Just one night after Daniel Bryan lost his non-mandatory rematch for the WWE Championship against Kofi Kingston on Monday Night Raw, the Planet’s Champion returned to SmackDown Live to be crowned with a new title, the SmackDown Tag Team Championships. Channeling his inner McMahon, Shane McMahon seemed ready to just hand over the vacant titles to Daniel Bryan and Rowan but was stopped by the Usos (Jimmy and Jey), now on Raw, who wanted their shot at regaining the championships they held in dominant fashion not long ago. Ultimately, a match was made between the two teams which was won by Rowan and Bryan after Rowan pinned Jey Uso.
And as the two held the blue titles, which may end up looking like hemp sooner rather than later, it was clear that WWE made the right choice. Not just to make Daniel Bryan and Rowan champions, but to move them to a division which found itself severely decimated following the events of the Superstar ShakeUp.
— WWE (@WWE) May 8, 2019
While Daniel Bryan and Rowan have been aligned for several months now and have wrestled as a tag team during that time, for the most part, Rowan was merely seen as Bryan’s muscle. But now, it appears the direction for the former champion and his intellectual ally involves the new “Planet’s Tag Team Champions” anchoring a SmackDown tag team division that offers little depth at the moment.
Due to the Superstar ShakeUp, SmackDown lost the Club (Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson) Usos, the Bar (Cesaro and Sheamus) and the criminally underused Sanity (Eric Young, Alexander Wolfe and Killian Dain) as both Cesaro and Young were moved to Raw as singles stars. Big E has been out with an injury since shortly after WrestleMania 35, the same event at which Kofi Kingston became world champion, so the New Day has essentially been removed from the tag title picture for the time being. The Hardy Boyz‘ reign was shortlived as the duo had to vacate their titles last week as Jeff Hardy is expected to be out several months with an injury. The Singh Brothers came over briefly but were then moved to 205 Live. And while their partnership was never meant to last, WrestleMania also saw the end of the Best Tag Team in the World (Shane McMahon and the Miz). Sure, SmackDown gained the B-Team (Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas) and Heavy Machinery (Otis and Tucker) in the shakeup, but those four hardly offer the star power of the teams the blue brand lost.
Before the addition of Rowan and Daniel Bryan to the division, SmackDown had just four established tag teams, one of which hasn’t been seen on TV in months in the Colons (Epico and Primo). The other three are the B-Team, Heavy Machinery and Shinsuke Nakamura and Rusev. All things being equal, which they clearly were not when WWE split teams in the shakeup, SmackDown lost almost all of its tag team depth. A division originally anchored by four of the best and most popular teams on the main roster, what was left after the shakeup was the bare bones needed to put together weekly matches. While SmackDown seemed to survive the shakeup with the better women’s roster, there is no denying Raw dominated their Tuesday night peers in terms of the tag teams.
That’s why, as much as some people might see this as a demotion for Daniel Bryan, moving him and Rowan to the tag title picture makes sense. More than that, it’s a much-needed move to offer some depth to this struggling division. With the Hardys and New Day on the shelf, before, SmackDown’s tag division had no real anchor, no real team with bonafide star power. They solved that problem Tuesday night as Daniel Bryan is one of the best and most highly regarded wrestlers on the blue brand’s roster. His presence alone in the tag team division instantly elevates it to must watch. And alongside Rowan, who is a highly decorated tag team champion, the two bring legitimacy to the SmackDown division that it was sorely lacking with the injuries and relocations of many of its top stars.
Plus, with Bryan out of the way, Kingston can move on to other challengers and it can open up other opportunities for wrestlers to earn world title shots. For all parties involved, this decision to make Daniel Bryan and Rowan tag champs, seems like a win-win.