Tag team wrestling can be weird sometimes.
For instance, when the WWE Draft was over this past summer, did anybody think SmackDown’s marquee tag team would be Heath Slater and Rhyno? Neither guy was even on the roster, technically!
And yet, through Heath’s battle to claw and scrape for a contract, they became intertwined, Rhyno the cheese to Slater’s crackers, practically inseparable. And when they won the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship and secured Heath’s contract, they proved to be stronger even still. Despite the best attempt of the newly devious Usos’ leg breaking tactics, they weathered the storm.
So when American Alpha seemingly secured the number one contendership by running the gauntlet on SmackDown, it seemed like the heavens had opened. Sure, Alpha are one of the best tag teams on the planet, former NXT Tag Team Champions and amateur wrestling standouts. Chad Gable even went to the Olympics!
But as formidable as Alpha are, they’re fundamentally good dudes. They’d play by the rules and Slater and Rhyno could end the night heads held tall, knowing that they did the best they could, win or lose.
Dark cloud gathering
...then the Wyatt Family came onto the scene. They declared that Alpha had one more tag team to face on their way to the contendership. And indeed, when the time came, the Wyatts took their title shot, with a handful of smoke and mirrors along the way to get Luke Harper in for an assist.
Which, in and of itself, would be bad news for Slater and Rhyno. Ever since arriving in WWE, the Wyatts, through fortune good and bad, have been a force to reckon with. But this time, they have new focus, thanks to one unlikely new member of the family. The Viper himself, Randy Orton, after struggling against the Wyatts for several months, gave into his own darkness and swore allegiance to Bray Wyatt.
To be clear, this isn’t the first time the Wyatts have tried to expand through indoctrinating a top star of that caliber. Bray tried desperately to get John Cena to fall to his power in their feud, and even succeeded in getting Daniel Bryan under his control for a short time. They’ve kidnapped Kane twice, even, but to no avail!
But Orton’s own demons seem to have made him a true believer. At Survivor Series, he took a proverbial bullet for Bray, in the form of Roman Reigns’ spear. If this is some kind of con, it’s a long one.
No point running
Which brings us to the match. Beauty and the Man-Beast are no stranger to long odds, but these certainly seem like the longest they’ve seen so far. Randy Orton, after all, is a 12-time world champion, one of the most decorated men in all of WWE. He could tag with a broom and have a chance at winning the tag titles, and here he’s tagging with Bray Wyatt, a man that’s beaten everyone from Daniel Bryan to Roman Reigns.
But the dark secret of the Wyatt Family, the simple statistic that keeps them from running roughshod over WWE, is that they have a real problem winning when it counts. Between them, not counting Orton, they’ve only won one title in main roster WWE, Luke Harper’s short reign with the Intercontinental Championship in 2014. And he’s not even in the match!
Even worse, Luke’s a wildcard here. The signs have been present since Orton swore fealty, and Harper doesn’t trust him. He’s been happy to be a team player so far (granted, he hasn’t dropped Dolph Ziggler’s unconscious body at anybody’s feet yet), but when the moment counts, will he make the save same as he did to get them the number one contendership?
It’s a clash of the odd couples with the tag titles in balance, folks. Can the Wyatts achieve their greatest success as a unit or will Heath Slater get to consider having a second pool installed?
Who will win?
This poll is closed
Beauty and the Man-Beast (Heath Slater & Rhyno)
The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt & Randy Orton)