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.