You Are Either a Team, or You Are Not…
Being a part of a REAL tag team means that you do not take a booking unless your partner is booked and you tag together. REAL tag teams ride to EVERY show together, therefore learning just about everything about one another over the years and figuring out how their partner thinks in and out of the ring. REAL tag teams invest their money in getting matching gear, and invest their time in coming up with an actual team name and an overall concept for the team as a whole.
It’s not just about two guys going out there and being a tag team. Sure, it starts out that way with any team, but it is about growing into something more and dedicating yourselves to it. The success of any great tag team is only measured by how much effort you actually put into it.
Much of the problem with the lack of tag teams may very well stem from the fact that the WWE does not have much of a focus on their tag division. There really has not been an actual tag division since the days of the Hardys, Dudleys, and Edge & Christian. Sure, there have been some great teams that have been in the WWE over the past decade, but there are no other teams for them to work against. When this happens, the teams either get fired or break up and go their separate ways. Some teams that come to mind are Haas & Benjamin, the Highlanders, and the Hart Dynasty.
I was a part of a tag team called Team Clash for 6 years with my partner Brian Bender. Bender and I initially started tagging because it was easier for the two of us to get booked on shows that way. At that time in 2004, there was not really much out there for him and I as singles wrestlers, so we just decided to dedicate our time to becoming the best tag team possible. Honestly, as soon as we actually got matching gear, we were booked nearly every weekend in OH, MI, PA, or IN and just picked up on things as we went along.
It’s all about just getting out on the road together and learning everything that you can about your partner. Bender and I fought more than my girlfriend and I at the time, but I think that it all worked out for the best in the long run. We would disagree on some things, but I honestly think that us being so different is what made our team so great.
The whole idea behind the name Team Clash was the fact that we were completely different people, thus the “clash” part of the name. He was a very basic, technically sound wrestler, while I was more of the flamboyant, flashier guy. It made for a great team dynamic and we really just played off of each other well overall.
Bender and I tagged for 6 years and worked with nearly every top tag team in the states of OH, MI, and IN. We wrestled people like The Scarbonis, Popular Electronics, the Hi-Def Supernovas, Faith N’ Nothing, the Bump N’ Uglies, the Black & Blue Crew, the Soul Shooters, the Michigan Invasion, Ringside Revue, the Messiahs of a New Age, the Northstar Express, and even “legends” like Greg “the Hammer” Valentine, Jim “the Anvil” Niedhart, and Brutus “the Barber” Beefcake. It was honestly the GREATEST part of my career, and personally I feel the highlight of my career as a whole.
Our team kind of fell apart when I broke my ankle in 2009. We were the OCW & PWO Tag Team Champions at the time and I could not be there to defend the titles. After I healed up, I was put into a position of managing people, which I loved, but it was not the same. Once I officially started wrestling again, it just became more and more apparent that Bender and I were probably not going to get back to what we once had. Bender could not make some of the OCW shows that we had, I had gotten “let go” from PWO, and both of us were just working for different promotions otherwise.
Recently, I had the chance to tag with Bender again at a W.A.R. Wrestling fair show in Ottawa, OH against the Appalachian Outlaws (Jock Samson & Bryan Cross) for the NWA Premier Tag Team Championships. Let’s just say that it was awesome. I had a fucking blast. Bender and I worked together just as seamlessly as we did before and just went out there and had fun. There may be a chance that we can figure things out and get back into the ring together regularly, and I am hoping that it does work out.
I think that the real problem is that promoters do not focus on tag team wrestling enough, and wrestlers all want to be a singles stars rather than “sharing the spotlight” with someone else. Tag team wrestling is awesome and gets a hell of a better reaction than any singles match ever will. The next time you are at a wrestling show, sit there and just look at the reactions of the crowd during a tag match and during a singles match, it will blow your mind. The problem is finding a place that actually uses REAL tag teams nowadays and finding people that are willing to dedicate themselves to being a part of a tag team.