The End of an Era
May 2, 2007 by George Appiah

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Paul London and Brian Kendrick had held the WWE Tag Team titles for 330 days, the longest Tag Team Championship reign in the last decade. The two acrobatic superstars, known for their eclectic matching outfits, Guy Fawkes masks, and highflying offense are a staple on the SmackDown brand. On Friday, April 20 in Milan, Italy on the 400th episode of Friday Night SmackDown, their championship reign ended.

In a match with the up and coming greaser duo, Deuce and Domino, Paul London attempted a springboard Asian Moonsault on Domino, who sidestepped it, sending London crashing sternum first onto the concrete floor and rubber mat.

The injury left Brian Kendrick to fend off the hungry competitors on his own. While putting up a valiant effort, the rough and rugged duo proved too much for the high flyer, who was in dire need of his partner's assistance as well as his tag team manager and valet, Ashley, who was injured in the previous week at the hands of rival diva, Jillian.

The lost, marks the end of an era for tag team wrestling, a division that was once the highlight of professional wrestling in the early 80s to mid 90's. In a way, London and Kendrick brought back tag team wrestling, restoring prestige to the once defecated titles. They should be the two that carry the flags for the rebirth of the tag team division.

The former champions would have done well by just being average. When the competing brands, RAW uses the titles as props in a bigger storyline, and ECW which doesn't even have tag team titles established, just focusing on just getting by should've been good enough, but London and Kendrick thought otherwise. Week after week, they put their bodies on the line in what former WWE champion and current SmackDown color commentator, John Bradshaw Layfield describes as "a car crash waiting to happen." Their reckless, all out style is reminiscent of Matt and Jeff Hardy, one of the last great tag teams of the Attitude Era, who despite being on different brands reunited, in a two part 10-team over the top battle royal the night after WrestleMania to reclaim the World Tag Team championship. A confrontation between the two high flying duos would've been possible had it not been for Kendrick's elimination following an awkward landing and apron slip after an over the top rope Hurricanrana.

London and Kendrick, while young, have had much success in the wrestling business. London, who made his WWE debut in 2003, is a former cruiserweight champion has a unique style, incorporating unorthodox moves into his repertoire, including the "Dropsault" (a drop kick, moonsault comb), the "Mushroom Stomp," and the rarely used 450 Splash. Kendrick, who trained under former WWE champion, The Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels, has had two successful runs in WWE. While his first run did not yield championship gold, in 2004, Kendrick left the WWE and traveled around the world, spending the majority of his hiatus in Japan, perfecting his in-ring abilities. Kendrick made his return in September 2005 teaming alongside various partners prior to being paired with London, who eight months later defeated MNM to win their first WWE Tag Team Championship.

With their historic championship run coming to an end, the eccentric duo has cemented themselves as one of the top teams of the decade. It is important for London and Kendrick to determine if reclaiming the championships they lost is their top priority. As fans have seen in the past, teams that have collaborated and had much success with one another, often drift apart, sometimes due to personal animosity towards each other and sometimes to meet personal goals and reach career aspirations.

While London's first taste of singles gold came when he defeated Chavo Guerrero for the Cruiserweight Championship in 2003, Kendrick has yet to see the same success in singles competition and may set his sights on the cruiserweight championship, which is ironically held by Chavo Guerrero, or even the United States Championship, currently held by Chris Benoit.

Whichever route the former champions take, fans would love nothing more than to see London and Kendrick in the ring once again, as tag team partners or opponents, something they've done only one time, during a Beat The Clock Sprint match that ended in a draw when timed expired. Perhaps their championship defeat has opened up the door to a "who is the better competitor" storyline. Only time will tell.

by George Appiah (View/Submit your feedback here)..

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