From The Fabulous Freebirds and the Von Erichs, to The Hardy Boyz and Edge and Christian, tag team rivalries throughout pro wrestling history have produced some of the most memorable and innovative matches in the medium. World Wrestling Entertainment has leaned heavily on its tag team division in recent months, especially the most decorated tag team in its history, The New Day. On October 29’s episode of Friday Night SmackDown, broadcasting from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, The New Day reignited their feud with longtime rivals, and SmackDown Tag Team Champions, The Usos.
The Usos vs. The New Day Renewed
The two teams tentatively began to be rivals in 2016, with their storyline kicking into full gear in 2017. The two traded tag team championships back and forth several times, escalating the conflict into a stand-out Hell in a Cell match in 2017. However, they also have a strong comedic rapport and have had lighthearted exchanges such as a 2018 “rap battle” hosted by rapper, and WWE stan, Wale. Both sides traded disses, with the Usos calling out Xavier Woods’ height and the New Day accusing the Usos of carrying Roman Reigns’s luggage.
The Usos’ most recent adversaries, the Street Profits, were drafted to Monday Night Raw, and the SmackDown tag team titleholders now share a roster once again with their perennial rivals, The New Day. On October 29’s SmackDown, Xavier Woods’s victory tour after winning the rebooted King of the Ring tournament continued with a knighting ceremony for tag team partner Kofi Kingston, in which Woods named him “The Hand of the King.” The position didn’t exactly do wonders for the lifespan of Ned Stark, but all the same, 1x WWE Champion Kingston accepted his gold unicorn broach signifying the honor with pride.
The Dynasty Interrupts a Celebration
The Usos boisterously interrupted, and a confrontation ensued. Xavier Woods is taking the ‘King’ title and running with it gleefully, injecting a campy ‘regal’ bearing into his delivery, and the Usos’s streetwise flippancy is the perfect foil for the act.
When the two teams met in the ring later in the night, Woods and Jey Uso were the first to lock up. Woods soon began leading Jey a merry chase, evading him from rope to rope, and then stopping his progress with a forearm strike. He tagged in Kingston, who hit Jey with a splash from the ropes and covered. Jey kicked out. Kingston worked his arm a bit, but Jey managed to tag in twin Jimmy, and as Jey departed to the apron the two dropped twin elbows on Kingston. Jimmy delivered several chops to Kingston, who was trapped between him and the post. However, not for long, as Kingston utilized his trademark agility to not only get free but dizzy Jimmy Uso with his airborne evasions, and tag in Woods who hit a flying dropkick.
Kingston climbed to fly and launched himself at the Usos who caught him and dumped him over the barricade. A winded Kingston was deposited back into the corner of the ring, whilst Jey Uso triumphantly flashed the Bloodline’s symbol at the audience. Despite their considerable comedic abilities, both teams are hard-hitting and deathly earnest in the ring. For most of the encounter, the Smackdown Tag Team Chapions were dominant. Xavier Woods prevented the Usos from committing tandem splashes on a prone Kingston lying in the ring by yanking Jey from the ropes, but a rallying Kingston was still taken out yet again by a superkick from Jimmy. Victory was almost secured for the Usos by Jimmy’s pin on Kingston, but a quick-thinking “King Woods” entered the scene and was able to roll up and reverse Jimmy Uso into a cover, for a pinfall victory for the New Day.
By running back their rivalry with The New Day, SmackDown is drawing on the Usos’s history as a team distinct from their connection to Roman Reigns and the Bloodline saga. The two teams are always good fun when they interact and put on hard-hitting, athletically credible, and energetic matches. Both teams have changed since their last outing, with the Usos riding high as part of the Bloodline, and The New Day becoming a two-man outfit. They have history but have also evolved, which makes this storyline fresh instead of a predictable retread. With competitor All Elite Wrestling boasting popular tag teams like the internationally renowned Young Bucks, it’s smart of WWE to double down on the power of group chemistry and the exciting optics of tag team wrestling, especially utilizing two of its most popular groups.
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