American Alpha surely made professional wrestling history last Tuesday.
In just one match, they peaked. They climbed to the very epoch of their division. They achieved everything that they could possibly achieve on SmackDown. They defeated The Vaudevillains in a decent enough match. There is truly nowhere else they can go from here.
There are, of course, other things for American Alpha to be getting on with, but it won’t take them long. The only way in which Jordan and Gable can advance, just like any promising young tag team that needs to look strong in its first showcase to mainstream audiences, is to blaze through a few weaker tag teams and look really cool and impressive in the process. The trouble is that “a few weaker tag teams” accounts for SmackDown’s entire tag team division.
We’re two weeks into SmackDown’s big resurgence, and we’ve yet to see just what on earth the plan is for the tag team division. What we have seen is a litany of mistakes that are continuing to damn the tag team division to hell, taking American Alpha with them in the process.
Things didn’t get off to a good start in week one, when every team on the roster was thrown into a cluttered battle royal and almost immediately thrown back out again by Kane. With so many of them either having absolutely zero stock with the WWE fans (The Vaudevillains, The Ascension), a dire need to work on getting over and established (Breezango, The Hype Bros), or a pretty stale run that nobody cares about anymore (The Usos), the WWE needed to act quickly.
It managed to do so with Dolph Ziggler, who in the space of two weeks has spun himself out of his web of failure and catapulted himself to the top of his game; so why isn’t the WWE frantically working, not only to get its flailing division over with fans, but to give them something (like a title) to fight for in the first place?
Week two didn’t help matters. The Vaudevillains suffered another loss to add to their fine resume, while Fandango was fed to Randy Orton to fill time while Brock Lesnar made his way through the crowd. We didn’t even see The Ascension, The Usos, or The Hype Bros. Wasn’t Mojo Rawley meant to be an exciting NXT pick? Bursting him onto the scene and maybe having him prop up Zack Ryder would’ve worked better than his “squint and you might just make him out in the crowd” showing in week one.
It’s definitely what it should have done.
WWE should also have held off American Alpha’s debut for a few weeks while it took swift action to make the tag team division look like something other than a Z-List conglomerate of blundering jobbers and cobbled-together alliances of people creative ran out of ideas for.
But we are where we are, and the situation is not impossible for the WWE to salvage. Since squash matches against local talents seem to be all the rage again, it might make sense for American Alpha to focus on running circles around a few jobbers for a few weeks while the rest of the division gets its house in order and puts on competitive matches with one another.
A riskier, but sadly necessary strategy would also be to work on another mini-plunder of NXT’s tag team roster. As the most experienced tag team on the roster, TM-61 (who have been paired all over the indies since 2010, and worked in NXT for three months) would be an obvious choice, and SmackDown’s division desperately needs some depth to allow for top level matches while the floundering teams get themselves to a higher level.
American Alpha are, without a doubt, the hottest new tag team on the main roster. It’s just such a crashing shame that they may turn out to be the first wrestlers to sink into irrelevance because of the inherent rubbishness of their contemporaries.