WWE High-Flying Heels: The Future of International Airstike

Tyson Jones@@TigerKingTJSenior Analyst IIIApril 26, 2013


Tyson Kidd: Arguably the best, purest wrestler on the WWE roster today (albeit on the shelf with an injury at the moment) and a former WWE Tag Team Champion.

Justin Gabriel: Arguably the most entertaining high-flyer on the WWE roster today and a three-time WWE Tag Team Champion.

Collectively, they are unofficially known as International Airstrike (or Airstrike for short); these two are fan favorites for several reasons. JG and TK generally wrestle circles around most of their opposition, and their styles of wrestling mesh extremely well together. Kidd and Gabriel have both honed their skills throughout the world, from the U.K. to Japan, before stepping into the WWE, and it shows whenever they step inside the ring. One would think these things would lead them to be big names in the WWE Tag Team division. One would be sorely mistaken.

For all the ability both Kidd and Gabriel have in the ring, it doesn't hide the fact that neither man is capable of compelling an audience on the microphone or backstage. Another, though less debilitating negative impacting the men is a lack of size. These attributes have lead the WWE to the conclusion that Gabriel and Kidd were best served to put over other tag teams in the division with a least one viable talker (Team CoBro, Prime Time Players), and there is a chance that that would have continued had Tyson Kidd not been injured (though that doesn't stop WWE from having Gabriel perform as a jobber to midcarders).

So, while there is still a good chunk of time before Tyson Kidd will be back, I think WWE should be making plans for a push for Airstrike, but with a different approach. As of now, the only heels in the WWE Tag Team Division include Rhodes Scholars, Prime Time Players, Epico/Primo, The Shield and 3MB. On the flip-side, we have Team Hell No, Planet Funk, The Usos, Team CoBro and International Airstrike. Now, things may seem somewhat impressive, but let's take a look at this division, shall we?

Epico/Primo, The Usos and Team CoBro get little to no screentime these days. 3MB, Rhodes Scholars and Prime Time Players are routinely squashed, leaving Team Hell No, The Shield and Planet Funk as the only teams that consistently get airtime/wins these days. That's one heel team and two face teams, so perhaps it would be in the best interest of all to have Airstrike step up as viable heel contenders for the tag titles?

Some may cringe at the thought of Justin Gabriel as a heel again. With his look and moveset, how could anyone possibly believe him as a bad guy? Still, let's not forget that Tyson Kidd was initially a heel with a similar skill set though an arguably more heelish look to him. With that said, we've only really examined how he looks as a heel. Not so much about how he acts. To put this another way, how many of you know that guy who's really good at something...and he knows how good he is at something? Kobe Bryant in his early days, as part of the Lakers, is a good example for how someone can be talented but also very disliked because of his attitude. If Gabriel can channel that kind of arrogance, he won't have to try very hard to get over as a heel, and the same could be said for Tyson Kidd.

Of course, being a heel would likely require more mic ability than a face. So, how do we approach that problem? The answer is actually backstage, and his name is Matthew Striker. What we need for Airstrike to get over is a man who can explain to everyone just how good Tyson Kidd and Justin Gabriel are. They need a man who will use big words to say things the audience could figure out for themselves. They need an agent—they need Matthew Striker.

Matthew is no stranger to using his vocal skills to explain to lesser minds the strengths of a superstar, helping Big Daddy V in his debut as a monster, and has even been paired with Tyson Kidd before. I think that Striker performed admirably in his role as a mouthpiece for Big Daddy V and would have likely done just as well, if not a far better job, as the agent for Tyson Kidd. At one point, Striker was arguably the best commentator in the WWE. He was well-spoken, educated, gave off a slight air of superiority and was moderately funny at times.

Combine the mic skills of a Matthew Striker, and you've got a voice people will listen to and a voice that will get people educated. Take the attitude of an early Kobe Bryant, apply it to Justin Gabriel and Tyson Kidd, and you've got all the talent and ability in the world and a valid reason to dislike it. Team Hell No, The Shield and Planet Funk can't continue to be the lifeblood of the Tag Team Division. WWE has a good while before Tyson Kidd makes his return, and I can only hope that they'll at least look to capitalize on said return. Whenever he's been put into a situation of significance, Justin Gabriel has shown he has the ability to hang with the top guys in the company, including John Cena, Randy Orton, Edge (two out of three of those matches he's won) even as his status has dropped in recent years going against Cody Rhodes, Wade Barrett and Antonio Cesaro. Matthew Striker has all the vocal skill in the world to make Justin and Tyson seem like giants among men, but only if WWE gives him the microphone for these men. The combination of Airstrike and Matthew Striker could take the WWE Tag Team Division by storm if given the chance. Now, here's hoping WWE gives them the chance.