Tag Team 101

How to Corner a Lady Wrestler

Tag Team 101

It Takes Strategy,
Teamwork, and
A Little Cheating

     A tag-team match pits two teams of two wrestlers each against each other. According to the rules, only one member of each team can be in the ring at a time. It takes a slap of the hand -- a "tag" -- for teammates to switch places. Wrestlers who have not tagged in are forbidden from interfering with the wrestlers in the ring.

    That's what the rules say, anyway.

     In fact, many wrestlers try to get away with as much rule-breaking as they can. And referees, who have their hands full with two wrestlers in the ring, can be overwhelmed by four. So lots of extracurricular activity can be expected.

     Whether they cheat or not, smart tag-teammates coordinate their efforts to maximize the damage. The basic strategy is to keep one opponent trapped in your corner, where you take turns dealing out the punishment. That takes the other opponent out of the action and essentially makes it a two-on-one contest. Rule-breaking tactics only hasten the inevitable end of the trapped wrestler. 

     To illustrate this strategy, we go back to the golden age of the 1980s WWF, and a classic ladies match. It features the Fabulous Moolah and Wendi Richter (heels) vs. Velvet McIntyre and Princess Victoria (faces).  

     Moolah is perhaps the greatest ladies wrestler of all-time, holding the championship for most of the 20th century. She was a merciless heel, so much fun to watch. 

     Wendi would later turn good and become the face of the WWF, managed by Cyndi Lauper, no less. But she was a great heel, screaming "squaw!" at Princess Victoria -- a Native American character -- and having an especially savage fued with Velvet.

    Victoria (an actual member of the Sammanish tribe of the Iroquois Nation) followed in the Indian wrestling tradition of Chief Jay Strongbow. She wore her thick, black hair in braids, dressed in a sexy-Indian-style outfit, and even did a "war dance" when she was angry. Her career

Clockwise from top left, Wendi Richter shows off her muscle, Velvet McIntyre shows off her long hair, Princess Victoria shows off her Indian heritage, and the Fabulous Moolah shows off her title belt.

Velvet and Wendi square off

​​After Wendi gets the quick advantage over Velvet with a choke-slam , she goes to work on the redhead. But she never strays far from her own corner -- where Moolah is eagerly waiting to help. 

     Wendi and Moolah provide a tag-team clinic, as they pass Velvet back and forth, taking turns pummeling her and double-teaming at every opportunity. Victoria is helpless to aid her partner. And when she does enter the ring, she only draws away the ref's attention, letting Moolah and Wendi increase the punishment.  

     It's quite a pounding, and textbook stuff. Should be required study for all would-be pro wresters, and it's a must-watch for fans of ladies wrestling and hair-pulling. Enjoy!
was sadly shortened by a neck injury.

     Velvet was the best pure women's wrestler of the era. Shapely and athletic, with a gorgeous head of long red hair, Velvet's high-flying, rope-jumping style made her somewhat of a female equivalent of Jimmy Snuka.

     Her career peaked when she became the top challenger to Moolah in the early 80s. But then came the disastrous title challenge in Wrestlemania 2 , when Velvet was easily pinned (though her foot is cleary on the rope) reputedly due to a "wardrobe malfunction." After that, her star was eclipsed by Wendi's.

     In this match, Velvet finds herself at the mercy of Moolah and Wendi, who execute on her this classic tag-team strategy to perfection.

Step 1: Get a Quick Start

Moolah makes the tag, and in comes Wendi! Velvet is ready.
The women circle, then lock-up in the middle of the ring.
Wendi wastes no time in going for the throat, lifting Velvet right off her feet with a choke hold! 
The mighty blonde shakes the redhead around like a ragdoll...
...before throwing her to the canvas to complete the classic choke-slam!

Step 2: Soften Her Up

You'll notice Wendi always rushes to follow up her move, giving her opponent no chance to regain her wits. Here, she hauls Velvet up by the hair,
and sends her flying!
Velvet rebounds off the ropes, only to run into a charging Wendi.
And down goes Velvet!
Bottoms up!
With another show of strength, Wendi throws Velvet over her shoulder like a sack of potatoes, and deposits her on the turnbuckle. 
First a solid right shot to Velvet's exposed midsection...
...then it's back to the mat with a hair-toss !
Velvet is stunned, and Wendi rushes in like a predator after its wounded prey.
Before Velvet can react, Wendi yanks her head up by the hair, then slams her face-first into the mat!
Everybody's gone surfin', surfin' USA! Wendi uses Velvet as her surfboard !
It's time for Velvet to take another ride.
She bounces off the ropes and is flung helplessly back at the charging Wendi...
...who makes like an NFL linebacker and plants Velvet into the canvas!

Step 3: Go for the Pin!

If you think you've sufficiently stunned your opponent to get a three-count, go for it. Here, Wendi senses this is her moment, and she rushes in for the kill!

It's a Pin Count!

Before the ref can slap the mat a third time, Velvet kicks out! No pin.

Step 4: Back to Basics

While worth the attempt, it's not always possible to get the quick pin. In that case, it's important to go right back to work and press your advantage. 
And Wendi knows just what Velvet needs now...
...a devastating ​ bodyslam !
Victoria reaches out, in vain, for her teammate, but Wendi's closer...
Velvet's long red hair is just so handy!
Velvet is sent flying into the corner...
...where she finds Moolah's boots waiting for her!
Wendi steps on Velvet's throat, and poses for the crowd!

Step 5: Deal Out the Punishment

With your opponent thoroughly weakened, it's a good time to consider another pin attempt. Its also a good time for some unnecessary roughness. This ensures a smooth pin, the crowd enjoys it, and it's just plain fun. 
That's the route Wendi chooses, as she decides to give her archrival a working over. And she goes for her favorite target... 
Standing on the hair ! It's an all-time classic among the ladies, and Velvet's long tresses are perfect for the move. 
As if that's not bad enough, as the ref stops Victoria from entering the ring, Moolah comes in and treats the trapped Velvet like her old stomping grounds!
Wendi grabs two handfuls of shining red hair...
...drags her over to the ropes, under the watchful eye of Moolah...
...and gives Velvet's face a severe case of rope-burn!

Step 6: Hair, Hair!

You've beaten her, now humiliate her. And how better than to toss her around, helplessly, by the hair? Wendi never needs much convincing for this, and she greedily dig in...
Wendi drapes Velvet's head over the top rope, and then yanks her hair under the rope. First a choke, then a sling-shot off the rope and down to the canvas. 

Step 7: Sharing Means Caring

Don't save all the fun for yourself. Give your teammate a chance to contribute! Here, Wendi picks up Velvet in the usual fashion and drags her over to her team's corner, where Moolah is happy to lend a hand. 
The fabulous one wraps the tag-rope around Velvet's throat!
And look at Moolah smile -- she's happy to be a productive teammate!
Victoria comes to Velvet's defense, drawing Wendi's complaint and the ref's attention. So the two-on-one beating continues.
"But, ref, they're choking her!"
"I've seen no evidence of choking, now back to your corner!"
The ref tackles Victoria, and Wendi lands a boot to Velvet's midsection
as Moolah hangs on tightly with a headlock.
"No, she's mine!" Moolah says as the ref tells them to break it up.
Moolah signals victory, as Velvet struggles to stay on her feet.

Step 8: Avoid the Great Escape

Moolah is already celebrating, but where is Velvet going?
Between Wendi's legs, that's where!
It's called the five-hole in hockey, when a puck goes between the goalie legs, and here the Canadian Velvet makes like a puck for her escape. Though Wendi and Moolah had done everything right up to that point, they broke the cardinal rule: Never let the woman escape. They celebrated too soon, giving Velvet the split-second she needed. Otherwise, a Moolah tag-in was coming, and things would have gotten much worse for the redhead. 
Instead, Velvet manages to crawl across the ring and tag Victoria!
And so the dance begins again. But is it a war dance, this time?