Over the last several weeks, I've been plagued by two different thoughts regarding The New Day, one positive and one quite negative. As likable as all three members are, as talented as they are, and as much entertainment and joy as they've brought to the WWE Universe over the past year, it's an issue that needs to be raised.
You see, I love tag team wrestling. One of the earliest pieces I wrote after joining the team here at Cageside in 2014 was completely concerned with its importance. On Saturday afternoon, I sat down to interview James Storm, a 14-time former NWA and TNA Tag Team Champion, and asked him his opinion of the craft. He echoed my feelings, and said point blank he enjoys that style more than singles, even though he's a fan of both. Some of my favorite all-time workers cut their teeth - at least in a major promotion or on television - as tag wrestlers first.
There's a psychology to a great tag match that can't take place in a singles bout, in particular working an official or the strategy of cut-offs and hope spots prior to hot tags. There's nothing quite like a double down in a tag match, where the baby wins the battle and finally leaps to his or her savior. We're in a tag team renaissance across the pro wrestling world, with teams like ReDragon, The Revival, American Alpha, The Addiction, The Club, Enzo & Cass, Sydal & Ricochet, Rappongi Vice, The Young Bucks, and of course The New Day.
Let's get to that negative thought, though, because it explains why I chose to write about tag competition today as opposed to the Roman Reigns mentions on RAW or anything else from that show. As much as you like The New Day, if that's the case, what was the last great match they've had as Tag Team Champions? My answer is December 13, 2015, when they retained in a triple threat ladder match at TLC against The Usos and The Lucha Dragons. That was as risky a bell-to-bell spectacle as we've seen in a long time, and all those involved did everything they could to wow the crowd.
Before that night, The New Day had no match I can remember with even a moderate level of detail. If I'm forgetting something, that's kind of the point. I recall they worked with The Dudley Boys, The Lucha Dragons, and The Usos, but outside of the feuds, the only things I think about with Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston, and Big E, are the segments, the outfits, the songs, the Booty O's, and "New Day Rocks." None of that is particularly bad, because these fellas are super over, living their dreams, and having a blast doing it. They're putting smiles on kids' faces, as well as those of their older siblings and parents, plus gamers, comic book fans, Bronies, and anybody who likes a little niche in their diet.
But, it's mildly poisonous for the WWE Tag Team Championship. There comes a time when performers are over with the crowd to a maximum level. At that moment, unless they're amidst a ridiculous run on top, which is also getting other guys over through their own popularity, the gold must move elsewhere. That's where we are with The New Day. The trio has reached its "final form," to borrow a descriptor Xavier and the boys will appreciate.
Now that the announcers have stopped talking about the Brian Kendrick/Paul London record, Vince and the creative team must find a way to get the titles off The New Day, because the group simply doesn't need them. The Beatles didn't need a "World's Greatest Band" award in the early 1960s. Does anyone reading this piece believe The New Day is more over because they're Champions? Would it harm them in any discernible way to be screwed out of those titles and eventually transitioned into a different program? Could they not do the same things they've always done, including the chants, which call them the "two time champs," a phrase that remains true even after they lose the Championship?
WWE made a mistake at Money in the Bank by not dropping the titles on Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows in a basic tag match, or, at the very least, by not booking that bout for Battleground. We're on the verge of a Wyatts-New Day program, which is more of a trios feud, where the Tag Team Championship is WAY in the background. The Club with hardware is a good boost for a new faction, and makes Anderson and Gallows far more relevant in the eyes of fans who may not care about them when AJ Styles isn't at ringside. I liked the idea of The Club going 2-2 two Sundays ago, making them a true force in the promotion.
Even if it wasn't The Club at the PPV, it needs to be a heel team, and it needs to occur as soon as humanly possible. The brand split may bring with it a second set of tag straps, but that's still to be determined. With all the stellar tag teams in house between NXT and the main roster, not using the current Championship as a prop or a way to give additional momentum to a duo that could use it is a massive missed opportunity. The New Day should be commended and applauded for how far they've taken this gimmick. Though my own interest level in the segments has dropped considerably from where it was at the start of the year, I'm still in the minority. The biggest compliment I can pay these men is to tell them they need to let somebody else pick teams in gym class.
They've been so dominant, so entertaining, so game changing at a time when WWE lacked overall roster charisma, they've actually evolved and grown past the WWE Tag Team Championship. They could and would win them again down the line, but for many fans, The New Day is the attraction. The fact that they're also wearing gold around their waists is just a bonus...
An unnecessary, meaningless bonus.