With the WWE deciding to split the rosters in a brand extension between RAW and SmackDown, there will be a need for some new tag teams to come into the WWE. Both brands need to have a proper depth in their respective tag team divisions. While the NXT developmental system has a few teams to offer for future consideration, there will be a need for more teams in the WWE.
Having The Mighty Don’t Kneel – now known as TM61 – and the Authors of Pain does help the NXT Tag Team division. However, NXT will be losing the team of Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa to RAW’s new cruiserweight division. With the developmental brand needing to add more star power with more call-ups expected between now and the day after WrestleMania, the WWE needs to start looking for new talent outside of the WWE.
Tag team wrestling has always been one thing that the WWE has lacked in recent years. While the SmackDown brand currently has seven teams in their tournament on the official WWE roster, the RAW brand needs more teams to help their division. There’s a reason that The New Day have held the WWE Tag Team Championships (now listed specifically for the RAW brand) for more than a year.
Moving forward, there are plenty of tag teams that the WWE needs to consider adding to their roster. At the same time, there are several tag teams that they should avoid signing.
15 Need – The Wolves
Eddie Edwards and Davey Richards might be one of, if not the, best tag teams that is not currently on the WWE roster. The two have won the ROH World Tag Team Championship, while each has held the ROH World Championship before they moved on to TNA Wrestling to be the five-time TNA World Tag Team Champions. There’s a lot of talent between the two as both are usually within the top 100 of Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s 500 list.
It’s interesting how the two were not signed to a WWE contract earlier. In 2014, they appeared on NXT before they eventually signed with TNA. Richards revealed that they received an email saying there were enough wrestlers like them already in WWE. Whether that is true or not, one would hope that the WWE would reconsider that stance. Maybe we could see the WWE bring back The Wolves for a second chance.
14 Avoid – War Machine
The team of Hanson and Raymond Rowe definitely seem like a monstrous tag team that has won Ring of Honor World Tag Team Championships last December. When not dealing with the six-foot-one, 265-pound Hanson, there’s also the six-foot-eight, 240-pound Rowe. The two haven’t been an official tag team for a long enough period for the WWE to want to bring them into their future scouting reports.
Additionally, they also have enough larger talents with big bushy beards. The WWE already has Bray Wyatt, Erick Rowan, Braun Strowman and the soon-to-return Luke Harper. There can only be so much facial hair on one wrestling roster.
Joking aside, the two probably need to find a different gimmick so that they don’t run the risk of potentially falling into WWE mediocrity. They are lower on the “avoid” list because there is a chance they can make the changes to move them to the other side in a year or two.
13 Need – Motor City Machine Guns
Earlier this year, there were some online rumors that both Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin were being targeted by WWE officials for a potential contract. Who could blame the WWE as both have been able to stand out both as the Motor City Machine Guns and as singles competitors? However, they have moved on to work for New Japan Pro Wrestling and also Ring of Honor. They’ve won tag team gold with NJPW and also with TNA.
Both wrestlers would be valuable for the WWE’s NXT brand, especially with helping the younger teams. The veterans also have some years left in the tank since both are still in their 30s. Considering the current tag teams in NXT, the matches would be top notch. They would likely get a warm welcome from the WWE Universe, which is slowly becoming more aware of the professional wrestling world outside of the WWE bubble.
12 Avoid – Beer Money, Inc
This is in no way a knock on Bobby Roode, who is going to find success with the NXT brand, nor is this a knock on James Storm, who is deserving of being brought back to NXT for an actual full-time contract. However, it would be better if the two are kept as singles wrestlers. Both are up in age and deserve the chance to shine on their own outside of the Beer Money, Inc. label.
Roode and Storm won the TNA World Tag Team Championships on five separate occasions during a time when tag team wrestling was one of the strongest parts of TNA, back when they were regular rivals with Team 3D (also known as The Dudley Boyz), The Latin American Exchange and The Motor City Machine Guns. However, there are so many other options that do not require having to reunite Roode and Storm, which is why we’ve put them on the “avoid” list.
11 Need– Brian Kendrick And Paul London
The WWE’s Cruiserweight Classic showed us that Brian Kendrick still has what it takes to be a very entertaining competitor in the WWE. One has to wonder if maybe Paul London might be similar shape. Both men were a very unique duo that had a very lengthy run as the WWE Tag Team Champions from 2006 to 2007. They were also one of the smallest tag teams in WWE history to win gold at a combined weight that was less than 400 pounds.
Both men were high-flyers and the WWE is definitely making a transition to a style that is looking for those types of superstars. While the two have spoken in shoot promos about how it was hard to be in the WWE back then, it seems to have changed with Triple H assuming more of the control in the operations. Maybe a reunion of Kendrick and London would provide a much needed spark on RAW’s tag team division.
10 Avoid – The BroMans
While there have been a lot of positives in TNA’s Tag Team Division over the years, the quality has gone down a bit recently. One of the teams that shouldn’t be on WWE’s scouting report for the future is that of Jessie Godderz and Robbie E. The BroMans are definitely colorful and have their gimmick down. They’ve even won the TNA World Tag Team Championship twice in their run.
If the WWE was considering looking at them, they would need to have a complete change in their appearance and gimmick. There’s already a Jersey-based talent with Zack Ryder and he’s currently in a team with Mojo Rawley with the Hype Bros. The WWE should take a pass and say no to these two bros. They will likely have the best chance of winning tag team gold by remaining on the TNA roster and maybe earn a chance to compete internationally on an independent basis.
9 Need – reDRagon
As mentioned earlier in this column, the WWE has been shifting to a newer style of in-ring action. It has also been a great place for former Ring of Honor champions to really show what they can do on the biggest professional wrestling stage in the world. Two men who could follow the path of guys like Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn are Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly. Under the team name of reDRagon, the two have won the ROH World Tag Team Championship three times and the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship twice.
Both men have combined their styles to feature a list of double team moves that combine their striking abilities that have entertained fans at ROH and New Japan Pro Wrestling since they first teamed together in 2012. The two would easily find success and develop a fan base in NXT, which could lead to a call-up to the main roster within a few years. Both could also be great veterans to help younger students at the WWE Performance Center.
8 Avoid – The Headbangers
Having Mosh and Thrasher make a one-time appearance during the opening round of SmackDown’s tag team title tournament was enough. They were able to do their job in filling the open spot as the eighth team that gave Rhyno and Heath Slater their first win as a duo. While there might be some fans who loved having these kilted men on television, they are past their prime and are likely destined to return to independent bookings.
That’s not to knock them and say they weren’t a good team. In fact, The Headbangers were a memorable duo back during the Attitude Era. While they are former WWE World Tag Team Champions, it was for less than a month and they usually lost most of their matches during the 1990s. At most, they could be guest coaches for a few days or a week at the WWE Performance Center. But for them to be back on the main roster would be two spots that could have gone to a more deserving duo.
7 Need – The Briscoe Brothers
Both Mark and Jay Briscoe were invited for a tryout with WWE at television tapings and at Florida Championship Wrestling back in 2009. However, the two were turned down because they didn’t have the look the WWE officials were seeking. While Mark Briscoe might need some dental work for losing four top teeth in a match, the real-life brothers are among the best to have never competed as official WWE Superstars. Back then, it was understandable, but the WWE has evolved in recent years.
That cosmetic appeal might not be the most important factor in what WWE scouts are seeking. They are also a team with a big following, similar to recent additions like Finn Balor, AJ Styles and Samoa Joe. “Dem Boys” have virtually won tag team gold everywhere they have competed, including ROH, NJPW and Pro Wrestling Noah. They are also still within their wrestling prime in their early 30s.
6 Avoid – Cryme Tyme
While the team of Shad Gaspard and JTG brought some laughs for the WWE Universe between 2006 and 2010, there’s a good chance the Cryme Tyme gimmick would not be accepted in today’s version of the WWE. One also has to consider the fact that there are a lot of tensions about race and the stereotypes that Cryme Tyme have portrayed might lead to some criticism from fans and outsiders.
Beyond that, the two weren’t really that great during their previous stints in the WWE. They never won the WWE Tag Team Championship, or any kind of tag team gold for any promotion outside of Ohio Valley Wrestling. In fact, there was a running joke about how long JTG was able to stay on the WWE payroll while barely being seen on television. Gaspard and JTG haven’t been able to find consistent bookings during their time on the independent circuit.
5 Need – The Addiction
If there’s one thing that the WWE has shown in recent years, its that age isn’t necessarily a deterrent in signing talents. Heck, Goldust is 47 years old and has had some of his best matches in a long time during his current run. Who’s to say that Christopher Daniels, who’s currently listed at age 46, and Kazarian, 39, wouldn’t have a lot of success within the WWE? The Addiction are one of the better tag teams that hasn’t wrestled in WWE.
Both men won the TNA World Tag Team Championship twice and also currently hold the ROH World Tag Team Championship. While being older, they would present a good source of mentorship for younger NXT superstars. They would also have a loyal fan base that would tune in – either on the WWE Network or USA Network – to see what they can do in the WWE. However, the time is certainly ticking and they might not have as much in them as some of the other prospective teams.
4 Avoid – The World's Greatest Tag Team
Shelton Benjamin was set to return to the WWE a couple of months ago when the brand extension first happened, but a shoulder injury has delayed his return. At one point there were whispers that WWE was considering bringing back Charlie Haas as well, the other half of The World's Greatest Tag Team. While the team of Benjamin and Haas would sure make a great addition to SmackDown, the WWE would be better served having Benjamin come in for a midcard singles run. The SmackDown brand needs some established names on the midcard and Benjamin seems like a good fit, even if it's a year from now.
While Haas and Benjamin were great in the past, it doesn't seem like a good idea to look for what worked before.
3 Need – The Young Bucks
There are times when one of the top goals of wrestlers is to earn a WWE contract. It’s almost like they need the WWE to find the best chance to earn a living in the ring. However, for Matt and Nick Jackson, The Young Bucks don’t need WWE. They’ve found a niche in working over in New Japan Pro Wrestling, along with Ring of Honor here in the United States. The Young Bucks are one of the most popular tag teams, thanks partly to their status in the Bullet Club.
In 2014, they announced that they were invited to a tryout with WWE. But they said they turned it down. With more than 10 years of experience and championships in ROH, NJPW, Chikara and several top independent promotions, they never had to make their fortune wrestling for Vince McMahon’s wrestling empire. Still, the WWE could use a team like them to generate a lot of buzz and more interest in their overall tag team division.
2 Avoid – Decay
This is by no means a knock on the team of Abyss, Crazzy Steve and Rosemary. In fact, Decay may be one of the most entertaining tag teams in the world. This is more of a case of them being mismatched with the current WWE environment. Right now, they are able to exercise more freedom in TNA, but it's hard to imagine their gimmick would be over on the main roster of WWE. They've done some memorable stuff this year, feuding with the Hardys and Beer Money Inc, but succeeding in one promotion doesn't necessarily mean they'd be a hit everywhere.
Odds are, WWE wouldn't find a proper way to use them. Perhaps WWE could test the waters with a tryout contract in NXT to determine if the gimmick would get over with the WWE audience.
1 Need – The Broken Hardys
It started with Matt Hardy having lost his mind in TNA earlier this year. He and Jeff Hardy, wait, I mean Brother Nero (or Obsolete Mule) have found a resurgence that have put them at the top of wrestling popularity. This includes the infamous “Final Deletion” and the most recent “Delete or Decay” segment on Impact Wrestling. Both men have been able to successfully reinvent themselves with the “broken” characters and it might be wise for WWE to keep their eye on these former WWE Tag Team Champions.
Both have had their issues with the WWE, but the culture has been changing in recent years to allow some more freedoms for many of the newer talents. We’ve seen what creative freedom did for the Hardys on Impact. Imagine what could be possible in a feud involving Bray Wyatt, or with any effort for them to reclaim their spot at the top of WWE’s tag team division. It might be a long shot, but the WWE should really consider finding a way to bring Matt and Jeff back – even if it’s a one-year deal for them to retire in the WWE.