You say you want a tag team wrestling revolution?
Meet Jey and Jimmy Uso.
The high-flying World Wrestling Entertainment Tag Team Champions come from a royal professional wrestling stock. As part of the famed Anoa’i Family, these twin brothers share a family tree with iconic entertainers such as Peter Maivia, Rocky Johnson, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, the late Yokozuna, The Wild Samoans (Afa and Sika), The Headshrinkers (Samu and Fatu), The Tonga Kid and their father, Rikishi.
At only 28 years old, Jey and Jimmy – best known simply as The Usos – are reminiscent of the fast-paced, risk-taking teams that wowed the WWE Universe during the company’s “Attitude Era” 15 years ago. And as the sensational siblings continue to steal the show at every level of the card, the fans’ previously waning interest in the tag team division has quickly ignited.
This Sunday, June 29, at the WWE “Money in the Bank” pay-per-view, The Usos will face their toughest challenge to date as they defend the WWE Tag Team titles against Luke Harper and Erick Rowan of the twisted and mysterious Wyatt Family.
I recently caught up with Jey Uso to talk about he and Jimmy’s rise to fame, their famous family, their relationship with John Cena and his predictions for “Money in the Bank.”
David Onda: The tag team division in WWE is coming back in a major way, and the excitement you and Jimmy bring to the ring is a big part of that. Are you feeling an upswing in momentum?
Jey Uso: Yeah, especially going in with the Wyatts at “Money in the Bank.” I think us and the Wyatts have put on a real good feud, and just good tag team wrestling. In my opinion, though, we do need more tag teams. We’ve got Goldie and Stardust. Rybaxel. Los Matadores. I wanna say that’s about it.
Onda: You and Jimmy have been stealing the show in recent months. Whether you’re at the bottom, middle or top of the card, it must be rewarding to bring down the house every night.
Uso: That’s the main thing. It don’t matter what spot you’re put at. You wanna go out there and just steal the show. It’s like a competition within ourselves. “Oh man, the Usos and the Wyatts – I remember that match! I remember that pay-per-view!” We talk like that amongst each other.
Onda: Speaking of the Wyatts, they are some strange characters. What’s the deal with these guys?
Uso: I don’t know, but they smell horrible.
Onda: What’s your take on the way fans have responded – in somewhat of a positive way – to their bizarre antics?
Uso: They are very different. Nothing’s been done [like] the way they portray themselves. Their characters are awesome. Bray Wyatt – he influences people. The other two are like his guard dogs and they’re huge, hairy men, you know? I think they give off this… you know, this… you can’t take your eyes off them, is what I’m trying to say. Something draws you to these guys and they don’t have to say anything.
Onda: Like you and Jimmy, the Wyatts appreciate a theatrical entrance. When the Undertaker comes to the ring, it’s often said that the arena becomes 10 degrees colder. Do you get the same feeling with the Wyatts?
Uso: Oh, of course, man. Especially when you’re out there live and you’ve got the best seat in the ring, and you’re watching these guys do their thing. Not to mention, the whole crowd pulls their cell phones out like it’s a lantern. Seeing that out there is cool, and they’ve got cool music. People start clapping to the beat of that tune they walk to. It’s pretty cool.
Onda: For the last few months, John Cena’s had your back as you’ve been battling the Wyatts. What’s it been like teaming with John?
Uso: Oh, it’s been awesome, man. Working with John, he’s the one that made our backstage segments – our interviews, our promos – just fun. He said, “You gotta sell it, man. When you guys talk, talk how you wanna talk. Talk how you guys talk back here without the cameras on.” We never had the talking time before, but lately, Jimmy and I, they’ve been giving us the chance to talk and people are going to it.
Onda: It must be a different atmosphere being in the ring with the WWE’s top guy, the face of the company. Even if it’s amid a polarized John Cena crowd, I’d imagination it’s a great energy.
Uso: Sometimes it’s a little intimidating, man. At “Payback,” when we were out there with him in Chicago, they just booed. And I was like, “Whoa!” And John was like, “Yeah, these guys don’t like me too much” – in the ring telling us this. And I’m like, “Whooooaa!” I’m out here and they’re just booing John Cena. And then, on the flip side, I’ve heard that roof blow off before. It’s pretty awesome.
Onda: Speaking of John, he’ll be competing for the WWE Championship against seven other men in the “Money in the Bank” ladder much. In your opinion, who will walk away with the title?
Uso: To be honest, man, I have to go with my man Roman Reigns. That’s my brother right there. [Ed. Note: Actually, it’s his cousin] He came a long way, and I think he’s got the skills to pull it off. You’ve got Cesaro, Alberto Del Rio, Sheamus, Randy Orton, Bray Wyatt, Cena and Reigns. [Ed. Note: Kane has also been added] That’s gonna be a hell of a match right there.
Onda: And speaking of Reigns, his former partner Seth Rollins is competing in a “Money in the Bank” ladder match for a WWE Title match contract. As someone who knows a thing or two about brotherhood, I’m sure you have an opinion on Rollins turning his back on Reigns and Dean Ambrose.
Uso: Hell, that caught everybody off guard. Honestly, I thought those boys were gonna run through the WWE for as many years as they could.
Onda: It makes you wanna look over your shoulder at Jimmy, doesn’t it?
Uso: Oh, Jimmy better not, man! That guy’ll catch a super-kick right to that paint!
Onda: Two weeks ago on “RAW,” we saw you and Jimmy catapult off a ladder to take out the Wyatts. Will we see the ladders come out in your match at “Money in the Bank”?
Uso: Oh, you damn right. I’m pulling all the tricks out, man. Actually, that little ladder walk with me and Jimmy – before that moment, I was a little nervous. I was like, “Whoa, OK, let’s make sure we’ve got our footing down. It’s live TV. It would just look very bad if we just both not go through with this spot.” But it came off pretty cool. I don’t think two people have walked the ladder at the same time like that before. I wanted to do it like Shelton [Benjamin] – we watched tape on him, and he did it amazing, man. He went up there like a cat. We watched it a couple times just to see how many steps it took him to do it.
Onda: In March, you and Jimmy defeated the New Age Outlaws for your first WWE Tag Team Championship. Can you take me back to that moment and describe what it was like to win the titles from such a decorated veteran team?
Uso: For one, I would have never thought in a million years that we would beat the Outlaws for the tag titles. We grew up watching these guys in the “Attitude Era.” They had a little run with my dad. To be in that ring and look across at those guys… we hit that “Superfly Splash” – boom – 1, 2, 3. And I just heard the crowd roar, and I was just there with my brother at that moment. If you watch the footage back, it wasn’t even about the titles, it was that moment of where, “We finally did it.” It took us that long to get there, but we kept banging, and kept banging, and the crowd was growing with us, got behind us, and to pull it off on “RAW” – I love a title switch on “RAW,” man. It was awesome.
Onda: As the sons of Rikishi, has it been harder for you and Jimmy coming up, because people expect more out of you?
Uso: Yeah. Sometimes it’s a little intimidating to think, “Can you fill the shoes of your family lineage?” And I sit back and look at it sometimes like, “Damn, that’s a lot of shoes to fill!” But I think we’re doing OK stepping up to the family name. Of course, we’ve got a long road ahead of us.
Onda: Like you said, you’ve got a lot of family in this business – past and present – what was the best advice you’ve received from any of them?
Uso: My dad would just say, “Do what you love and love what you do. And the only thing real in this business is money and miles.”
Onda: When I watch you and Jimmy wrestle, I’m reminded of the Hardy Boyz and Edge & Christian and guys from the “Attitude Era” heyday of tag team wrestling. Who are some of your inspirations?
Uso: Definitely, definitely the Hardy Boyz. We kind of get our style from those guys. Harlem Heat. We love the Road Warriors. Man, in those days, tag team wrestling like that was where it was, right?
Onda: You grew up around the business, presumably hanging out backstage with WWE legends. What are some of the moments from traveling with your dad that stand out in your mind?
Uso: True story: Bam Bam Bigelow locked me and my brother in a locker and just sprayed us with water the whole time. He just sat there and doused us with water. I remember Bray Wyatt [as a kid]. I remember him running around in back. I don’t think he remembers me. I don’t know. The Dudley Boyz’s D-Von – he had twin sons that would always be around.
Onda: Why should people check out “Money in the Bank” this Sunday, June 29, with XFINITY On Demand? What can we expect out of the Usos?
Uso: A year ago, we were fighting The Shield for the tag titles. A lot of people remember that match. A year later, this “Money in the Bank” show with the Wyatts – it’s just gonna be a five-star tag team wrestling pay-per-view match. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, last year’s “Money in the Bank” against The Shield is an appetizer. This year’s is the full entrée!
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.