A much maligned and often discussed topic among the Internet Wrestling Community is the ongoing disintegration of the tag team division. This once proud land was a staple of all wrestling organizations for much of its history, now it hovers along in obscurity with the lowly divas division. An ominous fall from grace where future all-time greats like Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart once dazzled audiences while developing and nurturing their own wrestling style and gimmicks.
Why, one might ask has this happened to such a fan favorite match type? The answer seems to resemble wrestling itself, simple but yet very complicated. Vince McMahon is a man of many hats, but he favors one above all others. This hat of course carries a certain status with it, one all too familiar in this world, it comes in the shade of green with a familiar paper texture. Money. Vince McMahon is a "bottom line" thinking business man like and unlike any other. Remember, this is the man who didn't want "wrestling" to be used to describe his business, as he was trying to distance the company from this name in an attempt to increase outside revenue streams.
The tag team division plain and simple does not produce the same kind of money as singles superstars do, nor' is it as simple to keep the division afloat as the singles division. Merchandise sales are generally the biggest factor in deciding who does and who does not get a major push. What this means essentially is you have two superstars promoting the same merchandise. No greater gain is being made, but you now have to pay out twice as much as you would with a singles star. If we have team AA generating 100k in merchandise sales but each member makes 50K a year, WWE is breaking even on the team. This is a highly simplified version of what truly goes on in payouts of wrestlers, but the point still stands. If you want to give 10 new superstars a chance to shine you hire 10 new superstars, if you want to give 10 new tag teams a chance you need to hire 20 new superstars. It is very inefficient and even more so for various wrestling related hazards.
Although money may be the biggest factor in the downsizing of the division it is not the only one; attitudes, injuries, and talent also are factoring in the decision making process. Wrestlers are notoriously known for being prima donnas with massive insecure egos and a constant requirement of respect shown in only the most trivial of ways. Initially I'm sure most new members of the roster are at least cognitive enough to be weary and not ruffle any feathers, but as time passes and egos grow it becomes increasingly likely at least one member is going to create some form of turmoil and ruin it for his partner. I will argue the division needs about 10 teams to realistically keep it fresh and interesting. That requires 20 superstars to remain healthy, level-headed, talented, and not have aspirations to become a singles superstar in the near future. This is asking a lot in the circus world of professional wrestling.
Almost every superstar at some point wishes to go solo sooner rather than later which also gives hesitation to the powers that be when deciding who should receive a major push, tag-teams have a very short life span, this is a fact of life. The Road Warriors(or L.O.D if you prefer) and the Dudleyz are the only teams which come to mind as never wanting to go solo. The Hart Foundation, Rockers, Hardy Boyz, New Age Outlaws, and Edge & Christian all come to mind when speaking about superstars wanting to go the solo route. As single superstars are clearly preferred over tag team superstars, how long do you keep someone you feel is the next big thing out of the singles spotlight? The teams mentioned above all had at least one member become a World Champion and main event level star, with the exception of the outlaws.
As sad and upsetting this may sound, the tag division seems like a thing of the past, at least as it stands in the WWE landscape of professional wrestling.
And because I promised my baby bro, I'd mention his favorite match(the Royal Rumble) I present to you one of the best moments in Rumble history and this was only possible because a tag team division was established with teams you cared about.