As I was watching the shows over the last couple weeks, I was pondering one question. It hit me hardest, perhaps, as it appears the Vaudevillains are going their separate ways. That question? Why does it seem that NXT tag teams, once on the main roster, seem to struggle? Now, I grant you that it’s a generalization that is not entirely true-American Alpha did just hold the SmackDown tag team championships, after all. But here’s a few that have not gone nearly as well as we might have expected them to: The Vaudevillains. The Ascension. Lucha Dragons. And, even Enzo and Cass. OK, it’s not a tremendous sample size, but what gives? I remember that, when The Ascension came up, they did so to a great amount of hype, both via the vignettes and from fan chatter. At the time, I had not begun my NXT watching, so I had no first hand knowledge. But, after the fact? They’ve been a bust. The Dragons were fun, and probably never should have been considered a threat. Enzo and Cass, they might be too soon on this list…but they have been up for a year now, and every time you think they are finally getting the belts, they don’t. Whether it was a concussion, or a surprise return, they’ve always been stopped short.
So, why do I think they fizzle on the main roster?
I can think of two reasons, off the top of my head. Three, if I want to be overly critical.
First? It seems like WWE can’t get consistent writing and programs in the tag team division(and, sometimes, they just don’t care about the tag ranks). Every time I think they’ve turned a corner and figured it all out, things go flat again. Things are good now, with the Hardyz back, but will they be able to sustain it? It’s hard to say, and it’s harder to have faith in things. I think they have enough talent, but someone needs to figure out how to make it all work, and that someone either works part time, or has multiple personality disorder.
Second? Honestly, Vince loves size. And outside of Big Cass? None of the guys are overly imposing. Talented in the ring? Sure. But none are massive specimens. It should not matter, but on the main roster, size does matter all too often. This is one reason I think The Authors of Pain have a really good shot of both being called up sooner than later, and doing well once they get that call. As young as they are, they are big guys. That helps them.
The third? You could always argue that some of those mentioned teams aren’t as good as they were hyped to be. But, you really could say that about a lot of teams. I think Enzo and Cass are a great duo on the mic, but they are treading water because I think many people are fully expecting the inevitable split, and Cass push. I think the Vaudevillain gimmick did not translate to the main roster. I think The Ascension, once they got mainstream exposure, were seen as cheap knock-offs of a few much better tag teams. Teams can be good, not great, but seem awesome in the smaller and friendlier confines of Full Sail University.
I am hopeful, however. American Alpha bucked the trend. I think The Revival could too, especially with how they’ve been booked. I’m not expecting every tag team called up to dominate from day one, but I am also not expecting former NXT tag team title holders to be relegated to jobber duty fairly rapidly, either.