Two out of three falls match for the SmackDown Tag Titles
Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin vs. The Usos (c)
A two-on-two pay-per-view (PPV) showdown between these teams has been a long time coming. Now that it’s here, will a stipulation added by General Manager Daniel Bryan be the thing the levels the playing field for the challengers?
The Road to Royal Rumble
Since winning a Fatal 4Way all the way back in October, Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable have been chasing The Usos and the SmackDown Tag Team championship. A Gable chop block led to an “injury” which kept Jey from answering the official’s ten count, and their first title match ending in a countout victory for the challengers, but kept the belts locked down in The Uso penitentiary.
Intra-brand rivalries were placed on pause after that early November showdown, as the twins feuded with and defeated Raw champs The Bar at Survivor Series. Much to Gable’s consternation, the rest of the division got involved for another multi-team match at the blue brand’s next PPV, December’s Clash of Champions. The Usos managed to retain the belts there, but a subsequent non-title victory and a win in a #1 contender Triple Threat earned the pair of amateur wrestling standouts another opportunity.
That ended in even more confusion than the first head-to-head battle. It looked like the belts changed hands after a double-team powerbomb, but The Olympian pinned Jimmy when Jey was the legal man, so Gable and Benjamin’s celebration was short-lived. A restart saw The Usos pick up the pin, and left the challengers more frustrated than ever.
Chad and Shelton took a page from Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens’ book, decrying the poor officiating and wondering if Bryan and Shane McMahon’s “Land of Opportunity” spiel was a lie. While attempting to calm down the disgruntled duo, The GM latched onto something Gable said needing to beat the champs twice in one night to finally get their hands on the blue and silver prizes, and DB made this match for the big Jan. 28 show in Philadelphia.
A little backstage assault and some standard pre-PPV posturing, and you’re all caught up.
What’s at stake?
In addition to the obvious, this show’s place on the calendar makes the titles even more valuable.
As much as Gable and Benjamin have been on a mission to win the championship, The Usos have been on one to cement their legacy as an all-time great WWE tag team. To do that, they’ll need to appear on the main card of a WrestleMania someday. Without the belts they’ve had on lock for much of the last year, that will be next to impossible.
If the challengers can’t pry those titles away from the twins this weekend, a spot anywhere in the line-up for New Orleans (other than The Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal) will be a long-shot for Chad and Shelton. In the pairs scene, SmackDown has time for the tag team championship feud and whatever The New Day are doing, and not much else.
This feels like a now or never scenario for Benjamin and Gable. It’s gotten in the sea of other news and scandal which followed, but if they don’t capture the belts with Jey Uso coming off a DUI arrest, when will they get the nod over Rikishi’s sons?
Will pinning the champs twice in one night be possible, or even enough? We’ll have the answer on lock for you Sunday night (Jan. 28), right here on cSs!
This poll is closed
Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin