Rebuilding the tag team division seems to once again be on WWE's to-do list. And once I started putting this article together I realized how many teams they've introduced to us in the last few weeks.
However, the key to a successful division isn't just putting together two random singles wrestlers and having them beat the tag team champions to earn a title match at the next pay-per-view, only to lose. That's the cycle we've been going through, and it stinks.
Instead, there needs to be a full division of teams battling each other for the opportunity to challenge the champions (honestly, this is advice that WWE bookers could use throughout it's roster, as it seems too many feuds are set up by having the next challenger beat the champion in a nontitle match first).
With that in mind, here's a look at a couple of pairings WWE has already introduced to us - and my opinion on their potential -- and a few I think could be put together successfully.
Don't think putting two singles wrestlers together can translate to success? Check out the sidebar on five notable teams that have done so.
The ones we know
Kofi Kingston and R-Truth (Tag Champions)
Another on-again, off-again pairing, these two got thrown together after Kofi's partner Evan Bourne was suspended and Truth returned from a suspension and feud with his former partner The Miz. They actually work well together as a tag team, and they officially became a successful one last Monday when they captured the Bronze Belts. It may be short-lived reign, however, with Epico and Primo signing with Abraham Washington. These two are actually preferable as mid-card babyface singles, considering the dearth of talent at that level right now. But WWE is going out of their way to come up with a team name, so expect them to stick around for a bit.
Primo and Epico
After dropping the titles, the Colon cousins aligned themselves with "A.W." Abraham Washington. My guess is his presence will be enough to get them back to the Tag Team Championships, likely at the Over the Limit pay-per-view. They are here to stay in the tag team ranks and they resemble a traditional tag team that dresses the same and looks the same (and they are related). I do wonder if having both A.W. and Rosa Mendes in their corner will distract from the team too much. Honestly, I wouldn't mind seeing A.W. somehow screw over this pairing and turn them face. I think with their style and Rosa in their corner (seriously, does anyone not like Rosa?) they could elicit a positive reaction more easily than a negative one.
Jimmy and Jey Uso
The Usos had a hot debut a few years ago, but have fallen into mediocrity as the team the champs beat on the house show circuit. It's a shame, they are solid in the ring and have a cool entrance. Like Primo and Epico, they aren't going anywhere as singles competitors right now because they fit the mold of a traditional tag team.
Titus O'Neill and Darren Young
The "Prime Time Players" made their debut on Smackdown recently, beating the aforementioned Usos, then defeating the odd couple pairing of Ezekiel Jackson and Yoshi Tatsu. They seem to work well together, although I didn't watch them much on NXT, I like what I've seen so far on Smackdown for "The Big Deal" and "Mr. No Days Off," although both could use catchier nicknames.
Justin Gabriel and Tyson Kidd
Gabriel is currently injured, but these two formed a tag team based on mutual respect after a series of matches on NXT and Superstars, and challenged for the tag titles in the dark match at WrestleMania. Both are undersized, but incredibly talented in the ring. Recent reports have indicated they'll start teaming again when Gabriel returns, however I think both would be strong assets to the babyface mid-card if Truth and Kofi are going to be the primary babyface team of the tag team division.
Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins
Technically, Reks and Hawkins are on the WWE roster, despite being storyline fired on NXT. Spoiler alert: They taped a match against Zack Ryder and Santino Marella for Superstars this week. Hawkins can work and Reks had a good look, but I can't really get excited about them. Still, you need jobber tag teams.
Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger
When Ziggler is on Superstars and Swagger is fodder for Randy Orton, you know these two aren't being used to their full potential. I think these are the two that can turn around the tag team division as its top heels. Since Vickie Guerrero started managing Swagger, we've seen this combination quite a few times. The two blonde former collegiate wrestlers actually make a logical pairing, however they tend to work singles matches more often than not, as that's how they were introduced. Both are former World and United States champions who have been bumped down the card in favor of more established heels. WWE has a glut of mid-card heels, and the best way to use these two is as a dominant tag team.
Brodus Clay and Hornswoggle
Over the years, there have been plenty of teams that featured one giant and another wrestler who was smaller in stature, but never to this degree. While I'm personally not a fan of 'Swoggle, I see his appeal to a certain segment of the audience. Clay's current gimmick paints him as a bit of a midcarder-for-life, but it's over with the crowd, so roll with it. They can win because Clay is so dominant, and lose when Hornswoggle becomes a weakness and heels bully him. And when it's finally time for Clay to move up the card - likely as a monster heel - what better way to get heat than by squashing his little buddy? Literally.
The Big Show and The Great Khali
This pairing is currently 2-0 on WWE Raw, defeating the tag champions and the combination of Alberto Del Rio and Cody Rhodes. Show's actually had himself quite the tag team career, winning the championship with four different partners (Undertaker, Kane, Chris Jericho and The Miz). This is a classic case of two guys who are former world champions but winding down their careers being able to use their star power to bolster the tag team division. Not to mention they could possibly be the biggest tag team in WWE history. Being in a tag team would also hide Khali's defeciences at this point in his career. With Show dropping the IC title at Extreme Rules, these two becoming a full-time pairing seems much more plausible. Team name? How about "The Great Big Duo?"
Hunico and Camacho
Camacho has been hanging around with Hunico for a few months now, but it hasn't really helped either of them move up on the card. The two make a natural tag team, again using the formula of a smaller wrestler who can do a lot of high-flying moves and larger power/brawler type wrestler. They did team on WWE Superstars last week and defeated, you guessed it, the Usos in their tag team debut. On Smackdown, they jobbed for Kofi and Truth, and at this week's Smackdown tapings, Hunico was back to singles action.
Santino Marella and Zack Ryder
Team Co-Bro was successful in their only outing, defeating then tag team champions Primo and Epico on Raw a few weeks back. They team again against Reks and Hawkins on this week's Superstars, then face Young and O'Neill on Smackdown. Other than both of them being comedy characters, they don't have much in common and don't really mesh well together. These two are better off as singles babyfaces while Kofi and Truth have the titles - and beyond that.
Guys moving down the card
The top of the card is cyclical, especially if you're a heel. So what happens once you've had a run as a world champion, lost to the top babyfaces and are now floating around in mid-card purgatory? You find someone else in your situation, or a young heel on the way up, and you make a tag team. Occasionally, you'll see babyfaces follow the same formula - the latest incarnation of DX or when Big Show and Kane reformed their tag team last year -- are good examples.
Miz and David Otunga
Here's a good opportunity for the Miz, a bona fide main eventer stuck in the mid-card, to be relevant by teaming with a rising heel in David Otunga. It also doesn't hurt that the two have something in common - both were reality TV stars before making the jump to the world of sports entertainment. Better still, their gimmicks would allow them to have a great team name by combining Otunga's former career with Miz's catchphrase to form "Legally Awesome."
Kane and Mark Henry
This is the perfect example of two former world champions on the downside of their careers. They've mainly been used to put over main event talent like Cena, Sheamus, Big Show, Randy Orton and CM Punk in 2012. Pairing these two destructive forces together could make for a dominating boost to the tag team division. And what about the cool visual of the four monsters when they inevitably clash with Big Show and Khali?
Chris Jericho and Christian
Hey, wait a minute, weren't these two partners before? Indeed, the two Canadian Superstars had a two-month reign as tag champions in 2002, and were on-again, off-again partners until WrestleMania XX, where they faced each other in the opening match. It's unclear how much longer Jericho has on his current WWE contract, but this would be an interesting route for him to go after apparently wrapping up his feud with CM Punk.
Guys moving up the card
Ted DiBiase and Michael McGillicutty
I feel like I've been advocating for this one forever. DiBiase was starting to get over on his own with the DiBiase Posse before he was injured. He should be on track to return soon. McGillicutty, the son of Curt Henning, has wrestled an occasional match here or there on NXT or Superstars. For third-generation wrestlers, you'd think these two would be better off. A New Age Outlaws-like coming together on Superstars would work fine to get these two on the same page as babyfaces.
Ezekiel Jackson and Mason Ryan
These two powerhouses both received strong mid-card pushes in the past year - with Jackson actually capturing the Intercontinental Championship - before fizzling out. We haven't heard from Ryan since Survivor Series, really, while Jackson has been a jobber as of late for the likes of Jinder Mahal. Yikes. Two guys built like these two are shouldn't have any problem as a modern day Powers of Pain. While both are currently babyfaces, I think them coming together as heels who have been overlooked would be the way to go. Even better, the team could be two strong dudes who don't really like each other and spend their matches stiffly tagging the other one in and playing a game of "Can you top this?" while showing off their strength against opponents.
Wade Barrett and Drew McIntyre
This pair of Superstars from the United Kingdom both came up in WWE around the same time, and both saw early success. Barrett seemed to be on track to return to the main event before he was injured the night after the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view. Will he still be on that course when he returns? Who knows? McIntyre was a last-minute replacement for Christian on Team Johnny at WrestleMania, but hasn't been involved in storylines since. Putting the two together - they teamed as The Empire in FCW - wouldn't be a bad idea for either.