It wasn't long ago, that WWE's tag team division appeared to be in the middle of a revolution. Rebuilding the division had become a pet project of VP of Talent Relations Triple H; giving hope to fans of the tag team division everywhere that we would be returning to the glory days of champions like Edge and Christian, the Hardys, and the Dudleys.
Now, mere months later, this "revolution" has fallen flat. Team Hell No is on the verge of a messy breakup, while the next three teams in line are all facing issues of their own. CSS favorite Rhodes Scholars has officially broken up, and there are rumors that the Prime Time Players are headed down that path as well. And that is to say nothing of the issues surrounding the #2 face team behind Hell no, the team of Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara who, due to injuries and "personal issues" have been put on hold.
Once again, the belts that look like giant pennies are in danger of becoming an afterthought. Since late 2009/early 2010, which saw the belts around the waists of legends like Edge, Jericho, Big Show, HHH, and Shawn Michaels, the tag titles have been treated as jobber fodder. Who could forget the memorable reigns of the Hart Dynasty? Or David Otunga? Or Heath Slater? Or Santino Marella and Vladimir Kozlov? Hell, the titles even changed hands at a house show in early 2012.
Needless to say, the tag team titles have taken a major plunge in prestige before ending up in the hands of Daniel Bryan and Kane this past autumn. The pairing of these two stars still seems like something straight out of the "creative has nothing for you" file that got hot thanks to the two performers involved, more so than any effort from WWE creative.
Unfortunately, the only thing crumbling faster than the relationship between Hell No, is the division around them. Could this have been avoided if they would have dropped the belts to a team like Rhodes Scholars? Possibly, but there are a few clear reasons why WWE may have been against this.
First, there is the sheer fact that Hell No is over with the fans and likely profitable in terms of merchandise. A quick look around the WWE shop shows a lot of Daniel Bryan and Kane merchandise, and a look through the crowd of any WWE show reveals a lot of folks wearing "YES! YES! YES" and "NO! NO! NO!" shirts.
Second, should the belts have fallen to a top heel team like the Rhodes Scholars, who would they then feud with? Hell No is almost certain to break up once the titles are lost, and the only other face team on the roster with any traction, the team of Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara, is no where to be found at the moment.
Finally, there is severe crowding around the major singles title scenes. Two former world champions like DB and Kane would struggle to find anything for themselves there until, at the earliest, after WrestleMania.
With the tag team division crumbling faster than an announce table under the Rock's feet, what can be done to save it? Well, I'm not one for pointing out problems without offering a possible solution...
How I would bring prestige back to the WWE Tag Team division:
1.) Bring some Main Event level players to the scene
As I previously stated, the scene around WWE's two primary titles is incredibly crowded. Some combination of The Rock, John Cena, and CM Punk will continue to dominate the WWE Title scene through, and likely shortly after, WrestleMania. The World Heavyweight title scene also features more main eventers than you can shake a metal pipe at (eh, Del Rio?) Del Rio, Big Show, Sheamus, Randy Orton, and possibly even a returning Jack Swagger will all have a hand in this scene headed forward.
Throw in the Hell No members after a break up, lurking MitB holder Dolph Ziggler and then fit Ryback into one of these scenes, and you've got an abundance of talent at the top with too few seats for them all.
So how do you filter some of these contenders out without casting them into midcard purgatory? Why form some tag teams, playa!
Take any of the aforementioned wrestlers, and form some tag teams.
For example, the Big Show has never been above joining up with someone to form a tag team. From JeriShow to ShowMiz to Team Hell Show (I made that one up,) Bringing some main event level faces to the tag scene would also solve the drought of such teams the division is currently facing. If they aren't figuring into either of the primary title scenes following WrestleMania, teaming up guys like Sheamus and Ryback could make for an interesting and powerful team.
In addition to breaking up the clog around the primary title scenes, bringing main eventers to the tag division would also elevate the tag titles themselves, as well as the teams currently fighting for them. Feuding with a team featuring a former world champion would add instant credibility to any up and coming team in the division.
Example Scenario: Kane and Daniel Bryan can no longer take working together, so they break up while still champions prior to WrestleMania. It's decided that the two will each pick a new partner, and the teams will battle at WrestleMania to determine who gets to become the new champions. Early on, Kane hints that he has already chosen his partner (while showing some heelish attributes) while Daniel Bryan is comically running around trying to find a partner of his own.
After being turned down left and right (by a variety of hilarious options) in the weeks leading up to WrestleMania, we enter the match not knowing who either person has chosen. Kane and DBry make their way to the ring first, each getting a mic to introduce their new partner.
Kane introduces his partner first: "Wellllll, it's the Big Show...." The two giants stand in the ring, towering over DBry who does his "No!" schtick. Big Show's past with DBry is played up. The two pressure little DBry to introduce his partner. Reluctantly, DBry does so...the only guy on the roster who was willing to work with him after having been shown being turned down by just about everyone else (and made fun of in the process)..."FEED. ME. MORE."
Daniel Bryan stands between the two giants and Ryback, shaking his head incredulously, as the match begins.
Bryan eventually gets Kane in the No Lock, and before Big Show can break it up, Ryback grabs him and hoists him up for a shell shock. Team "Feed Me Goat" wins, Ryback gets some much needed championship gold, the tag division gets a talent infusion, and Daniel Bryan gets a new "odd couple" partner to be hilarious with.
In the following weeks, new tag teams are added to the mix. (Antonio Cesaro and Wade Barrett as an anti-American heel team, Big Show and Kane can still team up, Sheamus and William Regal as a new face team? Lots of possibilities here just utilizing guys who don't have a spot in the primary title musical chairs scene.
2.) Utilize returning talent for the tag division
Hopefully, at some point soon, guys like Christian, Mark Henry, and Evan Bourne will be making their returns to the WWE active roster. With a little creativity, former champions like Christian and Henry could be slotted into any of the title scenes. But why not instead use them to inject some talent into the tag team division?
As has been discussed here at CSS, Henry could team up with a heel-turned Brodus Clay to form a "Hall of Pain" team. Two large, overpowering black guys running roughshod over the division? That is something I think Vince can get behind. And Christian got his WWE start as part of a strong tag division. You could combine him with someone like Zach Ryder or Kofi Kingston to create a nice midcard face team with a little credibility. (The Hall of Pain or Team Hell Show need some face team to wail on, do they not?)
3.) Push new talent via the tag team division
So far, we've had some main eventers move into the tag division to boost the prestige of the titles, and we've added some returning talent to flesh it out and give it some depth. So who benefits most from this (besides us, the fans?)
Why, the new talent, of course. I know I'm not the only one hoping for championship gold to end up in the hands of The Shield, and the tag team titles being defended by the 3 using "Freebird Rules" would be a great start. They've already been feuding with Ryback and Daniel Bryan, so if those two were to end up as champions like in my above scenario, the Shield would act as natural adversaries.
The Shield has also crossed paths in a bad way with Sheamus, who, if not part of the WHC scene immediately following WrestleMania, could be added in here with his drinking buddy (and CSS favorite) William Regal. Regal too, has a history with Dean Ambrose which could be played with. The same can be done with new talent currently on the developmental roster at NXT if they are brought up following WrestleMania.
If my plan were to be followed, I can guarantee that the tag team division would be in much better shape by next WrestleMania season. Start off with big names on big teams to elevate the talent level and prestige associated with the tag team titles. Flesh out the division some returning stars to add depth and give the feeling that there are more than just two or three teams actually competing for the titles at a given time. And finally, with the division elevated, put over some younger stars with the spotlight the division is now shining.
So what say you fellow CSSers? Could you get behind my plan? Or is there too little #WWELogic for it to ever happen? Voice your comments, questions, or concerns in the comments section below.