From past entires, you might have realized I’m a wrestling fan. (The specifc type of fan that I’m called is a “smart”. You can google it to find out exactly what that means. )
One big part of any wrestling card or line-up in a show is the tag team matches. Tag teams are where wrestlers work as a team of two (traditionally) and wrestle with an opposing team. They have to tag (make physical contact with each other) in and out of the ring to compete. Only one member of the team can officially be the legal man in the ring at one point of time and the one on the outside has to be holding onto the tag rope attached to the corner turn-knuckle pad when making a tag. Well, enough about technicalities…
Tag teams are an important part of the wrestling landscape and add tremendous texture and variety to the business. There are basically three types of tag teams:
The Alikes – These are two wrestlers who are alike or are dressed alike, have a similar look/ size and have similar wrestling styles (e.g. brawlers, technical, high flyers etc) and paired up to form a team.
These teams are easily distinguished from the rest, are exciting to watch and really look like a “team”. In fact, they traditionally are the core of most tag team divisions in any promotion. However, sometimes, the Alikes look a bit gimmicky or manufactured, are not as exciting to watch in long matches and they are generally not differentiated as individuals (in fact the casual fan can’t tell them apart).
Some successful Alike tag teams include:
The Non-Alikes – These are two wrestlers who are completely different but complement each other and work well as a team.
They generally look very different from each other and are of different sizes. More importantly, they have very different wrestling styles. One can be a technical wrestler or high flier, while the other is a brawler.
These teams are are exciting to watch even for longer matches because their styles are different. Storytelling for a match has more texture and the pacing of the match is generally more varied. This team is harder to manufacture because it is almost impossible to predict whether two wrestlers with a different look and wrestling style have chemistry and can function as a team. Beyond all that unpredictability, the “mis-matched” combination must have commerical appeal to the target audience.
Nothing is more painful to watch when a tag team is forced fit together and don’t look good together on stage. Teamwork is awkward, moves are botched and the overall all performance mediorce. One reason is when one tag team is obviously much better than the other. The team is only as strong as its weaker teammate.
More often than not, these teams eventually do not last because one of the wrestlers gets more popular than the other and pursues a singles career and the other generally fades away.
Some successful Non-Alike tag teams include:
The 3rd group of tag teams is what I call “Either Ways”. They are generally wrestlers who look very different from each other and are of different sizes. However, what makes them “Either Ways” is their wrestling styles. These individuals have a very adaptable style which they can switch to fit the situation, angle of the story or the opponents they fight.
As a result, they can look like an Alike team or a Non-Alike team when they want. They are extremely versatile and both wrestlers generally end up having successful singles careers as well or concurrently.
“Either Ways” are very much differentiated individuals but complement each other well to form a great team. They can function as a team or as a solo wrestler; either way, they entertain the crowd.
Such teams include:
Edge & Christian
Magic too also has its fair share of tag teams although not many. There are also fewer commercially successful tag teams in magic compared to well-known successful individual magicians.
By tag teams, I mean teams who are billed equally, not just working together for a long time. The marketing is as a team and the tag team is booked because they are a team. The consideration is also NOT if both individuals are magicians or magician and assistant.