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The Revival of Tag Team Wrestling

A look at one of the best tag teams to come along in years.

Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder

When Scott Dawson started out in NXT, he bounced around from tag partner to tag partner. He found little to no success in his team-ups with Judas Devlin, Garrett Dylan, and even former WWE United States Champion, Rusev.  

Shortly after Rusev left the partnership, in favor of being managed by Lana and pursuing a singles career, Scott Dawson suffered a tear of his anterior cruciate ligament. While normally a devastating injury to the career of a professional wrestler, it was possibly the best thing that could have ever happened to Scott Dawson.  

Upon his return to NXT, he formed a team with the newly debuting Dash Wilder, with the new team performing extensively at live events under the ring name, The Mechanics.  The duo would only make a few televised appearances as a team in NXT during 2014, losing both appearances to the teams of Bull Dempsey and Mojo Rawley and then to Enzo Amore and Colin Cassidy.  

Dawson and Wilder would continue wrestling on NXT Live Events but have very little impact on the televised program.  

That is, until the July 29th, 2015 episode of NXT. They would return to television and surprisingly defeat the team of Enzo Amore and Colin Cassidy. From there, they would take part in an eight-man tag as part of the pre-show for NXT Takeover: Brooklyn, but they were quickly gaining momentum as a legitimate tag team.  

Using their smashmouth in-ring style, and some very innovative heel tag team tactics, Dash and Dawson would mow through the brackets of the first Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic tournament, before succumbing to the eventual victors of the tournament, Samoa Joe and Finn Balor.  

Shortly after the tournament, Dash and Dawson would use their new-found momentum to capture the NXT Tag Team Championship for the first time, taking the titles from the Vaudevillains. The team formerly known as the Mechanics would continue their hot-streak, besting Enzo Amore and Colin Cassidy at Takeover: London and WWE Roadblock.  

In February 2016, they would become known as The Revival, based on bringing back the emphasis on the team part of tag team wrestling.

The Revival would lose the NXT Tag Team Championship to American Alpha at Takeover: Dallas, but would take the titles back at Takeover: The End; thus becoming two-time tag team Champions, a feat that had never been accomplished before in the short history of the NXT brand.  

The Revival would spend the rest of 2016 feuding with Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa over the Championships, ultimately losing the belts at Takeover: Toronto, in what many consider the best tag team match of all time, and what WWE.com touted as their 2016 Match of the Year.

So, why have The Revival been so successful?  

It’s because they believe in what they’re doing as performers and know how important it is to be heels, and not the cool heels that everyone cheers for. Throughout the history of professional wrestling, effective heels have been key to the product.  

Dash and Dawson are more than happy to win by any means necessary, and they make no bones about their desire to be Champions, regardless of how far they must bend the rules. They don’t care about anything but being the best tag team in wrestling, and they’re doing a fine job accomplishing that to this point in their careers.

While they follow a formula that has been around since professional wrestling started, The Revival puts a new spin on it. We’ve seen Dash Wilder crawl under the ring to the other side in order to pull an opponent off the ring apron, in order to stop the tag from being made.  

We’ve seen him reaching out for the tag and stretching to the point where he falls into the ring, diverting the referee’s attention and causing him to miss a legitimate tag on the other side of the ring. It’s this kind of innovation that has caused fans to admire The Revival, but still, hate them because they’re so smart.  

They cut the ring in half better than a lot of heel tag teams on the main roster, and make it a point to emphasise how important it is that they keep their opponent on their side of the ring. They’re doing the little things that should be involved in every tag team match, but those things have fallen by the wayside in favour of short television tag team matches that are forgotten minutes later.  

It’s those little things that cause fans to remember matches where The Revival are wrestling because while their “No Flips, Just Fists” mantra holds true to their ring style, they also use innovation and being students of the game to force you to remember them.

What’s next for The Revival, then?

They lost in their rematch against Gargano and Ciampa, and are as of yet unbooked for NXT Takeover: San Antonio. Many people believe that Dash and Dawson are bound for the main roster, sooner than later.  

Regardless of the next step in their careers, you can be sure that it will include being as vicious and ruthless as possible to their opponents. It will include chasing Championship gold once again.  

Whether they end up on Raw or Smackdown Live, or remain in NXT to pursue a third NXT Tag Team Championship, you can be sure that the next step in the careers of Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder lead to them continuing to be top guys.

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