TD Garden (Boston, MA)
WWE Tag Team Championship
It has been a relatively quiet year on the tag team front on a worldwide basis.
Historically, WWE is not the promotion one would look to when searching for quality tag team wrestling. In 2014 with a weak tag team landscape, however, they have arguably offered the best tag wrestling of any promotion in the world. That is due – in large part at least – to the work of these two teams.
The Usos and Wyatt Family kicked off the Money in the Bank event with a high-energy championship bout. The teams are a nice compliment for one another both from a stylistic standpoint and a visual one. The quick, high-flying baby face team versus the big, powerful heels is a time tested match up. It works even better when the big heels are also athletic enough to eat their opponent’s offense, which is the case here with Harper.
The spot where Rowan caught and held one of the Usos on an attempted plancha only for his brother to follow up with the same to finally knock the big man down was cool. Harper hit a pair of topes – one on each of the champs – which got a big reaction. Harper has taken nicely to the maniac big man role in terms of the moves he utilizes, his facial expressions, and the ability to bump for smaller guys without losing any of his mystique.
Despite their run of good work and they continued ability to remain over, the Usos have been treading water lately so this match had the feel of a title chage. It goes as a marginal surprise then that the Usos retained with a pair of frog splashes on Rowan. It would not be surprising if they re-match in the near future with a different ending, as the Usos seem to be running out of challengers.
US Tag Team | Worthwhile | Quality
Dragon Gate USA
McAlister Auditorium (New Orleans, LA)
Even though both Daniels and Kazarian were still under TNA contract at the time this match took place and had wrestled outside of TNA at least sporadically in prior years (they had a watchable outing versus the Young Bucks last year in California), this match serves as somewhat of a first look at Bad Influence’s inevitable post-TNA career. This match – which headlined the WrestleMania weekend Saturday DGUSA show – was not included on the live stream nor will it be included on the home release as TNA contracts forbid those sorts of things. Presumably, the match is okay to air on YouTube because of the fact that it is free.
For some reason even though the match was released by DGUSA directly, it is not in widescreen.
If a single match can be used as any serious indication, then Bad Influence would seem to have some value as a veteran mid-card tag team that can have okay matches and put guys over. When the former TNA tag team champions are in charge early in the match, there is a fun, breezy tag team flow to it. The spot where Kazarian telegraphed the obligatory arm drag take over after cutting off the Bravado’s offense was neat without being overly contrived. Kazarian cut off one of the Bravados and went to arm drag him over in a normal babyface tag team spot. The Bravado saw it coming and put on the breaks but Kazarian was already easing into the move and fell on his side. The Bravado pointed to his head letting us know how smart he is (Arn Anderson would approve) and the match continued. Some seconds later, Kazarian bluffed an arm drag and the Bravado brother in the ring flinched which then allowed Kazarian the opening to perform the move for real and hit it this time. It was a fun sequence playing off some normal tag team conventions.
The Bravados took over on offense and worked an extended heat segment on Daniels which just wasn’t very good. This is largely because the Bravados are not very good. In a promotion with a deep tag team roster, I think they could be decent opening match heels but that might be the extent of their value right now. They have a time-tested gimmick of rich, southern white boys and play it well (cardigans instead of ring jackets is a nice touch) but for guys who have been teaming together for a while now, they are not quite where one might expect them to be. Their movements are very tentative and they simply lacked the offense here to work a compelling a heat segment on Daniels.
If the body of the match revealed the Bravados’ weaknesses, then the ending did the same for Bad Influence. Their post-hot tag offense ranged from dated US indie offense (Daniels’ iconoclasm) to just goofy in general (Kazarian’s reverse tombstone pile driver deal). Watching this match, the impression I get is that Bad Influence would work well in working 5 to 10 minute matches as either veteran heels or faces but in all likelihood promotions will book them in more expanded, dream match roles which is far from their best use at this stage in their career.
The first few minutes and even the heat segment of the match showed they could be a fun veteran baby face team putting over heel tag teams in, for example, Ring of Honor. The end showed that booking them in long, featured matches might be a less than ideal role in terms of maximizing their value, but I imagine that is what they will mainly end up doing post-TNA anyway.
US Tag Team | Common | Rare (Bad Influence outside of TNA)