This is potentially good news for both New Day and SD LIVE. SD LIVE’s been doing a lot of things right, post brand extension, but one thing they have dropped the ball on considerably is their tag team division and the prestige around those tag team titles. American Alpha won the championships in late 2016 and had an epic fail of a run – to no fault of their own – but rather, WWE Creative dropped the ball significantly on them; offering no storylines or programs to the team or titles. In fact, there were many weeks that the Champions were simply not on the program. Not acceptable in my opinion. Fast forward to the week before Wrestlemania 33, and The Usos were crowned new SD LIVE champions, except no tag title match was booked for Wrestlemania 33. Instead, SD LIVE’s tag teams were lumped into the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal.
What does this tell me as a pro wrestling journalist and fan? It tells me the tag titles over at SmackDown LIVE are irrelevant and insignificant. Which is a shame, because at the end of the day, on paper, AA will always be referred to as SD LIVE Champions when announcers want to elevate their ranking; and The Usos are being boasted as three-time tag champs on paper. In actuality, neither tag teams have accomplished anything, storyline or otherwise, as champs.
How can the New Day elevate the division? Well, by pure popularity and entertainment value. By the simple fact that we have a high-level faction that are the longest-reigning WWE tag champs in history moving over to another brand. By changing the dynamic of the tag team division in having both ‘fresher’ tag teams in the way of AA, Slater/Rhyno (if they are still a tag team that is, not 100% sure on this), with veterans in the New Day and The Usos.
Moreover, because of how WWE Officials view The New Day and their powerful merchandising gimmick, a program between them and the SD LIVE champions are given; whomever those champs may be when New Day officially enters the roster. They are guaranteed to be spotlighted on every episode (in the coming weeks) because a) of this ‘Superstar Shake Up’ and the storyline around that idea and b) they are sure to hit the title race picture once they hit the brand running.
A shake up is exactly what SmackDown LIVE’s tag team division needs right now, and I for one am looking forward to what will happen next, if and when the New Day pops up on SD LIVE.