Today we shall delve into the world of tag team matches and hopefully learn one or two things about what they are all about.
A tag team match basically involves teams of two wrestlers facing off against each other in the ring.
Sometimes, there can be three wrestlers battling it out against each other in what is normally termed as a six-man tag team match.
So, it all involves a team of two or more wrestlers that take turns in competing against a wrestler from the opposing team with the idle team member waiting outside the ring until such a time that they are tagged in to get in on the action.
Rules of a tag team match
We should note that most basic rules that apply in a singles match, will also apply in a tag team match. But there are other rules as well that need to be followed and below we shall have a look at them:
Probably the major rule that needs to be followed at all times, and can often lead to a disqualification, is that only one member of each team (commonly known as the legal man) is allowed in the ring at a time.
Other members of the team have to wait outside the ropes at their specified corner until they are tagged in.
Another major rule is that both feet of the wrestler on the outside must be flat on the apron and his/her arm over the ropes and not through them when getting tagged in.
Only a legal wrestler can score a fall or have one scored against him/ her.
There is usually a grace period of five to ten seconds for a wrestler that is tagged out to leave the ring. It is a common practice by wrestlers to use this little window to gang up on an opponent and inflict some combined damage whenever possible.
Also, the wrestler on the outside must be touching the tag rope tied to the corner of the ring, or the turnbuckle in rings that do not have tag ropes. This is to make sure that the idle wrestler is always at arms-length of the corner of the ring, and also to avoid blatant double-teaming against an opponent which is something that some cheeky wrestlers are rather fond of.
Are tag team rules the same in all wrestling promotions?
Tag team rules in most wrestling promotions are quite similar with slight variations here and there and we shall explore some of these below:
For example, tag team matches in the Mexican Lucha Libre differ from those in the WWE in the following ways:
One member of each team is usually designated as the captain and a match is usually won when the captain is pinned or submits.
Another thing that is definitely different is that a wrestler can enter the ring without tagging if a member of his team is knocked out of the ring.
Most matches are 2 out of 3 falls and we know that most matches elsewhere are usually a single fall.
Multiple-man matches in the Lucha Libre will often have two referees, one inside the ring and the other outside.
In All Elite Wrestling (AEW)
Also, in the AEW, wrestlers have a ten count for being in the ring when they are not legal but this rule is at the discretion of the referee in charge so it may or may not be used sometimes.
Tag ropes are not used in the AEW so wrestlers can literally tag each other in from anywhere so as exciting as this can be, some major disorder does come along with it as well.
How do you win a tag team match?
Tag team matches can be won through a number of different ways and below we shall have a look at some of them:
a/Pin or Fall: This happens when a wrestler pins down his/her opponent with both shoulders touching the mat. The referee will then start a count and if he gets to three then that match is won.
b/Count out: This is when a wrestler is out of the ring long enough for the referee to count to ten. This will then lead to a disqualification and the opposing team will get the win.
c/Submission: Typically occurs when a wrestler is put on a hold and when he can’t take it anymore, will tap out and therefore yield to the opponent, therefore losing the match.
d/Disqualification: As we saw above, both members being in the ring at the same time may very well lead to disqualification and this, in most cases, will gift the win to the other team.
What does it take to make a good tag-team?
Tag team wrestling can be called an art to some extent as the most successful tag teams must have a good understanding of each other, have great chemistry going on between them, and just generally jell really well together.
This always makes for a more engaging partnership like we saw in the Dudley Boys, The Hardy Boys, Midnight Express among others who always made for a very entertaining time in the ring whenever they made an appearance.
Edge and Christian were another combination of tag team wrestlers that will surely be remembered for a long time to come.
Whether or not the tag team division will keep going for the foreseeable future remains to be seen but it is quite obvious that it has faded a lot in the last ten years or so.
A lot of the great tag teams were split up and eventually given solo runs which did nothing but harm the tag team division in the end.
Although the young teams that we have gracing our screens today are definitely entertaining and hopefully, they will keep getting better and better as the days go by.
Major wrestling promotions like the WWE and AEW need to understand that the fans care a lot about this division and therefore should take it more seriously and put in work to make it better than it is now.