It’s been a while huh? I needed a rest after writing 2 monstrous columns over the holiday season. Thanks to everyone who gave me constructive feedback, and in particular to those who bothered to give me more feedback than “the article was too long”. Always great to hear that when you’ve busted your ass to write an in-depth column. Some people…
In case you’ve forgotten, I’m in the midst of my self-imposed hiatus from the WWE. Just because I’m not watching doesn’t mean that I don’t know what’s going on.
I listen to podcasts, like Wade Keller’s PWTorch Livecast on a Tuesday and Inside the Ropes, which is hosted by my mates Robert and Kenny. I also keep tabs on what catches the eye of John Canton in his Raw Deal column. And of late, the Usos seem to be getting a lot of praise, which doesn’t surprise me at all.
Jimmy and Jey are 2 terrifically gifted tag-team wrestlers who are only now getting the spotlight that they deserve. We all know about their heritage and their family’s legacy, so I’m not gonna bore you with that. Instead, I’m going to talk about the almost resurgence that they’ve had in the last 12 months.
Let’s not forget that WWE’s tag-team division was pretty much dead until around 18 months ago when Daniel Bryan and Kane teamed together, giving us some of the most entertaining TV in years.
Talented teams like Primo & Epico, the Prime-Time Players – and the Usos themselves – had all been treated like jobbers for so long that it was hard to take them seriously in high-profile matches. Instead of using their actual tag-teams, like the ones I’ve just mentioned, WWE seemed intent (and still do sometimes) on throwing a couple of singles wrestlers together – who have nothing better to do – and giving them a title match on Raw/SmackDown/PPV.
I’ve often felt it was the wrong way for WWE to go. With the advent of Raw going to 3 hours, I felt that they needed to have well-rounded teams and wrestlers in all of their divisions. There’s more than enough time to feature every championship, and the teams/wrestlers who could be considered contenders for said championships.
I can’t quite place my finger on exactly when it happened, but after having decent matches whenever they were given the opportunity, the Usos really kicked into another gear in late spring/early summer with their series of tag-team and 6-man matches against The Shield. They had incredible chemistry with the Rollins/Reigns/Ambrose trio and after coming from nowhere, the Usos were more over than they had been before.
It’s about damn time as far as I’m concerned. They stand out because they’re not failed footballers or athletes. They’re guys who have a knowledge and understanding of the business, which shows in the way they perform.
As good as the Usos are, there’s still room for improvement. Showcasing them in matches is great, but it only goes so far. It’s only part of the solution. We still need to hear from them more. Give them more promo time to allow the fans to relate to their individual, and collective, characters.
Right now, I understand that the Goldust/Cody team is a short-term thing, which will probably be used to build towards some kind of singles match between them, so I have no issue with them being the tag champs just now. I also kind of get why the New Age Outlaws are in the mix too. As I understand it, they’re under the wing of The Authority, so it makes sense that they’d be involved somehow.
I’d actually be fine with the Outlaws beating the Rhodes’ for the belts – IF it leads to the Usos getting the rub at WrestleMania 30.
Make no mistake about it, with the launch of the WWE Network just a few short weeks away, we’re going to be able to go back and watch the halcyon days of tag-team wrestling. We’ll be able to see teams like The British Bulldogs, The Hart Foundation, Legion of Doom, the aforementioned Outlaws, Edge & Christian, The Hardys and The Dudleys. All exceptional tag-teams from their respective eras. Hopefully, Vince will see those matches and get misty-eyed as he reminisces about how good the WWE’s tag-team division once was.
I just mentioned the Outlaws there. I actually think they’ve got a huge part to play in the future of the WWE’s tag-team division.
Whether they win the belts from the Rhodes’ or not, whether they drop the belts to the Usos at WrestleMania 30 or not, there’s one thing the Outlaws know – how to make good tag-team wrestling. Use their experience backstage to develop the division. Get their input on the teams on the main roster, and down in NXT. Let them have a degree of control and see if they can get the division back to something like it once was.
If I were making the decisions, then the Usos would be who I’d build the tag-team division around. No mucking about. No splitting them up for the hell of it because, let’s be honest, it’s rare that a tag-team split works out. It usually doesn’t do anything for either guy, and it takes a team completely out of the equation.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with 2 guys who are just happy to be tag-team wrestlers. That’s what’s missing from today’s scene. Too many guys believe they’re destined to be World Champion when in reality, the chances of anyone making it are remote. They’d need to be an elite performer to even have a shot at it.
It’d make a huge difference to see 2 guys who actually WANT to win the Tag-Team Championships, WIN the Tag-Team Championships.
Nobody reading this can say that the Usos don’t stand-out as a top-class tag-team. Their entrance is unique, the crowd get behind them and their quick, energetic style – as well as their obvious chemistry – makes them perfect candidates to be the WWE Tag-Team Champions.
After coming close to winning the belts on a number of occasions, I reckon 2014 will be the year when the Usos become the Tag-Team Champions, and the focus of the division. Now that’s…what’s “best for business”.