WWE Tag Team Division: 5 Replacement Partners for Justin Gabriel
Photo Courtesy of www.wwe24seven.com
So by now, everyone is likely aware of the injury to Tyson Kidd, and it's a real shame too. Considering how injury-prone and temporary SinSterio was, and the on-and-off pairing of them with International Airstrike, one would think WWE was positioning International Airstrike as the next big face tag team for the division.
Though, that won't happen for about a year at least, so until then, Justin Gabriel is at a crossroads.
Justin Gabriel can continue as a singles star, and more than likely be used to put over other superstars with the occasional victory on Slam or Superstars. Generally, this would offer a small chance of advancement for Gabriel, but honestly, since 2010 Gabriel hasn't been looked at favorably as a singles star.
Personally, I think Gabriel has more than enough skill to at least be a perennial U.S. title candidate in the future. For now, though, I don't think WWE has it in the cards for him.
Another route open to Gabriel would be for him to strike up a partnership with another superstar, in hopes of establishing some chemistry and getting over. Thankfully for the Cape Town Werewolf, WWE has a variety of undercard superstars to team with.
However, I think Gabriel has to realize that while Kidd was a talented worker, one would have to question if WWE would really get behind the generally charisma-less twosome of Kidd and Gabriel.
In the mean time, while Kidd recovers, perhaps a new team should look to include that one missing element that kept both superstars from having singles success.
David Otunga: Flight Risk
Now, before you immediately unload on the poor guy, allow me to explain why I think Gabriel and David Otunga would be a team worthy of consideration.
As we all know, both Otunga and Gabriel were members of NXT1 and the final rankings for that season have Otunga as the runner-up, with Gabriel finishing at third.
I have to believe that the only reason Otunga finished at No. 2, instead of Gabriel has to do with the fact that for how bad he was in the ring, he at least had mic skills going for him. Something Gabriel lacks, and if there's one thing a tag team is good for, it's covering up weaknesses.
Gabriel wrestles enough for the two of them, and Otunga can speak for the team.
And who's to say that, in the meantime, Otunga doesn't improve in the ring? Gabriel is pretty good in the ring, so I'm sure he could teach Otunga a thing or two. Plus, Otunga has an impressive look and charisma to back it up. Not only that, but the two embody the classic power/speed combination.
It may be a stretch, but I'd like to consider Flight Risk a risk worth taking.
Percy Watson: Cape Town Showtime
Honestly, I often question if Percy Watson is still with the company. (Seriously, that's no joke, I never hear anything about the guy.)
Still, from what I hear, he's used as a jobber in NXT, which is a shame, because he was actually my favorite of the NXT2 rookies. I thought he was actually the strongest on the mic and oozed charisma.
While I know he dropped the "Showtime" gimmick, during his time on Redemption teaming with Titus, I feel it's actually hurt him to be a more serious character than it has helped. Looking at him without the glasses and without the mannerisms, he's very bland in my opinion.
Having Showtime back, and teaming him with Justin Gabriel would be, at the very least, a fun team to see.
Percy is a very versatile and athletic performer, and when using his gimmick, he is a fun guy to listen to. Teaming with Gabriel would make them a fun team to watch as well. I think it would be beneficial to both men, as it would allow Percy a chance to work on the main roster, as well as stop Gabriel from slipping into obscurity.
Santino Marella: Snake and Wolf
If Santino can make all this happen, imagine what he could get Gabriel to do.
Santino Marella recently returned to action at The Royal Rumble, and if not for the writing of this article, I would assume WWE would probably have him reunite with Ryder to reform Team Co-Bro again.
However, I think it would be better for both Ryder and Santino not to go that route. Ryder may have something going for himself since the release of "Hoeski" (or at the very least could end up teaming with Curt Hawkins again).
As for The Milan Miracle, I've noticed interaction with Santino can make even the most hardened of superstars break out of their shell (Kane, for example.) With that in mind, for a guy like Gabriel to team up with Santino, I think would offer lasting effects once the team ends.
Add to that, Santino usually does good work when he has a straight man to play off of, and with some work, I think Snake and Wolf (a play off the anime name Spice and Wolf, for those wondering) could be an entertaining tag team, in the same vein as Kozlov and Santino.
Double the wrestling ability, plus Santinos' infectious humor on the mic, with a dash of in-ring antics from Santino (and maybe even Gabriel at some point), and that sounds like a winning combination to me.
Either One of the Usos: International Airstrike II
I know a lot of people would rather not break up one of the better tag teams in the division for the sake of a patchwork team, but hear me out on this one.
One big thing about WWE Superstars is that people want them to stand out. However, I think that's a bit more difficult than usual when you've got someone who looks exactly like you, with you, all the time.
This leads me to think the best chance for success for either of The Usos (since WWE seems to be against pushing them for some reason,) is to split the team up and have one turn heel. The other can be a face, and perhaps team up with Gabriel.
I think it does help that Gabriel is already a tag team specialist (former three-time tag team champion,), and I think splitting up the twins will do them some good. It would, at least, offer something new for them and allow them to develop more as personas in the eyes of the fans.
Hearing The Usos speak a couple of times, I would gather to say they're passable, but they have a large amount of charisma, which I think will help. Given time, the mic skills can come, but only if given a chance.
Sheamus: Team Twilight
Honestly, that name needs work, but if you can separate the term Twilight from that overrated series—and know what the word actually means—given the complexions of both superstars, it fits.
As for the statistics, I actually think this is a team where Gabriel can help Sheamus out as well as Sheamus helping Gabriel.
A lot of people complain that Sheamus has a tendency to get repetitive in both his style of promo, as well as his speech. (You can only say "Fella" so many times.) This is where Gabriel comes in—to break up the monotony some people sense when listening to Sheamus.
An added benefit, of course, is that Gabriel gets a rub from teaming with a big star like Sheamus, while this could also lead to Sheamus not simply going through matches aimlessly or getting overbooked as some people have pointed out.
More than likely, this would be a temporary team in the same vein as Hell No, but I don't think there's anything wrong with the occasional shot in the arm on occasion. Besides, I think the difference in appearance would make for some fun banter for both The Cape Town Werewolf and Great White, as well as their opponents.
There are a few other Superstars that WWE could team with Gabriel, but looking through the current roster, I have to think these are the best choices—at the very least, until Tyson Kidd makes a speedy and complete recovery.
The one wonder I've had regarding them as a team, though, is the thought behind WWE pushing them.
Let's be honest, we all know Gabriel and Kidd are exciting to watch in the ring, but as we all know, that's not all it takes to be a champion. Even as a tag team, and we look to be entering a point in time where WWE actually cares about tag team wrestling now, which is why I don't think we'll see transitional reigns like the one the largely uncharismatic Epico and Primo had.
Hopefully, I'm wrong and WWE shows it would be willing to push Kidd and Gabriel to the titles, but I have to think that with the glaring mic skill and charisma deficiency, that may not happen. Maybe one of these teams would be a better solution.