PROUD & POWERFUL
Santana & Ortiz
2012 - Present
Impact World Tag Team Champions
Written by Canadian Bulldog
Full disclosure: one of the reasons I'm such a big fan of Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins (today known as by their real names, Matt Cardona and Brian Myers) is due to how they've increased the popularity of wrestling figures through their Major Wrestling Figure Podcast. In fact, their groundbreaking podcast has only increased my own passion for figure collecting.
But even beyond their lives as die-hard figure collectors, Ryder and Hawkins have had an interesting history as a tag team....
First competing as Brett Matthews and Brian Myers, the two teamed up on the independent circuit in New York before being signed to WWE developmental deals. By the time they debuted on the main roster in 2007, they had become kayfabe brothers - Brett and Brian Major, The Major Brothers.
The persona didn't exactly set the world on fire, battling in midcard matches on ECW and SmackDown programs, but they were able to set themselves from the pack when they became Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins. Posing as near-doppelgangers for Edge, the former Major Brothers helped the Rated R Superstar win the World Heavyweight Championship.
As part of Edge's La Familia faction, Ryder and Hawkins had a short run of success and even captured the WWE Tag Team Championship at The Great American Bash in 2008. While they didn't have the world's longest reign, it was enough to make the world take notice of the Long Island natives.
The two soon went their separate ways, with Ryder becoming a singles competitor (and Internet sensation) while Hawkins languished in the midcard until he was eventually released by WWE. Hired back years later, Hawkins went on a lengthy losing streak of some 200 matches, but finally got a win in the most rewarding way possible - teaming with his former Major Brother at WrestleMania, in a match for the Raw Tag Team Championship, and in their home state of New York.
It was a storybook ending for an underdog tag team and while they only held the titles for a short time, it showed the unique appeal both men had with the fans. Currently feuding with each other in Impact Wrestling (while still hosting their podcast empire), Cardona and Myers managed to make a major impact in the tag team division.