By Al Galdi
I am very worried about Edge and Christian.
No, I'm not worried about how their separation was handled. The E & C breakup was a well-paced, effectively-built-up angle, the likes of which I wish we'd see more of. Rather than rush through it as it has with so many other story lines, the WWF's writing staff took its time with the split of one of the best tag teams of the last decade. The result of this patience was a heel turn that (surprise!) made sense and came off very well on last week's Raw in Toronto.
I'm not worried about the actual Edge-Christian program, either. So long as the WWF allows it, the feud should provide for some good television over the next few months. Both Edge and Christian excel in the ring and behind the mic, and their real-life friendship should only enhance the quality of their battles.
No, I'm not worried about Edge's and Christian's immediate future. I'm worried about their long-term prospects for success. For while their talents point towards two lengthy, prosperous singles careers, history dictates such will be the case for at most just one.
Take a look at every major tag team that has broken-up over the last 20 years. An instance where both went on to greatness as singles wrestlers is nonexistent.
Fabulous Ones - Stan Lane achieved major success as part of the Midnight Express, while Steve Keirn bounced around the territories and never did anything more significant than Skinner in the WWF.
Dynamic Duo - Chris Adams became an upper-mid-carder in World Class Championship Wrestling. Gino Hernandez died of a drug overdose before he could truly establish singles stardom.
Fabulous Freebirds - Michael Hayes and Terry Gordy did well in other teams, while the elder Buddy Roberts faded away from the business.
Fantastics - Neither Tommy Rogers nor Bobby Fulton recaptured glory after their pairing broke off, although Rogers did look good four years ago in a brief ECW stint.
British Bulldogs - Davey Boy Smith went on to some singles success. Dynamite Kid retired early due to health problems.
Hart Foundation - Bret Hart became the WWF's franchise player in the aftermath of the drug and sex scandals of the early-1990s. Jim Neidhart hasn't served as anything more than Bret's stooge.
Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard - Anderson continued putting on great matches with other partners like Bobby Eaton and Larry Zybsko. Blanchard essentially retired a decade ago to become a minister, although he has wrestled sporadically on the independent circuit.
The Ding Dongs - Just wanted to make sure you're paying attention.
Midnight Express - Eaton and Lane did well in other tag teams, but not as singles.
Rock 'n Roll Express - The few breakups they've had have led nowhere.
Demolition - Brian Adams (Crush) has lasted, but to call him a major star is generous. Even if you do, there's no way the same can be said for Barry Darsow (Smash, Repo Man, Blacktop Bully) or Bill Eadie (Ax, although he did well for himself in incarnations prior to Demolition).
Rockers - Shawn Michaels became the show-stopper. Marty Jannetty had good matches when he wasn't in trouble with the law.
Road Warriors - Their several years apart in the mid-1990s had Hawk teaming with Kensuki Sasaki in New Japan and Animal collecting a Lloyd's of London insurance policy off a back injury.
Hollywood Blondes - The closest example there exists of both finding greatness as singles wrestlers. Steve Austin became Stone Cold, and Brian Pillman achieved cult hero status with his worked-shoot antics in 1995-96. However, like Hernandez, Pillman died before he could become more than an entertaining mid-carder.
Steiner Brothers - Though plagued by injuries and possessing a temper that makes Vince Lombardi look like Steve Lombardi, Scott Steiner has come across as a star since his initial breakup from Rick Steiner, who went from one of wrestling's better (and stiffer) workers to among its laziest (but still stiff).
Harlem Heat - Booker T has oozed major star potential since 1998, and with the WWF machine now behind him he appears on the verge of realizing it. As he himself would probably admit, Stevie Ray was never half the worker his brother was and has proved best-suited for behind-the-scenes activities.
New Age Outlaws - Perhaps the most amazing fall of these teams belongs to the Road Dogg and Billy Gunn, both of whom have seen their careers spiral downward since their first separation. The NAO epitomized the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.
It's amazing. Not one of these teams' splits resulted in major singles success for both members. Even when you consider ECW pairs like the Public Enemy, Pitbulls, Gangstas and Eliminators, the results are the same. The only team that yielded two individual stars that comes to mind was the Blade Runners, which spawned the careers of Sting and the Ultimate Warrior in several regional promotions in the mid-1980s.
Given all of this, should Edge and Christian abandon all hope? Should they concede that only one of them is destined for singles greatness? No way.
Despite what the fates of others tell us, there exist reasons for optimism. Unlike many great teams of the past, Edge and Christian both possess traits that lend toward both becoming upper-carders. They are young, diligent talents who don't appear to have attitude or behavioral problems. Both have proven themselves as singles wrestlers already, and neither lacks interview skills. Perhaps most importantly, they work for a company that now embraces wrestlers of their style.
Indeed, a credible case can be made that of all the great tag teams of the last 20 years, Edge and Christian have the best chance for each attaining significant individual success after their breakup. It's a good thing their abilities stand on their side, because clearly history does not.