Tag Team Weekly Roundup and Power Rankings: The 'Tribute to the Troops Curveball' Edition

Tribute to the Troops is a magnificent, wonderful, generous thing WWE does every year for our deserving men and women in uniform.

But it can displace some narratives sometimes, with Thursday’s show no different. I pondered compiling the power rankings before but decided instead to wait. And lots of things happened to shake up the rankings … and the momentum of performers.

And if you believe in the Reverse Momentum Theory, Thursday made things worse for The Usos, New Day and Randy Orton/Shinsuke Nakamura standing tall on the show after the go-home show. But if this was filmed first, was Tuesday the go-home show?

Does Rusev Day taking their first loss while together, albeit in an eight-man tag, mean anything?

Actually, the answer to that is: not much. For all we do to follow threads and momentum and other tells about booking, Tribute to the Troops is meant to be fun. The faces generally go over, so you almost have to grade the results differently.

And whatever happens, Tribute to the Troops ultimately is about putting on an entertaining show for those serving our country. By that standard, it looks like it was a rousing success.

The following Tag Team Power Rankings take into account wins, power of segments, recentness of appearances, creative direction and momentum for main-roster teams.

WWE Tag Team Power Rankings through Dec. 14:

1. The Shield (last week: 5)

Pro: Reminded us how good they all are, albeit as singles wrestlers, on Raw, then added a Tribute to the Troops victory. Reigns-Cesaro was a clinic in ring psychology and match structure.
Con: Suffered some beatdowns and an Ambrose loss in the process.

2. The New Day (3)

Pro: Picked up a TttT win. Entertaining on commentary and getting pancakes over.
Con: Hard to see a scenario where they take back the championship.

3. The Usos (4)

Pro: They remain excellent on the mic and in the ring. Nice TttT showcase and win with New Day.
Con: Took a loss to Rusev Day on SmackDown.

4. The Bar (1)

Pro: Put on two tremendous Raw matches, especially Cesaro-Reigns, and a serviceable turn for our troops. Someday we’ll miss their consistent excellence.
Con: Lost all three matches.

5. Rusev Day (2)

Pro: They’re 2-0 as a tandem with wins over two of the very best teams in the game.
Con: Took a Tribute to the Troops loss as part of an eight-man tag.

6. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn (6)

Pro: KO picked up another zany (zayn-y?) victory on SmackDown over Shinsuke Nakamura and Randy Orton, with Daniel Bryan counting the pin, no less! Another whole show built around them.
Con: Then they ate a pin on Tribute to the Troops. Oh well.

7. Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura (not rated)

Pro: Have had enough matches and wins to merit a ranking.
Con: Long-term prospects staying together? Unlikely.

8. The Bludgeon Brothers (8)

Pro: The fun squashes continue. A match against Breezango can move them up the ladder.
Con: Overdue for some meaningful competition.

9. Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable (7)

Pro: Contributed to a decent little promo segment on SmackDown.
Con: Shelton took the pin as part of the TttT eight-man tag. Overall feeling overshadowed by other teams.

10. Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas (The Miztourage) (9)

Pro: They’ve giving Finn Balor something to do.
Con: They’ve giving Finn Balor something to do.

Best tag segment of the week: With so many of the tag segments one-on-one affairs that don’t quite fit the category, and Tribute to the Troops matches seeming like a parallel universe, let’s give a nod to Rusev Day picking up a non-title win over The Usos, which is kind of a big deal for the new team.

Grade: A. Throughout the week, WWE found creative and enjoyable ways to use its tag teams, and ultimately gave a lot of servicemembers smiles. A is the only grade you can give to that kind of thing.

The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Cageside Seats readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cageside Seats editors or staff.