Editors’ Choice: Who should be the next SmackDown Tag Team Champions?
It was incredibly disappointing that The Hardy Boyz were forced to relinquish the SmackDown Tag Team Titles earlier this week due to Jeff Hardy suffering an injury at the hands of Lars Sullivan. However, Team Blue must move forward, and that means crowning new champions. But after the Superstar Shake-up, the path to the titles is wide open. Who has the best chance of claiming the SmackDown Tag Team Championship? Is it an established pair, or will a new team form and climb to the top of the mountain? WWE.com’s editors got together and debated our picks. Who do you think will be the next SmackDown Tag Team Champions?
Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods
Although Big E is sidelined with an injury and The New Day was quickly betrayed by Kevin Owens, there’s no better time than the present for WWE Champion Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods to capture the SmackDown Tag Team Championship. Already the longest-reigning tag team champions in WWE history, The New Day are still riding high after Kofi Kingston’s epic WrestleMania victory. If Kingston and Woods win the tag titles while Kofi still holds the WWE Championship, it would solidify the trio’s already legendary careers and prove they are one of the most dominant forces in WWE history. Plus, if The New Day can acquire the WWE Championship and the SmackDown Tag Team Titles simultaneously, why stop there? – KEVIN POWERS
Shinsuke Nakamura & Rusev
On paper, it shouldn’t work. But in practice, this tandem of former United States Champions has proven to be a low-key striking delight among a SmackDown Tag Team division that has typically been high on flair. There’s nothing pretty about the way this team does business (all due respect to Handsome Rusev), but they don’t give you (strong) style points in the hunt for titles. With the division in flux and the top seat ripe for the picking, it might be time for these two — criminally underestimated as singles competitors — to step up and take it as a team. – ANTHONY BENIGNO
Very few teams have the strength required to overpower the massive duo of Otis & Tucker. That advantage might give SmackDown LIVE newcomers Heavy Machinery the best odds of capturing the SmackDown Tag Team Championship. Though they may have an upbeat outlook on life and enjoy handing out a variety of meats to their fellow Superstars, once the bell rings, there’s no duo more dangerous.
Anyone thinking about getting on Heavy Machinery’s bad side may find themselves on the wrong end of a Compactor. Me? I’ll be waiting by the grill for Otis & Tucker’s championship barbecue. – BOBBY MELOK
Shane McMahon & Elias
When it comes to star-studded tag teams, you can’t get much better than the Mr. McMahon-appointed “biggest acquisition in SmackDown LIVE history” and the self-appointed “Best in the World,” Shane McMahon.
Now, even if you don’t necessarily agree with those grandiose monikers, consider recent events. Elias and Shane-O-Mac orchestrated a cunning two-on-one attack on the nigh unbeatable Roman Reigns two weeks ago on SmackDown LIVE, so it’s clear that The Living Truth and The Prodigal Son can make some beautiful – and brutal – music together. Plus, we all saw how well Shane worked alongside a Superstar he apparently didn’t particularly like (we’re referring of course to The Miz), so it stands to reason that a devious duet with The Living Truth would be even better. The best, even. – JAMES WORTMAN
Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel might be new to SmackDown LIVE, but they’re already in prime position to become one of Team Blue’s top tandems. Though it seemed unlikely when they first joined forces, The B-Team overcame the odds and became Raw Tag Team Champions. They know what it takes to reach the top and stay there.
Plus, they’ve made a pretty powerful ally since their arrival on SmackDown LIVE in Shane McMahon. Don’t be surprised if The B-Team captures the SmackDown Tag Team Titles sooner rather than later. – BOBBY MELOK
Finn Bálor & Ali
Intercontinental Champion Finn Bálor and Ali may be singles competitors first and foremost, but it’s impossible to ignore that something special was afoot when they recently partnered to take down Randy Orton and Andrade on SmackDown LIVE. Their chemistry was instantaneous and undeniable, and by the time Bálor and Ali wiped out their opponents with simultaneous dives to the floor, they looked as in-sync as The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express in their heyday. Most nascent partnerships can only hope to attain such polished teamwork after many reps, let alone on their first outing.
Who knows? Maybe Bálor and Ali’s gelling was a one-off, a singular occurrence that can’t and won’t be replicated. Or maybe, just maybe, we all witnessed the beginning of something greater — something that might one day lead to the SmackDown Tag Team Titles being around Bálor and Ali’s waists. – JOHN CLAPP