Ever since turning heel prior to Backlash, The Usos have been on a tear to become the top tag team in the SmackDown locker room, and it’s actually working. Before making the switch, the general consensus among the WWE fan base was that Jimmy and Jey had grown stale over many years of playing the easy-going duo whose sole aim was to put a smile on the faces in the audience.
They were able to get serious when necessary, and their familial chemistry and energy inside the ring made them one of the most experienced teams heading into SmackDown when the brand extension kicked off; but years of being likened to the tag team equivalent of John Cena had them in a poor spot to become a thrilling fixture on Tuesday nights.
After their much-needed heel turn and subsequent attack on Chad Gable heading into the blue team’s inaugural brand-exclusive pay-per-view, however, The Usos have slotted themselves back in front as justifiable next candidates for the SmackDown WWE Tag Team Championship.
As good as Heath Slater and Rhyno are in their unlikely role as representatives of the blue brand’s tag division, the climax of their current story came and went at Backlash when they won the titles.
Everything that happened from the moment that Heath Slater went undrafted in July to the moment he and Rhyno teamed up was leading to the moment when he would do the unthinkable and capture a contract with SmackDown, earning some championship silver to boot.
The journey from being overlooked on the WWE payroll to becoming one of the most over faces in the company this summer ended when his Cinderella story came to fruition, and there’s not all that much scope with his carrying the titles for a lengthy period of time.
With a guy like Heath Slater, it’s usually the title hunt that ends up being far more rewarding than the eventual reign itself, and that seems to be the case with his tag title run with Rhyno.
Now that the buzz of his initial victory is starting to subside, and he and Rhyno are beginning to get complacent as members of the SmackDown tag division, it seems now would be the perfect opportunity to pass the reins over to one of the more established and credible teams on the roster.
While American Alpha are still regarded as the most exhilarating alliance on SmackDown at the moment, storyline-wise, The Usos would be the perfect guys to succeed the current champions.
First of all, just think of the heat that Jimmy and Jey could garner knowing that they ended the dream of Heath Slater, who’s been fighting tooth and nail for months to get to where he is today. The man challenged Brock Lesnar to a match to make it this far, for crying out loud, so that alone should be enough of a reason to be a fan of “The One Man Band.”
To see him dethroned by the newly reinvigorated Usos would be enough to send the second-generation team to the next level in their character overhaul.
Secondly, and most importantly, the feud between American Alpha and The Usos that’s been hinted at since even before SummerSlam is just getting started, and it’s got more than enough steam to be continued with the division’s grand prize hanging in the balance when they square off again.
This whole feud started because Jimmy and Jey didn’t take too kindly to the newcomers being considered the hottest tag team on the blue brand after just a few weeks, when they’ve been busting their humps for over half a decade on the WWE roster to be considered the best team going.
The rivalry is based on competition, or at least it was until The Usos made it personal by targeting the leg of Chad Gable ahead of Backlash, and again to secure the No. 1 contenders’ spot for No Mercy, so it was essentially made to be contested with a championship on the line.
The story has already been fantastic, showcasing great examples of aggression, intensity, loyalty and sacrifice all in a matter of moments in their clash just this week, and it’s why The Usos need to win the SmackDown Tag Team Championship next month.
Giving the titles to American Alpha at Backlash would have been too easy, so instead they’ve gone down the much more rewarding route of having their top spot on the roster taken away, with nothing but vengeance standing between them and reclaiming their throne as SmackDown’s hottest team.
Jordan and Gable need their inevitable title win to be a hard-fought battle in which they enter as underdogs and emerge as alpha males, and that path is being paved slowly but surely with The Usos.
Having the titles passed around so quickly would be a tough decision to make in terms of the early integrity of the championship, but it really is the best move for the foreseeable future of the SmackDown tag team division, and needs to happen in order to make The Usos and American Alpha’s inevitable rematch one of the biggest draws on the SmackDown brand.