It’s a match that came out of nowhere, but it just may lead to one of Sunday night’s biggest WrestleMania moments. When Raw tag teams like Bobby Roode & Chad Gable, The B-Team (Curtis Axel & Bo Dallas), and Lucha House Party (Kalisto, Gran Metalik & Lince Dorado) were added to the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal – and with Aleister Black & Ricochet added to the SmackDown Tag Team title match on Tuesday – it left the Raw Tag Team Champions The Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder) without opponents for WrestleMania. Two other Raw tag teams – Authors of Pain and Breezango – were out of action due to injuries to team members. But on Monday night, the recently reunited pairing of Curt Hawkins & Zack Ryder challenged The Revival to a match at WrestleMania for the titles.
The match was made official on Thursday, adding the Raw Tag Team Championship match to the WrestleMania card. And while the story seems oddly random, it’s actually got some history behind it. But first, let’s go a little further back, and have a look at the backstory that could lead to one of the biggest WrestleMania moments in recent years.
When Curt Hawkins made his return to WWE in 2016, many had high hopes for his return. Hawkins had returned to the indies in 2014 as Brian Myers and many hoped that he’d return to a big push, much like Drew McIntyre and Kassius Ohno did in NXT when they made their returns from indie excursions. Curt Hawkins returned to a slight push in the lower card, but following a Live Event victory of Apollo Crews in November of 2016, Hawkins went on a bit of a losing streak. And not just a losing streak, but the losing streak. As of this writing, Hawkins has lost 253 straight matches since November 8, 2016.
His inability to win lead to a new opportunity for Hawkins this past January. He was given the chance to work on Monday Night Raw – but as a referee. He was given the task of wearing the stripes for a Raw Tag Team Championship match between champions Roode & Gable versus the Revival. Hawkins was determined to call it down the line and caught multiple cheat attempts by the Revival to win, with Roode & Gable ultimately retaining because of Hawkins’ astute eye. But the Revival were less impressed with Hawkins’ officiating, and post-match, decided to teach Hawkins a lesson in physicality. Thankfully, Hawkins’ old running partner (and Network show co-host) Zack Ryder was backstage, who raced to the ring to help his former Tag Team Champion partner.
Zack Ryder felt for his longtime partner and friend. They had risen through the New York indies together, with New York Wrestling Connection (NYWC), where they were 2x NYWC Tag Team Champions. They signed with the WWE together and entered as The Major Brothers, joining with Edge and becoming WWE Tag Team Champions in the process. But while Zack Ryder went on to some mid-card success, as both WWE Intercontinental and WWE United States Champion, Hawkins remained trapped in the shadows and on the wrong side of luck. Determined to lift his friend’s spirits, Ryder proposed re-teaming once again, in hopes that he could help break Ryder’s losing streak. The following week though, they failed in their first attempt at taking down the Revival.
But these two are determined to finish the job – and hopefully win WWE Tag Team gold one more time – and do it in their own backyard. This Sunday, WrestleMania 35 is in the very stomping grounds that a young Brett Matthews and Brian Myers started wrestling in, and with a 250+ losing streak on the line, they are hoping to create a huge WrestleMania moment by not only ending Hawkins losing streak in his hometown, but doing it with a statement – by winning Raw Tag Team Gold.