It wasn’t too long ago, just a few weeks in fact, that the chances of seeing Primo and Epico rejuvenate their careers and become involved in a legitimate rivalry seemed out of the question.
Since the reintroduction of the brand extension alone, we’ve seen The Shining Stars utilized in only a handful of ways – losing matches as a result of Pokémon Go shenanigans, being used as a way for The Dudley Boyz to retire in style, and generally only appearing on television to make some of Monday Night Raw’s more prospective tag teams look good. As you’d expect, Primo and Epico came out of each of those encounters looking much worse for wear, but it’s not exactly something these two aren’t used to, having spent over two years as a joke act under the Los Matadores gimmick.
Despite their delivery and commitment to the characters as bullfighters, a bad gimmick is still a bad gimmick, and whoever conceived that idea would have known from the beginning that they never would have gotten over as one of the WWE’s most threatening tag teams.
They may have been growing stagnant known simply as Primo and Epico prior to that point, but at least they had integrity, which was completely thrown to the wayside when they decided to don the traditional traje de luces and be accompanied to the ring by a little person masquerading as a bull.
You would have expected that the new gimmick of the Puerto Rican travel agents, albeit cheesy and still lacking in depth, would have taken them to a higher platform, but lo and behold they were still relegated to the lowest spot on the WWE’s tag team pecking order. That was, however, up until a number of weeks ago when The Shining Stars were able to cheat their way to an upset victory over Enzo Amore and Big Cass, one of the hottest duos on the entire WWE roster today.
Not only that, but they continued their successes this week when Epico captured a singles victory over “Smacktalker Skywalker” with the aid of Primo’s illegal interference.
Theoretically, it would appear that with the surge in tag team competition on SmackDown Live as of late, following the introduction of the brand’s own tag team championships, Raw has attempted to utilize each aspect of its own roster to the fullest extent as well.
Surely for Primo and Epico, who despite their impressive in-ring ability are undoubtedly at the bottom of the food chain, to go over on a huge team like Enzo and Cass is a sign that something big is coming their way, right? Well, unfortunately for The Shining Stars, that’s probably not the case.
It might just be a case of cynicism here, but you wouldn’t be blamed for being a little bit sceptical about their recent rebound of sorts. Simply put, there’s just no scope for where the WWE can take The Shining Stars if they came out of this rivalry with any direction.
Assuming this whole thing culminates at Clash of Champions, there is no conceivable way in which Primo and Epico come out of that match victorious, or even with any likely direction in defeat.
The only fathomable spot on the roster where they would be welcome is in the brand new cruiserweight division, and with oodles of talent coming in to make TJ Perkins’ WWE Cruiserweight Championship worth fighting for, The Shining Stars would be likely to get lost in the shuffle there too, past maybe a strong tag-team showing against Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa.
What’s really going on here is that after coming up short in the Fatal 4-Way WWE Universal Championship match a few weeks ago, Big Cass and Enzo Amore are in need of a worthy set of opponents for them to not only occupy their time against, but to beat in an impressive fashion.
With the rest of the division preoccupied with Tag Team Championship matches and the like, the only team left was The Shining Stars, and since their names mean so little in today’s roster, they’re being given as much exposure as they have been so they can head into Clash of Champions as formidable as possible against the charismatic fan-favorites.
It’s not a satisfying way to look at it, but the only way to describe this turn of events is that the WWE is raising Primo and Epico like pigs waiting to be slaughtered, because no matter how good The Shining Stars may look heading into next Sunday’s inevitable rematch, they’re not going to preserve any of that momentum coming out of it when Enzo and Big Cass run through them.
That was almost definitely the endgame when this plot was conjured up, and although it wouldn’t be impossible for plans to changed and The Shining Stars to impress management enough to prolong their “push,” the booking over the last three or four years of their career is a strong indicator that there’s very little hope for Epico and Primo to climb their way back up the ladder.
It has been a breath of fresh air for the two young and talented athletes to actually show some character and benefit from their usage for a change, but for now, expect Epico and Primo to fade back into nothingness once they get put away by Enzo and Cass at Clash of Champions.