Brock Lesnar, CM Punk and 5 Challengers for the WWE Tag Team Championship
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The Shield's run in WWE thus far has been nothing short of impressive, both in terms of how the unique triad has been booked and how the wrestlers themselves have performed.
Interestingly, it's only since Rollins and Reigns (or R&R, as they will be known when Creative decides to slap them with a lethargy gimmick) won the Tag Team championship that they (and their maniacal stablemate Dean "Wetter Hair Than Bret Hart" Ambrose) have actually started losing on a semi-regular basis.
Slipping up in the occasional non-title match on Raw or SmackDown is hardly a death sentence. In fact, it's probably a blessing in disguise as unpredictability is key to most above-average wrestling matches.
I'm of the minority who believe the Usos are slightly overrated. But ridiculous Samoan-cheerleader entrance aside, I am pleased to see a long-time tag team stepping up to challenge for the straps.
That said, it strikes me as odd that while strong upper mid-card and main-event talent like Sheamus, Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan, Kane, Chris Jericho, Ryback and even John Cena struggled against The Shield for months in six-man tag action, the unsightly-shorted and largely unproven Usos have found the task rather easy.
Clearly, the current tag-title feud is building towards a decisive victory for Rollins and Reigns come the Money in the Bank (Pre-Show!), and I hope it serves as the feud blow-off... at least for now.
Jimmy and Jey could eventually fit into the tag-title picture, but right now they don't have the credentials or fan support to hang with The Shield.
Rollins and Reigns still have considerable momentum from their exciting victories over big-time stars, and I say feed them more of the same.
The Shield is the freshest concept to hit WWE programming in years, and the tag champs need to crush more household names to stay in the limelight and far away from the Pre-Show.
Here are five teams fans will pay to see challenge Rollins and Reigns.
The Brothers of Destruction, Undertaker and Kane
Photo courtesy of IGN.com
The casket captain and burn unit bad boy are widely rumored to vie for the tag straps at SummerSlam. A title match against The Phenom and Kane at the second-biggest pay-per-view of the year could take the champs' stock to the next level.
WrestlingInc.com reports suggest that the contest is not yet a lock. Whether or not the match occurs likely depends on the aging Big Evil Eyeliner's current physical health. The match might also be scratched if WWE inexplicably signs Shannon Moore and puts him with Seth Rollins in a tag team dubbed Bleach Blond Botchamania.
But seriously, if it's between the Brothers of Destruction vs. The Shield at SummerSlam and Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 30, nine out of 10 intelligent life forms will opt for the former.
The only streak Undertaker has at SummerSlam is skipping the event for the last four years, which frees him up to actually put over emerging talent. It'd be refreshing to see Undertaker in a viciously hyped pay-per-view match where him winning isn't a foregone conclusion.
WWE sees big money in Brock Lesnar, but they know he's not a company man. For that reason, Undertaker vs. Lesnar is even more predictable than what we're used to from the Dead Man at WrestleMania.
Another perk to the proposed SummerSlam match is that Rollins and Reigns are young, athletic and hungry enough to make up for any physical limitations Undertaker may have. If they can put on exciting matches against dead weight like Ryback, they can surely sell some chokeslams from Old Man Texas and the Big Wigged Machine.
Knowing WWE, the tag champs would retain by pinning Kane. There's also a slight chance the Brothers of Destruction could pick up the surprise win and hold the titles for a cup of coffee before losing them back to The Shield.
But I would favor a bolder, more forward-thinking finish with Rollins or Reigns (or both!) pinning the Undertaker. What a bragging right that would be for a star on the rise! And it's a tag team match, so the loss wouldn't dilute Undertaker's recent invincibility as much as it would in a one-on-one scenario.
Jeri-Show, Chris Jericho and Big Show
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Jeri-Show wasn't my favorite tag team.
Big Show's purple singlet looked like a skimpy wetsuit.
The only thing that could make the name "Jeri-Show" worse is if WWE stuck the word "Team" in front of it, as has become the custom over the last year or two.
And no, Jericho and Big Show didn't have the greatest tag team synergy of all time. They weren't about to challenge the Rockers to a double superkick contest.
But so what?
As individuals, they are two of WWE's most enduring and distinguished names.
Both men are north of 40 and already spend most of their time losing to (and therefore legitimizing) younger wrestlers. OK, yes, that applies much more to Jericho than Big Show, but it's time Andre's former kayfabe baby (kayfaby?) caught up with Winnipeg's favorite (and only!) faux-hawked host of the Robot Combat League.
I imagine the Jeri-Show reunion tour would last only a month or two. This happens to be an ideal length of time for a program with The Shield designed to cement Rollins and Reigns as killers.
The veterans would be your babyfaces. Granted, watching Big Show try to be likeable is absolutely horrifying, but Jericho's over enough to get the big bald sweat monster (aka the Big Glow) a few pity cheers.
When you think about it, this feud could offer many treats:
Roman Reigns could go over huge if his spear ultimately trumps that of Big Show. Rollins and Jericho would surely put on technical wrestling clinics. And hell, future main-eventer Dean Ambrose could get some dirty wins over a couple former world champions.
There's no way that The Shield comes out of this feud looking less than awesome.
Dolph Ziggler and Big E Langston
Photo courtesy of WWE.com
I know, I know.
Dolph Ziggler deserves to be sporting the World Heavyweight championship, not relegated to the tag team ranks.
I feel ya, friends.
But a Ziggler and Langston vs. Shield program could do four wonderful things:
1. Give Rollins and Reigns a win over a team rich in wrestling ability and fan support. It means more to beat Dolph Ziggler than a guy like Jimmy Uso or Darren Young.
2. Give the WWE Universe some thrilling new matches. A Ziggler vs. Rollins match in itself has four-and-a-half stars written all over it, and Reigns would have Ziggler bumping more than Robert Downey Jr. on the set of "Ally McBeal."
3. Give Langston a noteworthy platform for turning on Ziggler. Why throw away the biggest milestone of Langston's young career on a random episode of Raw when it could happen in a title match on a major pay-per-view? Also, it will continue to confuse children and casual viewers if new babyface Ziggler doesn't soon cut ties with his sadistic girlfriend and jacked-up baddie bodyguard.
4. Give the Shield a new member. The New World Order showed us that rapidly expanding a wrestling stable's roster is not necessarily in the group's best interest. However, selective expansion could prove integral to The Shield enjoying long-term success. Plus, I don't think anyone would object to Langston trading in the Kofi Kingston-colored singlet he stole from Tazz for The Shield's skinny-man adaptation of Big Boss Man's Attitude-Era ring attire.
Rey Mysterio and Rob Van Dam
Photo courtesy of Bleacher Report.
This one may be a little out there, but RVD and Mysterio do have a friendly history.
Van Dam is one of approximately 7,000 wrestlers with whom Mysterio has won WWE tag gold.
The two daredevils had decent chemistry together in 2005, employing lots of flashy tandem offense in their matches with legendary tag teams like the Basham Brothers and Rene Dupree and Kenzo Suzuki.
"High-flying" would be a generous descriptor for the duo nowadays. "Low-to-medium-flying" would be more appropriate.
RVD was a complacent shell of his former self during his TNA run, and years of steroid abuse and carrying needless muscle mass on his teeny frame have left Mysterio with knees that are best described as two macaroni noodles made of loosely-packed bone dust.
Rob Van Dam reportedly has a limited schedule comparable to that of Chris Jericho's, which means he'll probably spend most of his time jobbing to top stars like Cena, Ryback, Del Rio and Sheamus.
I suggest it would be much more productive to use Van Dam to elevate less established performers with a huge upside. You know, guys like Rollins and Reigns.
Mysterio will be lucky if he can get out of bed tomorrow, let alone make it back into a WWE ring anytime soon. If he does, the beat-up little dude best grab a tag partner and spend as much time hanging out on the apron as possible.
If RVD or Mysterio have any fuel left in them for a spectacular match, I'm confident Rollins and Reigns are capable of extracting it.
Oh, and the icing: The Shield could speak to the injustice of RVD and Mysterio being past their prime and still hogging precious air time. The best promos ring true.
The Rock and John Cena!
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We all saw Rock and Cena vs. Miz and R-Truth.
Nobody over the age of 7 wants to see Rock and Cena join forces again.
Should it ever come to it, I know just what their team name should be:
Team Boots to Jorts.
Or maybe, um... Team The People's Pebbles?
Or, like, Team STF-Every-Film-Either-of-Us-Have-Ever-Made.
OK, I'm done.
Let's get to the final team that should challenge Rollins and Reigns for the WWE Tag Team Championship!
CM Punk and Brock Lesnar
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Right now, Punk and Lesnar would go into this showdown as reluctant partners, and mega heel Lesnar would likely cost his team the straps by F-5ing the daylights out of Punk.
It might be interesting to have these ego-maniacal Paul Heyman Guys win the belts and successfully defend them for a while despite wanting to destroy each other, but Lesnar's extremely limited work schedule pretty much rules that option out.
I also like to imagine how cool this match could be a few months down the road. What if at some point The Shield begins attacking Punk? What if Punk is so desperate to get rid of Rollins and Reigns that he strikes a deal with the former UFC Heavyweight champion?
What's in it for Lesnar? Depending on what the rest of 2013 holds for the Straightedge Superstar, maybe a shot at Punk's Money in the Bank briefcase, or (God willing) his WWE Championship.
With or without Lesnar, Punk vs. the Shield is a possibility that should be thoroughly explored. I am salivating at the thought of a Punk-captained team vs. The Shield in a five-on-five traditional Survivor Series match in November. Heyman clients Lesnar and Axel could easily get in on that gift to wrestling history.
But that's an article for another day.
Which team would do you want to see challenge Rollins and Reigns for the WWE Tag Team championship?