NCAA Tournament appearances by Temple’s Fran Dunphy, tied for most by Big 5 head coach

Heel Turns: Smackdown superior at tag

Posted by Achilles Heel On July 1

The surprising return of Kane on Smackdown has resulted in a reunion of “Team Hell No.” Kane and Bryan will have a shot at the Smackdown Tag Team Championship on July 15 at Extreme Rules when they face The Bludgeon Brothers (Erick Rowan and Luke Harper).

Rather than concentrate on the return of Kane, who is running for mayor in Knox County, Tenn., let’s take this opportunity to examine the tag team divisions on Raw and Smackdown.

The Superstar Shakeup was supposed to create new rivalries and balance out the rosters. Instead, it created an imbalance in the tag team divisions, which has only been exacerbated by the Team Hell No reunion.

Smackdown has a far superior tag team division. Let’s start with the champions. Rowan and Harper are a believable power team. Harper is a tremendous wrestler. The Greek God of Wrestling has frequently complained about WWE not utilizing Harper’s talents during periods when he isn’t receiving any push at all. Rowan is performing as well as one of the Bludgeon Brothers as he has in any previous role.

The Bludgeon Brothers are better than “Woken” Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt, the Raw tag team champions. The mismatched pair of Hardy and Wyatt cut interesting promos, but both have been better with different partners. Obviously, Matt and Jeff Hardy form one of wrestling’s greatest tag teams. Wyatt was better when teaming with Randy Orton and Harper.

Fans can argue which championship tag team is better, but there isn’t any debate about the depth of the tag team division. The challengers on Smackdown include The New Day, the Usos, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, Sheamus and Cesaro, SAnitY (Eric Young, Killian Dain, Alexander Wolfe) and Team Hell No. That’s a stacked tag team division. The New Day and Usos have been two of the best teams during the past five years, Team Hell No is a terrific team from the past, Gallows and Anderson have had international success, Cesaro and Sheamus are multiple-time tag team champions, and SAnitY is a formidable three-man team. You can throw in Rusev and Aiden English and the seldom-used Epico and Primo Colon to the loaded Smackdown tag team roster.

By contrast, the Raw tag team roster is slim. Achilles Heel is an admirer of The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder), which, hopefully, is back on track after being derailed by significant injuries to both partners. I’m also happy to see The “B” Team of Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas getting a larger role. Breezango and Titus O’Neil and Apollo Crews are solid teams, but they wouldn’t crack the top six among challengers on Smackdown. The same could be said of former tag team champions Heath Slater and Rhyno. The Authors of Pain (Akam and Rezar) could join The Revival in elevating Raw’s tag team division, but right now it’s far inferior to Smackdown’s tag team division.

It’s too early for another Superstar Shakeup, but WWE needs to find a way to address the huge imbalance between the tag team divisions on Raw and Smackdown.


WWE IN PHILLY ON FRIDAY: Don’t forget that WWE is coming to Wells Fargo Center on Friday (7:30 p.m.).  Even though Ronda Rousey is suspended on Raw, she is still scheduled to be in Philly on Friday in some capacity, probably involving Raw Women’s champion Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax. Also advertised for the show are Intercontinental champion Dolph Ziggler, Drew McIntyre, former Intercontinental champion Seth Rollins, Finn Balor, Kevin Owens and Braun Strowman. To promote the show, Ember Moon threw out the ceremonial first pitch before Saturday’s Phillies-Nationals game.


ROLLINS SELLS OUT: Tickets for autographs and photographs for Seth Rollins’ appearance on Saturday (11a.m.-2 p.m.) at iPlay America in Freehold, N.J., are sold out.


RING OF HONOR’S BEST: There weren’t any title changes Friday during Ring of Honor’s “Best in the World” in Baltimore (but there will be a pseudo-spoiler at the end of this item). Dalton Castle retained the Ring of Honor World Championship in a triple threat match with Cody Rhodes and Marty Scurll, Mark and Jay Briscoe retained the Ring of Honor Tag Team Championship against The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson), Punishment Martinez retained the Ring of Honor Television Championship in a street fight with Adam Page, and Matt Taven, TK O’Ryan and Vinny Marseglia retained the Ring of Honor Six-Man Tag Team Championship against Evil, Sanada and Bushi.

It was clear during the world title match that Castle is still bothered by the back and wrist injuries that have plagued his title reign. The Greek God of Wrestling was wondering how much longer Ring of Honor can keep the belt on Castle. SPOILER ALERT: The answer came at the Ring of Honor television tapings, but, because Achilles Heel, detests spoilers, he won’t reveal the new champion or how the title changed hands.


CAPPOTELLI DIES AT 38: Matt Cappotelli, a Tough Enough winner in season three, died early Friday morning at age 38 after a second battle with brain cancer. Cappotelli was first diagnosed in 2005 while competing for Ohio Valley Wrestling. When the cancer returned, Cappotelli had surgery last June, but a portion of the tumor could not be removed because it was too close to his brain stem.

It didn’t take Cappotelli’s death to get people to say nice things about him. The Greek God of Wrestling has never heard a bad word about Cappotelli. Those who knew him speak about Cappotelli in glowing terms. Achilles Heel sends out his condolence to Cappotelli’s family and friends.


BAD DOG: Last week’s United States Championship match between Jeff Hardy and Shinsuke Nakamura, as well as Nakamura’s matches in Japan this weekend, were canceled after Nakamura was bitten by a police dog during a security sweep before a WWE event in Bakersfield, Calif. The bite was to Nakamura’s leg. There is no timetable for Nakamura’s return.


NEW NXT TAG CHAMPS: Tyler Bate and Trent Seven, collectively known as Moustache Mountain, defeated The Undisputed Era’s Kyle O’Reilly and Roderick Strong during WWE’s United Kingdom Tournament special, which aired last week on WWE Network. If you haven’t watched the UK Tournament, it’s worth watching just for this match and the six-man match that added Ricochet to Moustache Mountain and Adam Cole to the Undisputed Era team. United Kingdom champion Pete Dunne, as always, was fantastic. WWE is going to set up its United Kingdom operation as an international branch of NXT.


CHIKARA BATTLES: CHIKARA will be inaction on July 13 and 14. On Fri., July 14, CHIKARA will present matches following the Reading Phillies game. The next day (3 p.m.), CHIKARA will host Beyond Wrestling in “Clan Feuds” at The Wrestle Factory in Philadelphia.

Announced matches include a non-title match between CHIKARA Grand champion Juan Francisco Coronado and Jonathan Gresham, Mr. Touchdown Mark Angelosetti vs. Tracy Williamsn, and Chris Dickinson vs. Dasher Hatfield.


THERAPY ISSUES: The Greek God of Wrestling wonders if the idea for the “therapy” angle involving Bayley and Sasha Banks was sparked by the return of Kane, who had numerous therapy sessions with Team Hell No partner Daniel Bryan during their successful run as a tag team.

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Side angle of Cody Parkey's missed field goal