Friday night was the SmackDown After ‘Mania and much like on Monday when Bianca Belair became a new member of the Raw roster, the blue brand added some depth as well in the form of the Forgotten Sons, the trio of Wesley Blake, Jaxson Ryker and Steve Cutler. Representing the Sons, Cutler and Blake made their SmackDown in-ring debuts against Lucha House Party‘s Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik. Cutler and Blake got the win after their tag team finishing maneuver allowed Cutler to pin Metalik.
It wasn’t a standard squash match affair but it was enough to put over the Forgotten Sons as a team to look out for in the SmackDown landscape, which seems solely focused on the tag team battles of the Miz/Morrison, Usos and New Day. Injecting some fresh blood into that division in the form of some guys many people haven’t really seen in action, is only a positive thing. In a post-match interview, the Sons specifically namedropped all three of those teams and officially put them, as well as the rest of Friday Night SmackDown locker room on notice.
Forgotten Sons, in a lot of ways, is more than just a tag team name. It describes what has been a long pro wrestling journey for the three men involved in the trio. Both 32 years old, Steve Cutler and Wesley Blake spent parts of seven years with WWE developmental after debuting in 2013 and 2011 respectively before getting their big break. The 37-year-old Ryker, an 18-year veteran of the industry is more known for his time in TNA than WWE developmental, where he has only been 2017. But it was upon Ryker’s arrival in NXT that the Forgotten Sons had finally found the final piece to the puzzle allowing them the ability to wreak havoc throughout NXT.
In 2014, former U.S. Marine, Steve Cutler, reported to a new line of duty when he headed to the Performance Center to join NXT. Cutler, a trainee of Larry Sharpe and Danny Cage at Monster Factory Pro Wrestling and former two-time champion with the promotion, was primarily used as enhancement talent those first two years in NXT as he continued to train and learn the ropes of his new career, which he’d only been in for a year or so. It wasn’t until August 25th, 2016 that Cutler picked up his first televised victory. Unable to find consistent TV time, Cutler wrestled just one televised match in 2017 in January. He spent the next two months on the live event circuit and in April of that year, was being repackaged as one half of the Forgotten Sons alongside Wesley Blake.
With NXT since October 2013, Blake, who was trained by Dory Funk in the Funkin’ Conservatory, made his televised debut in January 2014 and much like Cutler, was primarily on the losing side of things at the beginning of his NXT career. Unable to pick up his first televised win as a singles wrestler, Blake began finding success when he was paired alongside Buddy Murphy. As Blake and Murphy, the two took part in a #1 contendership tournament to crown new champions in July 2014, but were defeated in the first round by Kalisto and Sin Cara. Blake and Murphy continued to find their footing as they wrestled against many of NXT’s top teams at the time including the Vaudevillains, Lucha Dragons, Revival, American Alpha and more.
While the duo never picked up a televised win that year, they certainly impressed and by the start of 2015, had become the team to watch in NXT. The duo picked up their first televised win on NXT episode #132 and the following week, won the tag team championship over the Lucha Dragons. The duo held the titles for 219 days (which still stands as tied for the second-longest reign of all-time) over the course of seven months, defeating the Lucha Dragons, Enzo and Cass, and the Vaudevillains. The end of their title reign essentially marked the end of Blake and Murphy’s NXT success as they didn’t win a single televised match as a duo after dropping the belts. In June 2016, Blake and Murphy split, and Blake remained directionless. He wrestled just one televised match in 2017 before disappearing alongside Cutler to form the Forgotten Sons on the live event circuit.
WWE began testing Blake and Cutler as a tag team on the live event circuit in April 2017. The result seemed largely positive from a reaction standpoint, even if the results often saw the Sons on the losing side of things. The two took part in their first NXT TV dark match in September that year before Ryker was added to the mix a month later. The longest-tenured and most successful wrestler of the three, Ryker’s 18-year career began in the Southern indies where he was a star with Georgia’s Anarchy Wrestling in the mid-2000s where he is a two-time former champion (4x within the NWA umbrella). In 2010, Ryker debuted in TNA as Gunner. Remaining with the company until 2015, Ryker won both the TNA Television Championship and tag team titles alongside James Storm. Upon leaving TNA, Ryker primarily wrestled with Premiere Wrestling Xperience, where he won the Innovative Television Championship in 2016.
In 2017, Ryker reported to the Performance Center as a member of NXT’s class that year. He made his debut in June 2017 and just four months later, found himself aligned with Blake and Cutler in the Forgotten Sons. Cutler, Ryker and Blake spent a little under a year together, honing their craft, their chemistry, their cohesion, and their characters, on the NXT live event circuit, and when the time was right, the trio showed up to make their NXT TV debut in August 2018. Representing the team, Cutler and Blake picked up a shock win over the Street Profits in their first match on TV as a duo and first in a long time for the long-suffering Cutler and Blake. A few weeks later, the trio debuted in-ring and also won, picking up the squash victory over Cesar Rise, Torrey Kirsh and Vinny Mixon, allowing Ryker to keep his undefeated streak intact for all of 2018.
By October of that year, the Sons picked up their biggest win yet, winning a fatal four-way #1 contendership match against Adrian Jaoude and Cezar Bononi, Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan, and Heavy Machinery. The Sons continued to pick up wins on NXT TV before entering into a brief tag title feud with the Viking Raiders in February 2019. From there, Cutler and Blake entered the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic reaching the finals after wins against Burch and Lorcan and then Moustache Mountain. In the finals, the Sons lost to Aleister Black and Ricochet. In June of that year, they made their TakeOver debut, taking part in the ladder match to determine the new champs at TakeOver: XXV. The match was won by the Street Profits. The Sons and the Profits feuded over the titles on the live event circuit throughout June and July before the Sons moved on to feud with Breezango.
Cutler and Blake made their PPV debut in November 2019, taking part in Survivor Series’ kickoff show tag team battle royal, which was won by Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode. From there, NXT didn’t have much for the Sons. Cutler and Blake lost in the first round of the 2020 Dusty Classic and only had one additional match on NXT TV, which they lost to the Grizzled Young Veterans. But it seems where there was no spot for the trio on NXT that there may be one on SmackDown as the Forgotten Sons have come to show that they will be forgotten no more in WWE.
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