Booking to Potential – Saving the WWE Tag Team Division

Christopher Mariscal

Last week, we took a look at the World’s Largest Athlete, the Big Show.  The Big Man needed a severe reboot as he had fallen into a terrible funk of triple threat filler and John Cena’s non-title plaything.  Although the approach taken was nowhere near close to what I had considered, I was pleasantly surprised to see him become the mystery partner of Chris Jericho and insert himself into the tag-team division.

I have been corresponding back and fourth with a reader on the subject, and although I can’t speak for him, I think I can sum up the difference of opinion in a few short words.  Reader John’s camp feels that WWE needs more compelling storylines, more Hollywood style scripting, and more draw from out of ring gimmicks because the wrestling will always be there and will always have its core audience.  My camp feels that putting the emphasis back on the in-ring product and the competition surrounding it with compelling but realistic storylines will bring greater success.

So with all the thinking about the Big Show I’ve been doing over the last week, and with his surprise insertion into the Unified Tag Team Title picture, I figured it would be a great segue into a new booking travesty: the Tag Team Division.

If you count the current oddball championship team of Chris Jericho and the Big Show, there are currently only four tag teams on the entire WWE Roster in Cryme Time, the Hart Dynasty, and Legacy.  This is about half of what TNA features on a roster less than half the size of WWE’s with one third the programming of WWE.

The Tag Team division used to be the proving ground of up and coming wrestlers.  Bret Hart, Dusty Rhodes, Shawn Michaels, Arn Anderson, Edge, Christian, Chris Jericho, Booker T, Matt and Jeff Hardy, Davey Boy Smith, Scott Steiner, Billy Gunn, Steve Austin, Brian Pillman, Ron Simmons, CM Punk, Ric Flair, Ricky Steamboat, Sgt. Slaughter, and many many other big names in wrestling got their start in the tag team division.

The tag team division is so weak, that rather than establish new stars through the use of tag teams; they have started the whole “new superstar initiative” at ECW.  Unfortunately this causes several young superstars to be pushed way too fast to burn out long before reaching their full potential.

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Using that as a launching pad, I think that ECW is the perfect place to be the breeding ground for the rebirth of the tag team division.

The New Superstar Initiative is a great concept that gives us a chance to see several of the developmental stars fair against the current roster.  In the name of good, hearty competition, I see no reason that ECW shouldn’t actively seek more gold for their brand.  I would create a simple address for ECW General Manager Tiffany to give at the beginning of the program.

A Message from the ECW General Manager:

“To the members of the WWE Universe:

Since its rebirth, ECW has often been branded as the ‘proving ground’ of the WWE.  ECW has embarked on a New Superstar Initiative that is intended to build the future of this business, as opposed to sitting stagnant in the fading stars of today.

Though we all fly under the WWE banner, make no mistake that we at ECW strive to be the top brand in Sports Entertainment.

ECW has brought you several superstars throughout the years.  Superstars of the past like Rob Van Dam, Eddie Guerrero, and Dean Malenko as well as superstars of the present like Rey Mysterio, Jack Swagger, and CM Punk all have come up from ECW.

Despite these superstars getting their start in here, let me make it clear that ECW is NOT a farm league.  As General Manager, I believe that the talents of our superstars are on the same level, if not a higher one in some cases, than those of Raw or Smackdown.

With that being said, I feel that it is time that ECW have more…evidence of that ability.

With only four teams on the combined three rosters of Raw, Smackdown, and ECW, it is clear which direction ECW must go with our New Talent Initiative.  We must not only look to the prosperity of ECW, but of Tag Team Wrestling itself.

For this reason, ECW is scouting and signing Tag Teams from both within the WWE rosters, and all over the world.  And let it be known that we are being VERY aggressive in bringing Tag Team Gold to the land of extreme.

Chris Jericho and the Big Show, in an attempt to revive both of their stagnant and tired careers have decided to capitalize on and pick the bones of WWE’s sparse tag team division.

The first of the new teams that I am scouting to capture that gold will be seen tonight, right here on ECW, and that match will be coming up next.”

With this, ECW can continue to become the breeding ground for new Superstars in a much less obvious fashion, as well as rebuilding the popularity of the Tag Team Division.

This also works on building the character of Tiffany, as well as sparking some inter-brand competition.

You can also bet that Chris Jericho and the Big Show would have some choice words.

The Unified Tag Team Champions interrupt a match between two of the new tag teams by brutally attacking the young superstars with chairs, kendo sticks, trashcans, and any other weapon you could think of.

The Big Show addresses a hostile crowd:

“In the list of the names of who has dominated in ECW, it seems as though Tiffany forgot that I am a former ECW Champion.  That I not only defeated, but destroyed Rob Van Dam, Mr. Monday Night, the biggest name to come out of ECW.

It seems that without the Big Show, Extreme Championship Wrestling is not ‘extreme’, it has a severe lack of championship material, and whatever the kids come out here and do…well seeing as I could cripple any one of them at a moments notice, they don’t seem like wrestlers.”

He passes the microphone to Jericho amidst boos and jeers:

“You see?  The hypocrisy never seems to end.  You all want your little slice of nostalgia for a decrepit bingo hall in the ‘stabbing district’ of Philadelphia when you pump your fists and chant ‘E C Dub, E C Dub’, but when we come out with the chairs flying and we do some real damage, you all get up and whine.

ECW General Manager Tiffany, make no mistake, the Unified Tag Team Championship was not an act of desperation.  I saw something I wanted and I took it.

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