12/11/2017 0 Comments
What the hell happened to Raw's tag team division?
I could have sworn there was a time I was hopeful for its future considering how stacked it was with star power. SmackDown Live's tag team scene desperately needed help at one point, but between The Usos, The New Day, Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin, Rusev Day, The Bludgeon Brothers, Breezango and even Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, I'd say they're doing just fine. And that's with a smaller roster, so Raw virtually has no excuse.
Raw's tag team division isn't in a state of emergency by any means when you consider how awesome the matches pitting The Shield against The Bar have been since the summer. But that's exactly the issue: these two teams have been feuding since the summer. I've enjoyed every one of their encounters, including their most recent matchup on Dec. 4, but it's high time the flagship show injected some new blood into its tag team ranks.
Imagine what Raw's tag team division would look like if Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins didn't reunite and set their sights on the titles? We wouldn't be left with many options, and even with them around, we still aren't. This Shield and The Bar can have only so many matches, not to mention Ambrose and Rollins likely won't be around as a unit for the long-haul (fans have already begun to speculate who will be the one to turn this time around in The Shield). Regardless of who escapes that program as the Raw Tag Team Champions, there needs to be tandems for both tag teams to face once it's over.
Before the fall, we had The Hardy Boyz and The Revival waiting in the wings for title shots. In fact, they were set to square off at SummerSlam, but Scott Dawson getting hut put those plans on hold. They previously sat on the sidelines for over two months due to Dash Wilder breaking his jaw in the spring, so they have spent probably a month in total in action on Raw, which is a shame. Their main roster run has been a disappointment so far as a result, but I have faith they will rise in the ranks once they return and solidify themselves as a top team on Raw.
As for The Hardy Boyz, I think their latest stint as a tag team was exactly what it should have been. I hate to say that Jeff getting sidelined with an injury was for the best, but he and Matt weren't going anywhere fast without that Revival feud. They didn't overstay their welcome and didn't become the next Dudley Boyz (i.e. enhancement talent). Matt has since been repackaged as "Woken" Matt Hardy and is busy with Bray Wyatt, and I'd be all for those two teaming at some point. Besides, Jeff might not be back until WrestleMania time, and he could very well be sent to SmackDown Live on his own once he's cleared to compete.
Believe it or not, there are more tag teams on Raw, including Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows. The fact fans often forget they are members of the Raw roster says it all. They haven't been booked properly their entire run in WWE, but hope remains for them if WWE ever decides to put them with Finn Balor as "The Balor Club" or reunite them with AJ Styles. Needless to say, they can get it done in the ring, but they will need some serious rehabbing first. Shipping them to SmackDown with Raw getting another team in return (Gable and Benjamin? Rusev Day? Bludgeon Brothers?) would be ideal.
Finally, we arrive at Heath Slater and Rhyno. Yes, they were the inaugural SmackDown Tag Team Champions and were at one point a popular act on SmackDown. That little run ended a year this month and they have largely been relegated to wrestling matches on Main Event ever since. I honestly don't think they will ever be viewed as a legitimate threat to a tag team title again, so having them serve as the equivalent to SmackDown's Breezango (just without the vignettes) is fine. But who else can help fill out the division?
In addition to possibly partnering Matt Hardy up with Wyatt, Cedric Alexander and Rich Swann would be an excellent addition to the tag team scene. They have been allies on 205 Live for a few months now and are a blast to watch when in the ring together. Unfortunately, Swann was suspended over the weekend, so that won't be happening any time soon. Then again, you have The Brian Kendrick and Gentleman Jack Gallagher, who are beyond directionless on 205 Live at the moment. Henceforth, breaking that barrier between the heavyweights and the Cruiserweights and allowing them to mix it up with the aforementioned tandems could work out well.
You also have The Miztourage's Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel. They are without a ringmaster at the moment due to Miz taking time off to film The Marine 6, but at least putting them in the tag team division would give them something meaningful to do other than treading water. The same can be said for Apollo Crews and Titus O'Neil. They will need to be built back up, of course, but having them do battle with The Good Brothers and The Bar is better than having them getting squashed by Samoa Joe week in and week out.
Worst case scenario, Raw can always look to NXT for more tag teams. Enter The Authors of Pain. They have virtually done it all in NXT, including headlining two TakeOver specials and holding the NXT Tag Team Championship for a substantial period of time. I originally had them pegged for the blue brand, but it's painfully apparent Raw needs them more now. I've seen fans float the idea online of having them be the backup for Joe, and I love the potential that pairing has. They've made great strides in NXT and I have no doubt they'll be successful on the bigger stage as well.
So, there you have it: a full and honest analysis of Raw's tag team division. It has all the makings of a solid scene and the pieces to the puzzle are there, but it's up to WWE to put them together.
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