Well my friends, the whispers had been getting louder and louder over the past few years, the rumbles had been building, and it had gotten to a point where even the most anti-conspiracy theory fan was beginning to question the situation. However, after last night’s RAW, the debate is over, the game has been called due to mercy under an overwhelming pile of evidence, there can be no more uncertainty. It’s official:
Vince McMahon has absolutely no use for tag team wrestling in 2017.
Tag teams split up; it’s basically a known eventuality in WWE. The Rockers, Edge & Christian, The Hardy Boyz, The Dudley Boyz, and many others have turned on each other. Heck, WWE even tried to turn The Road Warriors against each other at one point. My point of contention is not that they’ve decided to split up another tag team after Kurt Angle’s announcement last night on RAW, it’s simply that rather than prior eras, where a team would be utilized to their brink, or at least relatively close to their full term, and then split for a purpose, WWE now seems to be actively seeking reasons to rip perfectly good tag teams apart. Don’t believe me? Then explain to me how, right after your RAW tag champions finally vanquish the Hardy Boyz, and are now in search of new competition, the best idea for RAW was to then split up their next most popular team on the brand in Enzo & Cass? The fact is, the issues that have plagued the women’s division for years has completely infected the tag division as well; WWE is content to run only one tag storyline at a time, always revolving around the titles, and therefore only truly need two credible tag teams at one time. If you aren’t one of those two, get ready for WWE Main Event – just ask Gallows & Anderson, who were taped for a match on Main Event just last night.
The year of betrayals began innocently enough; everyone understood that Kevin Owens was eventually going to tire of his “best friend” Chris Jericho, and despite all of the effort put into trying to get the audience to support them, even on a smaller scale, nobody was shedding tears over the dissolution of The Golden Truth. However, the band-aid was violently ripped away over the past few weeks, as RAW, criminally low on popular tag teams, shattered the brotherhood between Enzo & Cass in a confusing and convoluted storyline that failed to capture much of the audience’s interest. And after last night, we learned that destroying their own teams wasn’t enough; they’ve also robbed SmackDown of an early draft pick, American Alpha, for the sake of presenting Jason Jordan as Kurt Angle’s illegitimate son. Apparently it would have been too easy to simply have Angle end up in a manager’s role or other advisory role for the two amazing grapplers, so instead we needed to implode a team which was never given the true opportunity to build a reputation on the main roster.
Ultimately, both American Alpha and Enzo & Cass were cursed by the same fact; while WWE officials are quick to explain that NXT callups need to completely rebuild their following when arriving on the main roster, it’s clear officials expected the WWE Universe to buck that trend, and be completely knowledgable of EVERYTHING these two teams had done in NXT. The reason both teams had such a connection with the NXT fan base was because in the case of both teams, the fans had seen them grow and overcome numerous obstacles on the path to becoming the top teams in the company. Unfortunately, rather than kicking in the reboot they always preach in terms of fan connection and reputation when both teams arrived on the main roster, WWE apparently just assumed the RAW and SmackDown fans would reward each team for their NXT struggles in relation to their attempted quick main roster pushes. What resulted was a level of apathy towards both teams, and while Enzo’s verbal jabs and Alpha’s in-ring superiority tried their best to combat that lack of care, in WWE, if the fans don’t believe you’ve truly earned your place, it’s nearly impossible to succeed.
So, get ready for a lot of Usos vs. New Day for the coming months, and don’t be surprised if WWE mistakes those cheers of appreciation for The Revival for cheers of adulation, and all of a sudden The Revival are robbed of their edge to fill the bland babyface team role across from Sheamus & Cesaro. Because the fact is, if you’re not in the title picture, unless you immerse yourself in hokey comedy (looking at you, Breezango), you’re not getting on TV as a tag team. Maybe next month Daniel Bryan can reveal while on vacation in Puerto Rico that he’s connected with his long-lost second cousins and bring out The Colons.