What’s up Wrasslin’ fans?
Before I crack on, I’ll come clean. It’s been a while. I haven’t come close to writing a WWE blog in a while, and it just so happens to be because I have had not one problem with the WWE product in some time. Obviously, there was that thing with CM Punk walking out on WWE after Royal Rumble which I could have written about, but when there’s no information there really isn’t all that much to write about which wouldn’t fit into a tweet (on the subject, you can catch my thoughts and opinions more frequently at @SpringerAJ). This theory is evidenced by the fact many wrestling ‘news’ sites have spent months reporting on brief speechless appearances by Punk at hockey and baseball games.
Anyway, I’ll get to the meat of this piece; the fallout from WrestleMania XXX and the destiny of the #YESMovement.
Anybody who happened to read my previous blogs will know all too well that I am a Daniel Bryan fan. I did get caught up in the #YESMovement, and my main reason to watch WrestleMania XXX was to finally see Bryan get a fair run with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and overcome the Authority.
My initial disbelief at Bryan being screwed at SummerSlam did in fact become a full engagement in a fantastic storyline (let’s all forget the whole “I’m yours. Let me join the Family” thing with the Wyatts, just like WWE wants us to), and it helped make WrestleMania XXX one of the best PPVs I’ve ever seen.
The problem WWE was always going to face coming out of ‘Mania was pretty obvious though.
They had their most ‘over’ superstar finally reach the top of the mountain on the biggest show of the year, and they had to keep his momentum rolling. This was always going to be a problem, and having the week off after WrestleMania was never a good starting point. Bryan did also get the sad news of his father’s passing, which limited his TV time too. Even with these two events aside, WWE has had this problem before.
Chris Benoit soured (at least with me) very quickly after his WrestleMania XX World Heavyweight Championship victory, and as much as the people wanted it going into the show of shows his rivalry with Triple H and Evolution was somewhat of a hindrance to him becoming a “face of WWE”. He later dropped the title to Randy Orton at SummerSlam 2004 after a respectable title run, but there weren’t too many memorable moments when he held the gold.
This brings me to Daniel Bryan.
He has a lot of similarities to Benoit in his move set/style alone (submission specialist with a penchant for aggressive offence, never mind two signature moves which scream “Benoit” in the Yes! lock and Diving Headbutt), but I would hate to see the momentum he built for eight long months fizzle due to a poor storyline.
This is the risk.
I am aware that Bryan and Kane have enough of a history to justify a rivalry for the championship, which is not my problem. In fact, their Extreme Rules match at, erm… Extreme Rules was pretty good in my eyes. Where this storyline fails to grab my attention is in two ways:
- Brie Bella being used on-screen in Bryan’s storylines, and
- Bryan getting very little chance to actually wrestle on TV.
I understand the logic for both of these things.
Bryan seemed unflappable in his build with the Authority, so Brie adds a new dimension of weakness to his character. As for the lack of in-ring action Bryan is getting, it makes people want to buy PPVs because he will definitely be wrestling on them (a point which is slightly irrelevant now the Network exists).
But wasn’t the appeal of Daniel Bryan as WWE World Heavyweight Champion the fact that he is a pure technician? Sure, he got over with the #YESMovement and the fact that he’s not the prototypical “face of WWE”, but as fun as all of that is his wrestling ability is what makes you want him to compete week-in, week-out.
Without Bryan competing as much it seems to take the spotlight away from him, and somewhat downplay his role as WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
The things which make his reduction of TV time more inexplicable are also worth considering.
The fact WWE are now pushing The Shield and Bray Wyatt into higher places on the card is not a bad thing at all. In fact, I love it. What puzzles me is that for months before WrestleMania they were already being pushed while Bryan took centre stage, so why not do that now? Again, I see the logic from WWE’s perspective in that Bryan is already over and officially the “face of WWE” so now they...