Neville and Sami Zayn have been lamented heavily for their misuse on the Raw roster since the brand extension.
While Sami Zayn has been wheeled out every now and then and served as a top-tier job guy — someone who isn’t going to be pathetically flattened, but who isn’t going to win either, simply ensure that whoever he’s putting over has a solid match with a worthy opponent. Neville has had an even lower profile, and it’s difficult to remember anything significant that he’s been a part of since he returned from injury a couple of months back. Maybe he beat Jinder Mahal the other week. Who knows?
And so, it seemed yet more lamentable when the two were randomly wheeled out as a makeshift tag team last Monday on Raw, as challengers to the reunited Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel. Random tag teams are almost always a creative cop-out, an act of picking two names out of a hat, putting them together for a match, and never seeing the two cross paths again. And yet, in their program against half of the Social Outcasts on Monday, there was some significant notion that Sami Zayn and Neville could work as an effective tag team.
It certainly isn’t a reluctant, clash-of-styles affair — “The Man That Gravity Forgot” and the happy-go-lucky Canadian are high flyers, and they make a pretty effective high flying unit. That sort of tag team isn’t really accounted for in Raw’s division at the moment. You’ve got the brutish clubbers in The Club, the charisma volcanoes of The New Day and Enzo & Cass, and the joke pairings that no one takes seriously in, well, the rest of the tag team division, really.
Both Zayn and Neville have just enough charisma between them to match up to their in-ring skill, and if the two work well together then why not go all out and make them serious contenders for the tag team titles?
It’s not like the division on Raw is soaring at the moment. The New Day are coasting on their promos, and have been since the 12th time they faced Gallows and Anderson for the Tag Team Championship. Now that The Club are seemingly in a (well-advised) feud with Enzo and Cass, The New Day are going to need enough tag teams waiting in the wings to usurp them, because it sure as hell ain’t gonna be The Club, Golden Truth or Shining Stars anytime soon.
All of the teams right now are so aimless, and the balance of opportunity and booking has been so poor that the Raw tag team division needs some new, exciting pairings to put at the top while those who have suffered from directionless creative for the past few months can nurse their wounds and get back on their feet.
Of course, it used to be the case that we would constantly carp and moan about the state of SmackDown’s tag team division, but after just a few months pretty much all of its duos are tag team champions in waiting. Where SmackDown has flourished, Raw has floundered, and an exciting tag team division is a perfect fix for an overstuffed mid-card so long as they get the booking right.
Of course, both Sami Zayn and Neville have recently come down the isle with a random tag team partner, never to be seen teaming up with them again. That’s for the best, since they simply didn’t work, but WWE could well be onto something with the geordie and the canuck. Let’s see if it’s a commitment they’re willing to stick to.