The WWF/WWE Tag Team Title has always been secondary, even in the 1980s

This comment from a fan on the Wrestling Observer website regarding December’s WWE TLC pay-per-view caught my attention:

The tag belts are so devalued somebody might as well steal them and throw them in the trash can because tag team wrestling in WWE is nonexistent.

I’m not sure the Tag Team Title is devalued as much as it was never really worth a lot to begin with. The WWE and the WWF could never be confused as long-term hot beds for tag team action.

Yes, we lived through points in the late 1980s and 1990s when the WWF had an abundance of good tag teams and there seemed to be a switch in thinking about these types of matches. But generally, the WWF/WWE always was and continues to be a big man, singles match type of federation.

Back when I started watching nearly 30 years ago, you usually had the tag champions defending against a clear-cut No. 1 contenders team, with perhaps a secondary team thrown into the mix for certain house shows. It was formulaic: A babyface team would win the belts and then defend them against a heel tandem with a manager (for many years Captain Lou Albano was the designated manager for tag teams), and eventually the bad guys won the belts. Then a new babyface team would show up.

I remember seeing champs Mr. Fuji and Mr. Saito defending the Tag Team Title against “Mr. USA” Tony Atlas and the late S.D. “Special Delivery” Jones at the old Boston Garden in 1981. Is that any better or worse than Santino Marella and Vladimir Kozlov defending the current WWE Tag Team Title against Drew McIntyre and Chavo Guerrero?

(There were rumors over the years that Jones and Atlas had been scheduled for a title run, but then Atlas missed some shows and the push ended. Anyone out there know more about this?)

Sometimes great teams did hold the WWF tag belts, such as the British Bulldogs (Dynamite Kid and the late Davey Boy Smith) or the Brainbusters (Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard).

But even as the WWF grew bigger and grew its roster in the 1980s, we ended the decade with Andre the Giant and Haku as tag champs. Talk about a team whose names probably got pulled randomly from a hat.

One of the biggest crimes about the demise of the NWA and, to an extent, WCW, was the loss of quality tag team action. The NWA was always the place to get your fix for awesome tag matches in the 1980s.

TNA Wrestling today has good teams, but the product and storylines are so whacky it’s hard to take anything seriously in that organization. That said, if I was part of Beer Money or the Motor City Machine Guns, I’d second guess any offers from the WWE, because as tag teams, they will go nowhere in Vince McMahon’s world.

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