The Authors of Pain recently became the new Raw Tag Team champions. Akam and Rezar defeated Seth Rollins in a handicap match after Dean Ambrose didn’t show up to help The Kingslayer defend the titles.
Now that the AOP have the straps, many fans are likely hopeful that things will begin to improve for WWE’s tag team division. But longtime WWE followers are perhaps not so optimistic. That’s largely due to the company’s penchant for mishandling the division and it’s been going on for years. So what happens now?
It could be that fans expect more than the company really wants to do. For many of the WWE faithful, tag team wrestling is about actual tag teams. It’s not two Superstars thrown together for no good reason. Of course there have been some wildly popular exceptions to that over the years, which begs the question: is WWE right?
Is tag team wrestling truly about presenting two talents on a mission to be the best duo in the company? The era of The Hart Foundation, Demolition and The British Bulldogs gave some of the most exciting, most intense moments in pro wrestling. The WWE Championship wasn’t in the mix and oftentimes, the matches didn’t take place in the main event. But none of that mattered.
The fans cared about the tradition of tag team wrestling. It was symmetry playing out in a pro wrestling ring. It proved to be a highly anticipated part of WWE’s overall program. The same can be said of The Attitude Era when the tag team renaissance occurred and brought the division back to the limelight.
The Hardy Boyz, Edge and Christian and The Dudley Boyz, all fought for respect in WWE’s tag team division. What they ultimately achieved was pro wrestling immortality. Tag team wrestling became big business in WWE. More importantly, it was finally elevated to a level of importance that was never really seen before. Finally, fans had the kind of tag team division they always wanted.
Of course it’s been up and down since then. WWE has moments of getting the tag team division on track and it remains that way for a while. Fans are happy, the show tends to flow better than usual and the product is extremely well rounded.
But every time WWE’s tag division dips, fans suddenly begin to complain once again. It seems that the company would eventually catch on and perhaps ensure that the tag team roster remains both capable and relevant. However that just doesn’t seem to be the case.
By the same token, when tag teams rise to prominence, fans immediately hail the event as a rededication to the division. It’s as if WWE moves in the right direction, takes a wrong turn, then finds its way again. Fans go along for this rollercoaster ride and that’s exactly what’s happening with The Authors of Pain.
So does this mean that WWE is indeed back on track again? It’s not as if tag team wrestling is dead in the company. The New Day, The Bar and The Usos continue to shine on SmackDown Live. But Monday Night Raw’s tag team roster has been rather thin for quite some time. Fans likely believed that would all change when The AOP came to the red brand. But it took nearly seven months for the duo to win championship gold.
Akam and Rezar are on top of the division now, which means WWE’s commitment to tag team wrestling is apparently back once again. Rollins and Ambrose are top stars and The Shield was arguably the best WWE faction of all time. But The Hounds of Justice were created to get three new main event singles stars over. It was not a tag team concept, then or now.
But the question is, what happens with The Authors of Pain as the new Raw Tag Team champions? The AOP is on a collision course with Sheamus and Cesaro at Survivor Series and the match promises to be a memorable one. Both teams have a smash-mouth style and The AOP will finally get a real test in the ring.
The Bar will not back down and no tag team can intimidate them. This is especially true with Big Show in their corner. The World’s Largest Athlete will surely come face to face with the Raw tag champs at some point during the match. This bout will likely be much better fans can imagine and it could very well be the best match in the AOP’s careers thus far.
So WWE definitely seems to be restarting Raw’s tag team division and The Authors of Pain are perhaps the best starting point. But what about The Revival? Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder have paid their dues, they’v put their time in and they proved their worth time and again. Yet they’re nowhere close to winning the championships. Yes, The Authors of Pain deserved a shot but so does The Revival.
Dash and Dawson have spent over a year on the main roster waiting for that shot. While their lack of success is not exactly an indictment on WWE’s commitment to them, it is more proof that the company continues to waver when it comes to the tag team division. But now the pair has a new lease on life because the division is back in the hands of a real tag team once again. So should fans have faith in WWE when it comes to Raw’s tag division? Perhaps the answer is yes. At least for now.
Cook’s Top 5: Miz Moments
Cook brings the most must see Top 5 of the week! Is it obvious or a MIZtery?
This week is all about our new WWE Champion, The Miz!
Let’s be honest, Miz might not hold the Championship for too long. He’s got a big match with Bobby Lashley next week. We wish him luck, and maybe something unlikely will happen resulting in Miz holding on to the title longer than anybody expects. Still, I feel the need to get this particular edition of the Top 5 out there as soon as possible.
Here are the Top 5 Miz Moments!
5. Main Eventing WrestleMania
The match itself…not so great. Miz was obviously the third most important person in the match. He also suffered a concussion. But the guy still main evented WrestleMania and beat John Cena, which is something that not too many other people can say. This will remain Miz’s biggest WrestleMania match unless they get Bad Bunny to wrestle him this year.
4. A Ladder Match with Dolph Ziggler
Miz & Ziggler have quite a bit in common. Both hail from the Cleveland area. Both prefer to think of themselves as being from Hollywood. They’re both egotistical characters that make up for what they might lack in size with ego. They’ve been in WWE forever with limited changes to their character, pretty much on the same level of the card. Naturally, they get along pretty well & have good chemistry.
2016 saw the best incarnation of their on-screen issues, with Miz & Ziggler trading the Intercontinental Championship back & forth. The Ladder Match ending the feud at TLC is considered by most to be Miz’s best match. I don’t have a ton of other options off the top of my head, so we’ll go with that.
3. The First MITB Cash-In
You always remember your first. At this point in time, much like here in 2021, Miz wasn’t seen as the most believable choice to be WWE Champion. However, the man had a briefcase, and, importantly, this was back before the briefcase gimmick was completely run into the ground. So when Miz ran down at the end of Raw to cash in on Randy Orton, it got a tremendous reaction.
People were either really happy or really angry. I was on the angry side of the spectrum, especially since I had a cold and was writing a news column during all of this. Man, I remember when the week or so a year I would a cold was the only time I really felt like crap.
What can I say, Miz has grown on me over the years.
2. Feuding with The King
A lot of old school wrestling fans found it hard to believe that The Miz had become WWE Champion when more deserving wrestlers from their childhood never had been. Heck, Jerry Lawler, a God of Memphis rasslin who piledrove Andy Kaufman into oblivion, had never even gotten a shot at that title, even though he’d worked for WWE for nearly twenty years. Seemed wrong to a lot of people, but nobody expected that wrong to be addressed.
Lawler was celebrating his sixty-first birthday the week after Miz defeated Randy Orton for the WWE Championship. One thing led to another, and Lawler got his very first WWE Championsgip opportunity. In a TLC match! They got the fans believing that Lawler could win the title…until that pesky Michael Cole kept Lawler from climbing further up the ladder.
It was nice to see the King get another important run on WWE television long after we thought it was possible. A large part of the reason it was possible? The Miz. He portrayed himself as just beatable enough that the title change could happen. Also held up his end of the bargin in the promos, which was never easy for Lawler’s opponents.
I know everybody likes a title change, but this was the best work Miz did during his first WWE Championship reign by a wide margin.
Honorable Mention: Marrying Maryse
You knew I had to mention this, right?
1. Talking Smack to Daniel Bryan
I’ve always been a Daniel Bryan guy. Back when he was Miz’s “rookie” on NXT, I thought the idea that Miz would have something to teach him was a bit outrageous. It was an interesting pairing though, and the Miz/Bryan relationship/rivalry has provided plenty of compelling moments over the years.
None moreso than the night where Miz did something that a lot of people didn’t think was possible: make himself seem right & Daniel Bryan seem wrong. The way Miz defended himself in this tirade was pretty much impossible to argue with. Maybe Miz doesn’t wrestle the way that hardcore wrestling fans would like, but he is pretty much the prototypical WWE Superstar of his era. He always works hard, is never hurt, and you don’t have to worry about him embarrassing himself or the company.
This promo raised Miz’s character to another level at the time, and definitely added some fuel to the fire for Bryan’s eventual return. If you want to see one Miz promo that sums up who he is & was, this would be it.
Bodeen’s Top 5 Moments: WWE Elimination Chamber 2021
Bodeen Green is back with your look at his Top 5 Moments from WWE Elimination Chamber!
Bodeen Green is back with your look at his Top 5 Moments from WWE Elimination Chamber!
Due to the short build between the Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber, there was a general lack of excitement from fans heading into the Elimination Chamber Pay-Per-View, especially with the lack of established matches on the card. Despite this, the Elimination Chamber was still a solid show to watch, mainly due to both chamber matches being fun to watch, with the last chamber match, having a shocking but awesome twist. So as we leave the Elimination Chamber and take yet another step forward on the Road to WrestleMania, let us look at the top 5 moments that stood out on this short but solid show.
5. Riddle becomes United States Champion
Heading into this match, it seemed highly unlikely that Riddle would beat the United States Champion, Bobby Lashley. Even though the match was a triple threat match and Riddle did not have to pin Lashley to win the title, fans had seen Riddle lose to Bobby time and time again, making it seem the only real threat to Lashley’s title reign in the match was Keith Lee. However after Lee was taken out and John Morrison won a match on the pre-show earlier in the night, things seemed somewhat possible for Riddle.
All three men looked good in this match, as Lashley dominated the start of the match, helping fans get their breath back from the opening Elimination Chamber. This would force Riddle and John Morrison to team up on Lashley, despite being teamed up on Lashley would fight back and seemed to have things won as he put the hurt lock on John Morrison, only for Riddle to attack Lashley with the crutch belonging to MVP and pin John Morrison to become United States Champion
Yet again, special credit has to be given to MVP as a manager, he serves a purpose and actually looks like he’s being effective in helping Lashley. An example of this was MVP encouraging Lashley to stay outside the ring to recover as Riddle and Morrison treaded blows inside the ring.
4. The Tribal Chief reigns supreme for now
Instead of defending the Universal Championship inside the Elimination Chamber, Roman Reigns would use his power to face the winner of the SmackDown Elimination Chamber match, straight after the match. This was yet another great heel move from Roman as it once again showed how much power he has backstage due to his bloodline and role as a main-event player.
After Daniel Bryan survived a brutal chamber match, Roman Reigns would come out straight after the match, giving Daniel Bryan little time to recover. Roman would go to spear Daniel, only for Daniel to reverse it into the Yes Lock, making the impossible seem possible, only for Roman to counter and punish Daniel, locking in the guillotine for the win.
After holding the Universal Title, Roman would be hit with a spear by Edge, who seemed to copy Roman from earlier on SmackDown as he whispered in Roman’s ear, before pointing to the WrestleMania sign, giving fans his answer on who he’s gonna face at WrestleMania.
3. An Awesome finish
After The Miz won the Money In The Bank briefcase at Hell In A Cell against Otis, it seemed like every Pay-Per-View he would give Drew McIntyre a threat, stating he was going to cash in, however as time went on, it seemed more unlikely he would ever successfully cash in the Money In The Bank briefcase and win the WWE Championship from Drew McIntyre.
Each after he pulled out of the Elimination Chamber match, it still seemed unlikely Miz would cash in successfully, especially with it being so close to WrestleMania. However, after we saw backstage footage of The Miz talking to MVP backstage before the Elimination Chamber match for the WWE Championship, things started to become interesting.
After McIntyre had won the Elimination Chamber match to retain his WWE Championship, Bobby Lashley would come out and dominate Drew, leaving The Miz to cash in on Drew, allowing Miz to win the WWE Championship, putting a massive twist on the Road to WrestleMania.
2. McIntyre survives the Elimination Chamber
The Elimination Chamber match was filled with heaps of sub feuds, especially with the WWE Champion, Drew Mcintyre who had old rivals in Randy Orton and AJ Styles, as well as a new feud with his former best friend Sheamus, despite this, Drew would keep a level head and dominate everyone in the match, before eventually hitting a claymore on AJ Styles to win the match and retain his title before The Miz would cash in.
Jeff Hardy and Randy Orton would start the match before Drew would come in and dominate both men. Kofi Kingston would come in next and hit Orton with a roll-up to score a shock elimination. Orton would RKO both Hardy and Kofi, allowing Styles to have an advantage as Omos helped destroy his pod, so Styles could enter early in the match. Kofi would be eliminated by Sheamus, as well as Hardy who was eliminated by Drew.
AJ, Sheamus and Drew would trade blows, with Sheamus hitting Drew with a Brogue kick, only for Styles to hit the Phenomenal Forearm on Sheamus to eliminate him. With Drew now battered and broken Styles would attempt a Phenomenal Forearm on Drew, only for Drew to hit a Claymore Kick in mid-air to survive and win a great Elimination Chamber match.
1. Daniel Bryan goes the distance
Despite the Elimination Chamber match for the WWE Championship being a great match I personally found the opening chamber match earlier in the night much more enjoyable. It felt much more smooth and natural than the later chamber match with all 6 men involved looking strong with Daniel Bryan, being the clear MVP of the match as he entered the chamber first with fellow dark horse Cesaro and went on to win his third Elimination Chamber match.
Cesaro and Daniel would start things off slow as they entered the match first. King Corbin would then come out, followed by an irate Sami Zayn who could not believe we entered forth. Corbin would be the first eliminated after Cesaro put him the Sharpshooter. Kevin Owens and Jey Uso would then come out with Owens eliminating Sami. As Sami exited the ring Jey would trap Kevin’s arm in the Chamber door, superkicking him then eliminating him.
Cesaro would then mount a comeback only for Jey to ruin his momentum as he superkicked Cesaro and hit a splash to eliminate him. Jey would then attempt a splash of a wounded Bryan, only for Bryan to get his knees up and hit Jey with the running knee to win the Elimination Chamber match.
These were my top 5 moments from the Elimination Chamber. What were your top 5 moments and what did you think of both Elimination Chamber matches? Let us know in the comments below.
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