Tag Team, Back Again: By Damian Slater

By Damian Slater

‘Tag Team, Back Again’

Good ol’ Tag Team Wrasslin’! It’s something that caught my interest soon after I became a fan of Pro Wrestling in 1999. I used to scan the wrestling aisle at my local Blockbuster every school holidays to see which WWF or WCW PPV I hadn’t seen yet but eventually I’d consumed them all, multiple times. So one day I decided to catch the bus to this other dingy family-owned, non-corporate video store called New York Video (in Adelaide) to see what else they might have. I was pretty disappointed to see that they had nothing current. Just some old looking VHS tapes from the 80’s and early 90’s. Usually just WWF but there were a few early, early ECW (as Eastern Championship Wrestling) tapes in there too. My hand was forced, so I took advantage of the 10 weeklies for $10 offer and reluctantly borrowed a bunch of them.

One of the first matches I saw was a tag team match. The Hart Foundation vs. The Brain Busters. I knew who Bret was, and I’d seen Arn make appearances for WCW, but this was just on another level. The pace and excitement was unreal. This was a far cry from the 2-minute, overbooked New Age Outlaws vs. Acolytes matches that was all I had to go off. At the time I couldn’t verbalise why I was so drawn to the older stuff, but in more recent years it has made more sense.

They would emphasise the beauty of tag team wrestling – the persistent outside threat!

How many times have you watched a tag match that was practically wrestled as 2 singles matches? The problem is that while it makes the planning process easier, and will generally still feature some of the tropes that make a tag match special, it doesn’t feel much different to the rest of the card.

Exploiting what makes your match unique to the rest of the card can actually simplify the entire process and ensure that you get the reaction you need in the most efficient way possible. The tag team gimmick is simple… each team is fighting for the power in numbers advantage, while minimising the potential of outside interference. Then when things go south, it’s all about working towards that big ‘hot tag’ where the odds are once again evened.

The match itself can be as complex as your creativity can drive you, perhaps even more complex than any standard 1v1 battle, but the overall concept is one that any casual fan can understand.

If you’re piecing together a tag team match, always look back and assess whether you’re doing enough to sell the right stories. Are you using the tags? Is ring positioning coming in to play? Do you have the advantage or disadvantage at the right times? It can take more effort and there’s more room for error but you have the potential to deliver something that no singles match can give.

Give the audience a story to follow that is logical yet unique, and suddenly it becomes a memorable experience. When given the proper consideration and effort, tag team wrestling does all of that and then some!

We recently had ‘Tag Team Month’ over at WorldBeaterWrestling.com as part of our weekly tape study where we analysed a variety of tag team matches from Pro Wrestling history on the Discord. If you aren’t already a member, check it out and get involved!

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