Daniel Bryan, Rowan Beat Heavy Machinery; Retain Tag Titles at Stomping Grounds

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJune 24, 2019

Photo credit: WWE.com.

Daniel Bryan and Rowan beat Heavy Machinery at WWE Stomping Grounds on Sunday to retain the SmackDown Tag Team Championships.

Tucker seemingly had Bryan in position for a moonsault, having missed one earlier in the match. Rather than targeting The Planet's Champion, though, he instead leaped toward Rowan outside of the ring.

That proved to be a mistake as Bryan had enough time to regain his senses and steal a quick pinfall while Tucker re-entered the ring.


An INCREDIBLE effort by #HeavyMachinery, but the #PlanetsChampions @ERICKROWAN & @WWEDanielBryan are still YOUR #SDLive #TagTeamChampions! #WWEStompingGrounds #AndStill https://t.co/OtbdQGy9EY

After beating The Usos for the vacant SmackDown tag team titles last month, Sunday's pay-per-view marked the first official title defense for Bryan and Rowan.

While the green-conscious duo did face The Usos in a rematch on the Money in the Bank pre-show, the titles were not on the line, and true contenders did not emerge until recently.

Otis and Tucker made it clear they wanted a shot at the championships, but Bryan and Rowan were dismissive at first. It wasn't until Heavy Machinery called out the champs in the middle of the ring on SmackDown Live that they were viewed as credible threats.

In the weeks leading up to Stomping Grounds, Heavy Machinery picked up a win over a local enhancement team and then took down former Raw tag team champions The B-Team to prove they were deserving challengers.

Ever since their emergence in NXT, Otis and Ticker have been viewed as a comedy act more so than a legitimate tag team. Even with the developmental brand, they were never really players in the tag team title scene.

In the wake of a Jeff Hardy injury forcing The Hardy Boyz to vacate the SmackDown Tag Team Championships, though, WWE desperately needed a team to step up on the blue brand, and Heavy Machinery was given that opportunity.

It can be argued that feuding with Heavy Machinery in the tag division is a step down for Bryan, who had an entertaining WWE Championship reign before dropping it to Kofi Kingston at WrestleMania 35. However, he has made the most of the situation.

Bryan's ability to seamlessly transition between comedy and being a serious character has made him the perfect foil for Otis and Tucker.

Bryan and Rowan retaining means the creative team may look for a new team to emerge as a challenger in the coming weeks, but since the rivalry is still fresh, Heavy Machinery may still be in line for a rematch at Extreme Rules on July 14.


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