WWE’s tag team divisions are in quite the state of contrast. On Raw, the division is headlined by The Hardys and Cesaro & Sheamus, and the two teams main-evented the show this past Monday in a 2-out-of-3 falls match, which ended in a draw. The Hardys are a legacy act that can still very much go in the ring, while Cesaro and Sheamus feel like a throwback to a hard-hitting, aggressive and old-school European style.
Tuesday’s SmackDown Live opened with a promo between the blue brand’s tag team division, setting up an eventual eight-man tag match. With so many colors and eccentric personalities in the ring, the Usos — the current SmackDown Tag Team Champions — stood out as by far the most cutting-edge and cool.
The promo began with New Day coming to the ring in bright green tights, wearing Madia Gras beads around their necks and being played to the ring by a marching band (the show was taped in New Orleans). All three members of the group have light-up unicorn horns strapped to their foreheads and Xavier Woods is carrying a huge, green trombone.
Next came the Usos. Dressed in all black attire with their hair slicked, their promo has a lot more toughness to it. Their t-shirts are cool, and they carry themselves with a swagger. Even the way they carry the tag team belts is cool.
After the Usos came Breezango, dressed in their Fashion Police gimmick, and the Colons came out last, looking very generic.
So you have New Day, going for laughs. Breezango, going for laughs, and then the Colons, who look like they would be the default setting in “create a wrestler” mode in the WWE 2k17 video game.
The Usos stood out in the presentation. They’re cool, their new heel personas are cutting edge, and they’re hitting the pop culture vein spot on.
Breezango & The New Day beat The Usos & The Colons
The Usos played the chicken role early in the match, not wanting to get in the ring with anyone from New Day. Some of Breezango’s double-team moves looked really slow and weak. The match went through a commercial break and the Usos were back in charge following the break, beating up Tyler Breeze. The finish came with Xavier Woods catching Primo with the pin.
The announcers billed it as New Day “rolling” into Money in the Bank, and the tag title match this Sunday. Fairly predictable result, with the babyfaces getting the win to plant the seed that they could win on Sunday, while the 8-man match protected the Usos, not forcing them to get pinned.
Naomi beat Tamina Snuka
Lana came to the ring to watch the match; she’ll challenge Naomi on Sunday at the pay per view. Tamina controlled the early portions of the match but Naomi won after a moonsault. Then, after the match, Lana attacked Naomi and posed with the SmackDown Women’s Title.
They’re building towards to the first women’s Money in the Bank match, which should take top billing even over the title match, but this pairing seems like a throwaway match without much steam behind it. It might have been better to keep Naomi off the show altogether. Have her do commentary during the Money in the Bank match, and leave Lana outside of the title picture. She has been pushed to that top position as challenger on the card way too quickly.
Jinder Mahal & Randy Orton had a face-to-face
Early in his push, I thought Jinder Mahal was going to work as a top heel for WWE. But, there’s just nothing about this push that seems to be working. His promos have not gotten better, and neither have his matches. His delivery is too robotic, which doesn’t pair well with the already robotic Orton. The feud has no heat behind it whatsoever, and fans are losing interest. Hopefully, Money in the Bank is the end of the feud. In fact, hopefully, whoever wins the briefcase on Sunday cashes it in and wins the title after the title match, because right now, neither of these guys should be in the title picture. It’s dragging down the show.
Charlotte beat Natalya
Very exciting match, with the crowd coming alive for the near falls after the Natalya powerbomb and the Charlotte moonsault off the top. Charlotte ended up getting the win after the Natural Selection.
I didn’t like how they just moved on right after the match, though. WWE does this, and so does Impact. It makes the matches feel like they have little consequence. Instead of talking about the result that just happened, and analyzing how it might have an effect on Sunday’s ladder match, they glossed right over it and moved on before Natalya even left the ring. It would be nice to give the results more meaning, by discussing what they could mean to the specific division.
Sami Zayn, Shinsuke Nakamura & AJ Styles beat Baron Corbin, Kevin Owens & Dolph Ziggler
Another good match to close the show. The use of two multi-man tag matches on this show is acceptable, considering the MITB match on Sunday, although if they were going to do this main event, it would have been nice to see them figure out a way for a 1-on-1 match, or even a traditional tag-team match, to open the show instead of the 8-man.
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Hopefully one of these guys walks out of Money in the Bank with the WWE Title, and hopefully that guy is Nakamura. Right now, he needs a jolt. They tried to build him slowly throughout April, which was smart, but they need to start getting behind him and pushing him more quickly.