Sunday night at SummerSlam, the tag team division as a whole had a much different complexion to it than in the months since WrestleMania. Sami Zayn and Neville were paired together, seemingly at the last minute, to take on the much more established Dudley Boyz. The six teams from Smackdown battled in an effort to separate one from the pack while finishing with a subtle twist.
The newly-formed Jeri-KO defeated fan-favorites Enzo & Big Cass in front of their home crowd to kick off the official SummerSlam card. And The New Day were forced to defend their WWE Tag Team Championships without Big E, although he did appear at the finish to save Jon Stewart and the group’s titles.
As noted, Zayn and Neville weren’t even on the SummerSlam card until last Friday, just two days before the marquee event. Zayn was even doing media appearances Friday afternoon when he was questioned about why he didn’t have a match, and what was next for him. At the time, he seemed as confused as his fans, but he diplomatically hoped that something special was waiting for him. Perhaps a thrown-together match on the kickoff show wasn’t what he had in mind, but it might not be a one-time deal.
If the WWE wanted to continue to bolster their tag team division, it might make more sense to keep Bubba Ray and D-Von together, but if they do split them up, a new team appears to be waiting in the wings to help the division continue in the short-term. If the plan is indeed to continue with Zayn and Neville as an official tag team, then the move to get them on the SummerSlam card makes sense. But if the main goal of the match was to continue the Dudley dissension, then Sami and Neville were just pawns.
As previously alluded to, the finish to the 12-man tag match on the kickoff show saw Jimmy Uso steal the pinfall victory from American Alpha after making a blind tag to Chad Gable. This was likely set up to turn The Usos heel as the WWE needs an established team to give Jordan & Gable their first significant main-roster feud. That’s all on Smackdown Live, though, as Zayn and Neville face an uphill battle on RAW where the division is loaded with popular teams.
We may not have very long to wait to find out whether this tag team of Zayn and Neville has a long shelf life. The Cruiserweight Division is set to debut on RAW in September, and there have been rumblings going around that Neville may be placed at the top of that group as the company is looking for a standout star to carry it. Both Sami Zayn and Neville are former NXT Champions, but they now find themselves linked for no other reason than the creative team couldn’t find anything of relevance for them. Can they make this work?
[Image via WWE]