I’ve been off enjoying the waning moments of our beautiful West Coast summer, and I’ve haven’t been writing, much less paying attention to TNA TV. Now, rested and back at what I (think) I do best, it’s time to prepare for the build-up to TNA’s Bound For Glory.
Now, we all know that TNA Wrestling has undergone some ‘changes’ as of late, an evolution of sorts that all businesses and sport franchises eventually encounter. Hard decisions are made, difficult situations terminated and then the proverbial ‘moving on’ process. TNA is heading into Bound For Glory minus a lot of key people, and a lot of questions heading into arguably their biggest pay-per-view of the year.
I’m a pro wrestling traditionalist, meaning that I really like the old-time professional wrestling. A time when titles mattered, contendership mattered, heel/face turns were unexpected and the tag team division was often the marquee matchups. The tag team matches on a card were elaborate, energy-filled bouts with much more action than the often slow and predictable main events. In fact, many WWE and WCW top stars emerged from the tag team ranks (Sting, Edge, Booker T, Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart, to name only a few).
What some people don’t realize is that some wrestling talent THRIVE in the tag team ranks. For example, James Storm has the ability to team with ANYONE, and the team looks incredible. Think Scottie Pippen, who had the ability to make anyone he played with look like a freaking star. He did it with a very mediocre Chris Harris, a learning Bobby Roode, and even a tanked Matt Hardy. Professional wrestling is much like other sports in that some people only excel at one or two positions. Some should be the World Champ (Austin Aries, Magnus, AJ Styles) while others (Hardy, Daniels, Kaz) should not. The good thing is that there are many roles to fill.
Here is a short list of tag teams that could be assembled that would be exciting and bring back relevance to the declining tag team division.
1. James Storm and Anyone
Like I said, The Cowboy is so talented he makes his partners, whoever they are, look like superstars. America’s Most Wanted was Storm’s team, which is what led to their success and their demise. Beer Money with Roode reaffirmed that notion as one bad-ass tag team. Holding the titles with Gunner is awesome, they just need more air time and competition.
They were once a dominant tag team, but became rivals during the initial Aces & Eights storyline. Their imminent feud would be blown off, luckily enough, in time for them to reunite in the New Main Event Mafia. Right now, Magnus is in the midst of a HUGE push and a likely spot in the Bound For Glory main event, so this team won’t happen. Though a possible final four matchup between the two would be epic.
3. Christopher Daniels and Jeff Hardy
Similar talents and abilities, it would be hard to keep up with this team. Daniels plays a great heel, whereas Hardy is a terrible heel. Booking this team, I would have Daniels lose the appletini and team with Hardy as viable contenders.
4. Chavo Guerrero and Eric Young
Like James Storm (and Marty Jannety before him), Chavo is a perenial tag team wrestler, able to make his partners and opponents look great in the ring. While Chavo is calculated, Eric Young is ruthless. Both have the ability to go over as heels or faces and can work a crowd easily.
Some of TNA’s greatest matches featured these two legends in the ring. Remember a few years back when WWE put the tag team titles on the ‘old school’ team of Roddy Piper and Ric Flair? These two were past their primes and were still able to go over in division that featured the Spirit Squad (don’t laugh), Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch, and even John Cena and Shawn Michaels. Angle and Sting, though not in their prime, are still able to compete at levels Piper and Flair could not (hence their short title reign). Imagine Sting/Angle vs. Gunner/Storm for the title. In TNA, this would renew interest in a division that is taking the backseat to the X Division and even the Knockouts.
Tag team wrestling has been a staple of the sport for a generation. Booking for TNA, I would bring renewed interest by mixing up the teams, having more contendership matches, tag team battle royals and even expand on the great ‘Tag Team Tornado’ matches.
On this note, I say all this in knowing that Impact Wrestling only airs for two hours a week, which is hardly enough time for any character development or exposure for tag team and X Division workers. Maybe now that the Aces & Eights angle has simmered down and has not monopolized the TV time, writers and management can explore ways to enhance their talent and programming. Adding another two hour program in the week may not be cost effective right now, there are avenue that can be explored to create a buzz.
That’s what they did with Tito Ortiz and the #August1Warning, right?
Next time, we’ll examine the exciting and well-deserved push of Magnus, and who will be joining him at the top leading up to Bound For Glory.