This week’s SmackDown offers another chance to see the top tag team in WWE: The Usos.
Twin brothers Jonathan and Joshua Fatu—best known as Jimmy and Jey Uso—come from one of the business’s most notable families and have committed their lives to pro wrestling. Their father is WWE Hall of Famer Rikishi, and they were also especially close with their late uncle, the great Umaga. Their cousin, Joe Anoa’i, is current WWE universal champion Roman Reigns. At 36, both seasoned and experienced, the two brothers have made themselves into integral parts of WWE’s on-air product.
The reigning SmackDown tag champs, The Usos are also key players in The Bloodline, which is the dominant group in WWE led by Reigns and his special counsel Paul Heyman. With four decades of experience in the pro wrestling realm, Heyman has witnessed every single one of the industry’s highs and lows and ebbs and flows, bearing witness to—and creating—history. Yet he has never seen a tag team quite like The Usos.
“Much like a modern-day, progressive version of the Funk brothers, or Tully [Blanchard] and Arn [Anderson], or Pat [Patterson] and [Ray] Stevens, or even DX, they are individual singles stars that are bigger together than they are separately,” Heyman says. “Jimmy and Jey are two great singles wrestlers that happen to be identical twins. They would be singles stars, but they work incredibly well together as a tag team.”
No strangers to WWE, The Usos have been involved in Vince McMahon’s global juggernaut for more than a decade. Yet long after the audience has familiarized themselves with them, they continue to showcase new elements of their personality and in-ring excellence, elevating their work to new heights. Jey showed he possessed the skillset and charisma to be a main-eventer during his program with Reigns that culminated in a Hell in a Cell match last year, and The Usos have been tremendous as a tag team—and as Reigns’s henchmen—since Jimmy’s return from a knee injury in the spring. They provide Reigns with the best ensemble in WWE, and perhaps all of wrestling, only rivaled by The Elite in AEW.
“The Usos are exactly where Roman Reigns was two and a half years ago, and that’s at the cusp of entering their prime,” Heyman says. “You have not seen the best of The Usos yet, and they are already light-years ahead of everyone else on the roster and all of sports entertainment.”
The Usos also have one of the greatest rivalries in WWE history, eternally at odds in the ring with The New Day. The unfortunate blemish on their career is issues that have taken place outside of the ring, which will hopefully never occur again. (Both men have been arrested for driving under the influence: Jey once and Jimmy three times.)
“They’ve weathered the storms, gone through their controversies, and taken and delivered their beatings,” Heyman says. “The Usos are not only at the top of their game, they are at the top of the entire concept of tag team wrestling. Years from now, by the time they wrap up this run, they will be recognized as not just the best tag team of all-time, but as the two men that caused us to redefine the description of the type of match they present.
“Much like I took the term manager and progressed it and evolved it into agent-advocate-special counsel, The Usos are a transformative tag team that are so great we will need to find a different description to describe their matches.”
There is a reason Reigns wanted Jimmy and Jey Uso beside him, and it runs even deeper than blood. Even when clad in facepaint as babyfaces, he believed they had another gear, one untapped, and were waiting to unleash a whole new edge. His faith has paid off, as The Usos are now among the very best in all of wrestling—with their best yet to come.
“The Usos now step into a period of history where they are entering the best years of their career,” Heyman says. “And people are so fortunate to be able to watch that evolution and progression every week as this Bloodline dominance continues on SmackDown.”
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Justin Barrasso can be reached at JBarrasso@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.