Why I Love Pro-Wrestling: Tag Teams

WILPW

Tag Team wrestling is an interesting concept. Normal bouts in sports entertainment are efforts to prove who the best competitor is. That’s one reason we get mad when the heel cheats. He won not because he’s the best competitor but because he’s lucky and intelligent. Tag Team wrestling changes the dynamic by making it about the team and not the individual. It also changes the way a match is built. Suddenly there are four people involved in the match and conditioning and timing changes. You have to showcase all four people pretty evenly to be successful which means all four guys should be interesting. This has failed in the past but it has also succeeded spectacularly. In fact, some of my favorite matches have been tag team matches.

So let’s look at a few successful tag teams and look at what type they represent and my theory on why they were popular. Just as a note, I’m going to be using male terms a lot because tag teams are used infrequently in women’s competition.

The Motorcity Machineguns

Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin are two guys from Detroit who came up in the business around the same time and (from all appearances) are two guys who had worked together a lot before they were officially a team. These guys knew each other’s rhythms and timing and they absolutely killed it in the ring. They started as heroes who repped their hometown of Detroit by pointing to their hands (think about it) and defeating their opponents. Later the two became arrogant heels while still performing awesome moves. The two worked together so well because they were technically sound and knew each other so well. Some other great tag teams that knew each other well were Edge and Christian, AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels, The Mega Powers and the Thrillseekers.

Team Extreme

Sometimes tag teams are closer than two guys who have worked together for a long while. Sometimes they’re actually family. Matt and Jeff Hardy are two brothers who are very close in age and both of them loved Pro-Wrestling. They happened to break into mainstream wrestling just when hardcore wrestling was becoming huge at the same time as a resurgence in tag team wrestling. The two created a lot of tag team wrestling innovations and helped to turn the whole concept of a tag team on its ear. They also sacrificed their bodies to make it in the business and fans definitely respected them for that back in the nineties. Unfortunately both have hit hard times off and on due to drug problems and such but we’ll always remember the team that I refuse to call the Hardy Boyz. Some of these sort of great tag teams are The Rhodes Dynasty, Owen Hart and The British Bulldog, The Briscoe Brothers, The Young Bucks and Harlem Heat.


Beer Money

Sometimes instead of taking two guys who know each other well, you throw together two guys who aren’t doing anything at the time. Sometimes the promoter just hopes to fill a spot for the night and sometimes they’re hoping to throw crap and have it actually stick to the wall. James Storm and Robert Roode did not have much to do with each other. Storm had been in America’s Most Wanted but was now a hard drinking cowboy. Robert Roode had started a rich guy gimmick after Team Canada disbanded. So the TNA writers threw the two of them together in a move that baffled a lot of fans. The two of them defied all odds and worked on meshing their styles together. They made compromises and Robert Roode became less sophisticated and James Storm became more driven. Some other tag teams like this were The Rockers, The Timesplitters, Chris Jericho and Big Show and Miz and Morrison.


The Shield

Sometimes tag teams seem to succeed because everybody designs it that way. Everybody involved moves heaven and earth for the team to be a cohesive unit, almost a brand. The Shield appeared out of nowhere to aid CM Punk in keeping his championship during a PPV. However, they trained together before that at what is now known as NXT. To the average viewer (myself included) the three had come out of nowhere and acted as a cohesive and dominant unit. They dressed alike, they acted as one and they seemed extremely coordinated. Eventually, they slowly formed personalities of their own in preparation for them disbanding but they gained fan and notoriety by being a trained tactical unit. Some other tag teams like this are MNM, The Major Brothers, London and Kendrick, The Road Warriors, The Hart Foundation and the Four Horsemen.


Team Hell No

Some teams just don’t make sense on paper. Some teams it’s funny to see two people who cannot possibly get along enter into a team together. At one point, Kane was hated and feared as Hell’s Favorite Demon. Not only was he a Big Red Machine but he was the Undertaker’s brother and a supernatural force to be reckoned with. Daniel Bryan was a young and exciting wrestler who had won the world title and then lost it, becoming embittered with the fans and angry with his fellow performers. The solution? Send them both to anger management therapy. Eventually part of their therapy was to team up together and despite their intense hatred of each other, they were successful. Some other great teams in this vein were The Rock ‘n Sock Connection, MVP and Matt Hardy, Raven and Tommy Dreamer, Goldust and Booker T, The Two Man Power Trip and the Corporate Ministry.

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