Standard Tag Team Match Rules

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Standard Tag Team Match Rules

Unread post by winner3 »

Hey everyone!

Making this post because, in the past few weeks, I've had at least 3 newer folks approach me to ask about rules and practices in tag team matches. My hope here is that I can link this topic to the FAQ's/Newbie section for future reference to help give anyone else a primer if they become interested in making and using a tag team on LAW or in roleplaying tag team wrestling in general

For those of you that are already familiar, feel free to add the discussion if I say anything incorrect or if I fail to cover anything. As with all rules of engagement and rp on this site, you're always free to take your own liberties with stipulations, rules, and how you want things to play out. Please bear in mind that while you can do what you want, LAW canon is meant to be realistic. So it's encouraged to use IRL pro wrestling rules as a base.

  • Rules of the Match

You're probably already familiar with the rules of a standard match. But there are definitely rules and nuances in standard singles match rules that even our most active members sometimes forget, gloss over, or choose to ignore. Again, you can choose which rules apply and which ones you care for, in your wrestling rp's but let's go over the rules of your plain old standard pro wrestling match.

You can only ever win a standard pro wrestling match inside the ring. A wrestler can win via pinfall, submission, knockout, count-out, or disqualification. A pinfall, submission, or knockout will only be ruled/counted by a referee inside the ring in pro wrestling. And if the referee notices that a wrestler is touching the ropes or has their limbs underneath the ropes in any capacity, an unbiased referee will call for a rope break, forcing the wrestler who is currently applying the pin or the hold to break said pin or hold.

You can only win inside the ring, but you can certainly lose outside the ring via count-out or disqualification. Lastly, just to be totally clear, you can lose via disqualification inside or outside the ring. Major infractions like the use of a weapon or a low blow, etc, typically result in a referee calling for an immediate disqualification whereas softer infractions like refusing to comply with breaking a hold or a pin after a rope break or gouging an opponent's eyes will typically result in a referee initiating a 5 count in which they'll call for a disqualification at the count of 5 or attempt to physically separate the wrestlers and force the break.

Different referees, matches, and the stories therein are all unique, and how a referee chooses to enforce rules and punish foul play, or whether or not the referee cares to enforce anything at all, or whether or not the fans or wrestlers care or even react to rule-breaking or rule enforcement are all your decisions to make as a roleplayer and your decisions to make with your rp partner. Most people don't get into each and every last detail and you don't need to. But knowing when and where you have the option to is always good.


  • How does this extend to tag wrestling?
It's important to realize that all the rules of singles competition extend to tag team wrestling. All the means of victory and defeat are the same. The biggest difference is that in a standard tag team match only the active/legal wrestler, the one that is currently tagged in, can win or lose the match for the team. And when he or she does win or lose, the whole team wins or loses with them, regardless of the number of people on each team.

Now, of course, there are variations and different rules sets. For example, there are elimination tag matches that require each wrestler to leave the ring after being pinned, submitted, disqualified, etc after each fall until all members of a team have been "eliminated". There are tornado style tag matches allow for both members of a team to compete at the same time without having to tag in or out. There are other commonly used rules and match types but for the purposes of this post being a primer, I'm just going to focus on standard tag matches.

We already covered how winning and losing work. The wrestler that's tagged in and actively wrestling is the legal wrestler. The rest of the team remains on the apron in their team's corner as the non-legal wrestlers. Wrestlers can be tagged in and out when the legal wrestler meets their teammate in their team's corner and tags their teammate from inside the ring while their partner is on the apron. The tag only counts if the referee sees it. There's a very short rope draping off the top turnbuckle that non-legal wrestlers should be holding (alternatively, the person being tagged in can also just have a hand on the top turnbuckle) in order for the tag to count. This detail often gets looked over, though, even in IRL pro wrestling.

It's quite commonplace for teams to engage in double team moves or team moves in general after making a tag. Everything from one person holding an opposing wrestler steady for their partner to hit, to double suplexes, to more intricate things like double team submissions, and so forth. This leads me to my next point.

  • How do team moves work? How long is my team allowed to work together inside the ring after making a tag?
The answer here is pretty open-ended. It's commonplace in tag wrestling for wrestling to be allowed to work together in the ring for a short few moments with your tag partner after making a tag, usually for a few seconds. Teams/wrestlers can't to tag team moves forever after making a tag, of course. After a short while, typically after one move or two moves executed in quick succession, the referee is supposed to herd the wrestler who tagged out to their team's corner. Teams/wrestlers that don't comply with this tend to force a five-count towards a disqualification. This count happens for slight infractions of the rules, as we discussed in singles matches. It's frowned upon, but teams tend to get away with excessive teamwork, especially once they have an opponent in their corner or on their side of the ring. In IRL pro wrestling, this varies quite wildly. Sometimes a referee is assertive and opts to physically force a non-legal wrestler back to their corner. Very rarely do you see any teams actually disqualified for abusing the time they can spend in the ring together, though. So the short answer is: one or two moves done together after making a tag is totally fine before you can reasonably expect the referee to get involved. And excessive unsanctioned teamwork without making tags in between each move is technically breaking tag match rules and can lead to disqualification, but it often doesn't.

Other very common rule-breaking you'll see in tag team matches includes but is not limited to 1) a teammate running into the ring to interrupt a pin on the legal person on their team, usually diving in to strike the opponent pinning their partner just before the 3 counts, 2) the same thing outlined in #1, but interrupting an oppressive submission hold (usually a finisher) to free their partner, 3) a partner distracting the referee by arguing with them or breaking a rule so that the referee doesn't see the other team successfully tagging in/out, thus making the tag not count.

There are many other takes/variations of the concepts I've explained. Generally, heels are more okay with breaking these rules. But there are exceptions. Interrupting pins, for example, has been happening across so many teams in pro wrestling for so long that this act really isn't seen as a rule-breaking heel move, for example. It's just seen as a way to save one's partner and the match. Tagging back and forth in rapid succession to spam double team moves is entirely within the rules, but is sometimes seen as a heel tean thing to do depending on the match and the opponent, especially if the opponents are underdogs.

To get a truly comprehensive deep dive into tag wrestling, you'd have to watch pro wrestling. But hopefully, this primer is helpful to some of our newer members, or to some of our longtime members that don't actively watch pro wrestling.

Thanks for reading :)
:arrow_down_small:Links to stuff I wish more people would read:arrow_down_small:
General Wrestling Knowledge Primer <-- What's makes a face, a face? What does it mean to sell? And more

PPV Explanation / Explanation on Supercards <-- What does PPV stand for and why do we do them? What's the difference between a PPV Event and a Supercard
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