One of the saddest things to witness in the last decade of wrestling has been the decline of tag team wrestling. I grew up watching wrestling in the late-80’s then into the 90s where Tag Team wrestling was more defined and appreciated more. We had actual names for Tag Teams and some of them had the crazy gimmicks that made up that particular time of wrestling. Tag Team wrestling was important.
Then the late 90s into the 2000s gave us probably one of the best golden eras in Tag Team wrestling. The Tables, Ladders and Chairs matches between Edge & Christian, The Hardy Boyz and The Dudley Boyz are still talked about to this day. It was great Tag Team wrestling that was stealing the show. When people look back at a Wrestlemania 2000 or Wrestlemania 17 most of the time people will mention the TLC matches these three teams had.
Tag Team wrestling started going on a decline right around the WWE held their draft splitting the roster between RAW and Smackdown! They split up The Hardy Boyz, The Dudley Boyz and Edge & Christian were no more prior to split. Tag Team wrestling during the golden era was all but dead.
You had teams like La Resitance, Cade & Murdoch, World’s Greatest Tag Team/Team Angle, Los Guerreros, Cryme Tyme, Deuce & Domino, MNM, Miz & Morrison and most recently The Hart Dynasty come from the era of decline in Tag Team wrestling. Not many of the teams lasted long and most of the members of the team were either broken up over time or released from the company. Despite a great amount of talent on this list the WWE really never saw any signs of making Tag Team wrestling worth it.
During the decline of Tag Team wrestling the WWE did have their moments where I would get excited about Tag Team wrestling possibly making a comeback.
When the WWE introduced the Tag Team titles for the Smackdown! brand we saw some great tag team wrestling from single stars mixed into Tag Teams. I’m talking about the Kurt Angle/Chris Benoit, Edge & Rey Mysterio and Los Guerreros era to introduce the Tag Titles to Smackdown. It was a great period for tag team wrestling for the decade.
But we knew what WWE was doing; they had taken many of their singles stars and put them in the Tag Team title mix to bring importance to the gold. They needed to give the Tag Titles a huge push because leading up to that introduction of the titles Tag Team wrestling was not important on WWE programming. Not a good sign that they needed to make the gold important again on WWE programming but none the less they gave us some great matches during that time.
You had other good periods of time for Tag Team wrestling when we had tag teams like MNM and Miz & Morrison making the titles important again. They gave us a Tag Team that could transcend well with the audience and make it to worth watching a Tag Team match on a Monday, Tuesday or Friday night. But just like the latest formula for tag team wrestling in the WWE would show, it was just a way to push them as future singles stars eventually.
It’s the formula used for teams like “The Rockers”, “The Hart Foundation” and “The Hardy Boyz.” WWE sees one of the members is of the tag team as a future singles star (Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart & Matt Hardy) in the company. So what the WWE does is break the team up and take all steam out of a Tag Team division. Unlike the period of time the three others teams mentioned were in, there was no other depth in Tag Team wrestling now when the WWE decides to break up a team.
Look at what they have done in the past couple of years with Tag Teams. They broke up The Miz & Morrison and there wasn’t really any other team to contend to hold the Tag Team division in their hand. It would leave the Tag division with little to no talent.
The WWE would even break up the smallest of teams like Cryme Tyme and most recently a tag team like Hawkins & Archer that were secluded to Superstars or the rare Smackdown appearance. It just doesn’t make sense why they would break up a tag team that was really never acknowledge as such on their brands. What it did was hurt the Tag Team division and its wrestlers more then anything.
Now the recent rumor is and it makes sense if you’ve been watching WWE programming, is that the WWE plans on breaking up The Hart Dynasty. They were most recently the Tag Team Champions, a Tag Team with an actual team name and if you like old school Tag Team wrestling they are somewhat a decent throwback to that period of time. While not completely over with the fans, why would you break them up?
The WWE appeared to be on the right track to rebuilding their Tag Team Division with The Hart Dynasty and teams like The Usos, Hawkins & Archer, The Dudebusters. But they are the verge of being broken up, aren’t used on WWE television or they are broken up for no reason at all. It just doesn’t make sense why the WWE wouldn’t want to capitalize on benefiting from the Tag Team Division.
We may never see Tag Team wrestling ever reach its fullest potential of entertainment in the WWE ever again. Like many things the WWE feels like they know what their fans want and clearly in their eyes Tag Team wrestling is not one of those things. The worst part of it all is that it has been out of the minds of wrestling fans for so long now that they actually might be right with their assumption.
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