Desperate times, desperate measures. With tensions running increasingly high between SmackDown General Manager Theodore Long and Interim General Manager of Monday Night Raw John Laurinaitis, the WWE Board of Directors was forced to take a drastic step. The nine-member panel released a letter stating that sole control of both Raw and SmackDown would be decided in a 12-Man Tag Team Match – Team Teddy vs. Team Johnny – at WrestleMania.
Relations between the GMs began to deteriorate at Elimination Chamber when Laurinaitis announced his intention to govern both shows. Not surprisingly, Long took umbrage to the overt power grab and told Laurinaitis so in no uncertain terms, both in person and on Twitter, where @GMSmackDown and @WWERawGM have been strident in their criticism of each other.
In an attempt to determine who might perform better as dual GM, one week before the Board released the letter, it allowed Long to run Raw while Laurinaitis took control of SmackDown. The one-upmanship was fierce with Long and Laurinaitis even competing against one another in a match that saw Teddy roll up Laurinaitis, a ring veteran, for the win. The Board decided that both men had performed their duties above expectation and that, to determine control of both shows, Long and Laurinaitis must each choose a six-man squad to compete against one another.
On the March 12 episode of Raw SuperShow, the rosters began to form, with Long naming U.S. Champion Santino Marella as his captain, while Laurinaitis selected David Otunga as his own captain. Before the night was out, Mark Henry had joined "Mr. Excitement's" troops as well. And with just three weeks until The Show of Shows in Miami, the struggle to add key Superstars to the rosters is sure to be intense. And the competition among Superstars to be selected to those teams promises to be just as ferocious.
Then, in a WWE.com Exclusive video, Teddy Long revealed to the WWE Universe that R-Truth would join Team Teddy. Truth – who has recently made noise battling alongside Kofi Kingston in tag team action and who possesses a dangerous high-octane arsenal that is more than capable of electrifying The Show of Shows – is a natural fit for the SmackDown GM’s squad. Prior to being selected, the explosive Superstar has already shown allegiance to Team Teddy’s captain Santino Marella, coming to the aid of the United States Champion on the March 12 edition of Raw SuperShow.
Upon his return to SmackDown on the March 16 episode, Christian officially announced his intentions to join Team Johnny at WrestleMania. During a special edition of “The Peep Show,” Christian invited Long and Laurinaitis the opportunity to court him to their team at WrestleMania. While Teddy refused to beg, “Mr. Excitement” stated that if the outspoken Superstar competed on his team and they won, he would get “one more match” for the World Heavyweight Title. Christian proceeded to join Team Johnny. Not to be outdone, Teddy Long countered with an exciting announcement of his own by adding Kofi Kingston to Team Teddy!
Before the March 19 edition of Raw SuperShow, Laurinaitis revealed Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger as the latest member of his squad.
Zack Ryder and The Great Khali officially assembled under the Team Teddy banner on the March 23 edition of SmackDown. Teddy Long came away impressed from the Broski love given to Long Island Iced-Z in Philadelphia during Ryder’s rally to join Team Teddy prior to Raw SuperShow on March 19. Ryder then wooed the SmackDown GM into bringing him onboard by recruiting Hornswoggle to carry the Team Teddy flag into WrestleMania as their side’s mascot and revealing that The Punjabi Giant also wanted to compete against Team Johnny.
On the final Raw before WrestleMania, Teddy and Johnny announced their final team members. The Miz was officially named to Team Johnny when he came to the aid of Laurinaitis, who was hit by Santino with the Cobra. Teddy named Booker T to his team for coming to help avoid being obliterated by big Mark Henry. And, Drew McIntyre officially replaced Christian, who was ruled not medically cleared to compete at WrestleMania after a brutal attack by WWE Champion CM Punk.