As of this writing, I’ve just gotten back from a long day in Intercourse, Pennsylvania (yes, it’s a real place) and I am totally exhausted. I wanted to spend a LOT of time on the following topic, but I’m sure you guys will have PLENTY to comment on once you hear what I have to say.
The WWE tag team division is not in a state of revival, and will not be prominent for the foreseeable future.
All across this site I’ve seen writers and readers alike proclaim that Team Hell No is just what the tag team division needs to kickstart it back into gear. This could not be further from the truth.
Let’s take a time machine back to 2009, shall we? Edge had teamed up with Chris Jericho to win the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship, but before the tandem could get on a roll Edge suffered an ankle injury. As a last-minute replacement, Jericho brought in Big Show…and JeriShow was formed. Three years ago the division was floundering and nearly forgotten until JeriShow made it fun and interesting again. The belts became something more than tertiary props and the duo main evented PPVs defending those titles. The majority of fans (yours truly included) thought that whichever team could defeat such an impressive duo would be catapulted to the ranks of tag team superstardom and therefore bring glory and prestige back to those belts. Legacy couldn’t do it. Mark Henry and MVP couldn’t do it. Hell, the only legit tag team the company had left, Cryme Tyme, couldn’t do it.
Enter Triple H and Shawn Michaels.
DX took the titles from JeriShow in a fantastic Ladder Match at 2009’s TLC. Think about that. The soon-to-be rejuvenated tag team division was left in the hands of The Game and HBK. HBK’s obsession with ending The Streak caused them to lose the belts to ShoMiz and the titles remained an afterthought as team after team held the belts with no sign of the promised improvement. Even Air Boom seemed like a step in the right direction until Evan Bourne failed a Wellness test. And when Epico and Primo held the titles, they were often placed in dark matches and complained via Twitter about it as part of a rumored angle which never came to pass. R-Truth and Kofi Kingston were another attempt to put the titles back on the map, but they rarely had an interesting feud until the Primetime Players came along. O’Neil and Young lost countless title matches until it looked like they were poised to win at Night of Champions.
But another angle was drawing attention away from those two teams, and it had everything to do with the dynamic between Kane and Daniel Bryan.
Striking while the iron was hot, the WWE put the titles on Kane and Bryan. Personally, I think this was a great decision and smart booking. However, there is no way anyone can claim that Team Hell No will revive the division. For starters, we all know this will end with Kane and DB breaking up down the road and facing one another in a grudge match; that’s the way this storyline will play out. Sure, they can learn to be good buddies but like with all odd couple teams, something’s got to give. Secondly, the belts were given to them to enhance the dynamic of their two contrasting personalities. It’s like the movie cliche where two guys who hate each other wind up handcuffed or chained to one another and have to work together.
Will this produce great tag team matches and put the spotlight on the titles? Hell yes.
Will the titles be downgraded once they leave the waists of Team Hell No? Most certainly, hell yes.
Don’t believe me? Let’s look at the history books. In the last ten years, the only times the titles were treated on the level of midcard belt or greater involved main eventers who were successful singles stars or were stuck in an uneasy alliance to further their own angle. Even London and Kendrick, who held the titles on Smackdown for OVER A YEAR, never saw a decent feud. When was the last time multiple tag teams (not just thrown-together ones, but teams who have been together regularly) feuded over the belts and received ample TV time?
You can cite the fact that tag teams are now popping up all over the place (Rhodes Scholars, Kidd and Gabriel, the Usos, Primetime Players, Epico and Primo), but I assure you that the only reason this is happening is to put Kane and Bryan in tag team situations where the gold is on the line so that we can see how their bizarre relationship will continue to play out for our entertainment. Once those titles move on to another team, the tag division will once again be relegated to house shows and dark matches.
Want more proof? Look at Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio. The plan is to have them team up, then eventually split for a one-on-one match at Wrestlemania. I’m sure they’ll get the belts just to give the angle more of an “oomph.”
And the cycle will repeat itself ad nauseam.
So long, and thanks for all the fish.
Tags: air boom, big show, brian kendrick, chris jericho, Cryme Tyme, Daniel Bryan, edge, Epico, evan bourne, JeriShow, Justin Gabriel, kane, Kofi Kingston, Mike Gojira, Night of Champions, Primetime Players, Primo, R-Truth, rey mysterio, shawn michaels, ShoMiz, sin cara, Smackdown, Team Hell No, the usos, TLC, triple h, Tyson Kidd, wrestlemania, WWE, WWE Tag Team Championship