Tag Team wrestling is a lost art. Matter of fact, at one point it was dead.
Now, sure, the WCW and WWF(E) at times would throw us a bone and give us a tag team match, sometimes even for the titles of the respective promotions, but more often than not, it was 2 guys who were getting pushes as singles attractions being thrown in together to further a few storylines at once, or because ‘creative’ didn’t know what else to do with them. Thes days of the co-hesive, long term tag team seemed to be gone. That’s not to say that there weren’t a number of good teams in either company, there was, and we are talking late 90’s on. But no importance was placed on the divisions, and teams were allowed to stay together long enough to get over as a team, and the division as viable. And, let me just say I am not one who revels at the brilliance of a Hardy/E&C/Dudley match. 1 was pretty good, but that has been blown way out proportion. Give me the Fantastics/Sheepherders any day.
In the last few years, WWE has teased a tag team division revival, only to release most of the wrestlers who would be comprising the division a few months later.(They just pulled the plug on Caylon Croft, killing the Dude Busters) TNA at times has shown a deep and brilliant division with the two best teams of the day in MCMG and Beer Money. Show stealing matches most every time they step out of the curtain, yet TNA does not exploit this enough. And Ink Inc. needs to go away. ROH has a fairly solid division, with what I consider the best tag team in the last 5 years, the Briscoes, but they may be on there way out. You also have Claudio and Hero, which is like Nikita Koloff and Barry Windham being a tag team. Booked to be dominant, but you know that they are both destined for singles runs, at the core that is what they are. The list goes on in ROH, with the likes of the Wolves, The All-Nighters, and now on spot shows Benjamin and Haas, another team while good, is not as good as made to believe… together anyways. That’s just me.
The NWA has some good teams that compete for the various members and affiliates. Brown and Walker formed a de-facto New age LOD, stormed to the titles, and held them for what seemed like a century… Only problem was is that they never defended the titles. The NWA might as well had just had vacant tag titles. Thankfully a far more active team, Dark CIty Fight Club recently dethroned the Skullcrushers(Brown and Walker) on a NWA Midwest show to become the new champs. You have other teams in the mix as well, like the RockNES Monsters out in SoCal, and various teams down in Anarchy like Talent and Money. But by not booking the champions, not securing dates, the promoters of the NWA let their titles lay dormant for far too long and I actually had almost forgotten a board recognized division existed. Hopefully, with new holders this will correct it’s self.
The days of the Roadies, Midnights, Rockers, Rock and Rollers, Brainbusters, and Fabs may be over, but there are some bright spots out there that show that if given enough time, the art of tag team wrestling can thrive again.
Now, enough of the ranting… With my love of tag team wrestling now evident, Let me go into a little diddy here about an Annual Tag Team Tournament held in honor of one of the great tandems, The Anderson Brother’s Classic, presented by George South and his semi-active, mostly old-timers nostalgia promotion the EWA. South has been putting this event on since 2004. It has featured unknown youngsters he trains, most notably his son George Jr., and legends who used to call the region home in the days of MACW and JCP.
The tournament has had participation from the actual Anderson Family, as Gene’s widow and son, Brad, have been part of the shows. Brad has even participated in the event, having one the first one with George South Sr, and being a special guest ref in the 3rd edition. Brad you may remember from his days in the old Pacific Northwest region during it’s curtain call days, and his time jobbing in WCW as both himself and the pink clad masked Zan Panzer, as well as his participation in the NWA Charlotte shows.And, he looks a lot like Brutus Beefcake.
Now, while this is not a NWA sanctioned event, the fact that it is in honor of a team who is noted for being an NWA team, a former NWA championship team, and stars in both MACW/JCP and Georgia Championship Wrestling, two of the most known NWA territories of the day, that should satisfy the NWA connection. And the fact that attending, and taking part in the festivities was NWA Executive Director, Bob Trobich.
In the past, the offspring of past stars has been a big part of the event. Joining Brad Anderson(Gene) in the tournament records have been the likes of Dyan Eaton(Beautiful Bobby),George South, Jr.(George Sr.) and The EWA has been known to re-hash several things that fans of the southeast old days would recognize at various points. They have used the Thunderfoots, have used Jimmy Valliant and dubbed a new Valliant Brothers team, they helped push Richie Steamboat along, Cruel Connection, Masked Superstar, and countless others have been used, and if not themselves, the gimmick rip-offs have been done. Ricky Morton has taken on so many new partners as the New Rock And Roll Express while on these shows(EWA) that it is hard to keep count.(in total, with all the indy shows he does, there has been about 5000 ‘new’ Express’). And this year, Reid Flair, son of the Naitch, took home the trophy, with his 2nd generation partner George Jr.
The tradition of the business and the families are something that South holds near and dear, and he promotes his shows with that in mind more often than not. In the just the ABC Tournament it’s self, father son duos have appeared such as The Souths(winners of ABC 3) and The Eatons (Bobby and Dylan) and Bob and Brad Armstrong. And the tournament is a good way to get the nostalgia pop and hide the age and lack of athleticism some legends may be saddled with. And George does a good job of getting some young Indy guys, his students or not, spots on these shows and a chance to learn from these guys as well as people like the Barbarian, Jake Roberts, etc.,
It’s good to see a promotion, which honestly if it were any smaller would be uninteresting and would not garner my attention, give tribute to a great team from the past, try to usher in the next generation of wrestlers cut in that familiar mold, and to tag team wrestling in general. EWA in that aspect goes beyond a nostalgia only show, and George seems to have found the right formula to mix it all together.
And just to satisfy the NWA aspect again, Bob Trobich took an active role in the tournament when he stepped in an told the Assassins(hardly the original, which is not a bad thing in 2010) that is they continues in the tournament, and ended up winning they would have to un-mask in order to accept the award. To which they decided to not continue any further….It’s all of the sudden 1985 again… and in small doses, I love it.
For pictures and results form this years event, as well as the previous ones, you can go to midatlanticgateway.com and look around for the ABC, and you can link up to South’s own website through the gateway and check out other EWA events.