#TheNationWeek: Watch and Learn – Jimmy Uso, The Rock and Shawn Michaels

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It’s #TheNationWeek at Juice Make Sugar, and we’ve decided to take a look at some young performers that reminds us of members of the stable that have come and gone before them, each of these guys has something to learn, and room to grow. For The Rock, Jimmy Uso will one day be looking to transition into super stardom the same  way The Great One did.  Thankfully, we’re here to help them same way we would any other athlete: give him tape He Should Watch. And loving our readers like we do, we have some tape You Should Watch of the work that reminds us of his because what’s more fun than old wrestling videos? 

He Should Watch

Most tag teams are, almost by necessity, not usually long for the world of professional wrestling. After the team reaches a certain level of popularity, one of three things can happen. There’s what happened to The Rockers, where one performer (who, Spoiler Alert, we’ll get to later) is essentially groomed for superstardom while his partner — no matter how talented they are — can never quite get out of the gate for one reason or another, and becomes known forever as the “Andrew Ridgeley/Marty Jannetty” for whichever tandem they were a part of.

There is then, of course, the Road Warriors, who manage to stay together for decades as top stars, requiring only a near constant shuffling between various promotions so that their storylines and styles never grow stale. With the death of the territories, and the idea that job security and stability is more important than being in a tag team for your entire career, this one has essentially died out.

Finally, there are Brother Splits. More often than not, Brother Splits occur between two biological brothers, and they can always be considered blood feuds.

Which brings us to Jimmy Uso, and oddly enough, The Rock.

Yes, even with all the talk about tag teams, the man Jimmy needs to learn the most from when it comes to transition past his tag team roots is his honorary cousin, and former Nation of Domination leader and eventual Corporate Champion, The Rock.

Rocky Maivia was vastly different from the persona with which Johnson would become famous, Rocky Maivia and The Rock are at least nominally the same person because the latter seems like an extension of who the performer was as a person.

Jimmy “Jonathan Fatu” Uso, who, based on the little bit of personality he’s been able to display during matches and the work he’s done in front of the camera on the highly successful Total Divas seems to have precisely the personality type to simply play a “bigger” version of himself.

That’s all the Rock was ever doing, and something that Jimmy needs to do. Especially because the dissolution of the Usos will fall into the Brothers Split category of team break-ups. And when that happens, Jimmy is going to need to not just stand out separate from his brother, but as a fully formed man by himself.

Watching Rocky make the transition to The Rock didn’t just felt like it make sense, the character itself made sense, and came from a real place of frustration. While the circumstances will undoubtedly be different for the two when the time comes to split from the personality he has now, he’d be well served to learn from the most famous performer in the history of professional wrestling on how to build a character the crowd can connect with.

You Should Watch

When done right, close teammates break away from each other in such a way that it creates a sustainable push for those involved, serving as a renewable resource for crowd interest by giving the performer or performers actual heat/fan interest instead of trying to manufacture it, affording the performers the chance to change the way that the crowds view them without their essence being lost. The difference between Brother Splits and the Miz-Morrison/Rockers breakups goes beyond the relationship between the workers to the relationships that relationship has with the fans.

While the Rockers were fun loving guys, and the Miz and Morrison happened to be total douche nozzles who were also fairly over as a tag team, the crowd didn’t have a serious emotional connection with them, or more accurately, they didn’t care about their relationships with one another in the way that they did with The Hardyz or a pairing like Beer Money Inc. did. Yes, people wanted Marty get revenge on Shawn, but that’s because they didn’t like Shawn, not because they particularly cared about Marty.

That’s because while Shawn may make more sense as a mentor for transition out of a tag team onto a new path, Dwayne is most definitely the expert of transition out of something into yourself. “Rocker Shawn” Michaels and the Heartbreak Kid were a man transition from where character to another.

Rocker Shawn doesn’t feel as much of younger version of someone as a facade for an entirely different person. And The HBK was, significantly more so than the The Rock, Michael Hickenbottom trying on a new character as opposed to, for instance, the closet of designer shirts that had found its way into the Nation of Domination’s locker room.

While most people remember that the Rock was at one point a happy-go-lucky goofball with an AWFUL haircut, the Rocker Shawn character is so far removed from our idea of what Shawn Michaels is that it’s unlikely that Jimmy Usos could ever separate himself that far from his past.

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