5 Injuries that Changed WWE Since the Brand Split

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4. Zack Ryder

On the June 12 episode of SmackDown Live, Zack Ryder made his return from injury. He assured Mojo Rawley that they had some unfinished business, as a team. That unfinished business? Challenging for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships.

Before his injury, The Hype Bros. had firmly placed themselves at the top of tag team division. They had scored victories over many of the other teams. In fact, on the very same match that Zack Ryder helped secure the No. 1 contender’s spot for the titles, he also severely injured his leg. Doctors told Ryder that he would be out 4-6 months. Due to the injury, The Hype Bros. lost their place at the top of division and their shot at the tag team titles.

It’s my firm belief that had Zack Ryder not been injured, he would have gone on to win tag team gold with his partner Mojo Rawley. Two weeks after his injury, the defending Wyatt family lost their titles to American Alpha in a Fatal 4-Way. American Alpha became the stand-in for The Hype Bros. in that victory.

Though an extremely popular act, American Alpha worked much better as faces who had to chase the titles. With their premature win, it deflated the some of their own storytelling. Conversely, for the Wyatt Family the belts were only a device to create tension between Randy Orton, Bray Wyatt, and Luke Harper.

All might not be lost for The Hype Bros. After an impressive win against The Colons at the Money in the Bank PPV, and a shot at the Usos for the No. 1 contendership next week, could mean big things for them.