It’s about this time of year this column likes to look back at top teams and stories on the tag scene, but one group eclipsed them all: The Bloodline. Not only were they the top group, they were the biggest story of the year (kayfabe, anyway – you could say that the fall of Vince McMahon and rise of HHH was the biggest overall story).
Roman Reigns and The Usos hold unified titles. Solo Sikoa has been huge as the new enforcer. But even with all that gold and talent, The Bloodline’s fortunes truly revolve around the guy doing the best work in the business: Sami Zayn.
It’s hard to believe that Zayn was putting over Johnny Knoxville while being pinned in a giant mousetrap at WrestleMania months earlier. Whether you enjoyed the match for its sports entertainment spectacle or not, you couldn’t help but admire Sami’s dedication to getting it over. You could say that Sami and his bestie Kevin Owens, who lost to Stone Cold Steve Austin in the latter’s return match, were the most generous and selfless folks in making people look good that day.
Their relationship remains the focal point of the story – and, probably, the eventual fracturing – of The Bloodline. As Sami tried to distance himself from KO since the low blow at Survivor Series, he has gone from a guy who would keep Jey or Solo from crippling somebody to the guy egging them on. Roman is the star, but Sami is the straw that stirs the drink. His connection to Owens even keeps The Tribal Chief from celebrating their dominance.
That’s great long-term storytelling, and having some of the best storytellers in the scenes makes it even better. Sami and Roman losing to KO and John Cena helps write yet another chapter. Every segment and match feels like it might be important.
Will 2023 finally see the toppling of The Bloodline and the loss of gold? It’s hard to say. But if it does, it’s easy to say that Sami Zayn will almost certainly be a major part of what happens.
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 Dec. 30:
1. The Bloodline (last week: 1)
Pro: Roman Reigns is still the undisputed and unified top men's champ while The Usos rule the tag division. Solo Sikoa picked up a hard-fought victory over Sheamus to continue his win streak.
Con: Sami and Roman couldn't overcome the tandem of Kevin Owens and John Cena. Meanwhile, Drew McIntyre is back with his sights set on The Bloodline.
2. Damage CTRL (Bayley, Iyo Sky and Dakota Kai) (2)
Pro: Sky and Kai still hold tag gold. Bayley's still a big player in the women's single scene.
Con: Will the tag champs get to do anything interesting any time soon?
3. New Day (3)
Pro: They still rock the NXT men's titles.
Con: Waiting for who (who? who?) will next step up to challenge The Princes of Positivity.
4. Katana Chance and Kayden Carter (4)
Pro: Still the NXT women's tag champs.
Con: Also awaiting quality competition.
5. Judgment Day (5)
Pro: Still the most important and intriguing faction regularly working Raw.
Con: Having a clip show this week means they didn't get to continue their momentum.
6. Josh Briggs, Brooks Jensen and Fallon Henley (8)
Pro: Fallon won the rights to keep to her family bar over Kiana James in a marvelously cheesy sports entertainment angle.
Con: Jensen seems to have mixed or at least complicated feelings in it all, as he feels the feelings for the Sexy Business Lady.
7. Diamond Mine (not ranked)
Pro: Julius Creed picked up a big win over JD McDonagh to finally punch their dance card for a date with Indus Sher.
Con: After this level of build up for the reformed team, it's hard to see Indus Sher losing that first match.
8. The Schism (not ranked)
Pro: Won a very good trios match through teamwork on NXT.
Con: Could still use a signature win to move up the card.
9. Brawling Brutes (and Drew McIntyre, maybe?) (not ranked)
Pro: Sheamus added another fine match to his outstanding 2022. They continue to work with The Bloodline, which is noteworthy, and Drew's return might help tip things back to the babyface side.
Con: Sheamus couldn't stop Solo, but then nobody has lately.
10. Street Profits (6)
Pro: Given their successful recent return, likely will get more TV time in future weeks.
Con: Having a Raw clip show prevented them from doing anything to build on their win over Judgment Day.
Best tag segment of the week: While it could have benefited from more time, the Zayn/Reigns-KO/Cena tag match felt like one of the biggest fights on free TV this year, and the good guys' win creates some interesting possibilities.
A lack of Raw movement with no actual show mildly offsets an outstanding SmackDown and good NXT for some teams.