Earlier this week, I discussed my displeasure with the WWE’s ill-advised decision to book Big Show against the Undertaker at Survivor Series.
According to spoiler reports this week on Smackdown, Chris Jericho will be inserted into the World Heavyweight Championship match.
I’ve got no problem with the decision to add Jericho to any main event, especially one that projected to be as boring as Undertaker versus Big Show. This does, however, continue to push the Unified Tag Team Titles to the backburner.
This will be the second pay-per-view in a row where the titles go undefended. Prior to that, Jericho and Big Show’s feuds over the gold had taken a backseat to the tag team wars of Degeneration-X and Legacy.
Additionally, the champs and the only team that could be conceived as the number one contenders, Degeneration-X, are both involved in triple threats that were booked to create controversial angles involving team unity.
We’ve all seen the whole “every man for himself” angle played out a dozen times and doing it twice in the same pay-per-view just reeks of lazy booking.
At this point, I wouldn’t be shocked to see an ECW Title triple threat featuring Christian versus the Bushwackers inserted onto the Survivor Series card just to round things out.
Lazy booking notwithstanding, my biggest gripe is about the damage being done to the tag team division.
The tag division has been rebuilding slowly, but surely, since the gold was put on Jericho and Edge this summer. The substitution of Big Show as Jericho’s partner made plenty of sense and has worked to create a dominant heel tag team.
Everyone knows that storylines are better with a face—or in this case a team of faces—chasing the heels for the gold. So it only makes sense that you’d work to rebuild the tag team division with a dominant heel team. Jericho and Big Show fit the bill perfectly.
Jericho—no matter what any Orton fan will tell you—is still getting the best heel heat of any wrestler on any brand in any company, period.
On top of that, he’s still one of the top workers in the business and can seemingly pull a good match out of anyone on the roster, as evidenced by his ability to make the “Legends” match at WrestleMania 25 watchable.
Big Show, at this stage of his career, is no longer considered a real threat to singles titles, but makes the perfect “bully” tag partner. He’s big. He’s mean. He’s perfect for the enforcer role in a tag team.
So the WWE has half of the equation right. They’ve built the perfect heel tag team to carry the gold and re-establish the division.
Unfortunately, the bigger issue is that the writers have yet to put together a worthwhile challenger to create the intrigue and really get the fans begging for one team to take the gold off of Jericho and Big Show.
In recent months we’ve either seen, or been teased with, the following feuds for the Unified Tag Titles:
I think not. The WWE buries these two talented workers as a stale, if not mildly racist, comedy routine for most of the year and then expects fans to buy them as legitimate contenders for the tag titles by giving them a one-month push, before sending them right back into obscurity. Yeah, call me crazy, but I’ll pass.
Batista and Rey Mysterio
This tandem was thrown together roughly a week before the pay-per-view and inserted as a filler match more than anything else. Matches with little build-up tend to be disappointing and this was just that. Batista went head-to-head with Jericho and Big Show in his return to Smackdown and that warrants him and the returning Mysterio a title shot. Yeah, not so much.
MVP and Mark Henry
Please. MVP should be in the midst of a singles push, not slumming it with the WWE’s most overrated big man. MVP seemed in line for a big push when he moved to RAW and—despite the fact that it completely defies logic—so was Henry. Instead, WWE turned them into a tag team with matching spandex. Cute, real cute.
Sure, this one I’d accept, unfortunately, they’ve garnered a grand total of like three wins as a tag team in the last six months and done nothing but serve as Orton’s lackeys and DX’s whipping boys. Additionally, they’re also heels and we all know that heel versus heel feuds tend to be a little stale for the average viewer.
Again, this one I’d accept and this seemed to be the logical course to take things, but apparently the writing crew saw differently. After booking DX as the best tag team in the company for the past three months, they decided to pretty much blow this feud off altogether.
There you have it folks. We’ve seen three mediocre feuds. And we've seen just one established tag team go against the champs. Call me crazy, but that’s not how you rebuild a floundering division.
The WWE made the short-sighted decision to break up the Colons, neither of whom serves much purpose as a solo act, and they have yet to really get behind a push for the Hart Dynasty.
William Regal’s Ruthless Roundtable is still wasting away in obscurity in ECW until we have another “free-agent steal” that lands them on RAW or Smackdown to get jobbed into eternity.
Beyond that the division is still very, very thin.
The rumored Edge and Christian reunion would be a nice shot in the arm, but it would also only serve as a short-term solution because both men are much too talented individually to return to the tag ranks on a full-time basis.
Plus, at the rate we’re currently going the Unified Tag Titles will have gone the way of the Cruiserweight (which should come back just for Evan Bourne), European, and Hardcore Titles by the time Edge is heeled and ready to return.
Here’s hoping that after Survivor Series the WWE can right the ship and continue the hard work of re-establishing the tag team division to its former glory.