The last two weeks on ROH tv have showcased the fact that tag team wrestling still matters in that promotion and by association that it still matters on the indy scene too, which as a fan I find great comfort in. Because let’s face it, if you watch RAW or Smackdown on the regular then you’ve either forgotten entirely what a real tag match looks like or like me you acknowledge that those belts and the division that they occupy are frantically treading some SERIOUS water. It’s no real surprise that indy wrestling is flying the banner high for anything these days, and without slapping on even a drop of face paint or a sniff of a spiky shoulder pad I shall proceed to present my reasons why.
1) GOTTA HAVE TAG TEAMS TO HAVE A TAG DIVISION.
I am not against two great singles wrestlers uniting to make a great team, it happens all the time. But to sustain a real and viable tag scene you have to have at least some real teams to occupy it. Teams with their own personas, moves and styles. This isn’t the 80s; they don’t necessarily need to have a gimmick. All they need is to gel on that chemistry level, to innovate some moves of their own and to make that team an entity. Going back to ROH is case in point – the Briscoes, the Bucks, the Addiction, the Kingdom and the current champs reDragon are all teams within their own right that are setting tag wrestling on fire in that promotion. Bucks vs Briscoes from a couple weeks back is a hot contender for being MOTY for me. If the big leagues want to reignite average audience interest in tag wrestling then they need to take a long had look at promotions like ROH to see how it should be done properly.
2) MAKE THE BELTS MEAN SOMETHING.
If you can’t hold up your tag belts honestly to an audience and have them look at them with any worth then they aren’t going to be interested in the 3 minutes (if that) you take once a week to showcase them. Let your teams wrestle, and promote those belts as a prize that is coveted. Build long feuds and vicious rivalries that highlight the great physical lengths your competitors will go to achieve being champions. Joey Ryan and Candice LeRae have been feuding with the Bucks and Mount Rushmore for nearly a YEAR on and off in PWG, always coming up just short. And when they finally got the better of the Jackson boys at ‘Eleven’ the crowd in Reseda positively erupted, because they had been invested in the angle for close to twelve months and had been given the credit that they had attention spans longer than that of a goldfish. And their reward was that hard fought Guerrilla Warfare match that will surely go down as a classic within the promotion.
3) DON’T DUMP THEM DOWN THE PECKING ORDER.
This is the thing that I find most beautiful about some indy companies. They will paint their tag belts as being just as important as any other strap they have. Now while I would agree to a point that any fed’s world title should be the jewel in the crown, that won’t and shouldn’t mean much to a real tag team of wrestlers. They should never see what they do as second or third place, because they are a tag team! The peak of what they do should be becoming the tag champions of any promotion that they work for. And a really smart company will give just as much time, promotion and even sometimes the main event to both the tag belts and a potentially great feud that might be happening over them. This is because they value wrestling in all of it’s forms, and rightly so. Breaking the mould can be a good thing, and the overall health and wealth of tag on the indies right now in 2014 is testament to that mindset.
So where to from here for the higher ups? If they want any credibility at all to be linked with their tag straps then they need to either start scouting for teams to sign, or they need to look in house to repackage some of their own talent and allocate a fair amount of time to the true art form that is tag team wrestling. Because even though it might be comatose right now, it still might make that hot tag to a real comeback. And the shot of energy that it needs to do that can only be sourced directly from the juice of independent wrestling.