The Prime Time Players are the fastest-rising stars in the WWE’s tag team division.
Yeah, I get that given the state of tag team wrestling, that’s not saying all that much. But the team of Darren Young and Titus O’Neil has made quite a splash since being promoted from NXT to SmackDown just a few short months ago.
One could even argue that the Prime Time Players have gotten more of a push and been involved in more storylines than the WWE Tag Team Champions, R-Truth and Kofi Kingston, have been recently.
Heck, Young and O’Neil even look poised to be the next tag team champs, with a solid chance that they’ll take the straps from Kingston and Truth at SummerSlam.
But even if that happens, the Prime Time Players are still destined to fail.
Why? Because Abraham Washington is no longer with them.
After initially siding with Primo and Epico earlier this year, A.W. turned on those two to side with Young and O’Neil, which made more sense in the first place.
But after his controversial comment on Raw in which he made light of the 2003 rape allegations against NBA star Kobe Bryant, A.W. found himself getting released late last week in a controversial departure that has a lot of people talking.
He, of course, then followed that up with a long rant in which he blasted the WWE for its hypocrisy (a diatribe that actually had some very valid points), but likely didn’t do him any favors with WWE management.
Now, A.W. in the WWE is no more. He has indeed been “future endeavored.”
Obviously, this hurts A.W., as he’s no longer a part of the top wrestling promotion in the world. But his release is just as detrimental to both the short-term and long-term futures of Young and O’Neil.
While both Young and O’Neil have drastically improved since their debuting days on NXT, neither of them was the main selling point of the Prime Time Players.
Prior to joining up with A.W., there was—to be honest—nothing all that special about the duo.
But when A.W. aligned himself with the Prime Time Players, he made them matter more than they ever could have without him.
He brought some much-needed personality to the group, helped both Young and O’Neil get in touch with theirs and was the centerpiece of their gimmick.
I have no idea why A.W. called his clients “money-makin’ scholars” or what the importance of the “millions of dollars” catchphrase is, but he’s the one who made them work.
This isn’t to take anything away from Young or O’Neil, who are both talented enough to be on the main roster of the world’s No. 1 wrestling promotion.
But the average wrestling fan can see that the real star of the group was the one guy who didn’t even step in the ring. It was A.W.
Take him away, and it’s like a car without an engine. It can’t run without all its parts.
Now, don’t get me wrong—this doesn’t mean that Young and O’Neil will instantly become jobbers or that they won’t win the WWE Tag Team Championship in the near future.
But their future outlook just became much, much bleaker.
A.W. was the glue that held the group together. Even though he had yet to wrestle (he is indeed a trained wrestler, by the way), he was far and away the star of the group.
He had the most personality, a clear-cut gimmick as the obnoxious agent of sorts and was beginning to truly stand out as someone who, along with Vickie Guerrero, could help make managers matter again.
Does A.W.'s release doom the Prime Time Players?
Now, that’s all out the window.
The Prime Time Players are back on their own, and they’ve lost the one thing that differentiated them from your standard tag team.
While both Young and O’Neil have made huge strides in just about every category over the last year or so, there is nothing about either guy that makes him stick out in comparison to the other 50-plus WWE stars on the roster.
Young’s the better two of the two, and O’Neil is very limited in what he can do in the ring and has, in large part, been carried by Young throughout the duration of their partnership.
When A.W. was there, we could kind of overlook that because he was the focus of the trio—the clear-cut standout star of the group.
But he’s gone, and the Prime Time Players will have a much slimmer chance of succeeding because of it.