|ERIC BENNER-- SLAM! Wrestling
As a human being with access to television and the internet, it's pretty hard for me to avoid bad news right now. Between the aftermath of last week's terrible tragedy, the United States gearing up for battle, and the bottom falling out from under our markets, it still doesn't really feel right to churn out a wrestling column. At this point, though, you can chalk me up on the side for 'time to get on with life' side, so maybe I'll try my hand at irony and actually express my thoughts about Christian this week.
That, and a few of the other things that make wrestling worth watching, even in times like these.
Granted, it's possible that the split of everyone's favourite Canadian tag team might have come as more of a surprise of they hadn't been teasing it on and off for over a year. It's a given that sooner than later, all of the WWF's Big Three tag teams will have split up, them being Edge and Christian,
The Hardy Boys, and The Dudleys. It was really only a matter of who would go first. With that question answered, we can sit back and enjoy the show, knowing that it should be a good six months before rumours brew again about the other two teams.
As of now, both Edge and Christian look like they might have breakout superstar potential. Without question, each is a talented, charismatic wrestler, but it's impossible to say with any certainty right now whether one or the other or both are destined for heavyweight title reigns. Neither of them seems like a complete package to me right now, but maybe they just need time to grow as singles wrestlers before that will become apparent. Until then, maybe their breakup feud will be their launching pad.
It could really go either way. Road Dogg and Billy Gunn looked incomplete after The New Age Outlaws broke up, but that's because they never actually had even a small measure separately of the chemistry and charisma they shared together. As singles stars, their value was tremendously lower. As a
tag team, they added a lot of value to the WWF. Meanwhile, other tag teams like The Hart Foundation, Harlem Heat, and The Rockers each ultimately contributed one really talented and successful wrestler to the singles division. Very few tag teams split up to find both members enjoying singles success. That's the grim reality of the situation.
A year ago, my money would have been on Edge to break out as a singles star, but now I could see it going either way. I don't think their corny, over-the-top attitude will work for either of them as singles wrestlers. They were only really funny because we could laugh at them together. Alone, that kind of attitude would just be sad. In the long run, each will have to develop an edgier personality.
Somehow, tag teams can get away with being one-dimensional. The Headbangers, The Godwinns, and even The Legion of Doom pulled off gimmicks that I think a solo wrestler would have had a hard time getting over. There's more challenge to get yourself over alone. That's why so many cliques of wrestlers exist. It's a lot more interesting, in most cases, to watch wrestlers interact than it is to watch just one cut a promo. That's also why there are few sitcoms with one character. Only really high-profile guys like The Rock can cut a promo on Michael Cole and elicit a real reaction from the crowd. crowd. A tag team can't just break up and expect that kind of success. After perhaps years together, sharing the spotlight, neither member of most tag teams really seems to fill the screen by themselves. They don't have the same on-screen or in-ring presence as a Steve Austin or a Kurt Angle might possess. They can't or they wouldn't fit together as a team. But that advantage for tag teams becomes a disadvantage come breakup time.
Edge and Christian, separately, will have to deal with that reality. Both are talented wrestlers, and together, they have put on some of the most amazing matches of the past two or three years. Separately, though, they may be no better off than failed WCW luchadores unless they can prove their
charisma alone. I think they can, but I believe that a great deal of their chance at success may ultimately lie on how they perform in their feud against each other, as it has in so many other cases.