WWE: Is The Tag Team Division Finally Saved?
By Scott Whitley - @scottdwhitley
Upon the return of the one the greatest tag teams in WWE history the current landscape of the flagging division changed.
After Bubba Ray made a brief appearance at this year’s Royal Rumble it was clear that the return of The Dudley Boyz would be embraced with opens arms by the WWE Universe. The powers that be made the call. It had become apparent that something was missing from a once rich tag team division.
There were no Hardy Boyz, no Edge and Christian, no Dudleys. A team did not exist that could steal the limelight from the main event like the above mentioned duo’s did on numerous occasions during wrestling’s most successful period, the attitude era. There wasn’t a team that captured the imagination. Growing up my memories of the Road Warriors, Demolition and the Hart Foundation are just as fond and rich as they are for the likes of the Macho Man, Rowdy Roddy Piper or Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat. An attempt had been made to add some character to the tag team division when the Ascension ascended from NXT to the “show”.
Having witnessed Konnor and Viktor tear up the tag division in NXT I was looking forward to seeing them join the ranks of the main roster, only to cringe when I witnessed the awful promos that aired in order to introduce them. It was a poor move by the WWE. All that had to happen was for the Ascension to come in and dismantle the division until they got to the Usos and a title shot.
Instead, they faced aging and retired teams for cheap cheers, although Bradshaw’s clothesline from Hell is always a welcome sight. At this point, the top teams were the Usos and Tyson Kidd and Cesaro, great in ring performers but both lacking in personality.
Over time, Kidd and Cesaro developed an identity and a move set that was better than anything in the current tag division, only for Kidd to pick up a nasty injury and halt the progress that had been made. Cesaro has benefitted from his run with Kidd ultimately forcing the writing team to book him in some decent singles feuds. For me he should be in the main event picture.
Enter the New Day. As soon as these three performers walked down the ramp trying to get people clapping and being positive it was apparent that this shtick was never going to wash with what is now a very cynical crowd. But credit where credit is due, they have stuck with it and have become along with Seth Rollins and the Wyatt Family, the premier heels in the company.
What the New Day have, is what I am going call “the Fabulous Freebirds effect”. They are having so much fun being heels that the fans are having fun to. In Kofi Kingston, they have a legitimately great wrestler and showman. In Big E, a sleeping giant, a powerhouse who should be competing for the highest honours and should be going toe to toe with like of Brock Lesnar.
In Xavier Woods there is a cocky, loudmouth, trumpet playing talented in ring performer. Due to what I imagine is the unexpected success of the New Day and the injuries to Jey Uso and Tyson Kidd, WWE had to act, because no other team in the division came close to what the New Day were doing.
Even without the injuries, the Usos and Kidd and Cesaro would have fared well in the ring but as far as the crowd and promos go they wouldn’t touch them. Then on August 24th the New Day celebrated in the ring after defeating Lucha Dragons, who are, to be fair, a good team. Then the bombs hit and the crowd went wild, the most successful tag team in the history of WWE had returned. Without missing a beat they dismantled the new boys on the block and gave Xavier Woods, wood! It’s no coincidence that the Dudley Boyz have returned to battle the New Day.
We have just witnessed what has to be the most unsatisfying spell of Tag Team wrestling for as long as I have been a fan. But bringing back the Dudley Boyz is a serious sign of intent from the WWE. Not only do they immediately have the crowd but they also bring a wealth of much needed experience.
During Stone Cold’s recent interview with Edge and Christian, he noted that particular tricks like cutting of the ring had all but disappeared. The younger teams will benefit massively from working with Bubba Ray and D-Von and we may even start to see tag matches that could be main events. I am already giddy with excitement to see them do battle with the New Day at Hell in a Cell.
My only concern is that the PG era will hinder the brand of madness that the Dudleys bring to the table, or put through tables in this case. However, with the right booking and the emergence of more tag team talent guided by the veterans we may see a once great division revitalised by a team that helped make it great in the first place. Hell, maybe the Hardy Boyz aren’t far behind.
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