WWE’s current tag team scene is a complex place. You’ve got veterans, young Superstars, jobbers, and teams just waiting to break out. It’s arguable that this is the best group of tag teams since the early 2000’s with the Hardy’s, Dudley’s etc. WWE’s recent brand split provided a opportunity for a lot of the tag teams to really showcase their talents and individuality, and they’ve done just that.
Although it’s sometimes difficult to keep up with teams on all three major shows,(Raw, SmackDown, and NXT), it’s still important to know that each team comes with it’s own set of interesting tidbits and juicy stories. After some extensive research, we found interesting facts about the individuals that make up these tag teams. So here’s a collections of the 30 things WWE wants you to forget about its current tag teams.
30. The New Day Was Originally Hated
WWE may or may not want to admit this, but The New Day stable wasn’t always as over as they are now. In fact, the group faced some intense backlash when they debuted. But the criticism wasn’t wrestling related, but more race related. There’s been a long standing belief that unless you’re name is The Rock, WWE assigns most of their black characters to play smiling, dancing, singing, happy go lucky characters. Or they turn serious black wrestlers into comedic black wrestlers. If you need proof of this theory, think R-Truth, Rich Swann, or Titus O’Neil. The Godfather and Viscera were both turned into pimps. Mark Henry became Sexual Chocolate. Shelton Benjamin died his hair gold, etc…
So when The New Day debuted with the black gospel church gimmick, they faced some harsh criticism. Not directed toward them, but at WWE in general. And it wasn’t until they dropped that gimmick that they became superstars.
29. Mojo Rawley Would Still Be in the NFL if not for Injury
It’s crystal clear when you watch Mojo Rawley wrestle that he’s got a football background. His huge physique, football themed move set, and over-excitement are all dead give-aways. What you don’t know is that Rawley, like many of his fellow wrestlers, played professional football. After going undrafted in the 2009 NFL Draft, Mojo was signed for a tryout with the Green Bay Packers and earned a spot on the team. He played in a game and racked up a few tackles, but would be waived in September 2009.
After his stint with Green Bay, Mojo signed with the Arizona Cardinals but was injured in training camp and placed on injured reserve. Mojo had the option to rehab and return to play, or work with the NFL’s financial department due to his financial background. But he decided to become a wrestler and the rest is history.
28. Karl Anderson’s Other NJPW Partner
By this point, WWE fans know that Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows, who currently work as The Club in WWE, have been teaming together for quite a while and won Tag Team gold all over the world. But a little known fact about Machine Gun Karl Anderson is that Luke Gallows wasn’t his only tag team partner in New Japan. Karl was apart of a tag team called “Bad Intentions” with WWE alumni Giant Bernard, better known as Prince Albert, Albert, or A-Train.
The two would dominate the New Japan tag scene and won the IWGP Tag Team Championship on one occasion. Anderson and Bernard had a successful run together that ended when Bernard re-signed with WWE in 2012. Under the name Lord Tensai, Giant Bernard wrestled a few more years before retiring and becoming the head NXT trainer.
27. Enzo Amore’s Odd Jobs
It’s pretty well known that many wrestlers have different paths that led them to the wrestling business. Most are former football players or bodybuilders. But every now and then you’ll get a former school teacher, a college graduate, professional sports team dancer, etc. But Enzo Amore’s past jobs have to trump all those professions, mainly because none of the have anything remotely to do with wrestling. And they’re all pretty random.
Enzo has stated on multiple occasions that his past jobs helped him to get where he is today. Before training to become a wrestler, Enzo found work as a DJ for the New York Jets, a New York City piano mover (like the ones you see in cartoons) and the manager of a Hooters restaurant. That might explain Enzo’s eccentric and over the top personality. Because while we toil away our nine to five positions, Enzo was busy living life.
26. Heath Slater is a Former FCW World Champion
While it might be a little difficult to believe, Heath Slater was once taken seriously in wrestling. Not in WWE of course, but in their lower tier promotion Florida Championship Wrestling. FCW was a training/developmental territory parented by WWE from 2007 to 2012. The company shut down in 2012, but not before sending many talents up to the main roster.
During Heath Slater’s FCW run, he managed to win the Florida Southern Heavyweight Championship once, and the Florida Heavyweight Championship once. Slater was some memorable feuds with Jack Swagger, Tyler Reks, and Justin Gabriel before being called up to WWE in 2010.
25. Cesaro’s Rant
During the time of the Brand Split last July, many WWE Superstars wondered both professionally and personally where they would end up. It’s reported that WWE brass kept a lot of the talent out of the loop in terms of where they would end up. When it was all said and done, Cesaro was drafted in the sixth round to Monday Night Raw. When asked about his feelings about his draft position, Cesaro seemingly went into work-shoot mode to express his frustrations.
“I had a feeling I should be drafted a little bit higher, I was hoping to be at least top ten.” Not only was Cesaro upset about his draft position and the show he was drafted to, but he was also visibly upset about the use of authority figures on what was supposed to be a wrestling show. It’s unclear how WWE officials felt about this rant, but thank goodness Cesaro hasn’t seemed to receive any punishment for it.
24. Simon Gotch Fights With Sin Cara
One half of The Vaudevillians tag team, Simon Gotch, along with his partner Aiden English, were drafted to SmackDown last year as apart of the Brand Split. And reportedly it didn’t take Gotch long to find trouble. According to various accounts of the story, Sin Cara and Simon Gotch got into a war of words and began to fist fight. However, it’s been confirmed that Sin Cara got the better of Gotch and it apparently wasn’t even close. One source described it as a ‘one-sided destruction’.
With Gotch and English floundering on Smackdown, one has to wonder if this altercation has had anything to do with their lack of relevancy on television. To go from NXT Tag Team champions to SmackDown jobbers is a pretty steep fall from grace. At the same time, the Ascension basically did the same thing so maybe it’s not that big of a deal.
23. Big Cass is Dating Carmella
Let’s all take a minute to erase the current, horrible James Ellsworth storyline from our heads. Once we forget about that, we can point out the fact that Carmella is a very beautiful woman who just happens to be dating the seven-foot monster on Raw known as Big Cass. The two met while in NXT and began dating after being put in storylines together. Although it was implied that Enzo and Carmella had a thing, it was Big Cass who got the girl in the end.
Cass and Carmella weren’t brought to the main roster at the same time, and didn’t end up on the same show. However, their relationship seems to still be going strong. The couple spend time together whenever possible and their real life relationship can be found on Carmella’s Instagram page.
22. Goldust’s Original Character
Watching modern day WWE programming would have people to believe that Goldust is just a character who happens to enjoy dressing in a gold suit and wearing gold face paint. Similar to a guy like Sting or The Ultimate Warrior. But fans who have watched Goldust over the years know that that’s far from the truth. Goldust debuted in 1995 as a bizarre, mysterious Hollywood character that was obsessed with Gold. The original Goldust character was very suggestive with a strong homosexual tone.
Goldust would often used his suggestive behavior to creep out, or get in the minds of his opponents. And seemingly, as time passed, Goldust became more and more bizarre. Although the Goldust character was controversial for it’s time, it did create some memorable moments. Goldust had memorable feuds against Razor Ramon, Ahmed Johnson, Roddy Piper and Marc Mero in his early years.
21. Kofi Kingston is a Close Friend CM Punk
It’s the name that WWE wants all it’s fans to forget, and stop cheering at live events. CM Punk. WWE has done everything possible to try and move past the CM Punk saga and urges the fans to do the same. So it probably doesn’t help that one of their current top superstars is still best friends with him. Kofi Kingston, of The New Day, has been good friends with CM Punk since around 2008. After being paired together on television, the two began traveling together and became very close.
Kofi has stated in interviews that he considers Punk to be one of his best friends and that he thanks Punk for taking him under is wing when Kingston first started. The duo also won tag team gold together at one point. Although CM Punk hasn’t been around WWE for a few years now, his legacy seems like it wont be erased any time soon.
20. Zack Ryder & Curt Hawkins Were The Edge Heads & The Major Brothers
While Zack Ryder has been making a name for himself the last few years as the Long Island bro, many people might not remember that he started off with a much different look, gimmick, and tag partner. Ryder made his debut in WWE with his tag partner at the time, Curt Hawkins. The duo sported long, blonde hair and were known as the Major Brothers. Together they had a short run in ECW during the year 2007.
A few months later, Hawkins and Ryder turned heel when they sided with World Heavyweight Champion Edge on SmackDown. They dressed like Edge and would often interfere in his matches. It worked for a while because both Hawkins and Ryder resembled Edge somewhat. This gimmick lasted for a short time before Hawkins and Ryder split from Edge, and then eventually went their separate ways.
19. Truth or Consequences
Although Xavier Woods is only 30 years old, he’s been in the wrestling business for a long time. 12 years to be exact. During his earlier years, Woods spent some time in TNA Wrestling where he formed a short lived tag team with Ron Killings, aka R-Truth. Truthfully, they only teamed together once, due to Killings’ scheduled partner (Adam “Pacman” Jones) being unable to compete. But they dubbed themselves ‘Truth or Consequences’ based on their names. Ron ‘The Truth’ Killings, and Consequences Creed, which was Woods’ TNA name.
Fast forward to 2013, Creed debuted in WWE under the name Xavier Woods and was immediately placed in a team with his old TNA partner, R-Truth. The two never won Tag gold, but were placed in a very bad story line with Tons on Funk (Brodus Clay and Tensai). So essentially, Woods and Truth have teamed together in two different promotions. However, due to the success of the New Day, and the fact that R-Truth is a joke, WWE has no reason to mention their past alliances.
18. Fandango Upsets Chris Jericho
This is an issue that has bothered me for a while. When Fandango first made his WWE debut in 2013, he had some momentum. Sure the dancer gimmick was played out, but overall Johnny Curtis was a talented wrestler with a good look. At the very least, he could’ve been a serviceable mid card worker in the Intercontinental Title hunt. And I’m certain that WWE wants you to forget that Chris Jericho did the job to Fandango at WrestleMania XXIX.
A well respected veteran in the wrestling business such as Chris Jericho surely has seen a lot of talent come and go. And while Jericho has always seemed willing to do what’s best for business, there’s no doubt that he saw something in the Fandango character. He wouldn’t have put him over at WrestleMania if he hadn’t. Not to mention that brief period when Fandango’s theme music was the #1 purchased song on iTunes. The fact that WWE has nothing for him is baffling.
17. Jason Jordan Could’ve Been Whatever He Wanted
Jason Jordan is a 28 year old wrestling prodigy. The man is a 6-foot-3, 245 pound freak athlete. After getting into amateur wrestling as a child by accident, it seemed destined that he would eventually end up in a WWE ring. However, people may not know that Jason Jordan has a lot more on his resume than just professional wrestling.
In high school. Jason Jordan was a standout football, baseball, and wrestling star. Jordan was drafted to the Major Leagues in Baseball straight out of high school, but declined the offer to wrestle for Indiana University’s Division 1 wrestling program. During his time in college, he worked as a student coach for the wrestling team after going 35-0 in his senior year. And in addition to all of that, he received his bachelor’s degree in biology with three minors. A minor in chemistry, social science, and medicine. His goal was to attend dentist school but he turned it down in favor of pro wrestling.
16. Luke Gallows Was The Fake Kane/Luke Gallows of SES
Before he was ‘Being Mean and Making Green’ with his partner Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows was a well traveled wrestler with plenty of stops. One of the stops includes WWE in the year 2006. Gallows’ first stint in WWE began with him wearing Kane’s old 1998 attire and beginning a feud with the real Kane. The two had a few weeks of action before settling their feud at the Vengeance 2006 pay-per-view. Gallows, as impostor Kane won the match, but was dropped along with the story line the very next night.
A few years later, after another bad gimmick that will be discussed later, Gallows re-emerged under his current name. Pledging his allegiance to CM Punk, Gallows joined the Straight Edge Society. Punk had created a stable of people pledging allegiance to him and the straight edge lifestyle. Along with Punk, Serena, and Joey Mercury, Gallows feuded with Rey Mysterio, Big Show and Kane before disbanding in late 2010.
15. Aiden English Married Eddie Guerrero’s Daughter
Aiden English, who is one half of the Vaudevillians tag team, is married to Shaul Guerrero, aka the oldest daughter of Vickie and the late Eddie Guerrero. Just let that sink in for a minute. No disrespect to English, but he’s not the first person you think of when you say, Eddie Guerrero’s son-in-law. But it’s true. Shaul and English tied the knot on January 3, 2016, making English an official member of the Guerrero family.
The couple most likely met during the time in NXT between 2012 and 2014. English was a force in the tag division while Guerrero worked under the name Raquel Diaz. Although Shaul combined runs in WWE weren’t that long, it apparently was enough for her to find love. So congrats to them!
14. Jimmy Uso Has Been Arrested Twice
Being that WWE strives so hard to put forth a family friendly image and product, it’s never a good look when one of their employees get arrested in real life. Especially when said employee is as popular and well known as Jimmy Uso. TMZ reported in 2011 that Jimmy had been arrested in Florida and charged with DUI. Uso was later released on $500 bond.
Two years later, Jimmy was again arrested in Florida and the original report was a second DUI. As we all know, two arrests for DUI wouldn’t have been good for Uso. However, Jimmy’s lawyer later came out and clarified. Apparently, Jimmy was arrested for driving with a suspended license, while on probation. Technically, this wasn’t as bad as getting a second DUI, but still wasn’t good. WWE has tried to sweep this under the rug and luckily it hasn’t negatively affected the Uso’s careers since then. They’ve held tag gold since then and been involved in major storylines.
13. Sheamus Was a Choir Boy
As I’ve mentioned a few times in this article, wrestlers sometimes take odd paths to get to where they currently are. And sometimes, a wrestler in real life is the complete opposite of their in ring persona. This was the case with The Celtic Warrior Sheamus. We’ve been able to see Sheamus as a tough, bruising, take no prisoners warrior since his debut in WWE. But a little known fact about him is that Sheamus sung in the Irish Boys choir as a teenager.
OK, go ahead and laugh. But it’s true! The big, red haired dominant force known as Sheamus was a choir boy until the age of 13. Now, of course there’s nothing wrong with this. Many young boys sing in the choir because their voices haven’t fully developed yet. The funny thing is, Sheamus and boys choir seem like a complete contradiction to each other. It’d be similar to someone like Kane trying to get into politics……………………….
12. Rezar’s MMA Record
Let’s just be real. Professional wrestling is a sport where sometimes non-tough guys get to be tough and nobody will challenge that because that’s just the way it is. However, throughout the history of pro wrestling, there have been several real tough guys that you just shouldn’t mess with. Rick Rude, Haku, Brock Lesnar, just to name a few. So when Rezar and Akam debuted in NXT as The Author’s of Pain, people took notice of their massive size, but probably didn’t put much stock into their actual toughness.
Turns out that was a mistake. After doing some digging, we found out that Rezar, had a brief MMA career. At the young age of 18, Rezar had his first professional MMA fight. His career spanned two years, from 2012-2014, in which he tallied a 4-2 record before retiring to become a pro wrestler. Now, Rezar is one half of the NXT Tag Champions at the age of 22. Wow.
11. Heath Slater’s Multiple Alliances
Heath Slater is a very talented wrestler. Although he doesn’t often get to show, that doesn’t change the fact that Slater is one of the more under-utilized talents on the roster. Even his popular free agent story line from last year wasn’t enough to get him to be truly taken seriously. After a short tag title run with Rhyno, Slater has once again been moved to irrelevance. However, one thing that can never be said about Slater is that the creative team doesn’t have any ideas for him.
Heath Slater debuted with The Nexus in 2010, by demolishing John Cena, CM Punk, and the entire ring area. About seven months later, Slater broke off with other members of the Nexus to form The Corre. After that he teamed exclusively with Justin Gabriel. In September 2012, Slater joined Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal to form the 3MB. Two years later, Drew and Jinder were released which forced Slater to team with Titus O’Neil, forming ‘Slater Gator’. After Slater Gator flopped, the Social Outcasts were formed and lasted up until the 2016 Brand Extension. Finally, as we all know, Slater ended up teaming with Rhyno and they’re still going, kind of .
10. The Ascension Was Originally a Group
When I originally saw The Ascension debut on Monday Night Raw, (I wasn’t watching NXT at the time), I immediately made it up in my mind that I wouldn’t like the duo. They seemed like Road Warrior knock-offs and I had made the decision then and there that they were no good. Then, I went back to look at their work in NXT and realized that they weren’t so bad after all. Not only that, but I also discovered that there used to be more of them.
The Ascension was originally a group of wrestlers that had two managers. The original group consisted of Kenneth Cameron, Tito Colon, and Conor O’Brian, aka Konnor. They were managed by Ricardo Rodriguez, and Raquel Diaz. Rick Victor, aka Viktor, was not an original member, but joined Konnor a while later while Konnor was a singles wrestler. The official Ascension as we know them today, debuted in NXT in June of 2012.
9. Enzo & Cass Travel With Kevin Owens
A few months ago, I had the honor of attending TLC 2016 in Dallas Texas. It was a SmackDown event and also my first WWE live event. After the show, I did what all the other wrestling marks did. I went to the parking garage to watch the wrestlers get in their rental cars and drive away. Sure it sounds lame, but everyone else was doing it. Anyway, as the wrestlers left, I saw some weird travel buddy combinations. For example, Becky Lynch travels with Carmella. Baron Corbin, The Lone Wolf, was travelling with referee Charles Robinson. And Simon Gotch travels with Kalisto, who drives with his mask on.
That’s why it wasn’t a big surprise to find out that on the Monday Night Raw side of WWE, ‘the realest guys in the room’ travel with Kevin Owens. That’s right, Enzo, Cass, and KO are road partners. According to Enzo, they all travel together because they all have similar personalities and don’t mind talking about wrestling for hours at a time. Makes sense to me.
8. Eric Young and Bobby Roode Have Won Tag Team Gold
In a world that thrives on what’s happening currently, it’s sometimes hard to look back on things and how they used to be. A perfect example would be the case of Eric Young and Bobby Roode. There’s no way that the glorious, classy, suit wearing NXT Champion used to team with the unusual, strange leader of Sanity right? Wrong.
Eric Young and Bobby Roode both wrestled in TNA for the early parts of their careers. They were together in a stable of Canadian wrestlers, appropriately named Team Canada. Managed by Scott D’Amore, Team Canada had several members over its two year span. However, it was Young and Roode that competed together in the tag scene. Together, they won the NWA-TNA Tag Titles on two occasions.
7. Paul Ellering’s Resume
When the discussions about Pro Wrestling’s greatest managers come up, all the usual names are mentioned. Paul Heyman, Mr. Fuji, Sherri Martel, Bobby Heenan, Paul Bearer, Jim Cornette, Jimmy Hart, etc. But there’s one name that’s always left out, and we’re not quite sure why. Paul Ellering was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011 with the Road Warriors. We’re all aware that Paul was the long time manager of Hawk and Animal, but the man’s actually got a stellar resume of superstar’s he’s managed.
Notable names include: Jake Roberts, Arn Anderson, King Kong Bundy, Iron Sheik and Abdullah the Butcher. All those men are WWE legends so why is it that Ellering doesn’t get more respect as a legendary manager. Currently, Paul manages the NXT Tag Champions, the Authors of Pain.
6. Tommso Ciampa’s 2005 WWE Debut
Tommaso Ciampa is currently one half of an NXT tag team named #DIY with his partner Johnny Gargano. However, Ciampa initial WWE appearance was years earlier in 2005. WWE wants you to forget this, not because of Ciampa personally, but because of who it involved.
In 2005, in the midst of the The Undertaker/Muhammad Hassan feud, Ciampa was brought in to play Hassan’s lawyer, Thomas Whitney. Ciampa read a prepared statement to Taker, on behalf of Hassan, before being Choke slammed by the Undertaker. This itself wasn’t a problem, but WWE wants to remove all traces of Hassan and the story line because of the controversy surrounding it. Ciampa didn’t appear again with Hassan, and soon the whole story was dropped. Ciampa had a few dark matches after this and was then signed to a developmental deal with Ohio Valley Wrestling.
5. Finn Balor’s Connection With The Club/Bullet Club
It doesn’t take reading this article to know that WWE has a very selective memory when it comes down to their wrestlers, inside and outside WWE. The front office likes to believe that their fans only watch WWE wrestling and only remember what’s happened since the last pay-per-view. So when A.J. Styles, Karl Anderson, and Luke Gallows came to WWE from New Japan, it wasn’t a shock that WWE again promoted their selective memory tactic.
They spun the story with A.J. being the sole leader of the Club, with no mention of anyone else being in the fold. We know, however, that that’s only half the truth. In Japan, before AJ Styles had even showed up, Prince Devitt, aka Finn Balor was the sole leader of the Bullet Club. So when the three aforementioned men showed up in WWE last year, fans were clamoring for a FULL reunion with Finn Balor in the mix. But with Finn Balor currently wrestling as one of the company’s top baby faces, it remains to be seen how quickly a reunion will happen, if at all.
4. R-Truth Was a Two-Time NWA Champion
Before R-Truth was rapping and dancing, teaming with Goldust, or looking for Little Jimmy, he wrestled under his real name, Ron Killings, in TNA. And truthfully, Killings was the man for a while. Ron portrayed a much more serious persona and even headlined a few of their earlier pay per views. If this sounds hard to believe, wait until you hear this one. Ron Killings, held the NWA Heavyweight Championship twice.
Yes, we are talking about THAT NWA Championship. The prestigious one. The one held by Lou Thesz, Buddy Rogers, Harley Race, Ric Flair and so on. So if he’s good enough to hold that title, why isn’t he good enough to at least be taken seriously on WWE TV? R-Truth has had one WWE title shot in almost 12 years with the company. James Ellsworth has had more title opportunities and he’s only been around a few months. Just saying……
3. The Ascension’s NXT Tag Team Championship Reign
During their time in NXT, the Ascension were a dominant force. The group became a duo and Konnor and Viktor went on to share great success in the NXT Tag Team Division. WWE wants you to forget this because they are basically jobbers on SmackDown at this point. It’s not a coincidence that no one ever mentions the fact that The Ascension were the longest reigning NXT Tag Team Champions in history.
While one could say this record should have an asterisk due to NXT’s relatively short history, it doesn’t change the fact that they held the gold for 364 days. One day short of a full year. The New Day broke the WWE Tag Team Championship record held by Demolition and they’ve been praised ever since. So it’s a little surprising that WWE has rarely, if ever mentioned this fact. With all the complaints about the weak Tag Divisions on both shows, it’s a problem that could be easily fixed. If the WWE front office would let teams such as The Ascension and The Vaudevillians return to the way they were in NXT, you’d have a much stronger division. That’s like making women such as Bayley, Sasha Banks, and Becky Lynch jobbers, and then complaining about the strength of the Women’s Division.
2. Big E’s Black Excellence Post
Just a short time in WWE, they had done something that was unheard of in company history. African Americans had possession of three of their championships, on the same show no less. The New Day had just made history by becoming the longest reigning WWE Tag Team Champions in history. At the same time, Rich Swann was the Cruiserweight Champion and Sasha Banks had ahold of the Women’s Championship. Having realized how rare this was, Big E decided to capture the moment in a picture and post it on Twitter. So in late December 2016, Big E posted a photo of The New Day, Banks and Swann together, holding their respective belts with a black and white filter. He used the hashtag #BlackExcellence
Although the tweet was seemingly harmless, it caused a firestorm of criticism and controversy. Fans quickly attacked Big E, claiming he was spouting reverse racism and other bringing negative attention to himself. The backlash was so harsh, Kofi Kingston and other wrestlers had to come to Big E’s aid. The WWE has never publicly addressed this issue, but it’s worth noting that a few short weeks later, New Day, Swann, and Banks had all lost their titles.
1. Luke Gallows Was Festus
This one could have arguably been lumped with the other entry about Luke Gallows being Fake Kane and teaming with CM Punk. But it was good enough to stand on it’s own. Remember that awful gimmick about 10 years ago with the big guy that was in a standing comatose state before matches, but would turn into an unstoppable raging monster when the bell rang? Yeah, that guy was named Festus. But the real man who played that character was our favorite Club member, Luke Gallows.
Gallows has stated that he still gets teased about the character to this day, but did it because Vince McMahon said so basically. The funniest thing about this whole situation is that of all the people that remember this awful gimmick 10 years later, the one person that really matters has no recollection of it. According to Gallows himself, although he gets teased regularly, Vince McMahon seemingly doesn’t remember that Gallows was Festus. And Gallows wants to keep it that way for as long as possible. After all, who would want to be reminded of a character that bad? Everything from the look, to the conception and execution was just bad. Thankfully that Festus was killed off and Luke was able to find success just being himself.
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