Davey Boy Smith and The Dynamite Kid, The British Bulldogs.
I feel damn sorry for the World Tag Team Champions in either the WCW or WWF. The historic belts once held by distinguished teams such as The Hart Foundation, The British Bulldogs, Demolition, The Andersons, The Four Horsemen, The Road Warriors and The Steiner Brothers aren’t worth a cup of coffee and a week-old donut at a downtown greasy spoon.
Once a cornerstone of the biz granted main event status, today’s tag team wrestling scene is mired in mediocrity. As this is a mainstream media site I can’t use the words that would aptly describe the booking skills involved in contemporary tag bouts but suffice it to say that a freshly painted park bench has more imagination.
The token federation champs – the WWF’s New Age Outlaws and WCW’s The Giant and Scott Hall – are afterthoughts bungling through forgettable title defenses against whichever two saps the feds can slap together as the “rightful challengers” three minutes before bell time. Generating as much heat as an ice cube dropped in a snow bank, these encounters are a fan’s version of the “rest hold”.
Go ahead. Get your popcorn. Go to the bathroom. Smooch your significant other. Hey. It’s only a World Tag Team Title match. Whoopee!
If federation booking was reality-based, Greg Oliver and I would have as much right to a title shot as the hordes of unworthy challengers. Coming to an arena near you…the SLAM! Masters. Oh, yeah. I can dig it.
The Giant and Scott Hall team signify the very worst about modern tag wrestling. Cut and paste tag teams. In Turner-land, WCW head honcho Eric Bischoff purposely dismembered his promising but costly tag team division. Bottom line: the pay didn’t equal the work rate. The Steiner Brothers. Harlem Heat. The Faces Of Fear. No experienced duo was spared Bischoff’s bloody axe. Some (Booker T. Meng. Scott Steiner.) went on to new-found popularity in singles competition. What was the price WCW paid? The gutting of a deep division to provide meaningful competition. The WCW tag team belts saw their credibility disappear faster than Hollywood Hogan’s hair.
Bischoff’s measure to stop the slide was to utilize the tag division as a place to feature the overflow of high-profile wrestlers under costly contracts. Bad move. The fabled bond which develops between seasoned partners is non-existent. Sting and Kevin Nash or The Giant and Scott Hall are unquestionably members of the same gang but general alliances don’t establish the”well-oiled machine” concept that is a trademark of tag team wrestling. The Giant and Hall have no special moves they’ve planned together behind the scenes. There’s no unique bond there. It’s not two joining as one. It’s a standard singles match with the occasional tag-outs and double-teaming.
On the flip side up North, the WWF and its prez Vince McMahon have went the same route crowning Steve Austin a tag team champion with Shawn Michaels, Dude Love and The Undertaker for the sole purpose of lighting a fire under a singles feud.
Brutus Beefcake and Greg Valentine, The Dream Team.
The sudden break-up of a tag team used to mean something. Rick Martel turning his back on Tito Santana. A enraged Macho Man going psycho on Hulk Hogan. Shawn Michaels kicking Marty Jannetty through a plate glass window. Memories of betrayal still fresh in our minds.
Running a polar opposite to WCW, The World Wrestling Federation continues to build upon its tag team division. The Godwinns were re-invented. Signing Kaientai was a stroke of genius, though we could do without Yama-gimpy-san. This being true, why then isn’t anyone gunning for the titles? The New Age Outlaws have it easy once again. As before, no one is mounting a serious challenge to their title reign.
What’s worse laying waste to your talent as WCW did or letting your talent go to waste as the WWF is doing?
Whichever way you slice it, the state of tag team wrestling is downright disgraceful. The WWF and WCW’s stand shortchanges fans and denigrates the proud superstars who gave those belts their shine.