#WrasslinNight – Is the #YESMovement in trouble?


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 can offer other
talent a more obvious push. I just think WWE is playing their hand a little too
soon in terms of Bryan’s solidified role as “must see”.

Of course he is just that, but WWE fans are extremely
fickle at times and will turn away from someone at the drop a hat if they do
not see them compete/cut promos often enough. There is always the argument that
WWE does not want to risk shoving Bryan down our throats like they did John
Cena, but Bryan has barely had a chance to show us that he is the Champion.
Sure, he pulled off the title chase role brilliantly, but being Champion is a
different thing altogether.

That being said, WWE’s creative team have lumbered Bryan
with a terrible feud.

Kane versus Bryan would have been a great idea, if only
the storyline did not focus on Kane’s resurgence as a “Demon” trying to get to
Bryan through Brie. There are two reasons why it has been approached the wrong
way, and the most notable shows in the fact Bryan did not carry the physical WWE
World Heavyweight Championship on Raw
on April 28th.

The Championship is not the focal point in this story at

Instead, WWE is serving us, as Mick Foley recently posted
on Facebook, a storyline similar to that which ended the Zack Ryder push. I’m
not saying Bryan is in any way as disposable as Ryder or that he will suffer
the same fate, but it only served to push Kane as a monster last time. Bryan
gets nothing out of this storyline’s inevitable end result (SPOILER ALERT:
Bryan isn’t losing the title to Kane) that we aren’t already aware of; Daniel
Bryan has heart and never gives up (I realise that sounds eerily similar to
another WWE superstar…).

Aside from the storyline being poorly written, it is also
clear filler whilst the Shield versus Evolution rivalry plays out and Randy
Orton claims his rematch against Bryan.

That is a storyline I’ve enjoyed watching, and incidentally
the main reason I had for watching Extreme
Rules. It’s just a shame that it has stopped Bryan from capitalising on his
WrestleMania high.

I realise I’ve
gone on for 1,188 words at this point, so I will wrap it up.

Just to be clear,
I do not hate the Bryan/Kane rivalry as a concept, I just wish it was being handled
more effectively and with the right focus (the WWE World Heavyweight
Championship). At this point it looks more like a way for WWE to give Kane one
last run at the title and the last roll of the dice in terms of stopping the #YESMovement.
Sadly, without the title being the main focus it does not have the desired
effect in my eyes.

I’d like to thank
those who read this, for length’s sake, essay, and encourage you all to
comment/tweet (again, @SpringerAJ) your opinions on this topic.

Oh, and just for
fun I have a question for you: Who would you choose, given Randy Orton’s
preoccupation with The Shield, as Bryan’s first challenger and why?

Trending Stories