I wonder if many people watching this week’s edition of SmackDown! noticed the return of the humble tag rope.
For those who aren’t in the know, the tag rope is a long piece of white cord, similar I would assume to a shoelace, which is tied to the top turnbuckle in one of two opposing corners for a tag team match. When the match is under way, the ‘outside man’ (for lack of a better phrase) must keep hold of this rope in order for a tag to his partner to be legal. (The referee has to see it too, of course, but we’ll take that as a given.) Obviously, the tag rope is there to ensure that the outside man does not stray too far from his post – say, for example, to illegally tag has dazed partner at an adjacent corner.
It certainly seems like an elaboration for a sport that is really just one big entertainment spectacle. But it definitely adds a much-needed element of realism. With all the glitz and glamour and extravagance of the modern era it’s the little details like this that ground professional wrestling in the real world, somewhat. We know wrestling’s not real, but it’s nice to look at how real it could appear to us if we didn’t know.
It’s been a long time since I last remember seeing the tag rope being used; 1995 at least. It’s good to have it back.