Tag Teams are being made to look the strongest. Last night on Raw, the final four Teams faced off to determine who would move on to the finals of the Tag Team Tournament. The final four teams were, The Primetime Players, Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara, The Rhodes Scholars (Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes), and Zack Ryder and Santino. Three of these four teams are what I like to call makeshift teams. Let’s take a look at each of these pairings.
Zack Ryder and Santino
Tandem Maneuver(s): 1/10
Probably the most egregious of these recently slapped together makeshift teams, they in all honesty shouldn’t have even been in a tournament to determine the next Number One Contender’s for the Tag Team Championships (would have rather seen either Tensai and Sakamoto, or Hunico and Camacho in there to be honest). They are both fun comedy characters, but their characters have very little in common besides the fact that they are both somewhat funny. They have no double-team or tandem maneuvers in their offensive arsenal and they’ll likely cease teaming together once their program with Encore (Heath Slater, Drew McIntyre, and Jinder Mahal) is complete.
The Rhodes Scholars
Tandem Maneuver(s): 1/10
Unlike the team they faced on Monday Night Raw last night, Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow have a lot in common. I not only understand why they would get along, but why they would want to be a Tag Team. Their backstage segments together are pretty great and they have very good chemistry playing off one another in and out of the ring.
All that being said, they suffer in my books from being two singles superstars masquerading as a Tag Team, as they perform no tandem maneuvers, barely rely on one another when in the ring together. In all likelihood, this team will short-lived. Both Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes’ futures are very bright as singles competitors, and this team only exists to give them something to do in the meantime. I’d be shocked if they were still teaming together come January.
Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara
Tandem Maneuver(s): 7/10
This team is probably the best of all the makeshift teams I’m going to discuss, because they fit together perfectly. This masked duo seem to get along with one another in and out of the ring, and are taking the necessary steps to look like a legitimate Tag Team, including wearing matching ring gear, helping each other in the ring by performing moves in tandem and setting up their opponents for the other’s best maneuvers.
These two compliment one another’s weaknesses, seeing as Rey Mysterio isn’t 100% after returning from injury, and Sin Cara is still acclimating to the WWE style. They help to make each other better, and if their pairing is leading where I think its leading (a match at Wrestlemania), they’ll likely be teaming together much longer than any of the other makeshift Tag Team I’ve mentioned, giving them at least some longevity.
The fact of the matter is that I love Tag Team wrestling, but makeshift Tag teams never fail to annoy me. Some may believe that putting two successful singles superstars together and making them Tag Team Champions will make the Tag Team Division credible, but it does not. All those superstars do is take TV time and publicity from “career’ Tag Team superstars, make them look weak, and after a month or two of domination, return to singles competition. It makes the Tag Team division look like something to do when you don’t have much to do.
Six Tag Teams held the WWE Tag Team Championships in 2011(Santino & Kozlov, Heath Slater & Justin Gabriel, John Cena & The Miz, Big Show & Kane, Otunga & McGillicutty and Bourne & Kingston), none of which are still together in 2012. Maybe I’m too idealistic, but I want some stability in the Tag Team division. Singles Superstars coming together out of nowhere and deciding to take a run at the Tag Titles should be a special circumstance, not the norm. Tag Team wrestling should be made to look like it requires a level of commitment and knowledge of your partner’s tendencies that can’t be picked up overnight. It should be something special.
These makeshift duos are garnering attention, and the Tag Team Titles are more relevant than they have been in a long while. The thought of a Tag Team Tournament a year ago would have been laughable, but this year they have pulled it off. The key to all this is the transition to stability. Team Hell No, The Rhodes Scholars, and Mysterio and Sin Cara are making people take notice of Tag Team wrestling again, but if any of them are still teaming a year from now, I’ll heat my hat. The baton needs to be passed to teams like The Primetime Players, The Usos, The Ascension and The Colons, as Tag Team wrestling in the WWE should rest squarely on their shoulders. I can only hope that the WWE doesn’t fumble exchange.
There you have it, but I want to know what you think? What do you think the shelf lives of these makeshift teams are? Would you rather see teams like The Colons, The Usos, The Primetime Players, or The Ascension dominating the Tag Team Division? Do we have enough good Tag Teams to have a classic TLC Match?
I’ll be back next week with an Angle Analysis on “Team Hell No”. Until next time, I’m Matty J. Douglas saying Happy Belated Thanksgiving to all my Canadian readers! And I’ll see you in November America! Have a great week everybody.