To understand what kind of energy and electricity The Dudley Boyz's arrival brings to the WWE tag team picture, one simply had to listen to the crowd as the former tag champs stormed back into the ring on Monday's Raw.
The Brooklyn fans roared for Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley, shot their hands up in the air and bounced up and down in excitement. A tag team hasn't elicited that kind of response in a long while.
The Dudley Boyz showed up just in time to catapult a division in need of fresh faces.
A promising group of teams fell apart early in the year. Injuries splintered the tag scene. Jey Uso hurt his shoulder, Erick Rowan suffered a biceps tear, and a scary spinal injury forced Tyson Kidd to the sidelines.
That left WWE with too few cards in the deck. The same combinations of rivals battled again and again.
A look back at the tag team offerings on Raw over the past two months shows a cycle of the same four squads:
- July 6: The New Day vs. The Lucha Dragons
- July 13: The New Day vs. The Prime Time Players
- July 20: Los Matadores vs. The Prime Time Players
- July 27: The Lucha Dragons vs. Los Matadores
- Aug. 3: The New Day and The Ascension vs. Los Matadores and The Lucha Dragons
- Aug. 10: The New Day vs. Los Matadores
- Aug. 17: The New Day and Los Matadores vs. The Lucha Dragons and The Prime Time Players
- Aug. 24: The New Day vs. The Lucha Dragons
The Ascension has been a non-factor. Damien Sandow and Curtis Axel have disappeared. And so the result is repetition.
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After The New Day regained its titles at SummerSlam, the company's options then seemed to be to continue the heel faction's battle with The Prime Time Players or else take on one of the masked teams it has battled several times over.
Some combination of Big E, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods has battled The Lucha Dragons 15 times already this year. Los Matadores have clashed with the clap-happy trio 11 times.
Suddenly, with Bubba Ray and D-Von now prowling the division, the options for the current champs and everyone else are multiplied. As Cageside Seats reminded us, the showdowns in front of them are of the new variety:
The brash, overconfident New Day now has a pair of bruisers to contend with. That will serve as its biggest test to date, a chance for the three men to prove themselves as titleholders.
That alone is the type of feud that can be the centerpiece of the division for the next few pay-per-views.
WWE can also present The Dudley Boyz as ass-kickers who take challenges from either babyfaces or heels.
The Prime Time Players can find themselves upset that The Dudley Boyz skipped them in line for a title shot. There's a compelling blend of brawling and showmanship to be had with that matchup.
The Lucha Dragons would make for interesting foes for The Dudley Boyz as well. Sin Cara and Kalisto haven't had a real rivalry since arriving on the main roster. They haven't had an intense series of battles yet. Bubba Ray and D-Von can provide both those things.
Everyone would benefit from tangling with a surefire Hall of Fame team.
Bubba Ray knows that. When The Dudley Boyz spoke with Sports Illustrated's Justin Barrasso last month about a potential return, he said, "Take the Dudley Boyz and put them back in WWE, and you’d add instant credibility to the tag division."
He's spot-on there.
The emerging stars of the singles division have had the advantage of working with big names from the past. Neville took on Chris Jericho. Seth Rollins is set to face Sting. Batista came in last year to scrap with Dolph Ziggler, Alberto Del Rio and Daniel Bryan.
Now it's the tag teams' turn.
And even before The Dudley Boyz have their first match, fans are buzzing. The duo's comeback is nearly as big news as Sting's challenging Rollins.
Even pro wrestling writers such as Scott Fishman can't contain themselves:
The tag team division has produced some good action over the last few months. The New Day has been terrific as masters of annoying the crowd. There has just been something missing.
Bubba Ray and D-Von address that. They add a grit to the tag scene that has been lacking. They give the current champs a legitimate threat. They promise thrill rides and broken tables.
The Dudley Boyz are a high-voltage option for WWE to plug in and shake up the division one 3D at a time.
Match information courtesy of ProFightDB.com.