Tag team wrestling is an art that has seemingly taken a backseat on Raw.
On SmackDown Live, it's the polar opposite. With The Bar - Sheamus and Cesaro - as tag team champions, having them face off with The Usos and The New Day is guaranteed quality matches.
Of course, older WWE fans will point to the likes of Demolition, The Midnight Express, The Rockers and The Road Warriors/Legion of Doom when talking about the greatest examples of tag team wrestling, but it's not like WWE doesn't have the talent today.
The Usos, for instance, are probably the best tag team in the world right now bar none. It's the lack of stories in the tag division that is alarming.
The rivalry The Usos and The New Day had in 2017 was arguably the best pure tag team feud since the glory days of Edge & Christian, The Hardy Boyz and The Dudley Boyz.
That is the golden age of tag team wrestling in the WWE. Those six men took tag team wrestling to new heights in the industry and created the Tables, Ladders and Chairs concept in the process. Ironically, that is the WWE's next pay-per-view.
So, what does Raw's tag team division look like right now? Well, the Authors of Pain are the champions after winning the belts in a handicap match against Seth Rollins and their manager supposedly wets himself. Solid storytelling there.
Their next challengers are the clunky team of Chad Gable and Bobby Roode. While both men are talented, there is pretty much zero backstory to their alliance other than the fact that Gable admires Roode a bit? It's hard to invest in them as a tandem.
After that, things get pretty barren. The Lucha House Party are currently feuding with the terribly mishandled Revival, The Ascension are sparingly used and Titus Worldwide haven't been seen together in a while. That's literally your lot and all of them have been booked in a way where it would take a huge, time-consuming turnaround to give them the needed credibility with fans to be top teams.
Rewind to 2000, Edge and Christian's personalities were heavily featured on the show. The Dudleyz were given multiple chances to show how vicious they could be with tables (sorry Mae Young). The Hardyz developed their extreme personas in the ring and their live for the moment attitudes.
You knew that the Acolytes were two of the strongest and meanest guys in the locker room and then creative took that and developed them into the APA, one of the most entertaining gimmicks the tag division has seen to this day - but they retained their bullish nature.
Out of those four teams, the WWE generated five world champions with JBL being the first to reach the mountaintop in 2004, followed by Edge, Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy and finally Christian.
But they had plenty of foes. Too Cool featured the over-the-top dancing gimmicks while the Right to Censor wanted to cut out all the fun the fans were having. The New Age Outlaws had been the gold standard in tag team wrestling between 1998-2000 and were slowly fading away, The Hollys thought they were a heavyweight team that clearly was not - everyone had a story.
Then you have to factor in the main event talent. Given how stacked the WWE roster was around the title picture at the time, there was always room for main eventers to take little sabbaticals into the tag division, but they always seemed to make sense. The Brothers of Destruction - Kane and The Undertaker - had multiple reigns, as did The Rock and Sock Connection - The Rock and Mankind - men that had been tearing each other apart just months earlier.
It's important for world title calibre talents to seek gold elsewhere rather than flounder waiting for a feud. Finn Balor has yet to taste gold on the main roster, wouldn't it have been smart to have him in the tag mix and create a story for him rather than have him tag with Bayley against Jinder Mahal and Alicia Fox during Octobe?
Those flirts with the tag titles elevated the division and the talent within it. It also made it much easier to buy the tag competitors when they did go solo because you had already seen them hang with the best. Who could break away and be a world champion in today's divisions?
Cesaro? Big E? Perhaps Kofi Kingston for a feel-good story? That's pretty much it and that's a glaring indictment of the slap-dash work on Raw.
There's no reason the WWE can't pay attention to their tag division once more and if they do, it's proven to have a positive ripple effect across the card. With WrestleMania season looming, Vince needs to start putting some ideas together that make sense and thrill come April.
Just think: if the Briscoes or the Young Bucks came to the WWE tomorrow and started on Raw, who the hell would they work with? When you look at Monday Nights and how that division is being handled, it sure does create a bit of concern for the impending Women's Tag Team titles, doesn't it?
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