For as long as I can remember, brothers, real or fake, have been integral parts of tag team wrestling. No, you don’t need to be brothers to succeed as a tag team, but several sibling teams have seen great success in the wrestling business. From real brothers like The Hardy Boyz, The Steiner Brothers, Harlem Heat and Primo and Carlito Colon, to storyline brothers like Edge and Christian and Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley, it seems that any given point in history, there was a tag team made up of brothers putting in work in the Tag Team Division.
I don’t know what it is about tag teams comprised of brothers, but for whatever reason, those tag teams always seem more engaging to me as a viewer. Maybe it’s because I find a tag team’s bond, their ability to work together and understand one another completely more legitimate if the two are siblings. Being a tag team is a hell of a commitment, as your success in a tag team is always tied to another individual, and I just buy siblings having the ability to be selfless, understanding and committed enough to endure the hardships and possess the intangibles that are necessary to become a truly formidable tandem, over that of two friends or a pair of like-minded individuals. Friendships can end, minds can change, but brotherhood is forever.
It’s also possible that the inevitable cycle of tag teams in the wrestling industry is more interesting when the relationship of the tandem is familial. Tag teams arrive, have a run (long or short depending on the pair), and without fail they always dissolve so that each partner can pursue singles success. The dissolution of a tag team of brothers is always more interesting than any other, because while other tag teams can simply completely divorce themselves from their former partner, burning every bridge that once connected them, siblings will always have a connection, no matter how hard they try to sever it. It’s the reason why Edge and Christian breaking up and feuding was more interesting than The Miz and John Morrison, and why when these sibling tag teams get back together, it isn’t that hard to buy it.
If you haven’t guessed, this week I’d like to look at the two sibling tag teams in the WWE right now, The Usos and The Brotherhood (Cody Rhodes and Goldust). Both tandems are at different stages in the inevitable cycle of tag team wrestling, and both present interesting dynamics that can come into play when their tagging days come to a close. So enough dillydallying, Let’s Do This!
The Usos are flying high right now. It’s been a long journey to the top, but it feels as though they are hitting their stride as a tag team. While I’m hesitant to say that this is the peak of their run as duo, we are certainly well into it. They debuted in May of 2010, and have scratched and clawed their way up the ranks of the Tag Team Division, proving to now be one of the WWE’s most exciting and talented pairings. Jimmy and Jey are the current Tag Team Champions, having fought for four years to get to the top of the division, and it doesn’t look like they’ll be going anywhere anytime soon.That being said, I am interested in their potential split.
Don’t get me wrong, I hope its years down the road, but their unique dynamic presents several narrative questions about how their breakup will affect their characters, and how they proceed following it. Jimmy and Jey are twins, which makes the prospects of their split incredibly interesting, because their bond is presumably very tight. Will they split amicably? If so, how will the fact that they are virtually identical affect them as individuals? Will they be able to form enough of an individual identity upon breaking up that we see them as two distinct individuals, or will they always be linked in the minds of the WWE Universe? These are all very compelling queries that an amicable dissolving of their partnership presents. It would be so interesting to see them develop separately into more individual characters, with their own gimmicks and skill sets.
Now what if the split isn’t amicable? This poses it’s own set of questions. Which brother turns his back on the other? What drives them to betray their twin? How does the betrayal affect both Jimmy and Jey? Will the betrayed brother refuse to do battle with his twin? If so, what will the villainous Uso do to goad his sibling into combat, and how personal and heated will the rivalry become as a result? I said it before, but its worth repeating that their unique circumstances, being twins, having such similar personalities and physical skills, presents the opportunity for an amazingly compelling story to be told when the day comes for them to disband.
Personally I’m partial to the thought of one of the twins becoming evil and turning on his brother, as opposed to their split being consensual. It’s clearly the more thought provoking route, and would have me glued to their story as it developed. Also I’m very interested to see how having twins on the roster wrestling as individuals will be received. I feel it will be a hindrance to both, and eventually they’ll have no choice but to return to the tag team ranks. In a business where individuality is key, The Usos are at a distinct disadvantage and may be destined to be a lifetime tag team, which isn’t a bad thing all things considered. Again, I’m hoping they have several more years in the tank as a team, but when the day for the split comes, I’ll be watching closely.
Cody Rhodes and Goldust
Cody Rhodes and Goldust are on the opposite end of the spectrum from The Usos. I don’t think I can recall a more diametrically opposed sibling tag team than Cody and Goldy, which I think is a huge strength of their team. It’s what made them stand out to me as a tag team, and their ability to work together seamlessly despite the differences in their personalities suggested to me that their brotherly bond was as strong, if nit stronger than any I had seen in the WWE’s long history of sibling tag team.
All that being said, they are nearing the end of their run as a tag team. Cody is young superstar, who is on the verge of being something special (or one can hope), and Goldust is an older vet, nearing the end of his days as a full time performer, though you’d never guess watching him during this run. On Raw their split was teased when they lost to the Tag Champs, and dissension between the two was evident. While the “Frustration Boiling Over” split is tried and true, I would have wanted a more unique and poetic conclusion to Cody and Goldust’s run as a tag team. A narrative more akin to their distinct relationship and special journey together these last several months. Here’s what I had in mind:
Instead of frustration boiling over and the two coming to blows (which is obviously where this is headed), I would have them continue being booked as a tag team until Goldust one night after a loss, stands in the ring with his brother, grabs the mic and tells Cody that he can’t continue to hold his younger brother back. Goldust will tell Cody that he has his entire career ahead of him, and that he has been selfishly wasting his brother’s time by continuing their partnership. Goldust will say that the fact is that he feels privileged to have held the Tag Team Titles with his little brother, and that these last few months have been a dream come true for him, but it’s time for Cody to do what he’s supposed to do, and become the first Rhodes family member to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Goldust will tell his brother he loves him and leave the ring with Cody in it crestfallen.
Cody would then go on trying to encourage his older brother to reconsider, going to the GM to get their team booked in tag team matches for weeks after Goldust’s impassioned speech. Eventually Goldust will grab the mic again, and will tell his brother that it’s time for their teaming to end, and that if he won’t accept that, he’ll need to make him. Goldust would then proceed to attack his brother, leading to a match where Goldust gives Cody everything he’s got. In the end, when it comes time for Cody to finish his brother, Goldust will tell him in the ring to do it, “finish me and become the star you’re meant to be!” With that win, Cody would launch into singles competition with an emotional bang, and that storyline would be one of the most emotional produced in the WWE in years.
If I couldn’t get that, then I’d pitch for them to compete in a tournament to decide a new #1 Contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship a few months from now, having not broken up as a tag team. Fill the tournament with the usual suspects in the title picture and put Cody and Goldust on opposite ends of the bracket. The story would pretty much be that of the film “Warrior” starring Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton, where both Cody Rhodes and Goldust make improbable runs to the finals where they face each other for the title shot. Goldust looking to fulfill his dream and get one last title shot before riding off into the sunset, and Cody looking to establish himself as a main event player for years to come. It’s a beautiful narrative where you have two Cinderellas facing one another for all the marbles.
With that said, Cody Rhodes and Goldust’s tag team run was very special and anything but typical. There was a couple of months where they were the hottest things going in the WWE. As much as I’d like to see an ending that is fitting of how special their run was, the WWE has evidently decided to go a more traditional route. The hope still remains that a match between the two can hit all the right beats despite being based on a typical tag team split, and launch Cody back into life as a singles competitor stronger than when he left it.
There you have it, but as always I want to know what you think! What are some of your favorite sibling tag teams? What was your favorite sibling rivalry in wrestling? Does the prospect of an Usos split intrigue you? Would their singles careers be hurt by the fact that they are twins and have similar personalities? What do you think of how they are splitting up Cody and Goldust? Did you like my pitches? How would you book their break up?
Until next time folks, I’m Matty J. Douglas saying these NBA Playoffs have been truly exciting, especially in the Western Conference. Great Booking! Have a great weekend everybody!