Tag Team Turmoil in NXT

Since debuting on World Wrestling Entertainment’s on demand network, NXT has become a runaway hit for the company, producing critically acclaimed television each week and cultivating a cult following that continues to grow with each passing week.

A large part of that success can be attributed to NXT’s Tag Team division, which has been kept strong by giving importance to the NXT Tag Team Championship and the dedication to cultivating intriguing teams.  Although not every pairing has found success at Full Sail University, many tag teams have been able to connect and evolve to the point that they outgrow NXT and get called up to WWE’s main roster.  Two such examples include The Ascension and The Lucha Dragons who both recently left for the greener pastures of Raw and Smackdown.

Although this is great for the careers for both teams, it does leave a gaping hole in the tag team division of NXT.  There are still a few tag teams left on the roster such as current NXT Tag Team Champions Wesley Blake and Buddy Murphy, Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady, and The Vaudevillians.  Although all three of those teams are entertaining, it isn’t quite what you would call a division.  NXT could really use one or two more tag teams to round out the division and make it truly competitive again.

I have taken the liberty of suggesting five different teams that NXT could use as part of the tag team division in order to replenish these lost ranks.  Some have already shown promise as a team in the past, while others would be first time partners.  If you have a suggestion for a team not listed here, feel free to let me know @AdamContant and use #NewNXTTeams

Tyler Breeze & Tye Dillinger (The Supermodels): Both men are athletic, talented, good looking, and Canadian.  Tye Dillinger has struggled in NXT, with his tag team partner Jason Jordan recently abandoning and defeating him, Tye is at a cross road in his career.  Tyler Breeze is in a different situation.  Although he has recently come off a huge 2 out of 3 falls victory over Hideo Itami, Breeze has been stagnant for weeks now.  He is gaining some popularity with fans, but after failing numerous times to capture the NXT Championship, perhaps it is time to focus on another title.  Borrowing a gimmick from another Canadian duo of Rick Martel and Don Callis might be just what the booker ordered for these two.

Finn Balor & Hideo Itami (International Incident): Although both men have found a semblance of success as singles stars (Balor just came off a high profile NXT Championship match against Kevin Owens while Hideo won a tournament to enter the 2nd Annual Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 31) early on in their NXT tenure they were tag team partners with a common enemy in the Ascension.  Since vanquishing their dark foes, Hideo and Balor have stopped teaming, but imagine the possibilities if they decided to combine their skills again?  Balor and Itami could become one of, if not the most popular and dominant acts in NXT history.

Rhyno & THE Brian Kendrick (Veteran’s Affairs): On paper this seems like not only a clash of styles, but a clash of personalities.  Brian Kendrick is a crafty high flyer, whereas Rhyno is a powerhouse juggernaut. They couldn’t be more different, but that’s what could make them an exciting tag team.  Some of the greatest tag teams in wrestling have been a combination of styles that mesh well together.  Rhyno and Kenrick could certainly follow in the footsteps of other great tag teams with that MO like the Hart Foundation, the Colossal Connection, or the team of The British Bulldog & Owen Hart.  Another factor that sets them apart while at the same time connecting them is their experience.  Having guys like Rhyno and Kendrick in singles action does help NXT rookies learn by working with those who have been to the big stage of WWE.  Shouldn’t the tag teams in NXT be given that same advantage?

Baron Corbin & Bull Dempsey (Dangerous Liaison): For a hot minute in NXT both Baron Corbin and Bull Dempsey had a feud that captured the imagination of the NXT Universe.  Both men, undefeated wrecking balls who plowed through opponents left and right on their way up the ladder.  They were destined to clash and fans could not wait to see what would happen when the irresistible force of Bull Dempsey met the immovable object known as Baron Corbin.  Sadly, the results were less than spectacular and since then, neither man has had much face time on NXT.  That lack of attention must eat away at both men, and what better way to put the spotlight back on themselves than to destroy the NXT Tag Team Division together?  What would make this team so enthralling would be watching these two former enemies try to put aside their hated history and work together for common glory.  If you didn’t tune in for the carnage they unleash on their opponents, you would turn in to see if they rip each other apart!

Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens (Montreal Wrecking Crew): While we’re on the subject of unlikely team ups, let’s discuss the possibility of Kevin Owens patching things up with Sami Zayn to go on a tear of NXT.  Although it doesn’t seem likely at this point, there are still many chapters to be written in the story of these two boys from Quebec.  They have a love/hate relationship that seems to intensify and calm  like waves on the sea.  Who know what other team had that kind of relationship?  The Brothers of Destruction, and they seem to have done pretty well for themselves in the history of tag team wrestling.  Even still, after everything these two have been through together, what would make them want to join forces now?  Well, Kevin Owens is a master manipulator.  He seems to have convinced some of the NXT Universe that he is actually a good guy, a tough task with a crowd as smart as NXT, but that’s how good Kevin Owens is.  I wouldn’t put it past him to warp Sami Zayn into believing a “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” mentality, and besides, Owens has always said he does what he does to supposedly provide for his family.  Well, having two championships in NXT would certainly mean more money for his cause.

The NeXT Big Team: The truth of the matter is, there is a wealth of talent waiting in the wings at the WWE Performance Centre that we have yet to see on the WWE Network.  For all we know, the next Midnight Express or Blackjacks could be already toiling away, just waiting for the next team to get called up to Raw or Smackdown so they have their chance to shine in the spotlight.  For all we know, Angelo Dawkins, Scott Dawson, or Cal Bishop could be an unknown tag team specialist.  It’s also possible that there are members of the NXT roster who have incredible chemistry just waiting to be unlocked.  Who knows what would happen is Solomon Crowe teamed with Mojo Rawley?  Maybe things would get shaken up if Buddy Murphy teamed with Jason Jordan for a night and realized that he is a better partner than Wesley Blake?  There are so many possibilities that it’s impossible not to consider them in this list.

Tag Teams are an important element in not only the continued success of NXT, but the continuing success of WWE.  Both the NXT Universe and the WWE Universe have responded well to the duos being produced in Florida but this is not a time to rest on laurels.  In the last few months we have seen an influx of new talent in both the NXT men’s singles division and the NXT women’s division.  It’s time to give the same injection to the NXT tag team division so it can continue to compete and build.  After all, NXT’s slogan is the future is now.  If that’s true, then there is no better time than the present.


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