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    Monday, May 1, 2017

    #MustWatchMonday: A Tribute To Low-Key Workhorses

    Hello, this is your Smark Henry EIC Ro taking over for Brandon's #MWM today, and happy Labor Day, everyone! Today isn't just a work/school-free holiday (for those of you with summer classes, of course); it marks the day the working class got together and fought for the rights most of you have now as adults with livelihoods. With any luck, the continued fighting will get us even more rights we deserve, but that's a story for another day.

    Today to be specific, also marks the 10-year anniversary of former United States and Intercontinental Champion Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins being on the WWE main roster. The two debuted on ECW as Brett and Brian Major, the Major Brothers, before being eventually rebranded as Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins when they aligned with Edge. And yes, Hawkins left the company for a few years, but it still counts.

    It's not so obvious now given the way the two are booked, but Ryder and Hawkins have grown to be solid hands around the ring. It's a great coincidence, then, that their debut landed on Labor Day; you can either interpret it as them being good workers in the ring, or good jobbers. Or both. Why not both? Sometimes, the most solid and consistent workers become reliable jobbers to make other people look good.

    But for this article's case, we're taking a look at the two of them as workhorses, which means a wrestler who does a lot to make a match good and rightfully competitive, from hitting and taking moves, producing good spots, bumping and selling well, and the like.

    So let's take a look at two of their finest in-ring moments. Zack Ryder, thanks to his consistent profile over on SmackDown Live, tends to have bigger moments. This is a guy who did win the US and Intercontinental Championships, and he didn't win them for nothing.

    You may have forgotten Ryder's small pre-WWE Draft program with Rusev over the United States Championship held by the Bulgarian Brute at Battleground last year.

    Now, this match isn't anything mindblowing, but it gives you a good look of how far the Broski has come since he was merely an obnoxious Long Island Iced Z. If he ever gets released by the WWE, Ryder could send this match in as an audition for NJPW with the way he keeps throwing all those forearms, as well as the Broski Boot.

    For a guy who was once a forgettable jobber and comedy character, Ryder moves around well and pulls his own weight in the ring. You'd expect that he'd be there to stand around and take all of Rusev's bumps, but he quickly proves why he got the title shot (and previous title reigns). If you have the WWE Network and got 10 minutes to kill, you should go watch this match. Here's hoping Ryder recovers from his knee injury soon to help shore up the SmackDown midcard.

    Meanwhile, before he was released a few years ago, Curt Hawkins spent some time down in NXT making the future look good:

    This is a revelation. First of all, this was a freshly-signed Sami Zayn, still trying to flesh out his WWE identity and finishing matches with a springboard tornado DDT instead of the Helluva Kick, which he uses here as a signature move.

    Second is that Hawkins, given more than 10 minutes to put together a solid TV match, works like a (really) poor man's AJ Styles. Obviously he's not as energetic and wired as the Phenomenal One, but he's dressed up as Styles-adjace, hits a Pele kick, and has a strange-ass over-the-shoulder facebuster move that I've never seen before.

    It's actually a damn shame now that Hawkins is nothing more than a jobber used in squashes, but for those paying attention, you could catch the small flashes of brilliance whenever he's given at least five minutes for a match. (See some of the matches he had with Apollo Crews.) Moving to RAW may be good for him as Main Event is the RAW C-Show, and the two matches they usually tape for that have some decent minutes to make for passable TV wrestling.

    Which other workhorses are you fans of? Let us know what you think in the comments!
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    Item Reviewed: #MustWatchMonday: A Tribute To Low-Key Workhorses Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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