Two "I's" in team?
Can't argue with success? Montel Vontavious Porter & Matt Hardy could certainly dispute that these days. SmackDown's odd couple is constantly at each other's throats, even though they do so as the WWE Tag Team Champions.
Of course, the only thing more incredible than seeing the United States Champion and his greatest rival to date share tag team bling is how they've been able to do it. Three weeks ago, no one had expected their forced partnership to produce a victory over then-champions Deuce & Domino. Our fans and fellow Superstars considered their accomplishment a fantastic fluke; one locker-room source even said that the Ballin' Superstar and Hardy had inconceivably "caught lightning in a bottle."
Three weeks later, plus one successful WWE Tag Team Title defense over Deuce & Domino at Unforgiven…is it inconceivable to surmise that MVP & Hardy have not only bottled lightning, but they've superglued the bottle cap, and sealed the bottle in cement?
Look, neither Superstar will be inviting each other out to dinner any time soon. They won't be celebrating birthdays and holidays together; hell, they can't even share a friendly word with each other. Yet why would Porter start walking up the ramp at Unforgiven, seemingly to leave his partner high and dry, then run back to the ring and aid Hardy moments before Deuce & Domino reclaimed the tag gold?
The answer is plainer than the Breathe-Right strip bridged across MVP's nose: Whether either Superstar will ever admit it or not, their love for competition is far stronger than their hatred for each other.
Now the question is, how long can this diametric duo stave off their personal goals and continue to function as a championship team? Imagine if MVP & Matt actually started getting along and working on the same page; perhaps they could even surpass London & Kendrick's record-setting 11-month reign as WWE Tag Team Champions. But is that a realistic expectation, when it's obvious they're not on the same page, on the same book or even in the same library?
Matt Hardy cites that the reason for their success is "a combination of two things: Talent and luck. When it comes to our abilities between the ropes, MVP is extremely talented, and I feel like I'm talented. But we've also been lucky; right now there hasn't been a moment where he's been able to stab me in the back, where we haven't had a blow-up or breakdown that has caused us to lose the titles."
No offense to Matt, but WWE.com wonders if it hasn't been from a lack of trying. Three weeks ago on SmackDown, Hardy almost battled Deuce & Domino single-handedly before MVP hoisted him out of the ring and made the cover to win the WWE Tag Titles. In the weeks building toward Unforgiven, the new champs booked each other in impromptu singles matches against the bomber-jacketed thugs from the Other Side of the Tracks -- the results of which produced a win for Hardy and a loss for Porter. And at Sunday's pay-per-view, while MVP began cleaning house in the ring, Hardy recruited the "half-man, half-amazing, half-WWE Tag Team Champion" for a spontaneous joint effort -- ramming him head-on into Deuce -- then hit the Twist of Fate to score the win.
A more telling statement, however, came moments following the pinfall. After mimicking his partner from three weeks ago and holding onto all the gold, Hardy handed Porter the U.S. Title, telling him that he better cherish it while he can. Clearly, Matt hasn't forgotten his original objective, nor does he seem likely to. But will his "sole focus" -- or MVP's insistence that he's the straw who's stirring their championship drink -- eventually cost them the WWE Tag Titles?
"I'm actually hoping that doesn't happen," Hardy confessed. "I'm hoping that we're the WWE Tag Team Champions when I get another opportunity at MVP's U.S. Title, and then I beat him for it. And then I hope he changes his ways, because he's a gifted guy. I've been here for eight years, and I didn't accomplish anywhere near what MVP has accomplished in his first year in this business."
Wow. That's an amazing admission from the eight-time tag titleholder. Maybe they can make this work. At least, that's what WWE.com thinks until the United States Champion tells us what he believes will keep his partnership with Hardy intact.
"It's me," the Ballin' Superstar answered before exiting the locker room area. "What makes us so good is me, the captain of my team."
Sounds like MVP -- and, in some respects, Matt -- need the most help with their spelling. If they can stop adding "I" in "team," then maybe they can truly act like one that could enjoy a long, prosperous run together.