The Bloodline runs WWE. We get it. And it was starting to get stale. Fortunately, Sami Zayn exists and the creative team was smart enough to row him out to the Island of Relevancy.
The previous Friday SmackDown segment where it looked momentarily like Zayn was getting kicked out of (and likely kicked repeatedly by) The Bloodline, only to revel in his gifted Honorary Uce shirt was sheer artistry. Seriously, watch it back just for Jey Uso's reactions.
And this week, we saw him and Solo Sikoa work together for a pair of wins.
It's great longform storytelling too. Months ago, Sami suggested he was an honorary Uce and Jimmy laughed and said sure while Jey, always the stern right hand of Roman Reigns, was less enthused. That continues to build into animosity between Jey and Sami, even though they also support each other in various ways against outsiders.
The injection of Solo Sikoa has been brilliant. The younger Uso acting as Sami's backup on Raw and SmackDown, and asking for him to accompany him to the ring (and now winning matches together) has created intriguing dynamics and tensions. Does Solo favor Sami over brooding Jey? Does Roman care about any internal issues as long as they keep supporting him?
For the longest time, this has seemed bound for The Bloodline beating down Sami to the most thunderous boos this side of Kevin Owens and Elias dissing Seattle for losing the Sonics. Yes, Zayn is delusional, but it's also not hard to identify with an outcast getting the opportunity to hang with the cool kids (cf. Rock and Sock Connection), and coupled with how fantastic he is, even non-Canadian crowds will sympathize with him easily.
It still feels like that beatdown is coming, but the intrigue is where Solo would stand. Would he join in, breaking Sami's heart even further? Would he stay neutral, with a pained expression on his face? Or would he stand up for a guy that he's grown connected to?
Even with little chance of any of The Bloodline's titles changing hands, it's making their segments must-see TV again.
The following Tag Team Power Rankings take into account wins, power and placement of segments, recentness of appearances, creative direction and momentum for teams and factions.
WWE Tag Team Power Rankings through Sept. 30:
1. The Bloodline (last week: 1)
Pro: Still holding unified gold. Sami Zayn picked up a big win over AJ Styles thanks to a Solo Sikoa assist, then the pair teamed up for a tag-team win on SmackDown.
Con: Jey Uso must be (kayfabe) steaming at his younger brother bonding with Sami.
2. Damage CTRL (Bayley, Iyo Sky and Dakota Kai) (2)
Pro: Sky and Kai are still tag champs, and Bayley the #1 contender for Bianca Belair's title. Bayley defeated Shotzi Blackheart on SmackDown.
Con: Sky took a loss to Belair on Raw.
3. Panda Express (Kevin Owens and Johnny Gargano) (not ranked)
Pro: Years of dreaming came true as they finally got to wrestle a tag team match, and win on Raw -- then won a six-man main event on SmackDown. No other tandem can boast two wins this week.
Con: But will they be a tag team going forward? That could be a lot of fun.
4. Judgment Day (3)
Pro: Damian Priest got to wrestle in the main event again, and they got some licks in on AJ Styles, Matt Riddle and Rey Mysterio.
Con: Priest took a loss to Riddle, then a returning Edge ran them off.
5. Toxic Attraction (4)
Pro: Mandy Rose retained her championship. Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne seem to still be roadblocks for anybody wanting to challenge for tag gold.
Con: They're also really afraid of Alba Fyre. Also, Gigi and Jacy will likely need to defeat Nikkita Lyons and Zoey Stark to get another title chance.
6. Nikkita Lyons and Zoey Stark (not ranked)
Pro: Lyons picked up a win over half the NXT women's tag champs, the kind of thing that usually gets you a title match.
Con: There might be something to Wade Barrett noting they're a thrown-together tag team that doesn't have the history or chemistry of the champs.
7. Katana Chance and Kayden Carter (5)
Pro: Still the NXT women's tag champs.
Con: Carter took a loss to Lyons this week, likely starting a road toward defending the title against the Lyons-Stark combo.
8. Pretty Deadly and Lash Legend (6)
Pro: Still the NXT champs. Their day-in-the-life video was hilarious.
Con: Could use some challengers to get them back in the ring.
9. Hit Row (not ranked)
Pro: Picked up a fairly easy win over Los Lotharios.
Con: Doesn't everybody?
10. Josh Briggs and Brooks Jensen (not ranked)
Pro: Scored a main-event win over Gallus in a fun, rollicking Pub Fight Match.
Con: But will this get them a chance to recapture gold from Pretty Deadly?
Best tag segment of the week: Sami Zayn and Solo Sikoa as a team, beating a makeshift duo, on its own isn't huge -- but more importantly it shows Sami getting accepted increasingly by members of The Bloodline, much to Jey Uso's chagrin. This is definitely the storyline to watch.
The Usos (among others) still could use some challengers, but we still had a lot of action and stories connected to the tag scene.