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   July 31, 2014



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The Weekly SLAM!: Is tag team wrestling alive again in WWE?
By MATT BISHOP - SLAM! Wrestling


Kane and Daniel Bryan prove that real men do hug. Photo by Mike Mastrandrea

I am the tag team champions!

No, I am the tag team champions!

And just like that, with one phrase, tag team wrestling seems to mean something again in the WWE.

For years now, the WWE tag team division has meant less than nothing, as have the championship belts. There was a time in 2009-2010 where power team held the titles (Chris Jericho and Edge, Chris Jericho and Big Show, DX, Big Show and The Miz) and they got some good placement on the card because of who held them.

I vividly remember when Show and Miz lost the titles to the Hart Dynasty in a fantastic match on Raw. I thought, "OK, here we go. This is going to be the start of something special!"

Boy was I wrong.

With Tyson Kidd and David Hart Smith as champions, the belts went under because WWE wasn't committed to giving the Harts the same card space and match time as the previous champions.

Since then, it's been a complete gong show.

The titles have been held by the likes of Vladimir Kozlov, Michael McGillicutty, Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel. The most recent reign of R-Truth and Kofi Kingston was an abject failure.

So now, with that most recent roster of tag champions, it should come as no shock that a pair of former World Heavyweight Champions winning the belts brings a little life into the division.

But that's not the only thing. In conjunction with the new champions, WWE is currently holding an eight-team tournament to crown the No. 1 contenders to the titles. I mean, I think there were times in the past few years when they didn't have more than three tag teams on the roster, so this is definitely a step in the right direction.

Not to mention, a few of these teams have some actual steam on them, which should make for one fun match when they collide with Team Hell No at Hell in a Cell.


Justin Gabriel learns that WWE has a tag team division at SummerSlam Fan Axxess while sitting beside Tyson Kidd. Photo by R.P. Strickland, strickspix@gmail.com
Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow are fantastic as Team Rhodes Scholars. Santino Marella and Zack Ryder should make a fun team, as should Justin Gabriel and Tyson Kidd. Epico and Primo are long established and the pairing of Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara is exciting. Then you have my personal favorites, the Prime Time Players.

Look at where these two have come from this year. Both were stuck in the doldrums that was NXT: Redemption but got their ticket to Smackdown earlier this year and have stepped their games up so much. It's really one of the biggest success stories in WWE this year.

There are so many reasons everyone should want this to succeed. Actual tag team wrestling is crucial to the wrestling business and helps wrestlers as they come up through the ranks.

Just take a look at how many stars from the '80s, '90s and early 2000s started in a tag team and moved on to win world titles. Just think of Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Booker T, Edge, and Jeff Hardy to name a few.

TNA has generally taken tag team wrestling pretty seriously. Teams like American's Most Wanted, Team 3D, the Motor City Machine Guns and Beer Money have carried the division to where it is today, with the World Tag Team Champions of the World Christopher Daniels and Kazarian holding the belts. They'll defend those at Bound For Glory in what should be a great match in a triple threat against Kurt Angle and AJ Styles and Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez.

Now what have we had in WWE? A bunch of tag teams that are treated like perpetual jobbers. How many times have we seen tag teams just taken out by bigger stars? That needs to end. Hopefully this is a step in the right direction because tag team wrestling at its finest is a beautiful thing to watch.

Match of the Week: Sheamus vs. Damien Sandow (Raw, Oct. 1)


Damien Sandow couldn't be more pleased with his career trajectory. Photo by Mike Mastrandrea
Consider this a coming-out party for Sandow. In a long match with the World Heavyweight Champion, Sandow more than held his own, controlling the champ for much of the match before succumbing to the Brogue Kick, like many others have.

Hopefully a match like this catapults the extremely-entertaining Sandow into the upper mix. There was no doubt he could talk like a main evener before, but the question was always whether or not he could hold his own in the ring with the upper tier. This went a long way to answering that question.

Star of the Week: Jim Ross

It was Jim Ross Appreciation Night in Oklahoma City this past week on Raw and when confronted in the ring by WWE Champion CM Punk, Ross cut a fantastic promo on the champ outlining why he is not the best in the world. The passion, fire and conviction in this promo is something that a lot of younger wrestlers should look at.

For this, Ross is the Star of the Week.

What To Watch For


Feed Matt more, Ryback! Photo by Mike Mastrandrea
OK, I'll admit it. I love Ryback. So seeing him get pushed into the upper mix is great, even if he did have some trouble loading up Tensai in their match. I don't care. Feed me more! ... Is anyone else waiting for the other shoe to drop in the Aces & Eights angle on Impact? It feels like it's been going on forever and ever ... King Mo debuts on Impact this week and will be the special enforcer for the Bobby Roode-James Storm clash at Bound For Glory. As someone who has met Mo a few times in the past, it'll be very interesting to see how he transitions to professional wrestling from mixed martial arts ... WWE certainly is loading up the card for the debut of WWE Main Event on Ion Television tonight, headlined by a match between CM Punk and Sheamus. If you don't get Ion, we'll have you covered with a full recap Thursday here at SLAM! Wrestling.

Indy Showcase

The biggest show this week is obviously House of Hardcore in Poughkeepsie, NY. Tommy Dreamer has been profiling the show for weeks here on SLAM! Wrestling and on Saturday, it will come to fruition and looks to be one of the bigger indy shows in a long time.

In addition to an appearance by WWE Hall of Famer Edge (er, Adam Copeland), Rhino will face Sami Callihan, Paul London & Brian Kendrick will meet The Young Bucks and in the featured women's attraction, Jazz will battle Winter. Plus, there will be a $500 Open Master Lock Challenge with the artist formerly known as Chris Masters. Also confirmed to appear are Mikey Whipwreck, Eddie Kingston, The Steiner Brothers and The Sandman.

Tickets, starting at $23.50, can be purchased through Ticketmaster. SLAM! Wrestling contributor Jan Murphy, of the Kingston Whig-Standard -- which runs Dreamer's column -- will be filing a report for the site, and we'll have a photo gallery.

Ring of Honor and CHIKARA are also both on the docket this weekend. In Rahway, NJ, Jay Lethal will challenge Kevin Steen for the ROH World Championship and the ROH World Tag Team Titles will be on the line when Jimmy Jacobs and Steve Corino defend in a three-way match against Rhett Titus & BJ Whitmer and Wrestling's Greatest Tag Team.

Also in action, "Unbreakable" Michael Elgin tunes up for his world title match next weekend in Mississauga against Mike Bennett.

CHIKARA takes a trip down south this weekend, starting Saturday in Piedmont, Ala. It'll be the first defense of the Young Lions Cup when Mark Angelosetti takes on Green Ant and in other action, Obariyon, Kodama and Ophidian take on Icarus, Chuck Taylor and Sugar Dunkerton.

The following day in Burlington, N.C., The Colony meets F.I.S.T. and The Special Envoy takes on Obariyon, Kodama and Ophidian.

Want your show featured in the Indy Showcase? Email Matt Bishop at bishop20@gmail.com and I'll highlight the most interesting shows.

Tweets of the Week

This week's favorite tweets come from an exchange between World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus and Wade Barrett:

@WWESheamus

I'm glad they cropped the @WadeBarrett picture where they did... #WhatsHeHolding? pic.twitter.com/0CsfgU8X

Barrett replied:

@WadeBarrett

@WWESheamus I'm holding the 'English Blessing'. It's the complete opposite of the 'Irish Curse'.

The comedy never ends.

YouTube of the Week

This week's YouTube of the Week isn't actually anything historical. A journalism mentor has told me many times, "Don't tell me, show me." So I referenced a great promo from Jim Ross earlier with CM Punk and now I will show it to you.

Plug of the Week

With House of Hardcore coming up this week, this week's plug is the DVD of the final Extreme Championship Wrestling pay-per-view, Guilty as Charged from Jan. 7, 2001.

The show features Tommy Dreamer taking on C.W. Anderson, two ECW World Championship matches and Jerry Lynn facing Rob Van Dam.

Check it out! Order Guilty as Charged

Matt Bishop can be reached at bishop20@gmail.com. Please include your name and hometown. Click here to follow Matt on Twitter. Should be a good one!.