Heath Slater Has A Second Chance In Tag Team Action
On June 7, 2010 Heath Slater made his debut on Monday Night RAW alongside the seven other participants of WWE’s first season of NXT. The group made an immediate impact by attacking CM Punk and, more importantly, John Cena. The men absolutely decimated the crew at ringside and tore apart anything that wasn’t nailed down. It was the closest thing to a massacre the WWE Universe had seen in many years on WWE television.
Dubbed The Nexus, the group ran roughshod over the entire roster and was a major part of every TV and PPV broadcast. Slater and partner Justin Gabriel became WWE Tag Team Champions on three occasions, once with the Nexus and twice as members of the short-lived Corre stable. When The Corre disbanded it marked the end of Heath Slater’s career as a serious character, which was not a bad thing; the wacky world of wrestling needs some comedy as a cool down between segments of bare-chested brutes trying to rip their opponents’ heads off.
Slater spent weeks leading up to the 1000th episode of RAW challenging, and losing to, legends from the past. That angle came to a close when all of the legends he insulted and lost to came out and laid one final beating on the self-proclaimed “One Man Rock Band”.
The One Man Rock Band became 3MB, a three-man rock group teaming Slater, Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre. The men performed as an entertaining comedy team for nearly two years until the recent releases of Mahal and McIntyre, which left Slater as a man without a country. That did not last very long, because he is now a member of possibly the best-named tag team of all time, Slater Gator, alongside new partner Titus O’Neil.
Forming a unit by pairing up directionless lower card losers might not sound like a step in the right direction, but with WWE’s tag division getting weaker by the day and a lack of heel challengers for The Usos, Slater Gator may soon get an opportunity to raise their stock. The team has been on just about every WWE show for about a month and have racked up a number of victories. At WWE Battleground, Slater eliminated Cesaro from the Intercontinental Championship Battle Royal, which is nearly surreal to type. This past Monday on RAW he pinned Seth Rollins in the middle of the ring. He had ample help from Dean Ambrose, but it was still a very high-profile opportunity for Slater. He followed up last night on WWE Main Event when Slater Gator knocked off Goldust and Stardust, a team that has racked up win after win since the transformation of Cody Rhodes.
Here’s a pretty good comparison: Jimmy and Jey Uso spent a long time being ignored, but when WWE needed them it didn’t take very long for the crowd to get behind them and propel the brothers into a very prominent role. Ryback and Curtis Axel, while I like them, are extremely bland. That is one thing you certainly cannot say about Titus O’Neil and Heath Slater. So I say why not? Let Slater Gator win my favorite match, Tag Team Turmoil, and get themselves a shot at the tag belts. They don’t have to win the gold immediately, but let the crowd know that they are legit so when they do become champions it isn’t rejected by The WWE Universe because it came out of nowhere.
When it is all said and done and the tag team inevitably breaks up, Slater suddenly has renewed life as a WWE Superstar and can take a step toward being an entertaining mid-card champion. He may look a bit like Eric Stoltz in “Mask”, but the One Man Rock Band knows how to put on a show.