Do you remember the throwback tag team Deuce ‘n’ Domino in the WWE?
2007 was an odd year for the WWE. John Cena was head of the company as the WWE Champion. The Undertaker battled it out with Batista and Edge for the World Heavyweight Championship and Mr McMahon shockingly won the ECW Championship which made every fan of the hardcore promotion turn in their graves – even if they weren’t dead yet.
With the Ruthless Aggression in full swing, WWE had to try something knew. They had lost a number of big stars over the years and were still trying to replace them. The Rock had gone to Hollywood and Stone Cold Steve Austin had been forced to retire. Brock Lesnar had walked out on the company due to being burned out by the hectic travel schedule, while Kurt Angle’s drug addiction took him to TNA. The Dudley Boys joined him as the tag team division faltered, and long term injuries for people like Triple H and Rey Mysterio showed a huge lack of depth on the roster.
This era saw a number of wrestlers making their debuts to try and build up some new stars for the company. Wrestlers like The Great Khali, Vladmir Kozlov, Jimmy Wang Yang and more made their first appearances on Smackdown, although most of them achieved very little in the promotion.
Smackdown itself was struggling for tag teams in particular. Paul London & Brian Kendrick had held the WWE Tag Team Championships for over a year which was impressive, but the lack of top tag teams in the division made their run quite a bit less impressive. Teams like Jimmy Wang Yang & Shannon Moore, Hawkins & Ryder, The Mexicool and The Pitbulls challenged for the titles which did not add any prestige to the legendary title reign.
This led to a new tag team being brought up from developmental to help reinvigorate the tag team division. Plucked from Ohio Valley Wrestling, Duece ‘n’ Domino were called up the main roster, along with their valet Cherry. The trio were brought in as a greaser-inspired, 1950s style group who wore leather jackets and shades to the ring while wrestling in their white t shirts and black jeans. They looked like something out of the film Grease and committed to the gimmick completely.
They looked like nothing else in the WWE at the time. They would have fit in perfectly in the 1990s, where each wrestler had their own clearly defined gimmick, like Tatanka or The Goon. However, in the mid 2000s they looked very out of place, which could be considered a good thing or a bad thing. It was a gamble calling them up under the gimmicks they used in developmental, although they were incredibly successful. They won the OVW Tag Team Championships three times and even managed one DSW Tag Team Championship reign aswell. As one of the most decorated teams in the feeder systems, WWE had no doubt that Deuce ‘n’ Domino could be a success on the main roster.
On January 16, 2007 edition of Friday Night SmackDown, Duece ‘n’ Domino with Cherry debuted in a dominant display against local jobbers, Adam Roberts and Patrick Bentley. This was a fairly standard way to debut a new team but it still made the pair look like a big deal in the eyes of the fans. Being announced from “The Other Side Of The Tracks” and with their incredibly cool entrance music (Jim Johnstone’s “It’s All About Cool”) they had an incredibly presentation which put them in good stead for the future.
It wouldn’t take long before they would become champions on Smackdown. After battling back and forth with London & Kendrick and trading wins over the coming months, they would defeat the duo on the 400th episode of Friday Night Smackdown. London & Kendrick were the high flying duo who revolutionised tag team wrestling in the WWE, with their contemporary wrestling style that would not be out of place in 2022.
Deuce ‘n’ Domino were the opposite, working a more brawl-based style, mixing well with their opponents. They won the WWE Tag Team Championships on April 17, 2007 but it would be hard to say the duo impressed. They looked fine, I suppose. You couldn’t point to much they did wrong but also you could say that nothing stood out. The two high flying champions took all the focus in the match with their flashy moves and fans were upset to see them end their legendary title reign against these two newcomers.
They won the match in an 8 minute bout in Italy. Brian Kendrick looked like a star as he fought back against both men as he tried desperately to keep hold of the titles. He eventually fell when Domino lifted him up into a bear hug while Deuce hit him with a one-legged drop kick in the head. An unimpressive finishing move for what was meant to be the divisions’ top tag team.
The team’s presentation continued to be excellent – well, when they were on TV. WWE kept them off screen for a month after winning the belts, leading to much more disillusion from the fans as to how the team would be as the champions. In a four month reign, they only defended the title four times, mainly against mix-and-match tag team like Eugene & Shannon Moore, and Jimmy Snuka & Sgt Slaughter.
Their tepid title reign would finally come to an end in August 2007. Funnily enough, it was against another “odd-couple” tag team, but one of the best WWE has ever had. MVP and Matt Hardy had been feuding for months over the United States Championship and entertained the Smackdown fans with a number of contests, including basketball, boxing and arm wrestling. The duo were put together in a tag team and earned themselves a shot at Deuce ‘n’ Domino, which came on Smackdown on August 28th, 2007. They defeated the Greasers from the other side of the tracks and made MVP a double champion, holding the United States and Tag Team Titles.
As Hardy and P would go on to be top champions in the division, Deuce and Domino would fade off into obscurity. They would shuffle down the card over the next year, putting over teams like Jimmy Wang Yang & Shannon Moore regularly without featuring in the main event scene themselves. The losing would become too much for the duo and would finally come to a head on June 28th, 2008 after a loss to Jesse & Festus. After the loss, Deuce turned on Domino and turned heel on his partner, although neither man would make a name for themselves as singles stars in WWE.
Deuce would rebrand himself as Sim Snuka, taking inspiration from his family. He is the son of “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka and Tamina Snuka is his sister, so he had the wrestling pedigree to succeed. However, his biggest moment in wrestling was pretending to be a cameraman that The Undertaker jumped into during his match with Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 25.
The pair stayed apart until 2021, when they announced that Deuce ‘n’ Domino were available for bookings on the independent scene, teaming together for the first time in 13 years.