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How WWE’s Tag Teams Became Relevant Again

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Cast your mind back to the late 90’s and try to name the best tag team in the WWE. It’s a struggle right ? At the time the division was thriving. The title picture of Edge & Christian, The Dudley Boyz and The Hardy Boys was incredible, with the 3 teams putting on classics virtually every time they stepped in the ring together and the fans couldn’t get enough of it. On top of that we had some legendary teams like The Hart Foundation, Rock ‘n’ Sock Connection, New Age Outlaws, APA, DX, Brothers Of Destruction, Legion Of Doom, Stone Cold with… virtually everybody. I would quite literally be here all day if I were to list every great team from years gone by.

But then over the next decade or so, WWE seemed to treat the division as an afterthought, quite often using teams as a way to push singles stars – a great example being John Cena vs Batista in 2008 where Cena single-handedly squashed the reigning tag champions Cody Rhodes & Ted Dibiase Jr. We started seeing less believable champions such as The Bashams, The Corre and Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov with the latter being nothing more than a comedy act. No offence intended to the guys who held the titles over this period, but the calibre of teams simply didn’t compare.

However, over the last few years the landscape has shifted again, resulting in another thriving tag team division. So how did WWE bring the glory days of tag team wrestling back? And what can be done to ensure we don’t go through another blip?

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We don’t just set the cringey catchphrases…

Greats feuds, not just matches

For the longest time we were given tag team ‘rivalries’ which lacked any sort of intensity and story. We were expected to just blindly go along with it because we sort of liked the guys involved, but didn’t really have a reason to become invested. Over the last few years however we have seen a lot more thought being put into feuds, such as The Shield and then The New Day vs The Wyatt Family, the rivalry and eventual forming of Cesaro & Sheamus, the brilliant build up and eventual success of Team Hell No, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose finally burying the hatchet, teams trying to stop The New Day from becoming the longest reigning champs in history … these were stories we cared about, backed up by fantastic wrestling.

WWE just need to keep going with the flow. We’ve seen in recent months that stories in the division have taken a backseat again while they’ve focused on the champions and challengers themselves, which is a shame because there are some great, charismatic teams on the roster who can sell you a story/rivalry. Imagine the gold WWE could strike by reuniting The Wyatt Family and having them feud with SAnitY once they are called up ? Or now that we have Balor Club together finally why not have a long standing feud with The Shield or Undisputed Era ? The division is full of so much potential right now with even more potential stars coming through the ranks, we just need a reason to care about them.

Stop screwing up great teams

Its all very well and good talking about how great the talent on the roster is, but one thing you can always count on in tag team wrestling is that just as the iron is hot, WWE and Vince will make the decision to split a team up and kill momentum/ruin lots of good build. lets look at some examples:

The Wyatt Family – Constantly fail to pull the trigger on a stable v stable feud, keep resorting to infighting and then let a part time The Rock bury them.

Enzo & Cass – Split them up while they’re hot while never letting them capture the tag titles just to try and make a singles star out of Big Cass despite his lack of ability in ring and on the mic.

Slater & Rhyno – Another case of a team coming from nowhere to suddenly becoming insanely over, moving them to RAW where they barely feature was one of the most ridiculous decisions I’ve ever seen.

Gallows & Anderson – Used as fodder for The New Day to surpass Demolition’s long standing record, never recovered, forced into humiliating matches and WWE Shop adverts.

American Alpha – Split up a great team with great chemistry and ability so we could have one of WWE’s worst storylines of all time, then formed American Beta (great name, you’re welcome) by replacing one athletic black guy (Jordan) with another (Benjamin) rendering the decision pointless.

DIY – To be fair this one was done really well for once, but regardless it was still an exciting partnership that could’ve gone on to achieve great things.

Lets face it, the only way you are gonna stay together as a tag team in WWE is if you can make the company big money from merchandise sales. None of those teams above, with the exception of Enzo & Cass, pulled in the big bucks. There’s a reason WWE have never split up The New Day, Breezango or The Uso’s. Money talks..

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You don’t need a caption here. You’ve already got a bemused Kane in a silly hat. Stop being so greedy and be thankful.

Big Names make big teams

The Hurricane & Rosey, La Resistance, Spirit Squad, The Colons … hardly a list of the all time greats is it ? While entertaining in their own right they simply were not championship material and were lightyears away from the star power of DX, The Hart Foundation and The Brothers of Destruction. The division really suffered for a long time due to this, most teams on the roster couldn’t garner any real interest from the crowd and were treated as afterthoughts. It is a simple fact that we as fans want to see the best in the business hold the top titles.

In recent times WWE have chosen to elevate the tag team championships by having some of their top talent – Dean Ambrose/Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins, Sheamus & Cesaro, Bray Wyatt & Randy Orton, Kane & Daniel Bryan, The New Day, The Uso’s – show just how important the division is. The signing of Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson while they were still hot, the amazing return of The Hardy Boys at WrestleMania 33 and the recent reuniting of The Shield show that WWE have finally realised the importance of the division and the impact that using top names can have. Regardless of the top names involved, RAW is still struggling in terms of how many teams they have at their disposal even with The Revival‘s recent… revival, but i’ll get to that later on. Too many of their teams resemble the teams from those dark days previously mentioned… Titus Worldwide, Heath Slater & Rhyno… whereas SDLive have added yet more big names into their division with the likes of Rusev Day, The Blugeon Brothers, Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable all helping to raise the bar in some phenomenal multi team matches in recent months.

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Jimmy & Jey clearly confused as to why this match was on the Summerslam Pre Show. Woods doesn’t care, he’s a certified porn star now !

New Day vs The Uso’s

It’s impossible to talk about the current tag team scene without mentioning these two teams. When The New Day first debuted they were generally hated amongst fans, a very stereotypical black power/exploitation/preaching sort of group who were booed out of the building every night and only became popular thanks to bright colours, funny catchphrases and silly props. A huge amount of credit goes to Xavier Woods for helping to get the group over with his stellar mic work, but there is no denying the group have a natural chemistry together. They’re one of the best example of how to use the Freebird ruling to perfection, using typically heel tactics to gain victories while still remaining face.

The Uso’s have always been a fun team to watch. They’ve always been known for their athleticism, high flying ability and since day one (ish) they engaged well with the crowd and had a distinctive look. Unfortunately for them they happen to be related to Roman Reigns, and suffered a knock on effect from the fans hatred for Reigns’ perceived forced push into becoming the guy. Where most guys would have stagnated and never recovered, The Uso’s used this negative reaction to reinvent themselves as heels, and they’ve arguably never been better. The Samoan tribal entrance and bright facepaint are both long gone, replaced by a thug-ish arrogance, a much more aggressive wrestling style and a new found confidence when it comes to promos.

Down since Day One Sort Of

The two teams clashed countless times on RAW, and while the matches were pretty good it did start to get a bit samey after a while. Fast forward to May 2017 when The New Day made their SDLive debut… I can’t have been the only one thinking ‘oh please god not this again !’. I’m a man of integrity and I will hold my hands up and say I couldn’t have been more wrong. Their SDLive rivalry was far and away the highlight of 2017, with phenomenal matches that have saved poor PPV’s (Battleground), hilarious promos from both teams (Rap Battle) and an incredible rivalry ending match at Hell In A Cell.

The two teams have consistently brought out the absolute best in eachother and after every match they essentially say to the locker room ‘go ahead, top that’. This feud in my eyes was the closest we have come to replicating the quality of the E&C/Dudleyz/Hardys rivalry from the 90’s. I just didn’t want it to end.

See those guys in the middle holding the titles ? They were most recently seen with pumpkins on their heads throwing cream pies at people… yep.

More teams in the mix

This section is sort of both a good point and a bad one. Currently on RAW we have 7 tag teams but for months we’ve only really seen one rivalry taking place – The Bar vs Rollins & Ambrose/Jason Jordan. The Revival came back recently, bringing with them some real optimism as we were led to believe the division had some fresh legs and new competition… NOPE! Winning matches against local talent and being buried by legends at RAW 25 is not how you build interest in your tag division. Now SDLive… boy oh boy do they know how its done! Rusev Day v The New Day v Benjable (great name again, you’re even more welcome) v The Uso’s at Clash of Champions was incredible, one of the best matches of 2017 by far but it didn’t just work because you had 8 guys involved, it worked because they had great chemistry together. I don’t know how many more times I can bare to watch the same match again and again AND AGAIN on RAW regardless of how good the talent involved is.

If it wasn’t for their top titles, RAW wouldn’t even be the C show at this point. The most notable thing that two of their big stars – Gallows & Anderson – have done in recent months was their match against Heath Slater & Rhyno in a car crash of a Halloween match. This is one of the best tag teams in world not even being used on mid card feuds, the same team who have left a path of destruction everywhere they have been and won plenty of championships on the way. WWE have a veeeeery long history of acquiring as much talent as possible to get the upper hand on their competitors, but then wasting them due to not having the time or space for them. It’s difficult to watch such talented guys be underutilized every single week.

Segments so good, they made people care about The Ascension

Breezango have become arguably the most over superstars on in the whole company over the last year thanks to their hilarious Fashion Files segments, but WWE seemed to forget that these guys are actual wrestlers for a very long time. When they did eventually remember, what did they do? They had them lose a couple of squash matches to The Blugeon Brothers. Imagine how fun a feud between them and New Day could have been ? Or Rusev Day? They’ve also had run ins with The Uso’s in the past which were always entertaining. They have huge potential but as long as Vince McMahon is getting a few extra bucks from t-shirt sales they probably wont get an opportunity.

Another concerning thing is that it’s only a matter of time before teams like SAnitY and Authors Of Pain get their main roster call ups. Where exactly are they going to fit in ? WWE either need to make some major budget cuts or involve more teams into both shows title picture. It worked perfectly well at WrestleMania 33 with the Fatal 4 Way Ladder Match and it can work perfectly well again.

Tag Teams

Please help me, I don’t know these men …

The Future

Not only do we have a fantastic tag team division right now but the future is also in very safe hands. Depending on the outcome of their feud with Aj Styles we may well see a proper tag team pairing of Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn, we have only scratched the surface of the insanely over Rusev Day, and we also have a wealth of talent ready to step up from NXT. The Undisputed Era, SAnitY, Authors Of Pain, TM 61, Street Profits… a whole host of great teams who can easily transition onto the main roster.

In SAnitY we essentially have a new Wyatt Family, a charismatic leader with loyal members around him ready to do his bidding. In Authors Of Pain we have a real powerhouse of a team who you can easily see dominating the division because while the current teams are fantastic at what they do we don’t really have a team who can manhandle their opponents convincingly. In The Undisputed Era we have one of the hottest talents in the world, Adam Cole, who backs up my earlier point of big names making big teams. Let’s just hope WWE don’t out-WWE themselves… as long as they don’t, the future is looking very bright Bay Bay !

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Opinion

Andrew’s NXT Takeover WarGames II & Survivor Series 2018 Star Ratings & Review

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War Games Survivor Series Ratings
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Everyone loves ratings, and our Snowflakes are the true representation of quality. How did Survivor Series and Takeover grade out this year?





Alright, well after taking a few events off we’re back with my ratings and review. Yeah I know the title says “Star Ratings”, well that’s because Google tells us that’s the cool thing to say. Screw Stars, these have been Snowflakes since we started, so don’t get it twisted.

Well let’s get down to the shows.

 

NXT Takeover WarGames II

 

Matt Riddle vs Kassius Ohno

We were supposed to get this during tapings, but I guess someone decided it was best to do it now. As soon as the bell rang, the match was over when Riddle connects with a Bicycle Knee.

Winner: Riddle via Bicycle Knee

Rating: N/A

 

NXT Women’s Championship 2 out of 3 Falls Match: Kairi Sane vs Shayna Baszler (c)

A match that had a lot of build, but for some reason seemed to be rushing to spots. Kairi had a big DDT on the apron, which made the audience gasp, but it was a just too fast. Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir interfere during the first fall, and it takes Dakota Kai and Io Shirai until the closing 40 seconds of the final fall before they came out to try and help. Sure Io looked impressive with a moonsault in skinny jeans, but the fact that as soon as we go back to the match, Kairi tries to hit another Insane Elbow, just for Shayna to roll it back into a crucifix pin.

Winner: Baszler 2-1

Rating: *** 1/2

 

Johnny Gargano vs Aleister Black

Another match that was hurt a little early by pacing. Plenty of cool spots and stiff strikes, but if it weren’t for the wrestlers speaking loud enough for the cameras to pick up, the storytelling was lacking. The fact that most people are talking about Aleister saying “I absolve you of your sins” and not that the match explained it through psychology, is exactly what takes a few points off.

Obviously not a bad match, but lacking in it’s finer points for me to gush over it.

Winner: Black via Black Mass

Rating: **** 1/2




NXT Championship Match: Tommaso Ciampa (c) vs Velveteen Dream

This is what wrestling truly should be. Dream throwing shade at Hogan again with the Hollywood Hogan attire and mimicking his mannerisms and moves at different points were great. Resiliency played a big part for champion and challenger, so even though it did start a little slow, that was smart. Coming off a match that light up the crowd like Gargano and Black, you need to give them a little time to catch their breath.

Desperation at the end was great, Ciampa has proven to be an “at all costs” heel, while Dream’s desperation tends to prove his youth. Dream hits his Popping Death Valley Driver and a Purple Rainmaker, but Ciampa kicks out. Dream gets over anxious and tries to hit a Purple Rainmaker on the apron when he thinks there’s an opening, but Ciampa moves, and makes the challenger pay.

Callbacks, near falls, and the palpable tension is what sets this match on a different level.

Winner: Ciampa via Draping DDT

Rating: ***** 1/4

 

WarGames Match: Undisputed Era vs War Raiders, Ricochet & Pete Dunne

For the way NXT does WarGames, these have been fairly exciting matches. Conceptually the match was paced well and the spots made some sense, but tended to last a little long. There were a few times in the match, you could tell they were waiting for someone to break a pin or show up for a move.

As a match it was still entertaining and people will probably be talking about Ricochet’s Double Moonsault from the top of the cage for years to come. Definitely chalks up as a match worth watching, unless you hate the use of the name WarGames when it’s not a classic WarGames match.

Winner: Pete Dunne & Ricochet

Rating: **** 3/4




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Opinion

Becky Lynch WWE Survivor Series Exclusion A Blessing In Disguise

Could this be a good thing?

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A showdown between Becky Lynch and Ronda Rousey was among the top reasons many fans were excited to watch WWE Survivor Series. Lynch is out, but Sarah Hirsch believes it may be a blessing in disguise.




In a tale where ascension and mishaps collides, WWE Smackdown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch has had a hell of a week.  After an incredible statement to end Monday’s Raw, fans learned of the unfortunate concussion and broken nose Lynch suffered courtesy of Nia Jax.

Charlotte Flair was handpicked by Lynch to take on Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey at Survivor Series – a match many fans and insiders expected to see as the dream match of the WWE Women’s Division that would be a number one contender to main event WrestleMania in April.  But the turn of events of Lynch’s injury and the quick thinking of WWE’s Smackdown roster has created a bigger story.

The Women’s Division is coming off of a successful Evolution PPV.  Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair stole the show in the first Last Woman Standing match, where both women were taken to their limits in those career-defining performances.  Fans have been behind Lynch since her shocking heel turn at SummerSlam – something that backfired in WWE’s faces.  And now that there’s a switcheroo with Flair, it opens up the door further for Lynch.

Of course with Lynch, Flair, Sasha Banks, and Bayley these four women are history makers as the “Four Horsewomen.”  They have all had a hand in changing the game in the WWE Women’s Division.  Flair and Banks’ feud in 2016 has taken them to the first Women’s PPV main event at Hell in a Cell.  Banks and Bayley’s historic feud produced one of the greatest Women’s matches of all time followed with a Iron Woman match at NXT Takeover: Respect.




We can’t forget when Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair and Sasha Banks made their main roster debuts in Atlanta in 2015 (I was there).  It set the main roster into a tailspin.  The revolution made every woman better.  Everyone stepped their game up and took the division to places where it never went before.

And while Lynch has had an incredible hand in all of these moments, perhaps no one deserves that WrestleMania main event more than The Man herself.

Her mean streak has been unprecedented with epic matches and a balls on attitude of being The Man in the WWE Women’s Division.  It’s catchy and fits the bill for Becky.  Fans have been comparing Lynch’s meteoric rise to that of Stone Cold Steve Austin – an WWE icon who is bigger than the business.  Monday’s events are proof that Lynch’s legacy is breaking major ground.

Becky Lynch is white hot, which should continue into the fall following with WrestleMania season.  With WrestleMania becoming the platform for dream matches and opportunistic ventures, why not have Lynch and Rousey duke it out in Met Life Stadium?  Not only does Rousey have the ability to fill the stadium, but with her and Lynch having unfinished business, this match would be money.

It is proven that fans are behind Lynch, who as of Sunday morning only has 16 items listed in WWE Shop.  This is atrocious considering her rise to Women’s Division Immortality.  Change has certainly come for the Lass Kicker even if it takes awhile for the company to see her true potential.

All of this being said take notice that Becky Lynch is just getting started.  Once she returns, there is no stopping The Man.




Do you think Becky Lynch’s removal from WWE Survivor Series is a blessing in disguise?
Let us know on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!

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