Posted September 1st, 2016 by 1Wrestling News Team

Women’s Revolution……Cruiserweight Revolution……can we get a Tag Team Revolution!
By Johnny Kashmere

Are you like me, did you get totally hooked on tag team wrestling as a kid? Were you amazed by the non-stop action coupled with the glamour of the eye-catching matching attire? Did the tandem maneuvers make your eyebrows raise and eyes widen with delight? I have to ask the question “What happened to this lost art of tag team wrestling?”

As I mentioned in the title, we have seen the WWE revolutionize women’s wrestling, a feat that literally took decades to take effect. They stayed true to their beliefs that women’s wrestling can be just as good as men’s wrestling and they never faltered on it. Boy, did it payoff in the end. Currently, the Cruiser Weight Classic on the WWE Network is being considered a breath of fresh air and viewership is way up. The viewer response was so overwhelming that the WWE decided to make the cruiserweight wrestlers a fixture on Monday Nights as they attempt to pack three plus hours with wrestling and somehow keep it entertaining. Wouldn’t the next logical step be a Tag Team Revolution?

Let’s take a look at the current tag team roster. NXT has the strongest tag team division currently in my opinion. Gargano and Ciampa are leading the charge with innovation and tandem maneuvers and not far behind is The Revival. Adding Paul Ellering as The Authors of Pain’s manager was a stroke of genius (although I feel it may have been a better fit to have him manage The Ascension, which many have deemed “The Poor Man’s Legion of Doom!”). On the main rosters we have former NXT top teams Enzo & Cass, The Ascension, American Alpha, The Hype Bros. and The Vaudvillians. Plus, the teams of Jeri-KO, The Shining Stars, The Golden Truth, The New Day, The Club, Breezango and now The HeadBangers. Some killer combinations in that list, combos that can easily help lead a true tag team revolution and bring the genre back to its former glory and even possibly beyond.

The next step should be getting new hot teams into NXT asap. Teams like The Young Bucks and The Briscoe Brothers. This will allow the NXT teams to move up to the main roster to really round out the playing field with some killer competition.
Let’s look at each team to see what they bring to the table that a tag team revolution could benefit from (this list is in no particular order):
The New Day (Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston, and Big E. Langston):
Arguably the most over tag team of the current generation. The kids love them, the smarts love them, everyone loves them. Having such a long title reign gives them the credibility needed to be the tip of the spear for the revolution that hopefully is due to come. Any one of the team is over individually which is a huge plus from a writer’s perspective and makes it easier to utilize their talents in promos and feuds. These guys have the gift of reaching through the TV set and grabbing fans attention and not letting go, a very rare talent these days. That, coupled with the fact that they are a three man team, helps make them something special and really stand out among the other teams.

Enzo Amore & Big Cass:
My guess is these guys will continue to tag but will also work singles matches which will only raise their overall value to their roster. Their likability is off the charts and their tandem moves are exciting to watch and fun to anticipate. Their mic work is unparalleled in today’s generation and I expect them to be major players both as singles stars and as a tag team moving forward. Overall, there really is nothing bad to be said about these guys, they have IT and its undeniable. Not much more even needs to be said, they are just that popular.

The Club (Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson): I understand how great the Club was in Japan but I don’t see it translating to WWE as well as expected. I think they need to spend some time on the bottom of the card so they can work their way up the card organically and not be perceived to be given anything. Their affiliation with AJ Styles skyrocketed them into the spotlight immediately and my fear is that without AJ, they may not keep their heat on their own. That being said, I fully believe they have what it takes to get over the old fashioned way and dazzle the crowd with their in-ring psychology and heel personas as time goes by.

The Vaudvilllians (Simon Gotch and Aiden English): When I watched these guys in NXT they were my new favorite tag team. Their entrance was so different and so appealing that by the time they got into the ring they had already won me over as a fan. Then, as I watched their timing with their tandem moves and the way they ingeniously sculpted their matches, it brought me to the level of super fan. These guys have enough size to compete against any team on the main roster and I was elated when I found out they were being brought up. But for some reason, their transition to Tuesday nights didn’t go as I expected it would. Was it because of the timing of Cass and Enzo being brought up at the same time and how over they were that caused the fans to overlook The Vaudvillians? These guys remind me of a young Doug Furnas and Phil LaFon, which happen to be my all-time favorite tag team. I really hope The Vaudvillians are given ample opportunity to spread their wings so the fans get to see just what they are capable of doing in the ring. If that happens, they will be key players and innovators as the revolution takes shape.

Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa: These guys were initially overlooked as being major players due to their smaller stature and since they were relative newcomers to the big leagues. The CruiserWeight Classic tournament has given them the platform they needed to show the fans just what they can do when given the spotlight. Their showing thus far in the CWC has raised many eyebrows and put them on the radar of smart and casual fans alike. Their match at Takeover Brooklyn II against The Revival was downright fantastic and took the momentum they created at the CWC and carried it to the next level. The sky is the limit for these guys, after an NXT title reign I’d expect to see them on the main roster following in the footsteps of Cass/Enzo, The Ascension, American Alpha and The Vaudvillians.

The Ascension (Konnor and Viktor): After dominating the tag scene in NXT these guys came to the main roster and kind of fizzled out quickly. The perception of them being a cheap knock off of The Road Warriors didn’t help them endearing themselves to the fans. Using the LOD as inspiration for a tag team is a great idea but going as far as these guys went might be a bit of a mistake. I realize it’s not their fault, don’t get me wrong, but the problem still persists. If they can come into their own and get away from the comparison to arguably the greatest tag team of all time, they can be a big part of the tag scene. They definitely have the talent, the size, and the determination to make it to the top, now they just need a fighting chance to win the fans over and I think they’ll be all set.

The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder): The current NXT Tag champions got to where they are the old fashioned way. They worked hard, worked smart, and worked their way up from the bottom by gaining the respect and admiration of the fans. These guys are as tight as any tag team I’ve ever seen and seem to know what the other is thinking in the ring, making for a cohesive and slick unit. Their skills are top notch and their fan base is constantly growing with ever match they have. Their recent match at the NXT Brooklyn Takeover brought them into the forefront of tag team wrestling fans’ minds. The only thing I fear is their similarity in look to The Club, I hope that doesn’t stop them from joining the main roster in a timely fashion.

The Golden Truth (Goldust and R-Truth)
: Many smart fans seem to like this team but in my opinion they are being used solely as enhancement talent on the main roster at this point. I doubt we will see them winning any significant matches anytime soon, which is a shame because they really play off of each other well. Two veterans put together is always a good thing since they can help to teach the younger teams. I’m impressed that Dustin Rhodes is still going and going strong, something must be said for his longevity and work ethic. If any of that rubs off on the younger teams, then the WWE did a smart thing by putting this team together.

The Shining Stars (Primo and Epico Colon):
These guys are wrestling royalty in Puerto Rico and most of the Caribbean for that matter. Their talent is undeniable but for some reason they have not gotten over with the crowd quite yet. I think they may be seen as too vanilla by many fans. They don’t have much that sets them apart and their wrestling is not flashy enough to make the fans notice them. I’m afraid they are lost in the shuffle and may stay lost in the shuffle for some time to come. I’m not sure what it is they are lacking at this point, maybe they need to be more vicious as heels. Their stature is not intimidating so they need to use their brains and be smarter and meaner than the other teams if they are to stand out. The tag team revolution will need international appeal so these guys can definitely be valuable if the writers figure out a way to make them more appealing to the masses.

The Authors of Pain (Akam and Rezar w/ Paul Ellering): This team has spectacular muscle mass but relatively zero muscle definition. That being said it might be wise to utilize a new wardrobe to cover them up more until such time as they can lean out and cut up. In NXT they come off as monsters, but on the main roster they probably won’t as much. The best thing they have going for them is the name recognition of Paul Ellering. As the manager of the Road Warriors, Ellering brings instant credibility to the team. The nostalgia factor is also working in their favor thanks to the pairing with Paul. If any team is being presented on a silver platter with a silver spoon in their mouths, it’s the Authors. It would be a tragedy if they weren’t able to get over as the monsters NXT wants them to be. The jury is still out on if they can cut good promos but my hunch is that they are still developing that particular skill in the training center, but it’s OK for now since Ellering has it covered on their behalf. All that being said, I still hate hate hate their name because it’s too similar to The Powers of Pain (The Warlord and The Barbarian). I see what the creative team was going for by naming them that, but I think they could have given it a bit more thought before branding them with it. My opinion, I can easily be proven wrong on that point, time will tell. *Note that their names Akam and Rezar are a play on “Occam’s Razor” the philosophy that the easiest solution is usually the correct and best solution.

Jeri-KO (Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens)
: I don’t anticipate that these guys will be a real team for very long. Their expertise is in singles wrestling and they are both way too good to be locked into a tag team for too long. I think it’s a tactic WWE creative is using to keep them fresh and relevant and so far, it seems to really be working. I am a huge critic of taking the names of two singles stars and mashing them together to form the tag team name. Past offenders include Jeri-Show and Mizdow. To me that’s simply lazy. These guys both cut exceptional promos and both have the crowd believing in their character. Having them wrestle established and establishing tag teams can only be a positive for all involved. These guys both have a talent at getting their opponents over as huge babyfaces and that’s something that is super valuable, not to mention very rare, to the creative department right now and can only elevate the tag division as a whole.

Breezango (Tyler Breeze and Fandango):
Quite possibly the worst tag team name every to come down the pike in pro wrestling. I seriously doubt that they can overcome the horrible name but stranger things have happened. Tyler was a golden boy of NXT only to be drowned by the competition on the main roster. Fandango had already drowned there as well for all intents and purposes. I see this as a last ditch effort by creative to get these guys some kind of reaction from the crowd. If they don’t make waves soon, my fear is that they may end up being “Future Endeavored” which would be a tragedy where Breeze is concerned.

American Alpha (Jason Jordan and Chad Gable): I guess this team can be appropriately referred to by using Brock Lesnar’s old moniker “The Next Big Thing”. Big things are expected from this team and so far, they have been delivering just that on a weekly basis. They are a very believable tag team that exude a natural babyface charisma that truly can’t be taught. The only criticism I have (and I’m totally nitpicking here) is that Jason Jordan refuses to wear real wrestling boots. Just a pet peeve of mine, but I think it would make the team’s look be a bit crisper and it would also add some height to Jordan which never hurts, especially on the main roster. I would expect this team to climb the rankings fast and become focal points of the tag division before we know it. They have the potential to be the front-line leaders of the tag team revolution for Smackdown Live as Enzo and Cass will be on RAW.

The Hype Bros. (Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley)
: Ryder has flopped around the main roster like a fish out of water for the past few years unable to really find a place for himself to firmly plant his feet. After winning the IC title at this year’s WrestleMania, it appeared that Zack had finally broken through and was going to be pushed heavily. The next night on Raw he lost the belt and has been flopping ever since. I was wrestling on the event in NJ where Ryder (then called Matthews) wrestled his last independent match before heading to the WWE. I could see in his eyes how much he loved the wrestling business and I knew that betting on him making it big would be a smart bet. He started out in a tag team with Brian Myers aka Curt Hawkins before becoming a singles competitor so he really has a firm grasp on tag team psychology. He obviously has a great look and body, so he is somewhat of a total package. His current partner Mojo Rawley (former NFL defensive lineman Dean Muhtadi) was recently called up from NXT and is somewhat of a wildcard. I haven’t seen a whole lot of his wrestling but pairing him with Zack might be a good idea so Zack can help put the proverbial icing on the cake as far as his evolution into a main-roster superstar is concerned. I don’t see tag belts in their future, but this team is hard to get a read on as they are still relatively new to the Smackdown Live roster. If Mojo follows Zack’s lead, I don’t see a problem.

The Headbangers (Mosh and Thrasher): I’m not quite sure if they will be a permanent fixture on TV or if they were just a nostalgia act to fill some time, but either way they can be fun to watch when booked properly. At the height of the attitude era these guys were being pushed hard as hard-partying goof-off guys that marched to the beat of their own drummer. Now, 16 years later as grown men, it will be interesting to see if they can still get the crowds behind them. I realize that after the retirement of The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and Devon), the WWE needs a new nostalgia act (like The New Age Outlaws before The Dudleys) to put the new teams over and show the fans that the new teams are on par with the older, more established veteran teams. The only problem is…The Bangers were never dominant, if they were champions I don’t even remember their title run, and they never quite broke through the glass ceiling to the level of super-stardom. When used sparingly I believe that they can be good additions to the tag division, but overexposure won’t be good and it’s a very thin line between the two…. I hope creative can pull off the very delicate balancing act to keep them fresh and relevant in today’s Ritalin-generation. Regardless, they bring credibility to the table and that can’t hurt a tag team revolution.

The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson): I realize they aren’t WWE talent (yet) but I can’t talk about a true tag team revolution without given this team the respect they have earned. These guys are the very personification of good tag team wrestling. Throwbacks to teams like The Rockers, The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express, and The Hollywood Blondes, these guys can literally do it all. They can fly, they can brawl, they can talk, they have extraordinary technical skills and their mat wrestling is better than most. Their star is on the rise and it’s only a matter of time before they pop up on NXT in my opinion. Who knows, maybe WWE will even let them keep their names…..nah!

The Briscoe Brothers (Mark and Jay Briscoe): Still going after all these years and haven’t miss a single beat. Another team not in WWE that deserve to be seen as in the forefront of the tag team revolution. These brothers are two of the toughest SOBs I’ve ever met in my life and their in-ring work is so crisp and tight. They have dropped the jaw of every fan that has ever watched them do their thing live. Their speed is amazing for their size, their strength is right up there with their speed as nearly super-human, their ring psychology is impeccable, they are both true ring generals, and their believability is off the charts. These guys could probably stand toe to toe with any tough guys in any back alley in any major city in the world. They have given all they have to the wrestling business and they continue to do so every time they step in the ring. These two should go down in history as one of the all-time best brother tag teams of all time.

As you can see, the tag team scene in WWE and the wrestling business in general is nothing short of spectacular if its given the opportunity and the proper framework to shine. To be completely honest, I don’t see it happening….at least, not now or anytime too soon for that matter. I think WWE is preoccupied with the brand split, the Women’s division, The Cruiser Division, The Wellness Policy violations, The Network, and their Anti-Bullying Campaign to really give the tag team division the attention it will need in order to become as strong as it was in the late 80s and early 90s. I hope like hell that I’m wrong because it would certainly peak my interest as well as the interest of those like me who have tag team wrestling in their blood. There is also a whole new generation out there that would fall in love with tag team wrestling if given the opportunity to do so. I’m thankful that there are quality teams still out there doing their thing day in and day out to even make a tag team revolution a possibility.

In closing, I feel it’s appropriate to talk a minute about the Dudleys.
They were never my favorite tag team, not even close actually, but I always knew that they were good and deserved to be pushed. I am glad that they came back for their final run because they more than earned that right. There is something poetic about giving a team like them the chance to come back and show that they can still make an impact even when they are winding their careers down. Getting to say a true goodbye to the fans and the business is really all a career-athlete can ask for. Their matches with the Hardy Boyz and Edge and Christian helped redefine high-risk tag team wrestling and they will go down in history as one of the greatest teams of all time. I am sure we will see them in the Hall of Fame sooner rather than later and that’s a good thing for tag wrestling in general. So, from all of us here, I say THANK YOU Bubba Ray and THANK YOU Devon, you will be missed but never forgotten.


Category: Wrestling.

Tags: , , .

Comments are closed.