As we approach the end of a memorable 2016 for various reasons, and not all wrestling related, we reach the last of the traditional ‘big four’ WWE PPVs in Survivor Series. Personally, I always liked the old format of teams facing off against one another and am happy that has been revived somewhat for this event. While the main Raw vs Smackdown face off should be fun and hopefully unpredictable, I’m intrigued more in the tag match.
Survivor Series doesn’t have the same aura as Wrestlemania in that it lacks in many special moments, but can pop up with some historic ones from time to time that give it a special feeling; the memories of Sting arriving to drop Triple H and the debut of the Undertaker are ingrained in the history of WWE. I hope that this year’s Survivor Series can give us one more memory, by having a tag team rise to another level in a division that has plateaued in recent months.
The brand split has benefitted many stars by giving them more room to perform both in the ring and on the mic and many have taken advantage of that. The booking has also allowed some separate storylines to develop organically by giving stars time to be themselves and really blossom (think Miz & Ziggler) and the product has benefitted from that. The tag teams, especially on Smackdown, haven’t kicked on as much as I thought they would.
Yes, there’s been some excellent teams (American Alpha, Enzo & Cass as well as the ever-colourful New Day), but I believe the whole division needs a shot in the arm to push it onto the next level, at the intensity and popularity of the women’s division, which has come on leaps and bounds in the last couple of years.
The Survivor Series match, in my opinion should be there to purely showcase the best tag teams on offer. I don’t want to see Goldust and Truth at the end of the match. As much as I like Cesaro, I don’t want to see him and Sheamus dominate either. A tag team should be a unit; they should be one force and one movement. I honestly prefer teams that wear the same colours. It portrays them as a team rather than two individuals thrown together. Ideally, I want to see the last two teams facing one another to be Enzo & Cass and American Alpha.
I know Enzo & Cass don’t dress the same, but their continued boking of having opponents work over Enzo and then giving Cass the hot tag, is a gripe I have with the booking more than them. They’re instantly recognisable, have tremendous rapport with the crowd, but I don’t see any current long term plan other than Cass going solo. For Alpha on the other hand, I can see them dominating the division if given the chance. It’s been fun to see Heath Slater finally climb the top of a mountain, but his odd pairing with Rhyno is surely temporary, paving the way for another team to have a lengthy title run akin to the New Day.
If I was fantasy booking the tag match, I’d have many eliminated quickly to give us the opportunity to see the main tag players go off against one another. I’d like to see four teams remaining, two from each brand, and so for Raw it would be New Day and Enzo & Cass. For Smackdown American Alpha and the Usos (who have done well since turning heel, I like their style). Some high spots later and we’re down to Enzo & Cass vs American Alpha. Give this another five minutes with near falls and some offence for Enzo, rather than having Cass save the day.
American Alpha would go over which would give them huge momentum going forward and in the process showing some fight to Enzo & Cass, something they should be bringing as well as their killer promos.
Such a scenario would give American Alpha the chance to grab the tag titles at the next big PPV (Rumble?) and also push Enzo & Cass to number one contenders against the New Day. I think if New Day are to drop their belts, it needs to mean something and be on a big stage, rather than a Raw-brand PPV. They’ve held the belts for so long, that it would be wrong to have them beaten on a throwaway match, rather than something big and meaningful. Perhaps have Gallows and Anderson take them on the Rumble then set the stage for Enzo & Cass to strike at Wrestlemania?
Whatever direction WWE is going, this upcoming Survivor Series is the ideal opportunity to showcase the tag division as something special. Put it on a pedestal with the revived women’s division and make each shows tag teams a highlight and must-see every week. The other titles are doing ok, so why not promote something that is in the lifeblood and the very essence of professional wrestling?
What do you think? Is the tag division plateauing? Should American Alpha be pushed now, or is it too early? Who should end the New Day’s title run? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts. As always, thanks for reading.