It’s become the phrase that separates tag team members after they split, named for that famous dichotomy established by Shawn Michaels becoming a first ballot Hall Of Famer and Marty Jannetty becoming a footnote. The Rockers tag team were the epitome of a synchronous unit for their time together, matching moves, looks, and personalities so that new fans would have difficulty telling them apart. Once the split occurred, however, the similarities were replaced by such a gulf in progress that it became common parlance to call someone who stumbled away from a former tag team partnership; The Jannetty.
Marty Jannetty was able to snare an Intercontinental Championship reign, so his career didn’t immediately implode, but the clear difference between the two is massive and has been repeated in other tag teams. Jim ‘The Anvil’ Neidhart was left for dead by Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart. Rick Steiner got taunted by Chucky while Scott Steiner became a multiple time World Champion and purportedly a big, bad daddy of booty. Only one member of The British Bulldogs went on to become THE British Bulldog. Did you even know Booker T had a brother?
The reality is unless you’re Edge and Christian or The Blade Runners (Sting and The Ultimate Warrior) there’s a high chance that any tag team success will be all that there is for half of a split. So now we’re analyzing the current WWE roster and seeing which tag members had better be savoring the good times while they last.
15. Gable & Benjamin: Shelton Benjamin
He’s only just returned but the way he merely walked onscreen with no fanfare and hasn’t been showcased in any way leads you to think that Shelton is in a mentor role in this latest WWE run and not much else. Combine that with Chad Gable’s highly likable and personable demeanor and unfortunately for the former gold standard, he may soon be collecting the silver.
Shelton appears to be as athletic as ever, although we have limited evidence beyond the few matches they’ve had since his return. He seems more geared into a power game as the larger of the two in the team, with Gable’s plucky heart and an impressive array of throws so far outshining Shelton each week.
With Shelton already very deep into his career, it’s more likely he’ll settle into a mid-level existence, perhaps even recapture an Intercontinental or United States Championship if he really hits his stride. However, of the two it is clear that Gable has a brighter future and Benjamin isn’t likely to exceed his own previous achievements.
14. The Hype Bros: Zack Ryder
This one is a damn shame because WWE seems to absolutely refuse to want anything to do with Zack Ryder’s success. With that being the case, and their perpetual love for guys who have famous connections and are media savvy, Mojo Rawley is certain to build on his WrestleMania Battle Royal win before Zack gets another chance of his own.
Zack Ryder should be a textbook success story. He is a cancer survivor, pioneered WWE superstars using Youtube shows with Z! True Long Island Story, and got over without being on TV for months on end. However, WWE simply didn’t have him in their plans and now he is far below the average superstar rank. Meanwhile, Mojo has segments with his real-life friend Rob Gronkowski at WrestleMania while winning the annual Andre the Giant Battle Royal and hanging with Gronk again on SmackSown, and the team appears to be running headlong into a split that is designed solely for Mojo Rawley’s benefit, with Zack being positioned as the grumpy veteran.
Zack Ryder may be only a WWE Championship away from the most unlikely Grand Slam of all time, but unless the stars align just right it’ll be WWE’s continued habit of ignoring him that plays out, especially if (when) The Hype Bros split.
13. The Street Profits: Angelo Dawkins
A brand new team down in NXT, The Street Profits have made an immediate impact with their entertaining vignettes and a smooth transition into the NXT tag team division. We have seen Angelo Dawkins in NXT for a long time, part of makeshift teams and always on the losing end of things. Dawkins seems like a standard WWE pick-up, his ring skills and presentation not wholly unique over others, but on the other side of the coin is his tag partner Montez Ford.
Montez Ford oozes charisma with every step he takes into the arena during their entrance, dancing smoothly to the music while looking effortlessly cool wearing glasses indoors and carrying a solo cup. On top of that, he is a highlight reel in the ring, smooth to the point of silk between the ropes and seeming instantly like a bigger deal than the entire arena can handle.
Angelo has definitely struck gold by having Montez as a partner, and good luck to them as a team because they’re an entertaining pair, but when the time comes for a split Montez Ford’s future has the potential to be massive and absolutely eclipses Dawkins’ prospects.
12. Rusev & Aiden English: Rusev
Another truly baffling situation, with WWE seeming not to grasp what a tremendous asset they have in one superstar who has shown an adept range of skills they’re lucky to have. Meanwhile, WWE has thankfully recognized that Aiden English is a valuable tool in the Smackdown Live ecosystem, his exceptional voice making him unique and indispensable while it seems WWE only sees Rusev as their generic foreign heel. And the one thing in common with almost all generic foreign heels is that they have a short shelf life after they begin losing more than winning.
It’s almost unfathomable that WWE could screw Rusev up, since he has size, can talk, and has shown truly inspired wrestling psychology, particularly when selling injuries. To top all that off Rusev has shown a surprisingly well crafted comedic side, with his timing and inflections making segments suddenly pop and be memorable where others fail to do so. But somehow here we are with Rusev coming off back to back beatings from perennial WWE stalwarts Randy Orton and John Cena, while his off-sider Aiden English has risen up and shown his own talents merit closer scrutiny.
11. The Ascension: Konnor
Calling The Ascension’s current run as the goofy attempted friends of Breezango ‘good times’ tells you a lot about what slim prospects these two have in WWE. If a split happens it’s almost certain that Konnor would be the one quickly left by the wayside.
Konnor has two Wellness Policy strikes on his record, isn’t impressive in the ring, and was eliminated from the original NXT competition not once but twice. Meanwhile, Viktor has already shown during one of Konnor’s suspensions that he can go it alone and is a solid wrestler, able to use the demonic Ascension gimmick perfectly well on his own. Perhaps Viktor would even be able to find some of his own success in the same way Aiden English has on Smackdown Live.
The Ascension is currently the second string team to a comedy team, and so their prospects are bleak the moment Breezango focus on something else. Of the two, at least Viktor has a shot at moderate success.
10. Heavy Machinery: Tucker Knight
This is a case of an NXT team that seems to fit together well at a glance, but after watching a few of their matches it’s clear that Dozovic has that interesting look, mobile offense, and wild personality to grab the WWE Universe’s attention. Tucker Knight meanwhile appears to be a step behind, coming off as the bland member of the two, as well as having a less unique look.
Tucker Knight suffers from the lack of extremes. He is caught in a somewhat middle stage between being big, but not as thickly built as his tag partner. He’s tall but not as tall as the monsters he’ll meet if Heavy Machinery graduates NXT. He’s rough looking but Dozovic looks like a ball of beefy violence. Tucker’s offense lacks impact or the ferocity of his partner as well. Heavy Machinery has recently had some fun matches in NXT, smashing through unestablished lower-tier teams but getting halted by the likes of SAnitY and The Authors Of Pain when attempting a run at the tag titles, so even their standing in the division is middling-to-good, but not great.
9. The New Day: Kofi Kingston
Maybe a controversial pick, but WWE likes a lot of things in their top tier superstars, and for better or worse a mouth and muscles always beats the high-flying types. With Xavier Woods unofficially the New Day’s premier mouthpiece and Big E decidedly their powerhouse, Kofi has fallen into the veteran high-flyer role to complete the ensemble and if history holds true he’ll be mired below his fellows when the trio parts ways.
Kofi has continued to have one of the most unique move-sets in WWE, several moves like the S.O.S and the Trust Fall are entirely his own, but outside of that Big E and Xavier are leaving him behind. With their ever-improving move-sets, as displayed in their excellent Hell In The Cell match, and their far superior catchphrases it’s becoming clearer each week. The whole crowd chants along with Big E and Xavier on their big notes, but when Kofi grabs the mic there’s a noticeable depreciation in interaction that is telling.
Xavier has steadily improved the entire New Day run with no signs of stopping and Big E has been pegged for a main event role for years, so whether we like it or not Kofi is destined to be the one who falls away come the end of the New Day.
8. The Good Brothers: Luke Gallows
Luke Gallows is apparently one of the best influences behind the scenes in WWE, his return to the roster bringing fun and light-heartedness to a locker room that was previously on edge and walking on eggshells. Unfortunately, that won’t stop him from eventually being misused by WWE like they have multiple times before.
For those who don’t know, Luke Gallows was Fake Kane during the May 19th fiasco, he was Festus (a gentle simpleton who became enraged when the ring bell was rung), and a member of the Straight Edge Society with CM Punk, and yet somehow through each of these WWE treated him like a joke. It now seems that they only brought him back from Japan, with his tag partner Karl Anderson, to keep them away from NJPW rather than to treat them as the bruising tag team they could’ve been.
Anderson might not be any better off currently, but he has main evented shows in Japan as a singles wrestler and made the finals of the G1 Climax as well, having excellent matches all the way. Of the two, he has far less baggage and a blank slate WWE could make something with, while Gallows would be seen as damaged goods by now.
7. Slater & Rhyno: Rhyno
The Detroit native surprised everyone by not only coming back to WWE but winning the inaugural SmackDown Live Tag Team Championships with Heath Slater. When it’s all said and done though, there’s very little chance The Manbeast will be heard of much if he and Slater go their separate ways.
It seems crazy to say now, but two of the three members of 3MB are reigning champions of their divisions (Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre) and when they were a collective unit Heath seemed the best of the three. He’s often been lauded behind the scenes by veterans for his ability between the ropes and it seems a safe bet that he’ll get rewarded for that consistent reliability if he and Rhyno go their separate ways.
With Rhyno also pursuing political opportunities in recent times, he might not even continue in the squared circle once this current team ends so Heath will surely have his moment, which is good because he’s got kids.
6. SAnitY: Alexander Wolfe
SAnitY is said to be one of Triple H’s pet projects that he’s been marinating on for years, which he finally got to pull the trigger on when Eric Young arrived in NXT. Original member Sawyer Fulton got injured and ousted in favor of the impressive Killian Dain, and Nikki Cross joined to fill out the group. And on the fringes of SAnitY was Alexander Wolfe.
Seeming a lot like the Erick Rowan of SAnitY, Wolfe has been the one to take the pinfalls when they lose and has by far the least focus put on him. You know Vince is salivating at the chance to bring up the beastly Killian Dain and set him loose, and Eric Young proved in TNA that he can pretty much do it all from top to bottom, so he’s safe as well. Wolfe, outside of an admittedly surprising starring role in the match where SAnitY actually captured the NXT tag team championships, still seems like the hanger-on. The guy who is with the group out of tenure rather than anything else.
5. The Miztourage: Curtis Axel
Curtis Axel has been given many chances to capture something for fans to latch onto. He was in The Nexus where he became tag team champion. He was repackaged with Paul Heyman by his side. He won the Intercontinental Championship on Father’s Day where he was able to honor his dad Mr. Perfect who had also held the gold. He impersonated Hulk Hogan for a time until The Hulkster made that possibility dry up. He has stuck around for close to a decade, and yet he has not shown an ounce of personality until very recently when on the 16th October Raw he became comedy fodder and was subsequently strung upside down off of a forklift, presumably by The Shield.
Meanwhile, Bo Dallas has already shown in his run as NXT Champion that he is an untapped goldmine of comedy and heelish volatility. Not only that he has another untouched avenue of potential storylines with his brother Bray that WWE could exploit at any time.
Between the ropes the two are pretty close, with Axel perhaps even edging out his tag team partner, but in the land of WWE personality counts above all else and unless Axel has a terrific idea he’s been sitting on this entire time it’s unlikely he’s suddenly going to spring into action out of these two.
4. The Undisputed Era: Bobby Fish
The hot new main event act in NXT, all three members are extremely entertaining and proficient in the ring. This isn’t one of those examples of someone being a distant third wheel but rather surrounded with bona fide world championship level partners Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly, Bobby Fish is solidly good but just not up to those levels.
Known as reDRagon outside WWE, O’Reilly and Fish captured tag team championships the world over while Adam Cole became the first ever 3-time Ring Of Honor World Champion. In between Cole’s second and third reign? Kyle O’Reilly’s first world championship. O’Reilly and Cole were also a team almost a decade ago, known as Future Shock, and while not anywhere near the success of reDRagon they have orbited each other at various times their whole careers.
Fish is also by far the oldest of the three, almost a decade older than Cole and 7 years older than O’Reilly so his chances are mathematically slimmer just in terms of time left on the career clock. Whether this trio disbands in NXT or makes it to the main roster, look for Cole and O’Reilly to stand out when the breakup occurs.
3. The Bludgeon Brothers: Erick Rowan
Since we’ve seen this team break up approximately 107 times already, we know for near a fact that Rowan will disappear without a trace once Harper decides to go it alone. The Wyatt Family is the only times Rowan has seen success, and even then he was their lowest member, immediately eclipsed by Braun Strowman when he later joined the faction.
Rowan is not without some assets, with a menacing deep voice, impressive stature and a surprising array of spinning kicks in his arsenal, but he’s not in Luke Harper’s league between the ropes. These two have tagged on and off for close to half a decade and yet the closest thing they have to a finisher is Harper’s discus clothesline. Harper even had a sniff at being in the WWE Championship match at this year’s WrestleMania after finally splitting himself away from Bray Wyatt, all while Rowan languished between injuries and invisibility.
Harper is seen as a massively underutilized talent in WWE, often compared to Cesaro in being excellent without much recognition from WWE of that fact. Rowan is merely a large human being who is only relevant when paired with others. The moment he’s on his own, we probably won’t hear much more of him.
2. The Revival: Dash Wilder
This is a case of two very good wrestling talents who are separated by one of them having the gift of the gab. Where Scott Dawson has a high-octane motormouth and can throw out insults and verbal beatdowns alongside the best in WWE, Dash Wilder has an unimpressive voice and when we’ve heard him on commentary he sounds unsure and out of his league.
Scott Dawson is the driving force behind The Revival’s rise, coining catchphrases for their team that rival Enzo Amore while also having supreme ring psychology as shown in their wars with DIY and The Authors Of Pain. While Dash Wilder is his equal between the ropes, he is a far cry from his tag team partner in the character and personality stakes and so when they split (hopefully not anytime soon) the smart money’s on Scott Dawson going on to much greater success.
Recently the team has not been seen due to Dawson having an injury, but when these two finally do get their feet back under them we’ll see some of the best tag team matches on the main roster. Beyond that, look for Scott Dawson to impress while Dash Wilder will struggle.
1. The Fashion Police/Breezango: Tyler Breeze
Almost everyone is happy for The Fashion Police or Breezango right now, with their Fashion Files segments often being a highlight of SmackDown Live. Unfortunately, despite this success, WWE has a habit of taking a good thing, especially something legitimately funny and killing it deader than last year’s Paris collections. When that time inevitably comes, Tyler Breeze is going to be the one left behind.
In WWE you can often boil down decisions to the visuals, with Vince being a firm believer in that what you can put on a poster is almost more important than what happens in the ring. In that regard Fandango’s bigger build and height will see him come out victorious over the smaller Breeze. On top of that, Fandango is the essential comedy ingredient of the two, his breathy idiocy and weirdness are working overtime and he’s so good at it that he was doing it way back when he was ‘Weird Johnny Curtis’ in NXT Redemption.
Breeze just seems like a lighter, softer version of his partner, and with that choice on the table you know which one WWE will keep any momentum on. As good as Breeze can be, it’s either a repackage which would stifle his character or be gone altogether. Here’s hoping they solve the case of ‘2B’ before it’s too late.
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