WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No def. Team Rhodes Scholars

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January 27, 2013

PHOENIX — Team Hell No’s happy place just got even happier: Less than a week after graduating Dr. Shelby’s anger management program, the irascible WWE Tag Team Champions retained their titles at the Royal Rumble against their longtime rivals, Team Rhodes Scholars. The defeat caps the latest campaign by the brainy bros to dethrone Team Hell No and came in the most decisive fashion yet, as Kane and Daniel Bryan didn’t show a single sign of discord in their textbook dismantling of their studious challengers. (PHOTOS)

Rhodes was the first Scholar to take a whack at the champs, and Team Hell No looked to make it a long night for “The Essence of Mustachioed Magnificence” right off the bat after Bryan locked Cody into a surfboard and tagged in Kane to unleash a barrage of power maneuvers on the overwhelmed second-generation Superstar. However, fate soon intervened in favor of the well-groomed goons when Rhodes hit Daniel Bryan with a cheap shot on the apron, knocking the "No!" man to the ground in agony.

The sneak attack on the submission technician aggravated Bryan’s previously injured knee and gave the Scholars a chance to school the grumpy grappler with their time-honored divide and conquer strategy. With Bryan marooned in the ring and unable to summon The Big Red Monster from his perch, Rhodes and Sandow systematically dismantled the former World Heavyweight Champion with an array of submissions and strikes that very nearly spelled the end for the odd-couple champions.

But Bryan showed his resolve by withstanding the assault, fighting his way to his monstrous other half and finally making his hard-earned tag. Kane ran roughshod over Team Rhodes Scholars with minimal fanfare, ensnaring both men into a double Chokeslam. But just before Kane could execute his signature maneuver, Rhodes and Sandow used their combined momentum to throw Kane off and drive him into the corner.

Unbeknownst to the challengers, though, that’s exactly where Daniel Bryan wanted them to be. While the Scholars hauled Kane up into a double-suplex, they unwittingly drove him within arm’s reach of “The Dazzler” and Bryan tagged himself in, striking Sandow down with a missile dropkick that left The Enlightened One seeing stars. An interfering Cody made a last-ditch effort to steal victory from Team Hell No by ambushing Bryan from behind, but the champion turned the tables and fed Rhodes into a Chokeslam from the waiting Kane. While The Big Red Monster sent Rhodes to hell, Bryan snatched Sandow and applied the “No!” Lock to “The Duke of Decency,” forcing him to submit and extending Team Hell No’s unlikely reign of supremacy through the Royal Rumble.

Somewhere, Dr. Shelby is smiling.

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