Friday 22 June 2012

Prime Time

At No Way Out, in one of the many unadvertised matches to make it on to a WWE pay-per-view this year, Abraham Washington (who now bills himself simply as AW) turned on his clients Epico, Primo and Rosa Mendes and helped the Prime Time Players win a four team number one contenders match, which also included the Usos and Justin Gabriel and Tyson Kidd. The likelihood is that this swerve turn was not the plan when AW originally became the manager of Epico and Primo. That doesn’t matter. It was a good move.

Since being placed with AW in the weeks following WrestleMania the former tag team champions have done very little. They originally joined AW’s All World talent stable because they were tired of being left off television. Ironically their affiliation with AW resulted in them getting even fewer matches but it didn’t matter, we were told they were biding their time and waiting before instigating their contractually obligated championship rematch.

AW becoming the agent for the Prime Time Players is a much better use of him. Titus O’Neil and Darren Young have few things going for them but they are at least enthusiastic about their job and appear dedicated to improving. AW will help cover their weaknesses and make them a more rounded act.

AW and the Prime Time Players: for better or for worse the future of WWE's tag team division

The PTPs have been getting regular matches on RAW and SmackDown, winning a lot, and have been allowed to experiment with their on-screen characters. Those are all signs that somebody in the organisation thinks they have potential. While I don’t agree with that view at least WWE are giving a new act a consistent push that is mindful of their current skill level.

I actually think part of the reason for switching AW over to the Prime Time Players was to allow WWE to book a tag team feud. With R-Truth injured he and championship partner Kofi Kingston are unable to engage in a proper feud right now. Using Epico and Primo as avenging babyfaces is a good way to keep building Young and O’Neil before they’re able to take the gold from Kingston and Truth. In the long run it will be good too: a deep doubles division needs more than one face unit and if Epico and Primo are handled well they could fit the bill nicely.

I would assume WWE will either wait until Truth is injury free or, if too much time elapses, book either some sort of injury angle with ‘The Suntan Superman’ that means Kofi must defend alone or find a replacement partner (I’ve suggested Zack Ryder for the role). Of those options I think the injury angle and handicap match approach is best as it clearly illustrates the underhanded nature of the Prime Time Players, and the unjust nature of the title change would make people anticpate a rematch that little bit more.

What scant future the WWE tag team division has is linked to the Prime Time Players. They may not be great but they’re better than nothing. On the bright side WWE clearly has interest in them and AW should help them a more bearable act. Sooner or later they’ll get their hands on the ugly tag straps: that’s when they’ll really have their chance to prove they belong.

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