Wrestler of the Day – July 9: Usos

When I say Wrestler, you say Of The Day. Today is the Usos.

The Usos debuted on Raw on May 28, 2010, immediately starting a feud with the Hart Dynasty. This set up a six man tag at Fatal Fourway.

Hart Dynasty vs. Usos/Tamina

When did this stop being a tag title match? Whatever. The Usos have beaten Goldust and Mark Henry. Oh joy. The women start us off. The Usos are a nice idea as they’re Samoans that aren’t savages. You know, because Rikishi and Rock were SAVAGES. Jimmy Uso sounds like Jimmy Olsen. This is better than the previous match, but why not a tag?

To be fair the girls can wrestle here so it’s harder to complain here. Jimmy Snuka was pushed to the back allegedly. Uh, yeah. He was pushed to the back of HULK HOGAN. That’s not discrimination. That’s basic intelligence in booking. Tyson is playing Ricky Morton here Everything goes all messy as Tyson hits a nice dive over the top. Oh and Natalya is in vs. Tamina. Tamina misses a top rope splash which Natalya was up before she jumped for but whatever. A discus lariat ends it for Natalya.

Rating: D+. Not bad here but it’s pure filler. I would have gone with the tag titles on the line here but it could certainly be argued that the Usos haven’t won enough to get a title shot yet which is true. This wasn’t horrible though but it belongs on Raw instead of here on PPV.

The teams wouldn’t have a two on two tag match for a good while. Here’s one of the few times it happened, from Raw on November 8, 2010.

Hart Dynasty vs. Usos

Do they really think we want to see this again? It’s a handicap Divas Title match at the PPV which I have to think Natalya wins as she’s beaten both girls in a big brawl already. Jimmy vs. David to start. Apparently Jimmy’s partner’s name is Jey not Jay. Kidd hits a Mysterio-esque dive to one of the Usos into a rana which was pretty freaking sweet.

Kidd gets beaten down and I could have sworn there was a three count but apparently it was only two. Smith doesn’t look happy at all. He’s on the floor arguing with Natalya actually. And so much for that as he’s there for the tag. There’s the powerslam to one of the Samoans for two as the other breaks it up. Jumping superkick kills Tyson on the floor and another one gets David. Jey ends him with a top rope splash.

Rating: D+. We get it: the Harts don’t get along at the moment and they can’t beat a team that they’ve beaten a ton of times before. Now NEVER let these two fight again. We understand the idea here but sweet goodness the Usos are not interesting at all. This was the same thing we’ve seen time and time again and it’s still boring.

The Usos would get a Tag Team Title shot on Smackdown, July 29, 2011.

Tag Titles: Usos vs. Michael McGillicutty/David Otunga

Wow the champs are on Smackdown. Nexus has new music too. We’ll say that’s Jey starting vs. McGillicutty. They beat the champs on Superstars to set this up. Off to Otunga who does a bit better with Jimmy. Chinlock goes on and the crowd is silent until Jimmy gets a shot in and brings in Jey. He takes over on McGilligutty and they set for the top rope splash. Otunga distracts the referee by pointing out that Jimmy is in the ring still so he can shove Jey off the top. McGillicutter ends this at 2:30.

The Usos would be sent to NXT Redemption, which was still a show on WWE.com at this point, to be the awesome tag team of the show. Here they are on November 2, 2011.

Usos vs. Tyson Kidd/Johnny Curtis

Curtis is now known as Fandango. Hawkins is suspended so Curtis is back on NXT as the sub. The winners of those shows can’t catch a break. Kidd vs. let’s say Jey starts us off. The twins take over on Kidd and Jimmy gets two off an elbow. Jey gets the same off a chop. No Curtis in yet, meaning the collective snoring hasn’t started. Oh there he is. For the life of me I don’t get what they saw in him. He’s so bland and cookie-cutter looking I don’t know how he could get more uninteresting.

Back to Kidd as apparently Curtis isn’t even going to grace us with his presence. Thank goodness for that. If I sound a bit incoherent here, you can blame the slight cold I have or Curtis’ ability to suck all the charisma out of a match. The Usos go up but heel double teaming takes them right back down. We take a break and come back with Curtis working on Jey’s knee which may have been hurt coming off the top.

Kidd comes in again as I guess even Curtis is bored by his own work. Back to Boring Man who hits a slingshot legdrop to Jey’s knee. Here’s a leg lock as this match has somehow only been going about 7 minutes including the break. Jey finally sends Kidd to the floor as as we talk about Killer Kowalski. There’s the tag and everything breaks down. The Usos head to the floor where they launch Kidd into the barricade in a cool looking move. Back inside a Samoan Drop followed by a Superfly Splash ends Curtis at 8:47.

Rating: C-. The tag matches here used to be good but I guess they’re just getting boring to me now. The Curtis factor didn’t help things out here either. The problem at the end of the day is the that the Usos are flat out better than any other team and we can only see these guys fight for the sake of fighting so many times before it loses all meaning. I think we hit that six weeks ago.

They would be on the Wrestlemania XXVIII pre-show.

Tag Titles: Justin Gabriel/Tyson Kidd vs. Primo/Epico vs. Usos

Primo/Epico have the titles and have beaten the Usos about five times already. Kidd and Gabriel are teaming for the first time after Kidd asked Gabriel if he wanted to be a team. Gabriel said yes, and apparently that qualifies you as deserving a title match. New tights for the Usos here. Josh and Striker are doing commentary for this match. This is under WCW rules as in three in the ring at once, but in a twist you can only tag your own partner.

Jey, Tyson and Primo start things off. Primo is sent to the floor and Tyson gets two off a sunset flip. Primo comes back in with a missile dropkick as Jey gets beaten down. Kidd makes the save but gets DDTed for two. Primo loads up a superplex on Jey but Tyson springboards up to make it a Tower of Doom in a cool twist on the traditional spot there. Tags bring in Epico and Jimmy but I think Kidd is still legal for his team.

Jimmy comes out of the corner with a spinning cross body and a Bubba Bomb for two. Tag to Gabriel who jumps over Jimmy but walks into a Samoan attack. Back to Jey who hits an assisted Samoan Drop. Jimmy tags in quickly for a double Rikishi attack to Epico and Gabriel. Epico gets dropped onto Primo so Jey can hit a HUGE dive onto both of them.

Kidd pops up on the apron but Jimmy launches him to Jey for a Samoan Drop. Gabriel sets for a top rope Asai Moonsault and hits it on his second attempt. Better safe than sorry on that spot. He tries the springboard 450 but (mostly) hits knees. Backstabber by Epico pins Jey at 5:05.

Rating: B-. Really fun opener here with the six smaller guys being thrown out there to fire up the crowd. That’s what cruiserweights and hot Latin women that can shake their hips were made for so you can’t ask for much more than that. I’m a big Uso fan so seeing them on Wrestlemania was a cool thing to see. Very good start to the night.

Once NXT became what it is today, the Usos would go down to Florida for what would be a huge match today, even though one of the teams isn’t the same.

Usos vs. The Ascension

Regal and Chris Russo are on commentary now along with JR. You know the Siva Tao is popular here with a college crowd. The Usos take over to start and double team Cameron for two. Cameron goes insane and pounds both Usos down until he brings in O’Brien for the same kind of stuff. They tag in and out a lot and pound away on Jey with a bunch of pounds and stomps. Jey hits a headbutt to bring in Jimmy who runs over Cameron a bit. Samoan Drop puts him down as does the Umaga Attack in the corner. Jey gets sent to the floor and Jimmy walks into the Downcast for the pin at 3:40.

Rating: C+. The match was nothing of note but I’m more impressed by the entrances. This is something you don’t get in the homogenized world of WWE anymore. The Usos had their full screaming entrance while the Ascension looks like something out of a thriller movie. That’s not something you get with the big arenas and Cole riffing on half the people that come out and ignoring the other half. The match was basically a squash.

The Usos started getting awesome later in the year and would face the Prime Time Players on December 29, 2012’s Smackdown.

Prime Time Players vs. Usos

The Players have new music which isn’t as catchy. Young and Jey start things off and Darren gets double teamed a bit. Titus makes a blind tag and kicks Jey in the head to take over. There’s some heel miscommunication but Young hits the gutbuster for two on Jey anyway. The twins switch allowing Jimmy to roll up Young for the pin at 2:07.

On May 6, 2013 on Raw, the Usos and Kofi Kingston had a chance to fight the Shield.

Shield vs. Usos/Kofi Kingston

Jey and Ambrose start things off with Dean putting Jey into the corner with some right hands. Jey fires back and takes him down before Rollins tries diving off the top, only to jump into an uppercut. Rollins drives Jey into the corner where Reigns gets in some right hands of his own. Off to a chinlock by Rollins as Jey gets beaten down. Reigns comes in and chokes away before it’s off to Rollins for another chinlock. Jey finally gets up and hits a Samoan Drop, allowing for the hot tag to Kofi.

The Shield is knocked to the floor and there’s the Boom Drop on Ambrose for no cover. Kofi misses a charge into the corner but hits some pendulum kicks to Ambrose and Rollins. The springboard cross body gets two on Dean as everything breaks down. Reigns ENDS one of the Usos with a clothesline as Kofi goes up, only to be shoved down by Rollins. Ambrose’s falling bulldog is enough to pin Kofi at 6:45.

Rating: C-. Shield does not need to be used for matches like this one. They’re WAY too important for squashes over a team that shows up once every three months and Kofi. Speaking of Kingston, why did he have to get pinned here? That’s what the Usos are there for, but instead we need to pin the US Champion right? There were NO other options whatsoever in this match at all.

Here’s something more the Usos’ speed, from Money in the Bank 2013’s preshow.

Pre-Show: Tag Titles: Usos vs. Roman Reigns/Seth Rollins

Shield is defending. Rollins starts with Jey with the Uso quickly getting two off a backslide. Off to Reigns who gets chopped down and caught with a double suplex for two. The fans are already chanting for RVD. A double spinebuster gets two for Jey as this is one sided so far. Seth pulls Roman out of the way of a superkick as we take a break during the pre-show. Back with the Usos still in control but Rollins avoids a charge and brings in Reigns to take over.

A clothesline sends Jey off the apron and out to the floor as Shield starts making fast tags. Rollins kicks Jey in the back for two and puts on a chinlock. Jey keeps fighting back but can’t make the hot tag. Seth is sent to the floor and Reigns is kicked away but Rollins dives to break up the hot tag. Jey is knocked tot he floor for a hard clothesline from Reigns. We take ANOTHER break and come back with Jimmy diving over the top to take out the Shield. Not that we got to see the hot tag or anything, but we needed a trailer for Dead Man Down right?

Jimmy gets a VERY close two off a high cross body and the Samoan drop gets two on Rollins. Seth comes back and loads up a superplex on Jey but the other two come in to make it a Tower of Doom with Jimmy taking the worst of it. Jimmy superkicks Rollins down and hits the Superfly Splash but Reigns makes a last second save. The fans correctly think this is awesome. Rollins counters a middle rope Samoan drop into an across the ring buckle bomb, setting up the Reigns’ spear for the pin to retain at 14:50.

Rating: B. WOW this was better than I was expecting. The near falls in this were off the charts and the Usos actually had me believing they were going to win. The Shield has insane chemistry out there and the Usos proved that they can hang with them move for move. Excellent stuff here and by far the best pre-show match they’ve ever had.

Later in the year, WWE tried to build up the tag division. Here’s an example of the effort on Raw, September 16, 2013.

Tons of Funk vs. Real Americans vs. Usos

This is elimination rules and the winners get a title shot at some point in the future. Brodus knocks Swagger to the floor to start and the Real Americans have a huddle. Back in and Swagger tags in Jimmy Uso to face Brodus with Jimmy hitting whatever fast strikes he can to take over. Brodus casually catches a cross body and slams him down a few times. A backbreaker and elbow drop crush Jimmy but Cesaro tags himself in.

Jimmy takes Antonio down with a jumping elbow to the face and it’s off to Jey with a clothesline for two. A hard European uppercut knocks Jey down but he manages a tag to Tensai a few seconds later. Tensai hits a delayed butterfly suplex on Cesaro while not even looking like he’s straining. Cesaro gets clotheslined to the floor but Jimmy tagged himself in on the way down. Tensai pounds way on Jimmy but misses a splash in the corner. A hard clothesline puts Jimmy down and a bad looking choke bomb looks to get the pin, only to have Cesaro roll Tensai up for the elimination at 4:40.

Cesaro dropkicks Jimmy to the floor and we take a break. Back with Swagger holding both of Jimmy’s arms back. Apparently we missed the long giant swing from Cesaro during the break. Nice job on that WWE. The Vader Bomb crushes Jimmy and Cesaro jumps over Swagger’s shoulder for a double stomp to the chest. We hit the chinlock and the fans start chanting Randy Savage. Jimmy finally dives over for the hot tag to Jey who comes in off the top with a clothesline to Swagger.

Everything breaks down and a kick to the face gets two on Jack. The Usos hit a double plancha to the floor to take out the Real Americans in a cool spot. Back in and Jimmy gets caught in the Patriot Lock but he finally kicks away and superkicks Swagger down. The Superfly Splash is broken up by the running belly to belly but Jey tags himself in and hits the Superfly Splash for the pin and the title shot at 13:15.

Rating: C+. We didn’t need Tons of Funk but the second half of the match was really good stuff. Tag matches are a simple way to fire up the crowd and power vs. speed is the best formula you can use. The ending was great, the dives were great and the match (at least after the break) was really fun. Good stuff here.

They would lose their title shot but get this as a consolation prize on Smackdown, November 1, 2013.

Shield vs. Usos

Rollins and Ambrose here. This is a result of the Usos helping make the save on Monday night. Jimmy and Dean get us going but Ambrose is quickly dragged to the Uso corner for a double back elbow to the jaw. Dean makes a tag off to Rollins but is easily taken down for a knee drop. Rollins trips Jimmy down though and stomps away as Shield takes over. Seth charges into a backdrop over the top and out to the floor, only to have Ambrose tag him on the way down.

Jey is sent to the floor as well so Roman goes after him. Cue Big E. Langston to stare him down as we take a break. Back with Ambrose holding a chinlock on Jimmy before it’s back to Rollins for a running forearm in the corner. Seth goes to the middle rope but dives into a right hand, allowing for the double tag off to Dean and Jey.

The running Umaga attack in the corner gets a quick two and a jumping kick to the face gets the same. Rollins comes back in and gets caught in a spinebuster. A double superkick knocks Reigns off the apron and as JBL puts it, “WE GOT A FLYING SAMOAN!” Back inside and Jey dives over Amborse into a rollup for the pin at 6:44 shown of 10:14.

Rating: C+. As usual the Usos are good for a solid performance in a tag match. Shield continues to have problems but it could still be awhile before they split. The good thing about them is you can mix up the combinations to keep the story going even longer like they did here. Nice match to open things up.

They got another shot at the Shield on Smackdown, January 3, 2014.

Shield vs. Usos

Ambrose is the odd man out and sits in on commentary. Reigns gets things going with Jimmy and headbutts him in the corner. Jimmy gets taken down to the mat and stomped by Roman before it’s off to Seth who walks into a clothesline. Off to Jey for the first time and a back elbow to the jaw for two. The Usos get two more off a double elbow drop as Ambrose talks about taking over the WWE and closing down every bar and saloon from Dallas to Singapore. I miss wrestlers implying that they associate with each other off television.

Jimmy gets two off a backdrop before it’s back to Jey for an armdrag into an armbar. An uppercut stops Seth’s comeback and a clothesline puts him on the floor. The Usos hit stereo kicks to Reigns’ ribs to send him outside before backdropping Rollins on top of him. We take a break and come back with Jey holding Rollins in a chickenwing before Seth takes him into the corner for a tag to Reigns.

Roman takes Jey down with an elbow to the jaw as Shield takes over. Seth comes back in off the top with a right hand to the ribs. The announcers actually talk about unifying the midcard titles, meaning it might be a real possibility at the moment. Cole asks Ambrose if he’d like to face Langston. Ambrose, partially in song no less, says no and asks Cole to stop bullying him and “BE A STAR.” Can we just get Punk and Ambrose to do commentary on random matches? I’d buy the Network for that alone.

Off to a cobra clutch by Rollins before Reigns comes back in to bend Jey’s arm around the rope. Ambrose keeps spinning around in his chair at commentary. Reigns misses a charge and falls out to the floor. Seth can’t make a diving save so Jey makes the hot tag off to Jimmy. Everything breaks down and Rollins gets Samoan dropped but rolls to the floor before the Umaga attack can connect. Reigns is sent outside as well but Ambrose runs in for the DQ at 9:03 shown of 12:03.

Rating: C+. These teams are reaching the point where they could have good matches in their sleep. The Usos are becoming the Kofi Kingstons of the tag division as you’re guaranteed a good match but they’re never going to go anywhere beyond where they are now. Hopefully they can break that mold and eventually get the titles that they’re long overdue to win.

From later in the night.

CM Punk/Usos vs. Shield

Ambrose and Punk get us going with CM being driven into the corner, only to have Punk whip him over to the other Shield members. Off to Rollins who grabs a hammerlock but Punk counters into a headlock so he can loudly shout spots in Rollins’ ear. A neckbreaker puts Seth down for two and it’s off to Jey for a running headbutt. He puts Seth in a Boston crab as the now legal Jimmy drops a leg on the back of Seth’s head.

A leg lariat puts Seth down and it’s back to Jey for a superkick to the chest. Ambrose is sent to the floor but Reigns blocks a big dive from Jey as we take a break. Back with Reigns driving a headbutt into Jimmy’s chest and getting two off the Superman Punch. Rollins comes in with a backsplash for two and we hit the neck crank. Seth goes up but gets crotched down, only to have Ambrose come in to break up the hot tag attempt.

Jimmy breaks a chinlock with a jawbreaker and elbows his way out of a belly to back superplex attempt. Reigns comes in with Jimmy still on the top and gets taken down by a top rope cross body. Rollins knocks Jey off the apron but can’t stop the tag to Punk. CM comes in with a springboard clothesline and the running knee in the corner. Ambrose distracts Punk from dropping the Macho Elbow and Rollins crotches him on the top.

Punk rolls through a crossbody to put Rollins in the Anaconda Vice but Reigns makes the save. Another Superman Punch puts Jey down and we get down to the legal Punk vs. Rollins. Seth crawls over and tags in Dean who hits a butterfly superplex on Punk for two. Punk comes back with a GTS attempt but drops him before Reigns can launch the spear. A double superkick drops Roman and Seth gets backdropped to the floor. The twins hit stereo dives and the GTS ends Ambrose at 12:42.

Rating: B-. Good stuff here as you would expect, even with Ambrose taking the fall again. I’m assuming they’re building up to Reigns calling Ambrose out for all of the losses but get the title off of him if that’s where they’re going. If nothing else Shield hasn’t turned into a joke and they’re potentially splitting while still having awesome matches.

The twins would feud with the reunited New Age Outlaws, finally getting a title shot on Raw on March 3, 2014.

Tag Titles: New Age Outlaws vs. Usos

The Outlaws are defending but Road Dogg doesn’t think the fans here are worthy of hearing his catchphrases. It only took them two months to remember they’re heels. Jey hammers on Roadie to start but gets whipped hard into the corner. Uso comes out holding his knee so Dogg kicks him to the floor for a breather. Billy throws him back inside and hammers away before it’s back to Dogg. Jey’s leg seems to be holding up well enogh and Dogg even works it over a bit. Roadie throws him to the floor as we take a break.

Back with Jey fighting out of a chinlock but getting slammed down for two. Dogg comes back in and takes a spin kick to the face (the knee seems fine). The hot tag brings in Jimmy to face Billy. Dogg gets knocked off the apron and a Samoan drop puts Gunn down. There’s a Bubba Bomb to Billy and the running Umaga attack in the corner to Roadie.

A reverse Whisper in the Wind hits Gunn and there’s a superkick to knock Dogg to the floor. Gunn rolls up Jimmy for two and the tilt-a-whirl slam gets the same. The Fameasser just misses and the Usos do the plancha with the flying tag, setting up the superkick and Superfly Splash to FINALLY give the Usos the Tag Titles at 9:27.

Rating: C+. It’s about three years overdue but this was the best way to do it. I have no problem with the Outlaws keeping the title for just a few weeks as they put the young guys over 100% clean before Wrestlemania. Good little match and they made it feel like it meant something, which is rare for these titles.

We’ll wrap it up with the Wrestlemania XXX pre-show.

Pre-Show: Tag Team Titles: Usos vs. Real Americans vs. Los Matadores vs. Ryback/Curtis Axel

The Usos are defending but the crowd was behind the Real Americans. People HATED Los Matadores and the kids weren’t only kind of cheering for Torito. The interesting thing is you can see the Usos standing on stage during the previous team’s entrance. Axel vs. Jey gets things going as a LOUD WE THE PEOPLE chant fills the arena. They trade chops to start and the Real Americans want no part of a tag.

Curtis comes back with a running dropkick but it’s quickly off to Ryback vs. Jey. The big guy hammers away but Diego tags Ryback to come in. JBL calls this a stupid point because it’s not a one fall match. This brings up an interesting point: The fans, myself included, didn’t seem to know that it was elimination. It may have been mentioned before the show (probably was), but I didn’t hear it mentioned again before the match.

Anyway Cesaro tags Jey and it’s Diego getting double teamed by the Americans. Swagger nails a BIG clothesline for two but Diego comes back with a springboard headbutt, only to miss a Lionsault. Everyone not named Axel or a Matadore is sent to the floor, setting up a nice double dive from the masked guys that the cameras almost miss. Torito tries to go up as well but gets caught by Curtis. Axel throws him down and goes up top, but Los Matadores make the save.

Torito slips jumping to the top but gets up well enough to drive Axel and Los Matadores onto the floor in a big pile. Back in and Diego goes up top but Jack runs the ropes to superplex him into the Patriot Lock for the submission at 5:40. The fans thought we had new champions due to the lack of an explanation, but the confusion didn’t last long.

A quick Patriot Lock to Jey doesn’t work as well and it’s quickly off to Ryback for a delayed suplex and two on Jey. A middle rope splash from Ryback and a middle rope elbow drop from Axel combine for two and we hit the chinlock from Ryback. Off to a front facelock for a few moments until Jey whips Ryback away. The big guy misses a hard charge into the post though and the hot tag brings in Jimmy.

The Samoan drop sets up the running Umaga attack but Swagger catches Jimmy in a powerslam for two. Jimmy blocks the Vader Bomb with two feet to the face but Ryback plants both guys with spinebusters. There’s the Meat Hook to Jack but Cesaro breaks up the Shell shock. That’s fine with Ryback as he slams Cesaro off the top, only to get thrown into the air for Swiss Death, setting up the Neutralizer for the elimination at 11:44.

We’re doing to the Usos vs. the Real Americans and the fans are mostly for the challengers. It’s a brawl to start and the Usos quickly send them to the floor, setting up the double dive to knock all four guys down. Back in and Cesaro nails a backbreaker on Jey for a close two but the Neutralizer is countered into a jackknife cover. Cesaro counters that into a Swing attempt but Jimmy makes the save. That earns him an uppercut of his own but Jimmy goes up top for a Whisper in the Wind to drop both Americans for two.

Jack counters the Umaga attack into the Patriot Lock but Cesaro can’t intercept Jey who makes the save. Swiss Death drops Jey but Jimmy puts Cesaro down with a Samoan drop. Everything breaks down and Colter begs Cesaro to get back up. A double tag brings in Cesaro to face Jimmy. That’s fine with the champions as a double superkick sets up the double Superfly Splash on Cesaro for the pin at 16:13.

Rating: B. Really fun stuff here but man this would have been better with the Rhodes Brothers instead of the Matadores. Still though, the fans were WAY into Cesaro and the Usos got a very solid reaction as well. This is how you do an opening match to fire up the crowd and the big dives did exactly what they were supposed to do.

The Usos are a really solid tag team who can fly around with the best of them. They’re a good example of a team that works far better when they’re together as when they’re apart, they’re really just a pair of young Samoans who can jump in the air. Together they make a good team and have had a solid run as champions.

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