The Authors of Pain
AOP (originally known as The Authors of Pain) is a professional wrestling tag team performing on WWE's Raw branded shows. The team is composed of Akam, Rezar and their manager Drake Maverick. They are former Raw Tag Team Champions and NXT Tag Team Champions.
|The Authors of Pain|
Akam (left) and Rezar (right) with Ellering (back, on ring apron) in April 2018
Drake Maverick (manager)
|Name(s)||The Authors of Pain|
|Billed heights||6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) – Akam|
6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) – Rezar
5 ft 4 in (1.63 m) -Maverick
|760 lb (340 kg)|
Akam (290 lb), Rezar (330 lb), Maverick 140 lb (64 kg)
|Paul Ellering (manager)|
|Debut||June 8, 2016|
Akam and Rezar first teamed up in June 2016, paired with manager Paul Ellering in WWE's developmental league NXT. AOP won the 2016 Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, leading to them winning the NXT Tag Team Championship. In early 2018 Akam and Rezar were promoted to the Raw brand, with Maverick taking over as their manager.
The team made their televised NXT debut on June 8, 2016 at NXT TakeOver: The End, attacking American Alpha (Jason Jordan and Chad Gable) after they had lost the NXT Tag Team Championship to The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder). Paul Ellering appeared on the ramp following the assault, signaling his association with the two.
On June 15 episode of NXT, they won their first televised match and were accompanied by Ellering. On November 19, the duo won the 2016 Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, defeating TM-61 in the tournament final at NXT TakeOver: Toronto. On the January 11, 2017 episode of NXT, they assaulted #DIY (Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa) after they retained the NXT Tag Team Championship against The Revival. At NXT TakeOver: San Antonio, they won the NXT Tag Team Championship by defeating #DIY.On the March 1 episode of NXT, The Authors of Pain defended their titles against #DIY in a rematch, which ended in a no contest after The Revival interfered and attacked both teams. They retained the titles at NXT TakeOver: Orlando by both defeating #DIY and The Revival in a triple threat elimination match after eliminating both teams. At NXT TakeOver: Chicago, the duo participated in the first-ever ladder match for the NXT Tag Team Championship against #DIY, which they won.
On the July 26 episode of NXT, the two were set to compete, but their opponents were attacked by SAnitY before the match began. They then brawled with Alexander Wolfe and Killian Dain, disposing of the two before a staredown, thus turning them face for the first time. Two weeks later, SAnitY called out The Authors of Pain, who were attacked by Eric Young as they made their way down the ramp. Young zip-tied Rezar to the barricade, allowing SAnitY to beat down Akam. Rezar eventually made his way to the ring, but was ultimately attacked as well. At NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn III, The Authors of Pain lost the NXT Tag Team Championship to SAnitY, who were represented by Wolfe and Young after the latter replaced Killian Dain mid-match, marking their first loss in NXT.  At NXT TakeOver: WarGames, they teamed with Roderick Strong in a WarGames match against SAnitY and The Undisputed Era (Adam Cole, Kyle O'Reilly, and Bobby Fish), who won the match. At NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia, The Authors of Pain unsuccessfully challenged The Undisputed Era for the NXT Tag Team Championship. In what was their last match in NXT, they again challenged The Undisputed Era for the NXT Tag Team Championship in a triple threat match also involving the team of Strong and WWE United Kingdom Champion Pete Dunne at NXT TakeOver: New Orleans, where they failed to win after Strong turned on Dunne and joined The Undisputed Era, allowing them to retain the titles.
On the April 9 episode of Raw, The Authors of Pain, along with Ellering, made their main roster debut as heels, defeating Heath Slater and Rhyno. After the match, Akam and Rezar ended their partnership with Ellering by pushing him away and leaving him ringside as they returned backstage. On the September 3 episode of Raw, The Authors of Pain, now under the shortened name of "AOP", were accompanied to the ring by the 205 Live General Manager, Drake Maverick, who announced himself as their new manager.
On the November 5 episode of Raw in Manchester, England, AOP defeated Seth Rollins in a handicap match to win the Raw Tag Team Championship. They went on to defeat SmackDown Tag Team Champions Cesaro and Sheamus in an interbrand Champion vs Champion match at Survivor Series. The following night on Raw, AOP suffered an upset loss to the team of Bobby Roode and Chad Gable, marking their first loss on the main roster. On the December 10 episode of Raw, they lost their tag titles to Roode and Gable in a three-on-two handicap match that also involved their manager Drake Maverick. Maverick was the one pinned, ending AOP’s reign as Raw Tag Team Champions at 35 days. After this, the team was on hiatus due to Akam having knee surgery in January 2019. The duo returned during the 51-Man Battle Royal at the 2019 Super Showdown, but they were both eliminated during the match. On June 18, during SmackDown Live, Akam and Rezar are seen coming out of Baron Corbin's dressing room right before a segment involving The IIconics and The Kabuki Warriors. Later that night, AOP's manager Drake Maverick (disguised as R-Truth's friend Carmella) pinned Truth in the parking lot of the arena in Ontario, California where SmackDown Live and 205 Live were being held, winning the 24/7 Title, then immediately taking the referee's rental car and driving off.
Characters and receptionEdit
While the AOP was initially managed by Paul Ellering, Chris Jericho, on his podcast “Talk Is Jericho”, has criticized Drake Maverick for pairing with the team as its replacement manager.[unreliable source?] Ellering rejected rumors that he wasn't interested in the travel schedule that was going to come with their new gig with the AOP.[unreliable source?] However, in November 2018, Road Warrior Animal lashed out at WWE's tag team division on its treatment on the AOP, citing "Yes they just beat one guy, Seth Rollins, to become tag team champions, but, what have they done before that? They’ve gotten beat! You can’t keep beating teams and then have them get a token win every now and then. You have to establish who’s the dominant guys. There is no team that stands out as being the dominant team today. That’s the problem."[unreliable source?]
Championship and accomplishmentsEdit
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- "Legend, bald beauty, and snazzy dresser, Paul Ellering appears after a mysterious duo attacks American Alpha: NXT TakeOver: The End..." WWE. Retrieved August 20, 2017.
- Tylwalk, Nick (April 3, 2016). "NXT: Finn Balor finds out what's next". Slam! Wrestling. Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved June 18, 2016.
- Fiorvanti, Tim (November 19, 2016). "NXT Takeover Toronto: Match recaps and ratings". ESPN.com. Retrieved August 20, 2017.
- Powell, Jason. "1/28 Powell's NXT Takeover: San Antonio Live Review – Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Bobby Roode for the NXT Title, DIY vs. Authors of Pain for the NXT Tag Titles, Asuka vs. Nikki Cross vs. Billie Kay vs. Peyton Royce for the NXT Women's Title". Pro Wreslting Dot Net. Retrieved January 28, 2017.
- James, Justin (April 1, 2017). "NXT TAKEOVER REPORT 4/2: Ongoing coverage of event headlined with Nakamura vs. Roode live from Orlando". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved August 20, 2017.
- Silverstein, Adam (May 21, 2017). "NXT TakeOver: Chicago results, review -- Outstanding matches, a monster heel turn". CBS Sports. Retrieved August 20, 2017.
- "NXT results, July 26, 2017: Hideo Itami puts his friendship with Kassius Ohno to sleep". WWE. Retrieved August 20, 2017.
- "NXT results, Aug. 9, 2017: Fiery Zelina Vega guides Andrade "Cien" Almas to big victory and TakeOver: Brooklyn III match". WWE. Retrieved August 20, 2017.
- Winter, Arya (August 19, 2017). "NXT TakeOver Brooklyn III live results: Bobby Roode vs. Drew McIntyre". Wrestling Observer/Figure Four Online. Retrieved August 20, 2017.
- Benigno, Anthony. "The Authors of Pain def. Heath Slater & Rhyno". WWE.com. Retrieved April 9, 2018.
- "AOP def. Keith Thompson & Jimmy James". WWE.com. Retrieved September 3, 2018.
- "Report: Akam Of The Authors Of Pain Cleared To Return To In-Ring Competition - Fightful Wrestling". www.fightful.com.
- P., Leon (June 8, 2019). "There Were Actually 51 Competitors in the Super ShowDown Battle Royal, Complete List". PWInsider. Retrieved June 12, 2019.
- "Chris Jericho Doesn't Understand AOP/Drake Maverick Pairing". 19 November 2018.
- "Paul Ellering Denies Travel As Reason For Authors Of Pain Split". TheSportster. 15 April 2018.
- "Road Warrior Animal Critical Of WWE's Handling Of AOP & The Revival". 26 November 2018.
- "Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) 500 for 2017". The Internet Wrestling Database. Retrieved August 31, 2017.
- "NXT TakeOver: San Antonio results". WWE. January 28, 2017. Retrieved January 28, 2017.