Craig Wilson, Brian Damage, Benjamin Trecroci, John Carbery and Earl Marx
It’s Sunday Sermon time and this week we take a look at the state of the tag team division on Raw and on Smackdown in the WWE at the moment. Today we ask: does it need a revoution to sort it?
Craig: The women’s revolution has had a huge impact on the women’s division in the WWE. Moving on from the bikini models of old to a group of accomplished in-ring workers.
While the tag team division might be full of top workers, is it too in need of a revolution? It’s undoubtedly had poorer periods in history but right now the tag team division on both raw and smackdown is, in my opinion, in need of attention.
The return of the Hardy Boys has plastered over issues on Raw. A record-breaking run from the New Day left challengers in their wake but resulted in teams losing too often. The runs with the gold of Sheamus and Cesaro as well as Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows were both short term and never amounted to much.
Over on SmackDown, the tag team division has been treated like an afterthought. The belts didn’t make it beyond the Mania pre-show and even teams that I had high hopes for, such as American Alpha, haven’t done much to improve things.
So what needs to happen? Will the swapping of teams be enough after the superstar shake-up or are the problems too ingrained for that to make much of a difference?
Brian: I think you may be a little too pessimistic about the tag team divisions in my opinion. First, it shouldn’t be compared to the Divas/Women’s division in any way, because that division desperately needed a makeover and a reboot. The women that were on the roster, just couldn’t compete to the expectations of the fan base. Not only that but after seeing the success of the women down in NXT and yes even in TNA to some degree, fans knew they deserved a lot better.
In the case of the tag team divisions, a revolution isn’t needed or be clamored for like the women were. That is because there are several really good to great teams already in both divisions. The Usos, American Alpha, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows, the return of the Hardy Boyz, even the teams of Cesaro and Sheamus and Primo and Epico are very good in the ring. What they do need in my opinion is more time to tell stories in the ring. Short matches with teams that are capable of so much is silly.
The added additions of the Revival who will be sidelined for a few months due to an unfortunate injury will only make the Raw division stronger. I am not a fan of Enzo Amore and Big Cass, but I do acknowledge they are extremely over with casual fans….the same with the New Day. So in my opinion, it isn’t a revolution needed as much as time for these teams to shine.
Benjamin: Always felt that a strong tag-team division made the entire roster stronger. Look back at how strong the product was when tag-team flourished in the 80’s with the Hart Foundation, Bulldogs, Dream Team and then in the 90’s with New Age Outlaws, Dudleys, Hardys, etc.
Seems like just yesterday things were looking positive with Tyson Kidd& Cesaro, New Day, Lucha Dragons, New Day, Prime Time Players. Now it’s not bad as it had been in the past, but it could be stronger.
Was hoping that one show would’ve concentrated on tag-team division while another one was focused on women but instead, they are split up and either group is probably not deep enough to do that.
The Club is far and away the best team in my opinion but they’ve never been given a full spotlight to show it. Love that The Hardy Boyz are back, seems like they never left. Cesaro and Sheamus have actually gelled into a solid team, but it’s only a matter of time before they are broken up. Cass and Enzo are likely going to be champions by Summerslam but they should’ve been put with Carmella, she’s been missed ever since they arrived on the scene. The Revival is a great addition, hopefully, their momentum isn’t going to be thwarted.
Over on Smackdown, American Alpha has not connected with the crowd for whatever reason. They should be the franchise team on the Blue Brand. Really digging The Usos heel-ish run reminiscent of the Samoan Swat Team. The Bollywood Boyz could be an interesting team, they showed a ton of potential. Breezango is basically a joke team and that’s a shame as both guys have untapped potential.
Would love to see a Revival-DIY type story on the main roster, it’s not like they don’t have time especially on Raw. It would be great to see a real main-event level tag-team feud.
John: The tag division has been treated as an afterthought for over a decade now. In 1999 when the Hardy Boyz beat the APA for their first WWF Tag Team title it was a major shock and a huge deal. If a young tag team in a similar mould were to do the same thing today would anybody bat an eyelid? It’d be “Oh yeah, great” and two weeks later everybody would forget about them. Both fans and back office.
So I agree, a hard reset on the tag team division would be a great thing as it would shake the office staff, the fans and the wrestlers out of their current state of apathy. WWE can still do great things with tag teams when they really want to, The Shield had an outstanding feud with Goldust and Cody Rhodes back in 2013 and The New Day are obviously a huge act but these are the exception, not the rule.
If there was an emphasis on the importance of tag wrestling, the legacy of the championships and a concerted effort to get and allow several teams to get over as huge stars WWE would have a better product. Instead, unlike NXT, RAW and Smackdown tend to be top heavy when it comes to storylines etc. They’ll spend hours putting over their main eventers to the point where they’re overexposed and they’ve built apathy instead of anticipation.
Also, it’s idiotic in my opinion that they don’t have a women’s tag division. They have more than enough women to put one together and they have a lot of women who need to learn from those with those experience.
Brian: So many companies, it seems have tried to put together a women’s tag team division and it has always failed. Look at the days of the Jumping Bomb Angels in the WWF and more recently with TNA wrestling. Getting back to the current state of the tag team divisions on both Raw and Smackdown, you all make some valid points about how it can improve, but ultimately I think the tag team divisions will be what they will be.
They aren’t bad, perhaps some tweaking can make them a bit better but in the end they are much better than the days when they just threw random names together to become champions ie Drew McIntyre and Cody Rhodes or Matt Hardy and MVP.
Craig: I agree with Brian, things are better than they have been in the past. Perhaps I’m just being too optimistic if I think we’ll have a division like that in the 80s or late 90s. I do think there are some talented acts dotted across the tag team division on both shows. There’s always talk that Vince McMahon isn’t a big fan of tag team wrestling and I always wonder what impact that has on the success on the division.
Earl: So i can finally chime in a little bit.
This is such an interesting time in the WWE tag team scene. After years of the tag scene appearing to be an afterthought, a reinvigoration took place. And then the last 6 months or so happened. Now we’re here.
There are so many talented pairings in today’s landscape, yet I still feel “empty” on both SD and Raw. The talent is there, but it still feels like there is just no emphasis on anything tag related and, on the odd chance there is, it doesn’t last very long.
I’d like to use The New Day as an example. They took the crown as the longest reigning tag team champions. Why are they not hell bent on reclaiming what they held for so long? Not only do they move on, but they were directionless until this recent shakeup? Something about this scenario is baffling.
Take a look at The Usos. They are SD champs and don’t have a merch piece? Baffling.
The Ascension start heavily influenced by the Road Warriors and have since become warriors of the undead. Baffling.
Beauty and The Man Beast never quite come close to being a threat yet they were… yeah..you get my drift. Baffling.
I can go on and on, but the point I want to stress is that with more direction and more time for the matches, we COULD care more. Until then, we go around and around. The 80s and 90s tag scene could truly be a thing of the past, but I wonder – have we learned from the past? Did we learn what works and what didn’t? How can we use that to positively impact the future of the division? Hands down, I think this is an awesome group of tag teams….but they’re just there. Can we make them mean something?
You can read all previous Sunday Sermons here.