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  Sep 4, 1998



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READER ALERT: For all the latest wrestling happenings, check out our News & Rumours section.

Where have all the tag teams gone?




Mat Matters


Informative views and insights on the wrestling world from SLAM! Sports.


Davey Boy Smith and The Dynamite Kid, The British Bulldogs.
By JOHN POWELL -- SLAM! Sports
I feel damn sorry for the World Tag Team Champions in either the WCW or WWF. The historic belts once held by distinguished teams such as The Hart Foundation, The British Bulldogs, Demolition, The Andersons, The Four Horsemen, The Road Warriors and The Steiner Brothers aren't worth a cup of coffee and a week-old donut at a downtown greasy spoon.

Once a cornerstone of the biz granted main event status, today's tag team wrestling scene is mired in mediocrity. As this is a mainstream media site I can't use the words that would aptly describe the booking skills involved in contemporary tag bouts but suffice it to say that a freshly painted park bench has more imagination.

The token federation champs - the WWF's New Age Outlaws and WCW's The Giant and Scott Hall - are afterthoughts bungling through forgettable title defenses against whichever two saps the feds can slap together as the "rightful challengers" three minutes before bell time. Generating as much heat as an ice cube dropped in a snow bank, these encounters are a fan's version of the "rest hold".

Go ahead. Get your popcorn. Go to the bathroom. Smooch your significant other. Hey. It's only a World Tag Team Title match. Whoopee!

If federation booking was reality-based, Greg Oliver and I would have as much right to a title shot as the hordes of unworthy challengers. Coming to an arena near you...the SLAM! Masters. Oh, yeah. I can dig it.

The Giant and Scott Hall team signify the very worst about modern tag wrestling. Cut and paste tag teams. In Turner-land, WCW head honcho Eric Bischoff purposely dismembered his promising but costly tag team division. Bottom line: the pay didn't equal the work rate. The Steiner Brothers. Harlem Heat. The Faces Of Fear. No experienced duo was spared Bischoff's bloody axe. Some (Booker T. Meng. Scott Steiner.) went on to new-found popularity in singles competition. What was the price WCW paid? The gutting of a deep division to provide meaningful competition. The WCW tag team belts saw their credibility disappear faster than Hollywood Hogan's hair.

Bischoff's measure to stop the slide was to utilize the tag division as a place to feature the overflow of high-profile wrestlers under costly contracts. Bad move. The fabled bond which develops between seasoned partners is non-existent. Sting and Kevin Nash or The Giant and Scott Hall are unquestionably members of the same gang but general alliances don't establish the"well-oiled machine" concept that is a trademark of tag team wrestling. The Giant and Hall have no special moves they've planned together behind the scenes. There's no unique bond there. It's not two joining as one. It's a standard singles match with the occasional tag-outs and double-teaming.

On the flip side up North, the WWF and its prez Vince McMahon have went the same route crowning Steve Austin a tag team champion with Shawn Michaels, Dude Love and The Undertaker for the sole purpose of lighting a fire under a singles feud.


Brutus Beefcake and Greg Valentine, The Dream Team.
The sudden break-up of a tag team used to mean something. Rick Martel turning his back on Tito Santana. A enraged Macho Man going psycho on Hulk Hogan. Shawn Michaels kicking Marty Jannetty through a plate glass window. Memories of betrayal still fresh in our minds.

Running a polar opposite to WCW, The World Wrestling Federation continues to build upon its tag team division. The Godwinns were re-invented. Signing Kaientai was a stroke of genius, though we could do without Yama-gimpy-san. This being true, why then isn't anyone gunning for the titles? The New Age Outlaws have it easy once again. As before, no one is mounting a serious challenge to their title reign.

What's worse laying waste to your talent as WCW did or letting your talent go to waste as the WWF is doing?

Whichever way you slice it, the state of tag team wrestling is downright disgraceful. The WWF and WCW's stand shortchanges fans and denigrates the proud superstars who gave those belts their shine.




Agree? Disagree? .E-Mail me your response at jpowell@canoe.ca. Some responses may appear in the next column.


MAILBAG


The previous SLAM! Wrestling editorial

I fail to understand why everyone has such a problem with Goldberg's inexperience and limited repertoire of wrestling holds and manouevres. Has no one been watching Hollywood Hogan for the last few years. Explain the skill and talent involved in his only two moves, the clothesline and the leg drop. Oops, I forgot his famous foot in the air while his opponent blindly runs into it, the set up move for the leg drop. Hogan doesn't even attempt the most limited of moves, much less something like the Jackhammer.

J.Todrick.




I totally agree with your Goldberg column. He is one of the worst wrestlers I have ever seen. That match against Hogan was probably the worst match I have ever witnessed for a Championship belt. And now, that phrase, a lame excuse for marketing, puzzles me, "Who's Next?" Another jobber? Bischoff killed the credibility of the U.S. title with a jobber challenging for it every week, will he do the same for the World title? Or can he find enough stars to job to Goldberg week in and week out? I don't think so. Here's an original idea Bischoff, have Goldberg fake an injury, vacate the title and comeback in a month or two. This way he doesn't have to lose, and ratings will climb when he returns. Now isn't that original!

Brian Robertson.




I agree with you in your "Don't Try This At Home" article. Sometimes I think Mick Foley is a better stuntman than most of Hollywood, CA has. Much like Shawn Michaels, he was willing to drop the "Hell in a Cell" without a helmet.
On to Goldberg. Sure he's big and strong. Just like Austin, I don't understand his popularity. Austin flips people off, "stuns" executives and his speeches sound like the Emergency Broadcast System. Goldberg hits his opponet to set up the spear to set up the Jackhammer. Can he wrestle more than 5 minutes?
Goldberg's matches are as predictable as Hogan's in th '80s, which is why I stopped likeing him.
The best part about Slam! Wrestling is it's the only site that tells it like is and tells both sides, WWF and WCW. As other reporters for you have said all the other sites are nothing but fans showing biases and lack of knowledge, or as Donnie put it "a Mark"
Personally I think Hogan will end Goldberg's streak. And I'd like to congratulate Bret Hart on getting the US Title. I also find it ironic that a Canadian would hold the United States belt. Guess things are better north of the border.

Mark Knutson.




First off, I think you're an idiot for dissing Bill Goldberg that way. He actually knows many moves, and he uses them a lot. In a match against Perry Saturn, he used a variety of holds as well as counters. So give him his due. Secondly, I think you guys should give more attention to the talented, but somewhat underrated wrestlers like Konnan, Psychosis, Super Calo and Damien. And finally, as a hardcore Bam Bam Bigelow fan, please put something in about him in the near future. He is the best underrated wrestler ever in my opinion.

Thank you for your time,

Dave.




I think that Bill Goldberg's fame came way too quick. Sure he's a very huge man, but his wrestling skills are very limited. His Spear and Jackhammer are his only moves that he realy knows how to do. You see people like Bret Hart, Hulk Hogan, Lex Luger and many others who wrestle for years, starting out at the bottom and have to work their way up, going through hell trying to get there, then some big football player comes to WCW, and wins the World Title with his first year? It just isn't right. No wrestler should be catapulted to stardom without taking their licks as a rookie, and just trying to stay around in the wrestling business.

Pete Aiello, Fernie B.C.