“We are a team in real life,” Jimmy Uso says. “That’s how we look at it.”
WWE’s script is always subject to change.
Daniel Bryan was never intended to headline WrestleMania 30. Kofi Kingston winning the WWE Championship was not the original plan, nor was Becky Lynch included in the first set of main event plans to defeat Ronda Rousey, at WrestleMania 35 this month. So why can’t a tag team headline WrestleMania 36? If there is a team to do it, it is Jimmy and Jey Uso.
“That would be new, that would be fun,” said Jimmy Uso. “WrestleMania would be different.”
A tag team match closed out the very first WrestleMania, but it was based far more on the attraction of seeing Hollywood’s Mr. T team with Hulk Hogan against “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and “Cowboy” Bob Orton. But The Usos define tag team wrestling, and the idea of closing the biggest show of the year against The New Day, the Hardys, or another team would add a new dynamic to WrestleMania.
Speaking with Sports Illustrated through the WWE’s community outreach program with Cricket Wireless, The Usos have no doubt they could make that main event an unforgettable experience.
“We’ve main-evented tag team matches that made history before,” said Jimmy. “Our tag team match in the Hell in a Cell [in 2017, the first-ever tag team HIAC match], that gave us goosebumps. We grew up watching Hell in a Cell. I remember walking down the aisle with my brother, walking into the cell, and stepped out of character for a minute to say, ‘Look where we at right now.’ Then it was, ‘Let’s go.’”
The Usos are part of an elite club along with the Hardys, the Young Bucks, the Guerrillas of Destiny and the Briscoes on the short list of best tag teams in the world. All of those teams are brothers, but The Usos—33-year-olds Jonathan Fatu (Jimmy) and Joshua Fatu (Jey)—are twins.
“This is a real thing,” said Jimmy. “We are a team in real life. That’s how we look at it.”
“We were a team in Pop Warner football, in high school, and college,” said Jey. “We got separated one time when we were little. He stayed with my mom, and I went with my mom’s sister to California. We were only one or two years old, but we were split—and we both got real sick.”
Their mother, they explained, could not understand why her boys were sick. But, almost instantly, they were once again healthy as soon as they were together.
“We were sick until they brought us back together,” said Jey. “He’s always got to be next to me.”
The Usos are members of the legendary Anoa’i family, which includes greats in Yokozuna, Umaga, Rikishi, the Wild Samoans and Roman Reigns. They were inspired by Reigns’s battle with leukemia, which he has successfully defeated on two separate occasions, but also in fear that they could lose someone they love.
“We thought Roman was going to the NFL, but when he got sick [at 22], that was swept from under his feet,” said Jey. “Now he’s this big character in WWE. We thought, ‘Ain’t gonna be no second time with this.’ But the whole WWE Universe stepped up big time, and it gives me goosebumps. There was just so much love, man, and everyone had his back.”
The Usos are about to celebrate their nine-year WWE anniversary. They made their Raw debut on May 24, 2010, and acting Raw general manager Bret “The Hitman” Hart then introduced them as full-time rosters members the following week.
Their impact over the following nine years cannot be overstated. They’ve played heels, but the duo is simply too good to be bad. They earned their way up the card, have represented the company on six different occasions as tag team champions, and do a phenomenal job with WWE’s community outreach programs.
“We’re on the road so often and move so fast, it’s really cool to actually talk to people,” said Jimmy. “It’s nice to slow down and be around them. Our fans are the best. They’ll let you know they like you, and they’ll definitely let you know if they don’t like you. That’s what makes our fans so damn cool.”
“That is the time to be intimate,” added Jey. “We can ask people their names, shake their hands, ask about school, see if their grades are good—and make sure their grades are good. Ask if they’re listening to their parents. It’s a lot different than when you see us on TV.”
The Usos finally achieved a WrestleMania moment this year, winning a four-way match against the teams of Shinsuke Nakamura and Rusev, Aleister Black and Ricochet, and The Bar. They moved back to Raw in the ensuing “Superstar Shakeup”, where they look to win their first-ever Raw tag team titles, as well as prove every week why they are the best of a loaded field of tag teams.
“We’d put on like we always put on,” said Jey. “Every week, The Usos bring the energy for the fans around the world.”
Justin Barrasso can be reached at JBarrasso@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.