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31 Days of Wrestling (12/22/15): The All-Champion Tag Match

The 31 Days of Wrestling roll on through its third week, and today's entry is a little bit of a downer, as 2015 wasn't all sunshine and rainbows.



#22: The All-Champion Tag Team Match—Daniel Bryan and John Cena vs. Tyson Kidd and Cesaro, SmackDown April 16, 2015

Here's a sad little fact: while this match was eight months ago, as of this writing, none of these men are a) champions, and b) on TV. 3/4 of them are out injured.


WrestleMania 31 was supposed to be a time of promise. While John Cena had ended Rusev's huge streak by taking the United States Championship from him, Daniel Bryan had moved back into a position of prominence by winning the Intercontinental Championship at the event, and Tyson Kidd and Cesaro being the Tag Team Champions is never a bad idea. With Seth Rollins as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion and Nikki Bella as the Divas Champion, the WWE was full of workhorses wearing gold. And it was wonderful—at least, it was supposed to be.

Alas, it was not meant to be.

In the world of professional wrestling (actually, in real life too, but moreso in wrestling) being a workhorse comes with a steep price. Because there is no magic potion to make humans invulnerable and immortal, the more you do, the more you hurt.

Daniel Bryan received a concussion sometime after winning the title and Sheamus's return, and was forced to relinquish the belt after the company decided to play his health a little too safe. Until now, he hasn't returned to a WWE ring to compete, and nobody is sure if his WWE career—or wrestling career—is already over.

John Cena, the nigh-indestructible face of the company, is out filming a reality series for TV. While he's not taking time off due to an injury, you'd have to think that he's happy about taking a break from the grueling WWE schedule.

It was not a great year for the then-tag champs, either. Tyson Kidd's career is hanging in the balance thanks to a brutal spine injury he got after eating a Muscle Buster from Samoa Joe, but it's most likely due to the wear and tear from the way he wrestles all-out every night. Cesaro had a better 2015 than his partner, even managing to taste a little singles glory, but he would fall to a shoulder injury in November.

While the present is ever-changing and unsure, at least we will still have matches like this forever recorded in history. Somewhere, someone out there had this as his or her dream match, and were it a little longer, it would be an instant classic. (It's already rare if only for the fact that Cena, Superman comeback extraordinaire, took the heat for the whole thing and left the finish completely to Bryan.)

Instead, it stands as a testament to both the strength and fragility of the human body, as well as the rollercoaster 2015 that WWE had in terms of health, security, and depth. Fans like us can only hope that the company learned all the lessons they needed to learn from this.

Photo from WWE

*****

31 Days of Wrestling is Smark Henry's way of celebrating the matches that helped define wrestling in 2015.

Read our previous entries:

#1: Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank briefcase at WrestleMania
#2: Kazuchika Okada faces Hiroshi Tanahashi for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at Wrestle Kingdom 9
#3: Sasha Banks vs. Bayley at NXT TakeOver: Respect
#4: Fenix vs. Mil Muertes, Grave Consequences
#5: The Rise of Kevin Owens
#6: Johnny Mundo vs. Prince Puma, All Night Long
#7: Jake de Leon vs. Bombay Suarez for the PWR Championship, Wrevolution X
#8: Kurt Angle vs. Bobby Lashley for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship on Impact Wrestling
#9: Jay Briscoe vs. Jay Lethal in the Battle of the Belts, Best in the World
#10: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Kota Ibushi for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship, Wrestle Kingdom 9
#11 Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena vs. Seth Rollins for the WWE World Title at Royal Rumble
#12: Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn for the NXT Championship, NXT TakeOver: Rival
#13: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Tomoaki Honma, The New Beginning in Sendai
#14: Seth Rollins vs. John Cena, Champion vs. Champion, SummerSlam
#15: Vampiro vs. Pentagon, Jr., Cero Miedo
#16: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, G1 Climax 25 Finals
#17: Finn Balor vs. Kevin Owens for the NXT Championship, Beast in the East
#18: Peter Versoza vs. Ralph Imabayashi Quarterfinal Match for the PHX Championship, PWR Live
#19: John Cena vs. Cesaro for the United States Championship, RAW July 6, 2015

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