The tag team feud between The Usos and The Wyatts already has a template.
Throughout 2014, fans have been treated to a lengthy feud between John Cena and Bray Wyatt. The rivalry had its ups and downs, but it achieved WWE and Cena’s admitted goal of ushering in the next generation.
Basic as it may sound, Wyatt and Cena worked well together as rivals because they were perfect foils for one another.
On one hand was the square-jawed, cookie-cutter babyface in John Cena. He’s an All-American, real-life Superman who proudly trots out to the ring after a patriotic pre-match salute.
Cena’s bright neon colors are designed to pique the interests and imagination of a family-friendly demographic that is just as vocal (“let’s go Cena!”) and more common than the loud Internet crowd.
It’s the reason John Cena has been the biggest star in the WWE for over 10 years.
That aforementioned loud Internet crowd backs Bray Wyatt. His dark and complex persona appeals to the eclectic tastes of the more seasoned fan. Just as Heath Ledger was critically acclaimed for his role as the Joker, Bray Wyatt sinks deep into character to play the bad guy.
It’s almost as if, following each show, Wyatt throws his gear in a 1985 Dodge Caravan and retires to a compound in the swamps.
Wyatt is WWE’s modern-day thespian who garners support from the highbrow fan of the wrestling opera.
John Cena is a Saturday morning cartoon come to life. For optimal viewing, watch Cena on a couch with a bowl of Fruity Pebbles.
Cena and Wyatt’s feud spanned three pay-per-views. And although Money in the Bank will represent the first time since Elimination Chamber where the two have not had a singles match, the Cena-Wyatt struggle continues.
Cena and Wyatt’s last match at Payback—a glorious hardcore free-for-all—begat The Usos and Wyatts feud.
On one side were the two Usos: Bright neon colors. Facepaint. A pre-match salute designed to get the fans involved (“When I say ‘Uce!’).
The Usos represent the ideal tag team for the John Cena generation. Like Cena, they’re a throwback to the easy-to-digest superhero.
The smiling, yet aggressive, Samoan high-flyers are over for the same reasons John Cena is over. Their entire act is designed to stimulate the senses of a young, non-cynical mind.
Still, The Usos retain an approval rating that is almost universal. They’re relatively new, so there’s no hipster backlash from wrestling snobs. We don’t hear “Uce…No!” from the jaded pockets of live arenas.
Not yet, at least.
Feuds with the old guard (like The New Age Outlaws, who are real-life friends of Triple H and were seen by some as old wrestlers stealing spotlight from young wrestlers) and bland tag teams like Rybaxel have given fans little reason to go full meta on The Usos.
For much of their championship run, there have been no heel tag teams that could make The Usos look cheesy by comparison.
Then along came The Wyatts.
Luke Harper and Erick Rowan (more Harper than Rowan) take the artfulness of The Wyatts a step further.
Harper cut his teeth in Internet Wrestling Community hotbeds like Japan and Ring of Honor. He works a style more similar to Daniel Bryan than Bruiser Brody. The guy can even do a suicide dive.
Because his immense size makes this ironic, he has become almost as beloved by “smart” fans, who boo babyfaces and cheer heels, as Bray Wyatt himself.
Harper and Rowan, like Bray Wyatt, have a gimmick that is so complex and well thought-out it makes the Uso’s pseudo hip-hop act look like Kris Kross.
With a pair of cool heels to get behind, an Usos feud is finally polarizing.
Sunday’s Money in the Bank pay-per-view emanates from Boston, Massachusetts. Boston is a snarky bunch that refuses to surrender its hardcore credentials long enough to cheer for hometown hero John Cena.
SummerSlam in 2006 was held at that venue. During a match between Cena and Edge, James Caldwell of the Pro Wrestling Torch recounted that “a ‘Cena sucks’ chant started early,” and then “another ‘Cena sucks’ chant could be heard.”
Anti-Cena sentiments have only become more mainstream since.
A 50-50 reaction for the Usos at Money in the Bank, and similar reactions in the future, will render the Usos carbon copies of Cena. For Jimmy and Jey, this can only mean one thing.