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#1 FMKK

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 10:04 AM

Following their match with The New Day on the WWE Battleground PPV, there was a talking point going around Twitter that The Usos were one of the top five WWE tag teams of all time. They have certainly been in consistently good television matches during their WWE run and have a handful of really high-end PPV title matches under their belt too. As a babyface team, they got really hot in 2013 feuding with The Wyatts and The Shield and were a consistent factor at the top end of the tag division throughout the next couple of years. Jey's injury in 2015 allowed them a chance to rest their act but, although they remained consistent in-ring, there was a sense that their babyface routine had somewhat staled. But a switch to Smackdown after the brand split as well as a heel turn has really refreshed the team and, although the tag division on the blue side is quite weak, they've been once again consistently entertaining in-ring and as characters.

 

In terms of work, they're probably best known for their dynamic matches and for putting together exciting finishing sequences on a consistent basis. I'm going to use this thread to review matches from throughout their run to assess their case as an all-time top WWE tag team.

 

Contributions in the form of reviews, match suggestions or comments would be greatly appreciated.



#2 FMKK

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 11:44 AM

The Usos vs The Wyatt Family - 2/3 Falls - WWE Battleground, 20th July 2014

 

Starting off with this one simply because it's up in full on the WWE Youtube channel, but I remember it being pretty well regarded at the time. 

 

Jey Uso kicks off with a pretty huge slap across Rowan's face. I like when babyfaces bring the fight to monsters.Of course the Wyatts immediately beat him down and get the heat. Crowds doing the Us-Oh! chant without prompt shows that these guys were pretty damn over during this run. The Wyatts get some chants from the crowd too. Harper does some nice mean heel moves when in control, including lots of grabbing and raking of the face. He also hits a really nasty boot on Jimmy to cut off a hot tag run immediately. And the Wyatts take the first fall in 4 minutes! 

 

The story so far has been the Wyatts using their power and physicality to ground the high-flyers, with both Usos bumping nicely. The commentary does well to build up how big the odds are against the babyface champions. Rowan's offence isn't quite so impressive looking as Harper's but the crowd are right into Jimmy Uso trying to escape from a very 80s-monster-looking rest hold. This isn't often mentioned but the Usos have some pretty sweet punches. Having an impactful working punch is so vital to mix in with selling to create hope spots and Jimmy is firing some great ones here to go with his rag-dolling. Quick hot tag to Jey leads to an immediate roll-up to tie up the match at 1-1. Not sure how I feel about them blasting through two falls in under ten minutes, but that's a standard trope with this stipulation.

 

Match goes straight back to a Wyatt heat section as the Usos have had basically no shine at all so far. Jey gets beaten down further, with the Wyatts mixing in a nice blend of power moves and gritty wearing down stuff. The crowd explodes as Jey avoids a couple of charges to send both Wyatts out of the ring. They're dying for a proper hot tag after basically two teases. Crowd is electric for the tag as Jimmy hits a dive on Harper, then a dive on Rowan and then runs the barricade to take down Harper again. Not quite as smooth as Jeff Hardy on the spot but fun all the same. Great nearfall on a top rope splash on Harper. Jimmy is all action since getting the hot tag but Harper busts out a tope of his own to bring out the dreaded This Is Awesome chant. Another couple of excellent near-falls of a super kick-roll up combo for the Usos and then a powerbomb by Harper. Then Rowan of all people MISSES A TOP ROPE SPLASH, before kicking out of the Uso splash from Jey, The crowd is eating up these big spots. Another wild spot as Rowan suplexes both Usos from the top. They take it maybe a step far with Harper no-selling a superkick to hit the discus lariat. Those no-sell spots are hit-and-miss with me. The Usos up the ante by taking out both Wyatts with double-team superkicks and a double splash is enough to finally finish Harper and take the match 2-1 at 18:50.

 

This match was tremendous fun. I was unsure about the structuring in that they basically followed the standard tag formula and got the two falls out of the way during the heel heat. Perhaps with more time they could've done more with those falls and had more of an ebb and flow to the match. The Usos' first fall was essentially a hope spot in the midst of an extended heel heat section. However, what they did do was massively entertaining. The Usos are great at combining exhausted selling with fired-up strikes to give a real sense of desperation and fight to their comebacks. The Wyatts were good in the beat-downs too, especially Harper. Their moves weren't always the most polished but looked nasty throughout, which fits the characters. The structure of the match, although I have questioned it, really did get the crowd into the finishing sequence massively and the all-action performances combined with five or six good nearfalls were red hot over. The crowd continued to chant for the Usos as well so the match was over on a deeper level than just being a spotfest. I didn't like the Harper no-sell spot that much and the finish was maybe slightly awkward to set up but this was a high-end WWE tag match that the crowd were super into.

 

****1/4

 



#3 Jimmy Redman

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 08:57 PM

If you're going back, there's a great little six man tag that somehow got buried on Superstars.

 

Usos & Trent vs Kidd, Slater & Gabriel on Superstars June 30th 2011.



#4 Victator

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 09:35 PM

When the Usos debuted they were really bad. So bad it was hard to believe they were related to Samu, Fatu and Yoko. 

But then buried on the B and C shows they improved a great deal. I'm trying to remember when my opinion changed on them. It might have been this series they had on Superstars with Mark Henry. 

By the time they started getting programmed with the Shield they were very good. I think they improve every match. That they became such good heels is a great credit to their talent. 

I think they are the first team in their family to play face and heel effectively. 



#5 Jimmy Redman

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 09:46 PM

Yeah it was once they turned face and became C show stalwarts that they started getting good. Late 2011/2012 I would say.

 

Which, to be fair, means they were only rubbish for the first year or so, and they've been good ever since.



#6 Victator

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 11:21 PM

Yeah it was once they turned face and became C show stalwarts that they started getting good. Late 2011/2012 I would say.

 

Which, to be fair, means they were only rubbish for the first year or so, and they've been good ever since.

They really did catch on quickly. I try to remember not to judge young talent too harshly. They are having to learn on a very stage. 



#7 FMKK

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Posted 28 July 2017 - 01:34 AM

If you're going back, there's a great little six man tag that somehow got buried on Superstars.
 
Usos & Trent vs Kidd, Slater & Gabriel on Superstars June 30th 2011.


Thanks, I'd love to check out some of that random earlier stuff once I get through a couple of the more obvious contenders for their top matches. They must have a ton of relatively forgotten good TV matches!

#8 FMKK

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Posted 28 July 2017 - 02:20 AM

Ok so I had a little time before work so I watched the Superstars six-man tag.
 
The Usos & Trent Barreta vs Heath Slater, Justin Gabriel and Tyson Kidd - WWE Superstars, 30th June 2011
 
Usos get the jobber entrance as this is pretty early in their WWE run. All the guys here worked well but man, Barreta, Gabriel and Kidd just look pretty generic. LITTLE GUIDO IS THE REF. And he actually tells Slater to GET OUTTA HERE at one point. Amazing. The guy commentating with Striker has a very annoying voice.
 
This was a fun match with plenty of action throughout and some unexpected big spots. There's a nice racism spot early as Jimmy no-sells a headbutt due to his super Samoan noggin. He also dances a bit. The Usos bust out some nice offensive moves that they don't really do much anymore, including a sitout full nelson slam and a northern lights suplex. Barretta gets some shine, including a nice move where he springs off the second rope to elbow his opponent in the corner. The announcers hype that he has a rivalry with Tyson Kidd, who gets the heat on him. These two pair up nicely on a couple of occasions here. The heat segment is pretty by the numbers. Jey Uso brings some decent fire on the hot tag, but it's clear that they haven't got down their babyface shtick that would get them over, even though some of the signature spots are there. Their punches aren't as good as in the later match either. In one of the randomly big spots I mentioned earlier, Slater hits a powerslam from the second rope to take control back for the heel team. That looked impressive. Jey is a little more interesting to watch getting beaten on than Barreta, though it's pretty standard fair once again. 
 
The match breaks down as Jey knocks Slater and Gabriel out of the ring before making a hot tag. They seem to like that spot. Barreta and Kidd match up again and are quite good together. I'd like to see a C-show singles match between those two. Things are rolling along nicely until the other random big spot is brought out. Barreta superplex to Kidd to the floor, taking out everyone. The crowd, who had been enjoying the match rather than being invested up to this point, are on their feet. Gabriel breaks up a pin attempt back inside but he's pulled out and killed by the Usos double superkick. Tornado DDT to Kidd before a tag and an Uso splash finishes this one off.
 
This was a great fun ten minute sprint. Everyone was bringing some nice, crisp offence and moving through the gears quickly without short-selling the impact of the moves. The one downside was that the heat segments really weren't much, but they didn't have loads of time so I can forgive that. In terms of the Usos, they were energetic throughout but didn't hit the highs of their later performances. The crowd weren't super into them as they didn't do the Use-OH! chant before the Rikishi corner splash etc. but they played their part in an entertaining bout. Need to catch more of this C-show shit.
 
***1/4

(Edited the rating up a little after some thought)

#9 Matt D

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Posted 28 July 2017 - 06:23 AM

This is an interesting thing to look at. I'd be most curious what you find in the way of variation (versatility) in their matches. As someone who was most tuned in when they were wrestling Goldust and the Shield and that just dips in now and again these days, it does feel like a lot of sameness from them to me.



#10 FMKK

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Posted 28 July 2017 - 09:43 AM

This is an interesting thing to look at. I'd be most curious what you find in the way of variation (versatility) in their matches. As someone who was most tuned in when they were wrestling Goldust and the Shield and that just dips in now and again these days, it does feel like a lot of sameness from them to me.

 

I think that's where their heel run may stand them in good stead when evaluating them, because from memory I do get that feeling as well. I hope to discover some variations as I watch more.

 

I think I'll do the match vs Rollins & Reigns from MITB 2013 next because that feels to me like their coming out party as a team who can have really good matches.



#11 KawadaSmile

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Posted 28 July 2017 - 10:40 AM

I've seen the Usos deliver good to great matches on TV and PPV since at least 2013. What they were lacking for a while, I'd say since late 2015 until their heel turn, was a shakeup in their character, as they grew to be pretty bland faces.

 

Now that they have some edge to their characters, they got not only regularly very good matches, but also get some pretty damn good promos.

 

Out of all the tags in this decade, the Usos at at the very least Top 3.



#12 FMKK

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Posted 31 July 2017 - 05:10 PM

The Usos vs The Shield (Rollins/Reigns) - WWE Money in the Bank, 14th July 2013

 

This is the pre-show. I feel like this match is seen as a coming out party for the Usos in terms of being acknowledged as a team who can have high end matches. I'm also interested to see how Rollins and Reigns are as workers within their first year on the main roster with the context of their singles runs in mind. I'm rather low and very high on each respectively. With the Usos, the Shield, Cody and Goldust and the Real Americans, 2013 seems like a high point for WWE tag team wrestling. Mix in the likes of Bryan, Punk, Cena and Christian for the multitude of TV six-mans and it might be the best year ever for WWE tag team matches. Perhaps worth further investigation in the future.

 

Somewhat clunky roll-up spots to start. The Usos aren't as over as they would be a year later in the Wyatt match I don't think. Cole's commentary literally sounds like he's phoning it in, though it might just be the quality of this upload. Crowd are chanting for RVD, who was returning on this show. Not much anticipation for this match clearly. The Usos dominate early with double team moves on Roman as JBL plays them up as the first proper team to have taken on The Shield. It's funny to hear Cole mention the Anoa'i family without acknowledging that the Usos and Reigns are actually related. 

 

Back from an ad break with the Usos still on top before a Rollins drop kick lets the Shield take over. Awkward botch in the corner with Roman and Jimmy (i think?) as this has been pretty nondescript so far. UNTIL JIMMY TAKES A FUCKING APRON BUMP ON HIS HEAD FROM A CLOTHESLINE! Now for the heat. Roman's punches are ok but nothing on what they are now. I think he's one of the best punchers in wrestling in 2017. Little bit of cheating with Rollins getting some kicks in from the corner but the crowd are too busy chanting RVD to boo. The Shield heat hasn't been much but there's a nice bit where Rollins gets blind tagged, thrown over the top and then is there to pull the other Uso off the apron to stop the hot tag. The commentary is good at playing up their teamwork. 

 

Back from an ad break to see an Uso hitting a huge dive on the Shield. Bit shit to miss out on the comeback. Nice near fall on a flying crossbody and the crowd is finally alive for the match. Rikishi corner spot and samoan drop for another near fall. Then there's a pretty big tower of doom spot that kills everyone. Those spots are always pretty damn contrived but the crowd pops big for it. Nice turning the tables moment as Reigns is pulled off the apron when Rollins needs the tag. He gets superkicked and splashed but Reigns breaks up the pin at the last second. Great nearfall and the crowd are well into the match now. The dreaded This Is Awesome breaks out. The finish is pretty neat as well. Rollins is lifted up for a top rope samoan drop but he sunset flips (with help from Reigns) to do the buckle bomb which is followed immediately by a Reigns spear to get the three. 

 

This really is a case of a match of two halves because this was super basic before the stretch run. The Uso shine at the start wasn't really up to much, though they had a couple of decent double team moves. The Shield heat was nothing special either as it basically consisted of punches and chokes. The transition with the apron bump was crazy shit though and Rollins pulling the man off the apron was well worked towards but really there wasn't much in terms of hope spots or interesting offence. The ad break cut out the hot tag, which is shitty, but I will say that the finishing run was excellent and really had the crowd rocking. They bought all of the nearfalls, the Usos were dynamic on offence, there were some big spots and the ending put over the Shield as a smart team. Probably worth three stars for the hot ending but not enough before that to go much higher.

 

***



#13 FMKK

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Posted 31 July 2017 - 05:14 PM

Might search out some of the Shield six-mans that the Usos were involved in to see if they could better this effort.



#14 Jimmy Redman

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Posted 31 July 2017 - 10:24 PM

Try these on:

 

Shield vs Usos & Henry - Main Event 7/8/13

Shield vs Usos & Bryan - SD 20/9/13

Shield vs Usos & Dolph - Raw 30/9/13

Shield vs Rhodes Bros vs Usos - Hell in a Cell 2013

 

They had a bunch more Shield matches but those are the ones that stood out to me.

 

In the non-Shield department, also check out Usos vs Rhodes Scholars - Main Event 23/1/13 and Main Event 5/6/13.



#15 FMKK

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Posted 01 August 2017 - 02:42 AM

Perfect, thanks. Might look for something with the Real Americans too because I remember they were a pretty fun TV tag team. Need to get a couple of heel matches in too. Probably the title switch vs American Alpha and the recent New Day match.

#16 FMKK

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 02:04 PM

Going to get back into this after another awesome Usos match on Summerslam. I'll watch it again before I comment on it but in the meantime, I caught one of the six-man matches Jimmy Redman recommended.

 

Shield vs Usos & Dolph - Raw 30/9/13

 

I had a big problem with this match. It was Dolph Ziggler. This guy is an abysmal wrestler. The match builds nicely as these six-mans usually do, with the Usos doing that spot they love where they throw the opponent out of the ring to tease the hot tag. That's something they've done in all of these matches so far. Roman cuts it off this time before taking a superkick. The problem comes with the hot tag. Rollins knocks Jey off the apron so unfortunately for all, Ziggler is the one who gets to run wild. He flails around at a million miles an hour, so much so that Ambrose can barely get up in time to feed the next moves. I should give credit in the sense that the crowd are into the guy at this point. There's also a nice bit where he drop kicks Rollins who's coming from the top rope. But then after taking no offensive moves, he starts selling death. At first I thought he was just slowing down to let Ambrose roll him up but after that spot he hits a fameasser, Roman breaks up the pin and he just goes to the corner. He's just lying there. Dead. An Uso comes in and chucks Ambrose out. There was a blind tag to Rollins, then a blind tag to Reigns so when Ziggler springs back up to hit his shitty finish on Rollins he gets speared for the Shield win. I liked most of this match and I enjoy those cute teamwork sequences like the blind tags to put over The Shield as a unit but Ziggler is terrible. He's either a million miles an hour or flopped out dead. In retrospect, he should have been in tag teams his whole WWE career because at least the crowd gets into him sprinting around as a hot tag. But he brought this down a good bit.

 

**3/4



#17 FMKK

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 03:30 PM

The Usos vs New Day - WWE Summerslam, 20st August 2017

 

Another pre-show match for the Usos. Smackdown tag titles on the line here and the Usos are working heel, which has revitalised the act. New Day is Xavier and Big E in this match. I like the idea they've played up of ND having 'power' and 'speed' line-ups depending on who's in. Xavier gets some shine, winning a speed sequence with a big forearm then going to work with chops. A heel distraction allows Woods to get nailed with a sweet punch coming from the second rope for the transition. 

 

Back after an ad break with Xavier in a chinlock and the crowd clapping him on. JBL is comparing the Usos to great sibling tag teams and honestly, they're among the best. Xavier gets a hope spot shoving Jey off the second rope, dodging a splash from the apron by Jimmy while sitting on top and then hitting a nice missile drop kick. Crowd is still quite enthusiastic for New Day. But Jimmy pulls Big E off the apron in the nick of time to stop the hot tag. I love those spots where the positioning from previous moments comes into play. Makes it seem like the guys are thinking on their feet in kayfabe. Uso matches have lots of nice moments like that. Jey picks up Woods for a samoan drop but instead just runs his head into the buckle. Nasty. Heart attack from the top continues the heat. The Usos have a cocky, bullying demeanour that works really well as heels. They have good sneers. Of course, the cockiness gets the better of them as Xavier counters a back suplex into an inverted sitting facebuster (or something) that looked sweet. 

 

Hot tag to Big E who throws some very high angled belly-to-bellies but is caught with a running enziguri after gyrating for too long. Cool double team spots as Woods rolls up onto Big E's shoulders to be powerbombed down onto Jimmy Uso. Then Woods lifts Big E onto his shoulders to drop down for a splash. Crowd pops big for that. Xavier selling his back from lifting E is a nice touch. Usos take advantage of a blind tag to hit a massive double spinebuster on E, who then gets socked with a great punch in the corner to set up the Rikishi ass attack thing. Awesome spot as Xavier cuts off a second attempt and puts his knees up for an Uso to be slammed on top of. The double team spots here have been great. They're mixing in some great looking forearms and punches as well, which I love. Xavier especially has nice strikes. Woods hits a baseball slide outside the ring the other Uso flies out of nowhere to clatter him from off the barricade. Big E's tope is cut off with a super kick and he's caught on the middle rope. One Use jumps from the top to splash him on the apron while the other does the big splash on Xavier in the ring. Crowd bites huge for the nearfall. Awesome sequence.

 

Xavier busts out a koji clutch and then hits a huge shining wizard knee on Jey once he escapes. Awesome tornado DDT to the outside kills Jimmy then they set up for the midnight hour. Jimmy breaks up the pin at the absolute last second to pop the crowd huge again. There's long applause and THAT horrible chant as all four men are down. JBL calls these two the best two tag teams in the world and he may well be correct. Jimmy fires Woods over the top onto his own partner with a nasty thud, before Jey pelts Kofi into the steps. E then does his ridiculous spear through the middle ropes spot. He's all fired up and so is the crowd. He lifts Jey up for his finish but succumbs to the blind tag. Two super kicks to the gut, two to the face and then a double super kick kills Big E dead and the double splash finishes it off to win the titles for the Usos.

 

That was incredible. The first few minutes were relatively routine but well worked tag procedure. The Usos had good strikes as always and have a perfect heel demeanour. Once the hot tag came then shit got real. I've said that the Usos have great ending sequences but here they esentially did three in a row, culminating in a huge nearfall for themselves, a huge nearfall for New Day and then the victory. The crowd were popping huge for the big spots and, although all four workers had excellent performances, I want to particularly shout out Xavier for his awesome forearms and knees. I loved the innovative double team spots too. Low-key WWE MOTYC. 

 

****1/2






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