Tag team wrestling has always been a part of professional wrestling and there have been many legendary, Hall of Fame-worthy teams that have worked for every major company that has ever existed. However, in WWE, in the world of Vince McMahon, a tag team is just another tool to help him to find the next solo star. Stars like Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, and Davey Boy Smith were all born from very successful tag teams. Even Matt and Jeff Hardy and Edge and Christian had successful solo careers after being in top tag teams.
Currently, WWE is experiencing a tag team renaissance. With the recent brand split, and thanks to NXT, there are more quality tag teams in the company than there has been since the first Survivor Series event in 1987. For fans of tag team wrestling, this means that there will be plenty of tag team matches. For Vince McMahon, this gives him an all new shopping list of talent from which he can hopefully find the next crop of solo stars. So from the latest crop of WWE tag teams, here is a list of the people most likely to become the next breakout solo stars.
15 15. Blake and Murphy – Buddy Murphy
Blake and Murphy were one of the top tag teams in NXT a little while ago and, as of this writing, have yet to be assigned to the main roster. The two men are both talented and though Wesley Blake is the bigger of the two, it seems as if WWE has more faith in Buddy Murphy, as he's routinely beat his former tag team partner at house shows. However, from the looks of the two men’s work, we're not sure either will truly succeed in WWE.
When the team of Blake and Murphy split in 2016, Alexa Bliss went out on her own before being called up to the main roster. Since then, the duo has got back together and broke up a few times and we'd expect them to get back together in the future. However, when looking at solo runs, both men haven't won much as singles competitors, but we're gonna lean towards Murphy as he's been defeating Blake.
14 14. The Revival – Dash Wilder
Both Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson are smaller sized wrestlers, which could serve as a detriment to both of their potential pushes, but smaller men have been successful in WWE in the past, so it will not totally eliminate either man. The men also have equal experience across the wrestling world prior to their arrivals in NXT, so there is no clear-cut choice. However, Wilder seems to have a slight edge over Dawson in terms of being the choice to become a solo star from this team.
Where Wilder has the edge over Dawson is in the fact that Dawson arrived in NXT two years before Wilder, and Dawson has spent nearly his entire time moving from one tag team to another. This shows that WWE has not yet gained the confidence in Dawson to send him out on his own and if he hasn’t gained the company’s confidence yet, it is unlikely that it will happen, meaning Dawson might spend his entire career as a tag team wrestler.
13 13. The Ascension - Konnor
The Ascension appeared on the main roster with a gimmick that seemed to be a rip-off of Demolition and The Road Warriors. They were not helped when they appeared on television and bad-mouthed the teams from the past, who then came back and beat down the current stars. The Ascension went from being one of the top teams in NXT to enhancement talents in WWE. However, in selecting a solo star from the group, Konnor appears to have an advantage over Viktor.
The main advantages that Konnor has over Viktor are that Konnor is taller and bigger, and that Konnor is American while Viktor is Canadian. Vince McMahon would not hold Viktor back because of his nationality, but Vince might not want to have to deal with too many more heel in America, face in Canada situations, being that Kevin Owens is already a top heel and is also Canadian. The two men seem to be interchangeable, but Konnor’s extra few inches of height would appeal to Vince’s image of what a champion should look like. Then again, we don't really see either making a huge run in the near future.
12 12. The Golden Truth – Neither One
Dustin “Goldust” Runnels and Ron “R-Truth” Killings are both in their forties and both have spent around twenty years in the business. Both men have won numerous titles across various companies, with Truth being the first acknowledged African-American NWA World Champion and Runnels being a three-time Intercontinental and two-time WCW US Champion. Both have had careers worthy of Hall of Fame consideration, but if the company is looking to choose a solo star from this duo, the company is likely to pass on both of them.
Both men have been reduced to comedy stars in their later years and they spend much of their time elevating younger talent. Aside from secondary titles, neither man has truly been given the ball in WWE. Vince would be looking for someone younger and, as many old-timers like to say, someone that WWE could place on a magazine cover. Truthfully, neither of these men fit either of those criteria.
11 11. Breezango – Fandango
Tyler Breeze, as his character is currently constructed, has little chance of being a solo star, as the WWE fans were not very interested in it when it was originally introduced to them. The Fandango character is also not very popular at the moment, as only his entrance music was able to get over with the fans. However, when Johnny Curtis won the fourth season of NXT, when it was a competition show, he was promised a title match of his choosing and challenged Team Hell No, with Curtis Axel, for the Tag Team Championships, which he lost.
Curtis won NXT because he has the look and talent that WWE search for, and he still possesses those traits. As Fandango, he is nothing more than a comedy act, but with a tweaked character, he has the tools to be a star on his own. The team of Breezango is at the bottom of the tag team rankings and this might be holding Curtis back from becoming a solo star.
10 10. The Vaudevillains – Aiden English
Simon Gotch entirely looks like a character that was pulled from the early 20th century, while Aiden English has more of the look of a normal person, and this is what places him ahead of Gotch in choosing a solo star from The Vaudevillains. While both are extremely talented, both in the ring and on the microphone, English has taken acting classes and is an accomplished singer. One thing that separated The Rock (no we're not comparing English to The Rock) from other talents was his ability to entertain in a variety of ways, and English has that over Gotch.
Besides his ability to entertain, English has a look that would not require much alteration, while Gotch would have to change his look and his name as both seem to tie him to earlier times. The only thing that would disrupt his push would be if Shaul Guerrero, English’s wife and the former Raquel Diaz, were to return to WWE, as co-mingling seems to be frowned upon within the WWE.
9 9. The Shining Stars – Neither One
Some wrestling fans may be able to tell the difference between Primo and Epico, but to most, the two seem to be indistinguishable. Primo’s brother and Epico’s cousin, Carlito, was a successful solo star in WWE, but neither of the members of The Shining Stars seem to have the tools to go out on their own. If you need evidence of that, look to the fact that WWE has changed their gimmicks a variety of times, which has never worked, and have never considered separating them.
Neither man is going to be elevated to a position as a solo star. The company does not always have success with Hispanic stars, but that is not the reason. The reason is that neither man has anything about then that sets them apart from the rest of the roster and this is why they will either always be a tag team, or they will soon be released from the company.
8 8. The Hype Bros – Mojo Rawley
Zack Ryder has had several opportunities to become a solo star. The company has given him chances, and, through his You Tube channel, he has attempted to create opportunities for himself. However, his Jersey Shore-like character is likely what keeps him from reaching the top of WWE. On the other hand, even though Mojo Rawley is currently in the midst of an oddball character of his own, he is still our choice to be a breakout star from this team.
Rawley has the size that Vince likes and he is a former NFL Player, and we all know Vince likes real athletes. Though he is still rather raw in terms of his overall performance, that weakness has been overlooked in the past. His character can be tweaked into something more serious and with his size and background, he could be molded into a successful solo star. His time as a Hype Bro is a temporary stop before Rawley is given an opportunity to sink or swim on his own.
7 7. The Usos – Jimmy Uso
The Usos are twin brothers, so it should be difficult choosing between them. However, there are some things that set them apart that make picking a solo star a little easier. Jimmy Uso has two things going against him that might keep Vince McMahon from pushing him beyond his tag team. One thing holding him back is that he seems to be gaining weight more quickly than his brother, hence his need to wrestle in a t-shirt. The other drawback against him is that he is married to Naomi. Vince seems to be against wrestlers co-mingling in his company and Jey is married to a non-wrestler.
However, Jimmy was chosen over Jey because Jey has a far bigger negative against him than Jimmy does. Jey has been injured several times, forcing Jimmy to either perform as a solo or team with other people. While this has not made Jimmy a better solo performer, Vince will look at Jey as untrustworthy because of his injury history and would be reluctant to push Jey as a solo star.
6 6. Heath Slater & Rhyno – Heath Slater
Heath Slater has had several opportunities to be a solo star, while Rhyno is past his prime and is developing interests outside of professional wrestling. Heath Slater is quirky and seems to be more suited for a comedy role, and he's been highly successful comedy act. However, Rhyno has never been a character that could stand alone in WWE, as he always had someone else doing his talking for him and that does not cast him as having the stuff to become a successful solo star.
Slater has a heavy Southern accent and it would be difficult to see him as a solo star, but he has the better chance of the two members of this team. Rhyno is big and strong, but he is older, and WWE might not be able to depend on him for a long time. Slater is younger than Rhyno and Rhyno has much more hardcore wrestling on his body, which means that he is closer to his career’s end than its beginning. Slater, with the right type of push, could become a solo star.
5 5. The Club – Karl Anderson
Both members of The Club, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows, are very young seasoned veterans. Each man is in their thirties and each man has been all over the world with their careers. Together, they dominated Japan and America as members of the Bullet Club and either man could be a great solo star.
Luke Gallows is the bigger of the two and WWE likes size, so Gallows might seem like a better option, right?. However, Anderson is the better talker and is also the better in-ring performer, and being better at both things places Anderson ahead of Gallows, even if the lead is slight. On top of that, Gallows has already failed as a solo act in the WWE (remember Festus?), so that's also working against him.
During the feuds with the New Day, Anderson seemed to be more capable of doing comedy than Gallows, which means that Anderson has more character range than Gallows. Anderson has all the tools to be a successful solo star and it could happen sooner than later.
4 4. Cesaro & Sheamus - Cesaro
Cesaro has the look, size, in-ring talent and microphone skills (they're progressing) to be a successful solo star. He also has the ability to speak five languages and has years of international experience, which means that he has worked with a variety of talents. Sheamus is similar in a lot of ways to Cesaro, but Sheamus is five years older, which means that he probably has fewer years around which the company can build. Also, Sheamus recently had a run as a top star in 2015, which went horribly, so it's unlikely to happen again.
The differences between the two men lie in the fact that Cesaro’s overall look, as well as his move set, are better than Sheamus’, so Cesaro would be the choice of the two to be pushed as a solo star. Sheamus has been booked as one-dimensional in the ring and it is more difficult to overlook his accent, while Cesaro can sound more American and accents at times have been detriments to the pushes of some stars.
3 3. American Alpha – Chad Gable
Jason Jordan has the size that WWE likes and he has more experience than Chad Gable. Both men are college graduates and have extensive amateur wrestling backgrounds, but Gable has cruiserweight size while Jordan is big, tall and muscular, so WWE would look at Jordan first. However, Gable has the intangibles that Jordan seems to be missing and that is what will move Gable up the ladder more quickly than Jordan.
Gable has the charisma advantage over Jason Jordan and the team’s catch phrase is centered on Gable, which indicates that Gable might be the star of the team. The edge in charisma moves Chad ahead of Jordan, and that is what makes him our choice as the potential breakout star.
The two men are equal in a lot of ways, but Gables charisma outweighs Jordan’s size. WWE is personality riven and Gable has the personality. Gable is shorter and smaller than Daniel Bryan, so he would have a large hill to climb in WWE, but Gable has the tools to make the climb successfully.
2 2. Enzo & Big Cass – Colin Cassady
Selecting between Enzo and Cass is an absolute no-brainer. If the two of them were separated, Enzo would be cast as more of a comedy act, while Cass would be pushed to the moon. Cass is 7'0" tall, in shape, good looking, and has decent promo skills. On top of that, Cass is a better than average performer in the ring and that puts him ahead of most men his size in the business.
While Enzo is great on the microphone, he is cruiserweight small with an odd look and has a quirky personality. Aside from Mick Foley, WWE is reluctant to elevate odd characters at times and Enzo is odd. Enzo could win promo battles with most of the roster, but when it came time to select championship contenders, Cass would be at the front of the line and Enzo would be at the rear. We've already seen an example of this, as when Enzo was hurt, Cass was placed in the main event scene and actually took part in a match for the Universal Championship.
1 1. The New Day – Xavier Woods
With regards to The New Day, Kofi Kingston and Big E have more main roster experience than Xavier Woods. Also, Big E has the size that Vince McMahon seems to like, so Big E would seem to be the logical choice, but Woods is more likely to be pushed over the other two.
Kofi and Big E have already had solo pushes in WWE. Big E has worn the Intercontinental title once and Kofi has held it four times, along with three US Title reigns. However, neither of these men has had a sustained solo push. Woods has shown more microphone skill, more personality and more range, especially during The New Day’s feud with The Wyatt Family when Woods showed his serious side. Woods has the most natural charisma and is someone that Vince could get behind as a solo star.
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