7 Pairings That Would Strengthen WWE's Tag Team Division
In the newest issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter available to F4WOnline.com subscribers (h/t WrestlingInc.com), Dave Meltzer reported that Paul "Triple H" Levesque has "sent the directive" to renew WWE's focus on the tag team division.
The plan is purportedly to put a bunch of teams together made up of both currently unoccupied main roster talent as well as some of the best wrestlers in the developmental system.
With this in mind, I decided to take a look at some of the wrestlers who could fit in. A lot of them have had even had success in past teams. So let's take a look at who WWE can put together that would be assets to a beefed up tag team division.
Tyson Kidd and Justin Gabriel
While they've teamed up before, with Kidd having recently returned from knee surgery, they haven't reunited as of yet. The Wrestling Observer report about Triple H's plans to revive the division goes as far as to single out these guys as a potential piece of the puzzle.
Both haven't really had any kind of traction for a few years, since their previous teams (The Hart Dynasty for Kidd and The Nexus for Gabriel) split up. They were an excellent prelim team who complimented each other well. Both are small-ish for WWE with athletic styles, but Gabriel is more of a flyer and Kidd is more of a technical wrestler.
Give them some matching gear, maybe a team name, and a nice push, and they would work really well as part of the tag team mix. Stylistically, they match up very well with a lot of the current teams in WWE: They could have matches heavier on flying with The Usos, get thrown around by the Prime Time Players, and get the best of both worlds with The Shield.
While I wouldn't go too far in that direction to avoid male fans revolting, they also have potential marketed to female fans as heart-throb types.
Air Boom (Evan Bourne and Kofi Kingston)
The former tag team champions reuniting would solve a lot of problem, but I'm not sure anyone even knows where Evan Bourne is right now: He suffered a major foot injury in March of 2012, returned a year later with a match on a NXT house show, and disappeared again with no buzz about him being re-injured or anything like that.
Still, in theory I guess he's cleared to wrestle and not being used. Since Kofi Kingston is treading water right now and WWE is trying to revive the tag team division, why not reunite Air Boom? They had great chemistry as a high flying team, they were over...why not?
Kofi Kingston and R-Truth
If Evan Bourne is forever banished to the sidelines with a paycheck for some reason, then WWE could always reunite Kofi with one of his other partners. While they weren't quite as good or as over as Air Boom, they were a solid team and right now, with neither having much direction, the whole would be greater than the sum of its parts.
I'm not entirely gung-ho about them reuniting, though, because I'm not a fan of Pro Wrestling's Law of Conservation of black dudes. Think about how many feuds between and teams of black wrestlers have come about when they weren't doing anything else and were put together for seemingly now other reason. You'll be amazed.
Some Form of Los Locales
For a while now (and probably now with increasing frequency now that he's been written off TV), Ricardo Rodriguez has had an alter-ego in WWE (especially on NXT) as El Local. Having been trained in the Lucha Libre style in California, he's a lot more talented than a lot of fans would expect and was one of the few WWE wrestlers to have good chemistry with Sin Cara.
Last week on SmackDown, the team of Los Locales appeared on SmackDown in a losing effort against Los Matadores. The second Local was obviously Tyson Kidd in his normal gear and one of Ricardo's spare masks. With Kidd reforming his team with Justin Gabriel being the best route for him and his not being a Lucha Libre stylist, he's not the best fit, but I like the idea of Los Locales as a team.
The perfect partner for Ricardo would be Hunico. Like Evan Bourne, he's ostensibly healthy, but hasn't been wrestling. Like Ricardo, he's a very talented wrestler who can do both American and Lucha Libre style well, but hasn't really gotten a fair shot in WWE. They soured on him after he had one bad match as Fake Sin Cara and Sin Cara vs. Sin Cara didn't get over as well as anticipated due to booking more than anything.
They wouldn't necessarily be at the top of the division, but they would be a nice lower to mid level team without the type of comedy gimmick that's holding back 3MB, Tons of Funk, and Los Matadores.
Primo and Epico
- The comedy gimmick is going to limit them.
- Primo and Epico are, mysteriously, still listed on WWE.com's roster page.
Yes, I know the Colon cousins are Los Matadores, but:
They're really good in the ring but as long as they're Los Matadores, they're a comedy team with no upward mobility who are outshined by their mascot.
Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder
They're former champions and best friends who fans feel bad for because they're at the bottom of the totem pole with nothing to do. I doubt they'd get a push, but I'm sure they'd be better off near the bottom of the tag division than they would be at the very bottom of all of WWE.
Oh, and they were a pretty decent team. Not great, but a solid former championship team that would add to the division.
The Ascension (Conor O'Brien and Rick Victor)
Yes, I know that's not the current version of The Ascension in the video. I couldn't find anything embeddable with Victor as part of the team.
WWE has been trying out the gothic "Ascension" gimmick in developmental for over two years. Rick Victor has been in the system since several months earlier in winter 2011.
As for Conor O'Brian, except for a two year break when he requested time off to care for an ill family member, he's been in WWE's developmental system since 2005. If they're not ready soon, when WWE needs more teams, when will they ever be ready?
Maybe Victor needs a little more time to adjust to the gimmick since he joined the team in the summer, but otherwise this a good time to debut them. It's even better for them that Kane is off TV right now and The Undertaker is at least a few months away from returning for WrestleMania season, so the similarly spooky gimmick doesn't have to be in their shadow.