Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A quirky tag team rule that's long past

One of my favorite aspects of professional wrestling has always been tag team wrestling. Growing up watching Jim Crockett Promotions' Mid Atlantic Championship Wrestling show, I was spoiled by its great lineup of tag teams (not really a surprise since the promotion actually revolved around tag teams for much of its early years and it knew how to book them to perfection). How could you go wrong with teams like Ric Flair & Blackjack Mulligan, Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood, Ole & Gene Anderson, Jimmy Snuka & Ray Stevens, or Sgt. Slaughter & Don Kernodle? Whether they feuded over the National Wrestling Alliance World Tag Team Championship, the Mid Atlantic Tag Team Championship, or simple bragging rights, these guys (amongst many others) electrified the ring.

What was particularly interesting about this era was the largely forgotten rule that you could only make one save per match i.e. if your teammate was about to be pinned or submitted, you were allowed to run in once (without a tag) and break up the pin/submission. Any attempts after that earned you an automatic disqualification. Over time, this rule went the way of the Dodo bird (much like the NWA's old rule that throwing your opponent over the top rope meant an automatic disqualification) but I can't help but wonder if it was a good thing or a bad thing.

I still wonder if this rule disappeared in order to facilitate the second golden age of tag team wrestling in the 1980's. I'm not quite sure if teams like the Midnight Express, the Fabulous Ones, the British Bulldogs, or the Hart Foundation would have been exciting if they were limited to one save per match. Then again, they could have been even more exciting had their matches been booked around this rule.

What old school rules do you think should be brought back? What rules are you glad are now nothing more than memory?

No comments: