Bloodline Is a Top 5 All-Time WWE Faction, More WrestleMania Backlash Hot Takes

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistMay 9, 2022

Bloodline Is a Top 5 All-Time WWE Faction, More WrestleMania Backlash Hot Takes

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    Credit: WWE

    Another premium live event, another display of dominance by The Bloodline.

    Roman Reigns and The Usos' victory over Drew McIntyre and Raw tag team champions RK-Bro Sunday night on Peacock not only further established their spot as the most insurmountable force in WWE, but it also begged the question: Where do they stand in the history of all-time great trios, factions and stables?

    A close look at the history of such groups in WWE suggests they have already entered the top five, standing alongside the most significant and unstoppable in wrestling's long and illustrious history.

    That topic, as well as Seth Rollins' status as the best wrestler in WWE and Cody Rhodes' early booking, highlight hot takes from another lackluster show on paper in which the biggest company in sports entertainment overdelivered. 

WWE Overdelivered with Best Premium Live Event of 2022 (So Far)

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    There was no real expectation that WWE would present much more than a glorified house show with its WrestleMania Backlash premium live event Sunday night.

    While the lineup may have reflected that sentiment, all the way down to the six-man tag team main event, someone forgot to tell the talent, who busted their asses to deliver the best pay-per-view of its 2022 calendar (so far).

    Cody Rhodes and Seth Rollins kicked the night off with a Match of the Year candidate and never looked back. Whether it was Bobby Lashley working a miracle to get the best match of Omos' career out of the big man or Ronda Rousey rediscovering the magic of her first run in a brutal I Quit match, the show produced four WrestleMania rematches that all eclipsed the quality of their predecessors.

    Capped by a fantastic six-man tag that saw The Bloodline (more on them in a bit) defeat RK-Bro and Drew McIntyre to continue their impressive run, WrestleMania Backlash was a show that cut out spectacle and showmanship in favor of good, old-fashioned professional wrestling. The result was the most succinct, consistently good premium live event the company has produced all year.

    Yes, fans demand and deserve more than what they can see on television for free every week, but a show that sets aside the bells and whistles, backstage segments and comedy skits in favor of wrestling will always be a welcome change of pace.

    Especially in comparison to WrestleMania, where grandiose entrances, celebrity appearances, enormous pyro displays and spectacle overshadow the actual in-ring product more times than not.

    Stronger booking supporting the matches themselves would be greatly appreciated, but at this point, a great show with quality wrestling that never feels bogged down or boring is a great start from a company that sometimes overthinks and underdelivers. 

Seth Rollins Is WWE's Best Wrestler

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    Seth Rollins is the best wrestler in WWE. 

    One look at the last year of his in-ring output proves as much, and Sunday's show opener with Cody Rhodes only solidified that sentiment.

    The Visionary may be as notable right now for his entrance, which typically has fans singing along to his theme music, and his eccentric outfits, but once the bell rings, no one on WWE's roster has consistently delivered to the extent that he has. 

    Not only is he a phenomenal athlete and a superb storyteller, but he knows how to mesh those aspects of his performance with an in-ring style reflective of what fans want to see today. He is creative, physical and has a knack for the dramatic—all aspects of a great worker in today's wrestling landscape.

    All of those elements were on display Sunday night against Rhodes.

    Rollins worked a style that complemented what his opponent does well while never sacrificing his own skill set. They put together a dramatic match that had fans thinking The Visionary may actually pull off the upset. He did not but, even in defeat, still shined. 

    And that is why Rollins is so great.

    He does not have to win every match to leave an impact on fans. The audience respects him because they know that when the former WWE and universal champion sets foot inside a squared circle, they are going to see one of the very best matches of the night.

    Showings against Edge, Roman Reigns, Kevin Owens and Rhodes prove his adaptability to different styles, too.

    On a roster full of great workers, Rollins stands head and shoulders above the rest, and it is time he gets his flowers. He's a fantastic wrestler whom we are currently seeing his best version yet.

Early Cody Rhodes Booking a Significant Improvement over AEW Run

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    The push and creative direction of Cody Rhodes early in his second WWE stint has already eclipsed that of his entire All Elite Wrestling run.

    Despite his role as executive vice president of a company he helped create, Rhodes was oftentimes left to rely on his raw emotion and connection (or lack thereof) with the audience to get over what proved to be some truly lackluster storylines. 

    On top of that, as he discussed in the recently dropped Steve Austin: Broken Skull Sessions episode, he became somewhat of a one-dimensional gatekeeper character. He was the guy that newcomers and young stars had to beat in order to advance up the card. Some of that came at his own hand, as he readily admitted during the interview with The Texas Rattlesnake, but it still resulted in substandard creative and an audience burned out by the repetition and staleness.

    It is no surprise that he admitted on that same episode that that role and his desire to do a little more for himself were contributing factors in his decision to leave the company he helped found.

    In WWE, The American Nightmare is treated like the main event star he was from day one in AEW. With Vince McMahon overseeing his push, Rhodes has been treated like the megastar he is. The colors, the pyro, the feud with Rollins and the simple reasoning for his return have all resonated with fans and have them believing that the second-generation competitor is one of the biggest stars in the entire industry—which he is.

    A string of victories that have yet to see him devalued via 50-50 booking have only helped announce to the world that Rhodes is a premier player in the company.

    Given a single motivation of winning the WWE Championship that eluded his father and brother and being allowed to be his authentic self in high-profile matches and a main event-caliber feud, Rhodes has benefited from better booking than he received in AEW as a whole and appears poised to finally realize his fullest potential on a national stage. 

    There is plenty of potential for that to go sideways given WWE's history, but for now, he looks and feels the part of an industry giant—something that was lost fairly quickly in AEW, even with the grandiose entrance and quality matches against the likes of Brodie Lee, Darby Allin and Sammy Guevara.

The Bloodline Has Already Established Itself as Top 5 WWE Faction of All Time

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    There was no denying The Bloodline's dominance over the last two years entering Sunday's main event, regardless of how the main event of WrestleMania Backlash played out. Undisputed WWE universal champion Roman Reigns and SmackDown tag team champions The Usos have become the centerpieces of the company's A-show and the top stars in a promotion with some of the best wrestlers in the world.

    Reigns has headlined premium live events and WrestleManias, while The Usos have collected championship victories of their own and stood loyally by the side of The Head of the Table. So expertly booked and believable are they as a premier trio that WWE officials felt perfectly comfortable booking a six-man tag team match at the top of a pay-per-view offering.

    That does not happen if The Bloodline is not as over, dominant and strong a unit as it is.

    Their victory Sunday night came in a great match and was a quality win over two former world champions in Randy Orton and Drew McIntyre, not to mention a current tag champ in Riddle, but it merely supported something that had become clear earlier: The Bloodline is a top-five all-time faction in WWE.

    The Tribal Chief and The Usos have cemented their status alongside D-Generation X, Evolution, The Hart Foundation and The Shield as the best groups to ever set the tone and establish dominance in the company.

    The trio's foundation came early in Reigns' run as universal champion, during a feud with "Main Event" Jey Uso. The introduction of Jimmy and the leadership of the manipulative, conniving Paul Heyman enhanced the presentation—and together, the competitors experienced success in the tag team and singles divisions, knocking off any that dared threaten the Anoa'i legacy. 

    They have headlined SmackDowns, main-evented pay-per-views and incited thunderous ovations in arenas across the globe while doing so as heels. 

    If there is one argument against them, it is that their dominance has come at a time when WWE is clearly lacking main event talent beyond The Head of the Table. That is a valid argument, for sure, but it is not at all difficult to imagine a scenario where Reigns and The Usos hang with Shawn Michaels and Triple H, go blow-for-blow with Steve Austin and The Rock, or put their family's legacy on the line against the Harts.

    There is no act in WWE that has been as dominant as The Bloodline has for as long, without fans growing tired or bored with them. That is a testament to the work put in by all involved and recognition of the greatness of Reigns, The Usos and Heyman in their roles. 

    They have already established themselves in that conversation and are really only getting started. Two years of beatdowns and ass-whooping and The Bloodline still has room to grow and evolve. There will be some that scoff at the idea of them being top-five, but what happens when they come for the crown and surpass those aforementioned factions along the way?

    There will be no choice but to...acknowledge them.