Tag Team Weekly Roundup and Power Ratings: Splitting time

The best thing that's happened to tag team wrestling in the past year or so, great matches notwithstanding, is WWE finally committing to having the Raw and SmackDown tag titles defended as separate entities. It reverses a decision that has hamstrung the tag scenes since The Usos unified the belts with a win over RK-Bro in May.

As discussed in this space previously (and often), splitting the titles can reward a red-hot act -- such as Judgment Day -- while keeping The Usos record-setting SmackDown reign alive until a big moment like WrestleMania. In fact, between announcing it as only for the Raw titles and Kevin Owens lurking for any way to irk The Bloodline, it actually would be shocking to see him not try to help make a title change happen.

It's also cool to see a #1 contenders tag tournament over on SmackDown. All the teams got to wrestle meaningful matches, with some fun first-round bouts. Drew McIntyre and Sheamus seem like the only ones high enough on the ladder to take the titles off The Usos -- especially given the long arc of their feuds with The Bloodline -- although given the historic nature of that title run, you would expect that to only happen on a Big Four premium live event. Royal Rumble? Maybe, but more likely Mania, and there's always the tantalizing chance that Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens close a loop on an amazing story by being that team.

In addition to SmackDown using its roster well, we get a big-time tag title match for the Raw gold that actually seems like the contenders could win. After all, Dominik Mysterio's jailhouse wisdom must be good for something.

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 Jan. 20:

1. The Bloodline (last week: 1)

Pro: Roman has all the top men's singles gold and The Usos the (for-now) unified tag titles. Solo Sikoa continued his path of destruction, defeating Mustafa Ali on Raw.
Con: Kevin Owens took out the whole Bloodline on SmackDown, and poor Sami will likely get blamed for it.

2. Judgment Day (2)

Pro: The #1 contenders to the Raw titles picked up a win over Alpha Academy and got some time with The Bloodline to promote their upcoming match. And with the titles splitting, they have a chance. Rhea's staredown with Solo was electric.
Con: They still wouldn't be considered favorites. Also, doesn't seem like any way they can pay off the Rhea-Solo bit?

3. Damage CTRL (2)

Pro: Iyo Sky and Dakota Kai still hold tag gold.
Con: Iyo took a loss to Mia Yim this week, and Bayley didn't seem to be in much of a hurry to step in a steel cage with Becky Lynch.

4. New Day (4)

Pro: Still NXT tag champs and putting in good work to elevate the NXT tag division.
Con: Their triple threat with Gallus and Pretty Deadly means they can lose the titles without being pinned, which might be a way out for NXT to not having the future Hall of Famers pinned by a development team.

5. Katana Chance and Kayden Carter (5)

Pro: Still the NXT women's tag champs.
Con: Looks like they'll have to defend the belts against Alba Fyre -€” and don't be surprised if Isla Dawn finds a way into that match.

6. Brawling Brutes/Banger Bros (not ranked)

Pro: Drew McIntyre and Sheamus won a nice hoss fight with Viking Raider and seem like favorites to win the SmackDown #1 contenders tournament.
Con: Ridge Holland and Butch lost their first-round match.

7. Imperium (not ranked)

Pro: Gunther remains a dominant IC champ. His teammates won a really fun match against two of the Brutes and seem likely to get to the finals.
Con: But they don't seem likely to beat Sheamus and Drew.

8. Legado del Fantasma (not ranked)

Pro: Picked up a pretty easy win to advance in the SmackDown tournament.
Con: Not likely to win the whole thing.

9. Gallus (6)

Pro: Picked up a win over Josh Briggs and Brooks Jensen in a fun, physical match.
Con: Pondering whether the company thinks they're big enough to take New Day's titles.

10. Hit Row (not ranked)

Pro: Finally got back on the winning track and advanced in the tournament ...
Con: ...and are likely to lose next to Dew and Sheamus.

Best tag segment of the week: The SmackDown tag tournament gave us some good matches, but Drew/Sheamus vs. Viking Raiders felt like the most important with the babyfaces the favorites to win it.

Grade: A

SmackDown featured mostly tag action, Raw is setting up for a big tag title match, and NXT booked title defenses for both of their championships.

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