Wrestler of the Week – The Usos (1/23/14)

The Wrestler of the Week award is designed to highlight a wrestler who made the most of his or her opportunities in a given week. While great matches or memorable promos certainly help a wrestler win Wrestler of the Week, the ultimate decision will also include consistency through the week and bonus points for pulling off a task with a higher degree of difficulty. 

1/23/14 Wrestler of the Week – The Usos

While the Wrestler of the Week award is not a lifetime achievement award and does not recognize accomplishments outside of the week in question, it is hard to ignore the steady progression the Usos have made in every facet of their performance over the last several months. They have turned up their in-ring intensity to engage the fans more in their matches, they have found themselves involved in more compelling storylines with The Shield and the Wyatt Family, and they have wrestled some of their best matches in key situations when they have had the chance. Never known as exceptional talkers, they have even shown fire and personality in the instances when they have had the opportunity to express themselves. The Usos have elevated their game far beyond the generic brother tag team they started out as, and the last week was an excellent example of that improvement.

The Usos wrestled their first of two very good matches on Smackdown. They beat the Real Americans in a match that had a lot to like. Zeb Colter’s neck brace and wheelchair from Big Show’s attack earlier in the week created a comedic element that Antonio Cesaro and Jey Uso exploited later in the match. Throughout the match, the Usos, Cesaro, and Jack Swagger worked extremely efficiently and smoothly to move things along and keep the interest level high. Swagger and Jimmy Uso performed a series of counters in the ring that led to a strong finish in which Jey’s Samoan Drop set up for Jimmy’s Superfly Splash and a pinfall victory. Even though the Real Americans are not at the top of the tag team heap at the moment, they are a legitimate team and a clean win over them is meaningful for any tag team.

On Monday, the Usos wrestled Luke Harper and Erick Rowan of the Wyatt Family. On the heels of their fantastic cage match win against Bray Wyatt and Daniel Bryan last week, the program with the Wyatt Family still had a lot of heat on it. The Wyatts worked a dirtier style to gain an advantage early in the match that the Usos overcame when Jimmy hit an athletic corkscrew plancha on Harper. Bryan ran to ringside to attack Wyatt and the Usos took advantage of the distraction as Jey rolled up Harper to get the pin.

The impressive winning streak for the Usos has been warranted by the crowd response and the level of their wrestling. They have surpassed the expectations I had when they debuted as a vanilla tag team. They have also broken the mold of bland face tag teams and become aggressive and unique enough for fans to relate to them on their own terms. Impressively enough, they did so without defaulting to excessively stereotypical Samoan tropes like the Wild Samoans or the Headshrinkers before them. Whether a tag team title reign is in the near future or not, the Usos deserve recognition for how far they have come in the tag team division so far.

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