Beyond The Shield and The Usos, there isn’t much to the WWE’s tag team division these days.
It’s a great collection of talent, but that talent isn’t being utilized like it should be. Naturally, that makes some fans wonder which tag team performers might be able to “make it” in the singles scene.
After all, if the WWE isn’t going to make a true commitment to its tag team division, it should take its talented tag team performers and see what they can do as solo stars.
Not every tag team star has a bright future ahead as a singles performer, but given the right booking, more than just a few certainly could.
Let’s take a look at five tag team stars who, should the creative team get behind them, could (let’s stress that could part) thrive as solo performers.
In 2009, Vince McMahon himself labeled Drew McIntyre “a future world champion,” and McIntyre became known as “The Chosen One.”
But that was four years ago, and McIntyre has fallen a very long way since then. Still, there are reasons to be hopeful.
McIntyre is still just 28 years old, and he’s got a great look, prototypical size, experience (he’s been wrestling since 2003) and, most importantly, talent.
Though he’s currently in an undesirable position as a member of 3MB, a comedic heel group that hardly gets on TV anymore, McIntyre wasn’t once one of the WWE’s most touted prospects for no reason.
The guy has skills but is simply stuck in a serious rut that’s lasted for three years now. Of course, his time with 3MB is only making matters worse, having turned him from a quality midcard heel to a laughable one at the bottom of the card.
But should 3MB split soon, McIntyre has far more potential to make a serious splash than either Heath Slater or Jinder Mahal does. And at only 28, he has time to right the ship again for the long haul.
McIntyre had some success early on in his WWE career before backstage issues kept him from progressing. Should the creative team ever get him back on track, he could give the midcard yet another incredibly talented performer.
Even though Antonio Cesaro held the United States Championship for more than 200 days from August 2012 to early 2013, it wasn’t the successful singles run it could have been.
Instead of the lengthy title reign coinciding with a substantial push, it was marred by bad booking and lots of losses for Cesaro.
Fortunately for Cesaro, however, he also proved to be one of the WWE’s best in-ring performers during that time. Despite the losses, Cesaro consistently put on very entertaining matches that were often the highlights of Raw and SmackDown and featured jaw-dropping displays of strength.
Had creative been on his side, there’s no doubt he’d be a bona fide star right now—a main event-caliber star, if not a full-fledged world title contender or champion.
It’s never been an issue of talent with Cesaro. He has plenty of it. It’s more of an issue with creative. It has plenty of problems too.
Although Cesaro is now stuck in a rather lackluster tag team with Jack Swagger, he’s still a guy with all the in-ring talent in the world, and he needs to find his niche before he can make it to the top.
If Cesaro can do that (Zeb Colter may not be able to elevate him), he’s a main eventer just waiting to happen…as long as the WWE doesn’t screw him over again.
The Shield still has a lot left to give the WWE as a group, but if and when the trio splits, Seth Rollins has the potential to be a major star in the company.
Though not quite the total package that Dean Ambrose is or the physical specimen that Roman Reigns is, Seth Rollins has proved time and time again that—although he needs to work on his promo skills a bit—he’s an absolutely fantastic in-ring performer.
The Jeff Hardy-like daredevil antics Rollins has displayed on a consistent basis make him truly stand out whenever he’s in the ring. From his sick table bump at WWE TLC 2012 to his unforgettable match against Daniel Bryan on Raw, Rollins has made a habit out of standing out in whatever match he’s in.
He’s proven to be an incredible tag team wrestler in all of The Shield’s matches so far, but his match against Bryan is only a small snippet of what he will be able to do as a singles star.
Rollins could very well emerge as a huge babyface whenever The Shield ends because of his great abilities as a bumper and seller. But regardless of whether he goes face, he has star written all over him.
If he can avoid the “Kofi Kingston curse”—being so reliable and consistent as an in-ring performer but never really getting the chance to shine at the top of the card—he may be a top-level talent one day.
One of the best young in-ring performers in the company, Rollins just needs an opportunity to become a singles star down the road, and if he gets it, expect him to capitalize on it.
Other than a very random Divas Championship match against Eve Torres at WWE TLC 2012, Naomi hasn’t gotten many chances to show what she can do in the ring.
Instead, she’s been stuck in a lame role as a “Funkadactyl,” where, for the most part, she only competes in tag team or mixed tag team matches with her fellow Funkadactyl, Noami.
The few times we have seen Naomi get the opportunity to perform as a singles star, however, she’s blown most of us away.
Although she still needs some fine tuning—like most Divas do—she is, far and away, the most athletic Diva on the roster. In fact, she can do some things—like hurricanranas—many of the male Superstars can’t even pull off.
With the Divas division at an all-time low in terms of talent, it’s incomprehensible why Naomi hasn’t had a bigger role over the last couple of years.
She doesn’t have the all-around skill set Natalya does and isn’t nearly as over as AJ is, but that’s largely because she’s never been given the chance to take on a major role in the Divas division.
Naomi more than deserves it too.
After all, the Divas division could use all the help it can get right now, and Naomi could give AJ a fresh, talented challenger in order to keep the Divas division relevant.
In terms of overall ability, Roman Reigns is the weakest member of The Shield.
He’s the worst talker of the group, and because he’s still very raw as a wrestler, he’s the least polished in-ring performer of the trio as well.
But Reigns might have the best chance of succeeding out of all of the members of The Shield because he is almost a carbon copy of what the WWE looks for in a main event Superstar.
The size? Check. The physique? Check. The strength and power? Check. The look? Check.
While Reigns is Ryback-like in terms of his limited skill set right now, he’s also Ryback-like in that the WWE will probably push him as a singles star before he’s anywhere near ready.
Reigns has only been wrestling for a few years now, and he’s shown a lot of promise so far. But he’s not even close to being ready to branch out on his own just yet.
That being said, Reigns is bigger and stronger than his fellow Shield comrades, and, perhaps more importantly, he has that “look” you know WWE officials are drooling over.
Ambrose is The Shield’s most polished overall performer, and Rollins is its best in-ring performer. But Reigns is the performer with the tools that make him most likely to succeed as a singles star in the WWE.
Whenever The Shield collapses, Reigns could be the next up-and-coming monster the WWE decides to push as a main eventer.
If he continues to consistently improve, he definitely will be.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!