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New Challengers Arrive: Anderson & Gallows in WWE

April 2, 2016 | Posted by J. Onwuka

Back again everybody. It’s Yerboy J Onwuka with more things to say out our favorite sport & business. I don’t know when this will get posted or when you’re reading it so [are you excited for WrestleMania!?]/[boy WrestleMania was something, huh?] (please choose one). I would like to say that this is another Super J Column but maybe I’m not allowed to, I don’t know. Maybe I’ll just change my name to Super J. Anyway! Banner!(?) Let’s get it started!

I love tag team wrestling. Out of all the subgenres you can hash out, next to top-level singles wrestling a tag match is generally what I want to see. Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard are my favorite part of the Four Horsemen. APA, Dudleyz, Hardyz, E&C, WGTT, all made huge impressions on me growing up. Currently there are pretty much two tag teams that matter in American wrestling: the Young Bucks and reDRagon. TNA teams are invalidated from ‘mattering’ cause no matter how good they are they’re still in TNA which is way low in esteem and disconnected from anything. WWE teams are too fly-by-night; where the Bucks have been together since birth and reDRagon are going on four, other than the brother Usos every WWE team has been running less than two.

I don’t bring the Bucks & reDRagon as a knock on anybody else, though (my knock on TNA is completely aside from me bringing these teams up). In fact, I’m bringing them up to show just how weak the entirety of the tag team scene is right now. Ring of Honor always touts its tag teams but no one really has any buzz outside of the ultra-protected reDRagon and the NJPW-aligned charisma machines the Bucks. I love War Machine but I have to admit that they haven’t gone much of anywhere since winning the belts. Even the Briscoes after getting back together regularly haven’t lit the world on fire or made a hard run at the belts. TNA has the Wolves but, like everything else, their heat has petered out in my opinion as they’ve become a cog in the TNA machine. An important cog to be sure but not the kind of guys who, by their own performances, are breaking out of the TNA stereotype.

And WWE? Well, in WWE the tag division is represented by the Penny Belts. Given that ‘Penny Belts’ is still the first thing I think of when I think ‘tag teams’ & ‘WWE’ – and I don’t think I’m alone – I’d say they haven’t really got things done yet.

There’s buzz in the air about a pair of new signings. Guys that everyone was initially thinking would go straight to NXT but, as reports and rumors roll in, seem more and more likely to start up at the show. A tag team that has won gold in the biggest promotion in Japan and has ties to guys up and down the WWE roster.

That’s right, I’m talking Karl Anderson and I’m talking Dr Luke Gallows.

This is a team that, handled right (always the tricky part), could really establish the WWE tag team division as something to watch. What it really needs is an anchor. A recognizable ‘best team’ that can not just dominate the field but define it. Guys who would be for the tag team division something like a John Cena or Randy Orton: they’re always there, always big time threats, always winning titles. They are your big time attractions, the guys who you don’t need to worry about when you sign them on. I’ve said it a bunch but the big draw is in the match. At the end of the day you need people who can perform at a high level in the ring. As far as tag teams go you won’t do too much better than Anderson and Gallows.

WHY NOT THE NEW DAY?

Currently, the New Day has completely monopolized the WWE tag team scene. They’ve been up and down in the fans’ esteem but have come out of everything as one of the most over acts today. I think the general opinion is that they’ve made the tag titles entertaining to watch, something the scene hasn’t had in a long time. But that’s where I’ve got to disagree. Of course, I find the New Day entertaining, I’m not some sort of monster. I just don’t think that they’ve made the titles entertaining or engaging or must-watch. It’s just that they are entertaining and must-watch. What’s happened in my opinion is that they got so over that the WWE has decided to associate the tag titles with them and haven’t found a reason to take them back off. It’s different because it still means that we don’t really have a fun scene to watch. We have one fun act and that’s pretty much it.

Where I think the New Day would be better used is as the top non-champions of the division. They should win the title, definitely, especially if the gimmick sticks around for a while. But they should mostly be challenging. One thing 411mania commenters especially have been noting is that with the New Day getting over they’re being treated more as genuine heroes. That definitely extends to their battle with the clearly heelish League of Nations. Part of their appeal is how cheap they are because it gives them a chance to be ridiculous in glossing everything over. Since they’re the only over act that forces them to be the favorites, and honestly there’s only so far you can go as a good guy who cheats as their MO. Anderson and Gallows, yes, do seem much more geared toward a heel role. My feeling is that Anderson is good enough on the stick and they’re both good enough in the ring that they can get themselves over as rough but basically clean good guys when needed, which would not only allow the New Day to be the bad guys but would also amplify their chickenshit shenanigans.

Injecting a strong ‘anchor team’ in there would let the New Day have consistent good foils to work against, and without holding the title all the time their antics don’t necessarily reflect how the title’s viewed. Honestly, if they were bigger The Revival from NXT would be a top choice for this role, but in a field with the Wyatts, Prime Time Players, Big E, and the League of Nations stomping around they can’t run their usual bruiser style as well. Dudley Boyz could do it but I think they’d have an uphill battle credibility wise because they are of an older generation. Like when the New Age Outlaws won it, it’s cool to see them take the belt and compete but if you’re gonna make them your big deal champions people are gonna start having problems with the idea. Anderson & Gallows are fresh, they’re big enough to run power against pretty much anybody, they can pantomime enough to get the New Day’s stuff over, and I think they can get the crowd with them at least enough to establish them as a major team.

Crucial thing here is this: Anderson & Gallows don’t need to be the most over team in the division, not at any point. They just need to be over and to keep their heat by not dropping falls to everybody, and also by being on target and trying to win the damn belt above anything else. That’s one of the reasons that people respond to Kevin Owens – he’s out there to do something that makes obvious sense – and that type of persona would work wonders for these two as well.

RIVALS AND ASSOCIATES

Major thing I want to say may be somewhat controversial (and by the time this goes out it’s possible it’ll even be moot) but NO BALOR CLUB. NO BULLETPROOF. This is one thing that I absolutely do not want to see happen. I have nothing against anybody involved but in no way shape or form do any of these guys, or WWE in general, need to have a Bullet Club clone in their midst. Especially because they don’t have the Young Bucks who have always been the heart and soul of the BC, even if they weren’t founding members. Bullet Club without Young Bucks is really tough to imagine. In fact, especially in the US, they would be just another stable. If WWE is even a little bit smart they will let these guys define their own paths in WWE. Finn Balor especially deserves to carve out something new because once they decide to copy the Bullet Club thing I don’t think anybody but AJ Styles will have much of a future beyond it.

Gotta remember, guys, it’s not like teams with buzz and talent haven’t come by before. Nexus, for one, when they first debuted. Am I saying that Wade Barrett is as good as Finn Balor? Not exactly, but I am saying that Barrett was certainly good enough to be a consistent WWE top card. The Shield if you want an example of a hot stable reaching the top card. But for every Shield there’s a Nexus, a Wyatt Family, a Straight Edge Society, and we can keep going. Groups that, in the end, limited the people involved more than it boosted them. Putting somebody with a stable isn’t a guarantee of success. Considering Vince‘s reported distaste for anything he didn’t ‘personally create’, it might even be a recipe for failure.

We should see Anderson & Gallows (I wouldn’t even give them a team name, let them appear unconcerned with any of that stuff) in there just for themselves and go against everybody for a while at least. They’d make good hired guns but I think that should come after their title climb and first run. Major opponents on the way up would have to include the Usos and the Dudley Boyz, two teams that are known and pretty unlikely to be broken up. Wyatts vs Anderson & Gallows could be a great hoss-type match-up. Right now, though, their major rivals would definitely be the New Day and a long-term feud between them could be the medicine that the tag division needs. Anderson & Gallows would play the straight man part but they can definitely get into the antics when need be, which is exactly what you need for a team to play off the New Day.

As I always say, more ammo isn’t always the answer. On the other hand, a few well placed shots can be all the difference. It all depends on who’s taking aim. Anderson & Gallows can do the job but it’s Vince looking through the sights and Mr Hs pulling the trigger. Last time the McMahons were at the shooting range, the instructor ended up in the hospital.


On this episode of World Champions Podcast I’ll take a look into the life of the one and only Mildred ‘Cyclone’ Burke, a woman who not only defined what a woman wrestling champion should be but upped the ante for every male champion out there. She wasn’t the first, though: women like the strongwoman Minerva, Cora Livingston, and Barbara Ware preceded her in breaking social taboos and grappling. Burke was the first one to make a real living at it and become a true star, and in her wake came many other top wrestlers like Nell Stewart, Babs Wingo, and Mae Young. Still, the choking hand of paternalism always hovered, and for Burke it was made manifest in a horn-rimmed hustler named Billy Wolfe.

Check out episode #13 Fair Play at worldchampionspodcast.com or subscribe via iTunes or Stitcher.

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You can also follow me on Twitter @_nearzone and like the WCP Facebook page.

If you’ve got a comment or a question, leave it below. Much thanks to everybody who’s been reading my work here on 411mania. Hope to have more to check out here and elsewhere, so make sure you follow me on Twitter and on Medium for more weirdo thoughts and rants about wrestling, fiction, fantasy, and other ballyhoo.

Peace.
J

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