Last night, after 148 days, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns of The Shield's WWE Tag Team Championship reign was ended by Cody Rhodes and Goldust. Raw's main event was excellent, with the crowd going completely nuts for the last several minutes.
When The Shield won the titles from Team Hell No (Daniel Bryan and Kane) at Extreme Rules in May, it felt like the start of a shift towards returning the tag team division near the top of the card. While Team Hell No consisted of two wrestlers who could easily be slotted into main events, they did a lot of comedy that positioned them closer to the middle of the card.
The Shield was still riding their undefeated streak, mostly working with main eventers, etc. Throw in the fact that Dean Ambrose won the United States Championship on the same card, and it seemed like WWE elevated two of the midcard titles in one fell swoop.
It didn't quite turn out that way: While The Shield were more protected than a lot of the other recent tag and U.S. champions, they faced the same challengers, which didn't boost the titles much. They weren't constantly losing non-title matches, but other than applying that little bit of sanity, they moved down the card.
For the tag titles at least, that's changed in the last couple weeks. The Rhodes family's feud with "The Authority" of Triple H, Stephanie McMahon and a reluctant Big Show begat their feud with The Shield. The non-title match at Battleground with Ambrose and Dusty Rhodes at ringside was an excellent match and moment, easily the highlight of an iffy pay-per-view event. Being part of that pushed The Shield and their tag titles back up the card.
That takes us back to last night. The rematch from Battleground headlined Raw, this time as a No Disqualification match for the tag titles. With entrances and commercial breaks, it took up the entire last half-hour of the show, with the match itself going almost 20 minutes.
While the crowd in St. Louis started fairly quiet, the two teams built tremendous heat to the point that the fans were going crazy for the second half of the match. When Big Show came through the crowd, leading up to a knockout punch that caused the title change, the whole sequences got maybe the loudest sustained pop of the year. The show ended with everyone celebrating, and it felt like a huge deal, exactly as important as a babyface title win should be.
So, what's next? F4WOnline.com is reporting (h/t WrestlingInc.com) that at Hell in a Cell in less than two weeks, the tag title match will be Goldust and Cody defending against The Shield and The Usos in a Triple Threat match. While The Usos are kind of shoehorned in, I like this a lot.
With how fans are reacting to the Rhodes vs. Shield feud, WWE needs to keep it going, but it's also a good opportunity to try to get other teams over more. While The Usos almost always get good reactions from most crowds nowadays, they're viewed as an entertaining prelim-level team, not any kind of major threat.
Going toe-to-toe with the two "big name" teams in the division right now would go a long way in getting The Usos to be taken more seriously, even if they come up short. The three-way rivalry for the belts could keep going past Hell in a Cell, and while The Usos shouldn't win the titles for a while, if WWE keeps them competitive with the two teams that are seen as big stars, the prestige should rub off on them to some degree.
This is also a good opportunity to retool the other teams in the division. It was a bit disconcerting during the Tag Team Turmoil match last month at Night of Champions to see that almost all of the regular teams in the division right now are comedy acts. While the Rhodes Brothers, Shield and Usos aren't, 3MB, Tons of Funk, Los Matadores and the team of Santino Marella and The Great Khali are. The Real Americans and Prime Time Players also have comedic trappings. The viable acts need makeovers, and some other new teams to be put together.
What does everyone else think? Do you think the timing is right to try to get the other teams over, or does WWE just have lightning in a bottle with this feud that won't rub off on anyone else? How do you think the Prime Time Players and Real Americans could do with slightly more serious gimmicks? Who do you think could be put into viable new teams? Let us know in the comments.