After a week where sad news has dominated the world of wrestling I'd like to do my best to focus on the current product and in particular the mens tag team division in WWE.
Despite Wrestlemania season throwing up some interesting feuds the main roster division as a whole have been lacklustre and underutilised for way too long. The New Day and The Usos are an exception to the rule and have kept the mens division alive with a highlight reel of top quality tag team matches.
The second coming of Miz & Morrison, emergence of The Street Profits, plus the formation of new alliances does indicate a potential revival for this division but will it be enough to make tag team wrestling great again in the WWE?
I would like to see a complete overhaul and would implement the following changes in order to create a division that holds similar importance to that of the WWE and Universal Championships.
In my opinion having two sets of tag team titles that can only be differentiated by colour immediately diminishes the importance and prestige that the titles should hold. I'm not saying end the brand spilt however there should be just one set of titles that can either be defended across both RAW and Smackdown or the tag team division should become exclusive to one brand. The titles themselves are also in desperate need of an upgrade and I would love to see a set of redesigned titles that would be worthy of tag team greats of the past such as The Hardy Boyz, Edge & Christian and The Dudley Boyz.
The tag team roster being spread across two brands challenging for separate titles also dilutes the quality of each division. It gives off a feeling that only a handful of teams on each brand have a genuine chance at becoming champions resulting in the title holders not getting the credit they deserve with the perception being it's not that difficult to win the titles.
One of the biggest issues is the lack of storylines and build within the tag team division. Tag team wrestling can be a spectacle to behold when done correctly however regardless of match quality its difficult to be invested if there is no meaningful rivalry or history. Way too often tag team matches have been used for kick-off shows, fillers or to utilise singles competitors as part of random tag matches that are almost an afterthought.
The recent announcement of the NXT Cruiserweight Interim Championship Tournament opened my mind to the idea of a tournament being used as a catalyst to revive the mens tag team division. I for one believe it would go a long way in giving us a proper tag team division that both the wrestlers and fans deserve. You could also reference The Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic tournament which played its part in creating stars and champions with the likes of Finn Balor, Samoa Joe, Aleister Black and Ricochet all benefitting in recent years.
So how would I book it? Firstly I would adopt the exact same format used for the Cruiserweight tournament, four teams from RAW, four teams from Smackdown, with the winners of each group facing each other to determine the number one contenders for the new, unified, WWE Undisputed Tag Team Championships.
The current champions of both brands would not be involved as they would face eachother in the opening match of a chosen PPV with the winners becoming the WWE Undisputed Tag Team Champions. The second match of the night would be the number one contenders match to decide who will face the new champions in the main event as the new, Undisputed Tag Team Championships would be defended for the first time to cap off a historic night for tag team wrestling.
It would almost be a nod to when Chris Jericho beat both The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin in one night to become the first ever WWE Undisputed Champion. That moment still gets talked about until this very day and my hope is that a similar moment can be created for the tag team division.
So firstly let's look at the potential groups for RAW and Smackdown.
The Viking Raiders, a fantastic, established tag team, former NXT and RAW Tag Team Champions and despite their time on the main roster being slightly underwhelming they are a team to be reckoned with and would be worthy unified champions.
Angel Garza & Austin Theory, two NXT stars called up due to circumstance and opportunity however these two are both stars of the future and with Zelina Vega by their side who's to say they couldn't lie, cheat and steal their way to tag team gold?
Ricochet & Cedric Alexander, another newly formed team of two underutilised high flyers who have joined forces to try and find their way on the WWE main roster. I can't wait to see these two grow as a tag team, the chemistry is already there and this could be the making of both men in WWE.
Undisputed Era, yes I'm hoping for a call up for the Undisputed Era, they have done it all in NXT and the time is now to see them flourish on the main roster. The inclusion of Bobby Fish and Kyle O'Reilly with the support of Roderick Strong and Adam Cole (Bay Bay) can really elevate this tournament and make the tag team titles feel special once again.
Other teams considered were the Authors of Pain and without their current injury they would have been on my four teams from RAW. Seth Rollins & Murphy, Danny Burch & Oney Lorcan and Rey Mysterio & Humberto Carillo were a few other possible inclusions however the four teams I have chosen provide a great balance of experience, ability, potential and star quality.
Miz & Morrison, the former partners reformed upon John Morrison's return to the WWE and quickly became the Smackdown Tag Team champions. I'm a huge fan of both men who's inclusion would only enhance the tag team tournament and division. Hey Hey, Ho Ho.
The Usos, this place was never up for debate as alongside the current Smackdown Tag Team Champions The New Day, Jimmy and Jey Uso have kept this division alive, producing a string of high quality matches worthy of any tag team era since time began. Another pair of potential champions who could easily turn the division into The Uso Penitentiary.
Heavy Machinery, following a surprising call up from NXT this team have established themselves as a top team on the main roster. Otis is infectious and following his Wrestlemania moment with Mandy Rose could he and his tag team partner Tucker go one step further and become Tag Team Champions.
The Forgotten Sons, some might call this an underwhelming call up from NXT however now they have their chance I would like to see them make an impact and establish themselves as credible, genuine challengers to the top teams in the division.
Despite being tempted to include Daniel Bryan & Drew Gulak I decided to look past teams who may not have a long term future, I see both Bryan and Gulak as singles competitors and expect Gulak to turn on Bryan at some point in the future. The Lucha House Party would also be unlucky to miss out however their high flying Lucha style will always have a place in tag team wrestling.
So these eight challengers, plus current champions The Street Profits and The New Day makes for a really strong tag team division, you could even argue the case for another three or four teams that could be genuine challengers.
While there can only be one group winner for each brand its equally as important that over the twelve tournament match series on both RAW and Smackdown storylines are formed, rivalries are made and seeds are planted which will make tag team feuds outside of the title picture meaningful and must watch.
I would have The Undisputed Era go over in RAW's tournament group with the Usos topping Smackdown's group to set up a mouth watering clash to become the number one contenders for the Undisputed Tag Team Championships at a chosen PPV.
The Undisputed Tag Team Champions would be crowned on that very same night with The Street Profits taking on The New Day. Despite being a huge fan of Montez Ford and Angel Dawkins at this stage Kofi and Big E are the better, more experienced tag team and after carrying the division for so long they deserve to make history and win the gold.
So main event time and The New Day's victory parade would have to be put on hold as the Undisputed Era have arrived on the big stage as they aim to takeover the main roster as they did NXT.
Cole, Strong, Fish and O'Reilly shouldn't be treated like a lot of NXT call ups where they are phased into the main events, these men were born ready, arrived in WWE ready and the Undisputed Era are ready to become the new Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions and begin a new era for tag team wrestling.
I believe this tournament and title unification proposal to be a perfect way to revive the tag team division and hopefully the WWE decide to put some focus on this underutilised division and give tag team wrestling the respect it deserves.
Would love to hear your thoughts and if you would do anything differently to put tag team wrestling in WWE back on the map?
Please let us know on Twitter @wnwnews and @CresswellDJ.