I'm sure there have been times in the history of professional wrestling that a company has botched a story as badly as WWE is botching the Daniel Bryan story, but it sure doesn't feel like it right now. People are mad. Really mad. I have tickets to four WWE events in the next two months (including Wrestlemania and the Raw after) and I don't even feel like going. Let me reiterate that point: I DON'T WANT TO GO TO THE BIGGEST SHOW AND MOST FUN SHOW OF THE YEAR. This is absolute insanity and I know I'm not the only one who feels this way.
There are a lot of reasons for the malaise surrounding people's feelings about WWE, but the biggest one has to be Daniel Bryan and his storyline. For whatever reason the WWE decided that isn't what they want to do and it has completely ruined things for many fans. Batista coming back was something that threw a wrench in the mix, but it shouldn't have ruined things quite to this level. The Wrestlemania rumors at this point are terrible and fans are unhappy. WWE doesn't seem to be listening and we're nearing a breaking point for many people. Why is this happening? How did we get here? Read more
I am a big fan of the CM Punk DVD Best in the World. I think it's the best thing WWE has ever produced and it's not really all that close. It's inspiring, it's entertaining and it tells CM Punk's story the exact way that it should be told. Which is to say that it climaxes with the pipebomb and ends with him holding the WWE title. In the movie, he wins. The underground overcame the machine and he became The Guy. It's how his story should've ended.
Unfortunately, as we've seen time and time again you can change WWE for a day, or a month, but WWE will never truly change. Vince McMahon and Triple H are tied to the idea of "larger than life" characters who are big guys with big muscles who they think make people stop when flipping channels and say "who's that?" This idea has worked for them for a long time (I guess) and Punk much like Bryan now doesn't fit that idea. Why they never think that people flipping channels wouldn't say "hey who is that guy that the crowd is absolutely losing their shit for?" and stick around, I don't know. How they don't realize that basically every channel has someone with big muscles now or that the fanbase that they do have has money that spends just as well, I don't know either.
This is a sad reality. The wrestling fans love wrestlers who are good and the people in charge of the wrestlers like bodybuilders, but we're not here to talk about that. We're here to talk about how CM Punk won. CM Punk climbed to the highest top that he was allowed to climb to and stayed there for a modern day record. His reign honestly kind of sucked, but he did it. He turned too soon because WWE is scared of the idea of there being a 1A to Cena's 1 and he was forced to change his character in a way that made him less like the guy that everyone loved in the first place, but he did it. He got everything he said he wanted: souvenir cups, PPV posters, guest spots on TV shows. He made it. No matter what happens afterwards there is nothing WWE or anyone can do to take away the Best in the World DVD.
Is this you?
MAN WWE REALLY BURIED DANIEL BRYAN THIS TIME I QUIT WWE WATCHING FOREVER NOW I HAVE TWO WRESTLEMANIA TICKETS FOR SALE AND I WON'T BE GETTING WWE NETWORK I HATE YOU VINCE AND TRIPLE H \ / SUCK \*/ IT \/
If it is, I'm here for you. You're right that was a pretty crappy thing for WWE to do. I mean, they never even announced Daniel Bryan for the Rumble, but they also never did that thing where Triple H was all mean and told him he wouldn't be. He just wasn't which made it seem like he would be, but then he wasn't and it was the worst. Let's just settle down and we can all look at this rationally.
Is this you?
WWE DOES NOT EVEN LISTEN TO THEIR FANS. WE WANT BRYAN. NOT BATISTA. SOME THINGS NEVER CHANGE. UGH!
If so, I'm here for you too. Things do seem very same-old, same-old right now. I ordered a Royal Rumble in 2005 hoping that Batista would win and now here we are nine years later and he is winning another one that I prayed he would not. What a difference a decade makes.
Let's just stop and think about this for a second:
At the Royal Rumble Daniel Bryan....
- Had the best match of the night
- Absolutely made Bray Wyatt look like a serious threat, enough of a threat that he is now Cena-worthy
- Stole the show, both with his match and even more so with his absence from the Rumble match
- Made the internet explode
That's not bad for a guy who is being buried, that's almost like a guy who isn't being buried at all... wait, what? Stick with me here. Read more
I knew this day would come, yet I wasn't mentally or emotionally ready for it. The season one finale of Total Divas has come and gone, and I'm still coping. What will I do on Sunday nights? How will I know what's going on in the personal lives of the Divas? What will I blog about?! So many questions, and so few answers - AND I have to wait until March for Total Divas to return? Worst Christmas present ever.
But let's get right into it, shall we? The season finale did not disappoint storyline wise, so I hope you're prepared for this heaping helping of divalicious drama.
Nattie: Let's dig into the drama right away with Nattie. First of all, whyyyy did they not show the Diva's night out in New Orleans? All we got were short, weird recap clips that seemed like a mix between The Real World and a poorly scripted sitcom with bad actresses. Anyway, Nattie entered the infamous #BrieMode and shit got ca-razy! We first saw Nattie as she was waking up after the NOLA night amidst a mess of feathers, masquerade masks, and beads (OMG YOU THINK NATTIE FLASHED ANYONE?!). Read more
The ending of last night's Raw is rightly being praised as one of the best of the year. It had it's issues (if Bryan beat Cena and Orton then why isn't he in the match?), but it delivered in a way that few segments have all year. It created excitement and made you really want to see things happen. While it was designed to sell this Sunday's TLC pay-per-view, it actually did a better job of selling another, much bigger pay-per-view - Wrestlemania.
For my perspective it set up the following possibilities:
- Bad Guy DX vs. Punk and Bryan
- Bryan vs. Shawn Michaels
- Punk vs. Orton
- Punk vs. Triple H
- Orton vs. Triple H (Orton as a good guy?)
- Cena aligning himself with the Authority
- Punk vs. Cena
- Stephanie McMahon vs. Randy Orton
- Orton vs. Triple H vs. Punk vs. Bryan vs. HBK
Besides a couple of those, there is some really cool stuff set up there that I'd really like to see and it seems to me that the Road to Wrestlemania is beginning construction. Read more
This week's episode of Total Divas was pretty lackluster. Sure, we got to see more of John Cena's mega-mansion and the show opened with Trinity jiggling her boobs all over, but overall, eh. Maybe I need more catfights, or maybe I need less JoJo (ha), but what I definitely need is more of Nattie's acting skills and way more of Josie.
I'm sure the E! Network will get right on that, so for now, let's GET THAT CHINGLE CHINGLE
When did the rise of Daniel Bryan begin? One could argue that it started after Wrestlemania 28 when the "YES" chants became a thing. While that was a big moment in Daniel's career he didn't begin to really resonate until he started to team with Kane. Was Team Hell No the beginning? In a way, yes, but ultimately I don't think the beginning of Daniel Bryan, the Daniel Bryan who main evented four straight PPV shows, began until the whole "weak link" saga began. Before that he was the actual weak link in a tag team with Kane (or Orton or Cena.) After that? He is the MAN.
By becoming convinced that he was the weak link Bryan began to convince the audience that he was anything but. He put himself in a position where the crowd wanted to support him and help him to prove to himself that he wasn't the weak link. No matter if he was in there with Kane or Randy Orton, two long time established WWE main eventers, he had the crowd in his hand. It was him that they wanted to finally defeat the Shield, no one else. It was a piece of good storytelling and even better character work.
Now, as far as I can tell the first time Daniel Bryan said he was the "weak link" was on the May 24th episode of Smackdown. How has he fared since that show? Read more
The WWE held a pay-per-view on Sunday that I was quite looking forward to. The two biggest stories that have been carrying us through the past few months, Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton/the Authority and CM Punk vs. Paul Heyman, seemed like they were set to move towards an end after two months of walking in place. Plus, the Rhodes brothers were set to do their thing and I love when the Rhodes brothers do their thing. To me, it seemed like it was going to be a good show. Every match seemed like it would be solid at worst and I was excited to see Daniel Bryan in the main event again. Even if all signs pointed to a screwy finish and Bryan leaving without the title.
The show happened and every match was at least solid. I liked Cena-Del Rio more than most. (Probably because "Cena wins" doesn't ruin a match for me.) The tag match was great. Cesaro did cool things, AJ did cool things, Punk got his revenge on Heyman and Bryan and Orton had the beginning of a great Hell in a Cell match. It should have been a good pay-per-view. It could have been a good pay-per-view, but in the end the storyline took away from what could have been a great main event and spoiled the whole thing.
In case you didn't hear about it by now here's what happened: Imagine that the Wrestlemania 3 match between Randy Savage and Ricky Steamboat had a special guest referee of George "The Animal" Steele. Now let's say that during that match that The Animal got hurt and Miss Elizabeth went to check on him, but since there was a match going on that Ricky Steamboat pushed Miss Elizabeth out of the way. The Animal, seeing the object of his affectation get hurt by his friend, gets mad and hits Ricky Steamboat which causes Randy Savage to get the win. Sounds ridiculous, right? Now replace Elizabeth with Triple H, George Steele with Shawn Michaels, Randy Savage with Randy Orton and Ricky Steamboat with Daniel Bryan and you will have exactly what happened tonight. Read more
The problem with going to a WWE TV taping is that you don't know where the story is going to be at the time of your show. WWE doesn't do a good or bad show based on the city they are in, they just do whatever show is next in the storyline. We witnessed a great example of this on Monday when they were in Chicago. Chicago is one of the WWE's very best crowds and it would have been the absolute perfect time to introduce CM Punk into the HHH/Bryan storyline (seriously, could you imagine the pop if Punk saved Bryan from the Shield and Orton?) but it wasn't time for that. The story didn't change and they didn't put on a "better" show than they normally would have because they were in Chicago. That Raw could have happened anywhere. It's just how modern day WWE works. It's both good and bad.
My girlfriend bought us tickets to last night's Smackdown taping in Milwaukee. I was always apprehensive about going to the "B" show, but I took solace in the fact that Daniel Bryan was a part of the Smackdown roster and that a lot of other guys I really like were on the show too. In the past few weeks I have been watching Smackdown more than I usually do and I began to get more and more excited. Recent episodes of Smackdown have been good, really good and the things that happened actually seemed to mean something. Daniel Bryan has been involved in the main event of every show since 8/16 and the show's quality has been directly tied to his involvement. I had high hopes for this taping and I wasn't the only one. There were "YES" chants before the show started and people were chanting for Daniel Bryan throughout the night. But he wasn't there. Read more
I honestly cannot give WWE enough credit for their current storytelling. Triple H is shining in the role he was born to play, finally embracing the public perception of him and turning it up to another level. It reminds me a lot of Hulk Hogan in the original nWo. Hogan was a "guy from the WWF that we were sick of that had a big ego" and he became that person on screen. The nWo was huge and sold a ton of t-shirts, but nobody wanted to cheer Hogan because he was that guy. I don't need to write about what people think of Triple H, but the way he is working that into his character is great. A year ago he tried to treat that "this business" stuff like it was something that people cared about in his feud with the Undertaker. Now?
He's treating it as the cringe worthy material it always has been. His change in music is brilliant and perfect. The lyrics "bow down to the king" aren't for a babyface, they are the lyrics of a song for the most full of himself asshole you could possibly imagine. Which is Triple H, basically. I can say the same things about Randy Orton. I never understood why people cheered Randy Orton. He was bland, his wrestling was just okay and all he really had going for him was his looks, his last name and his finisher. Now that is apart of the show as well. Orton looks like what people think a pro wrestler would look like, but that doesn't mean he is the right man to be the face of the company. We know this, but now WWE is embracing that thought and making it apart of the story. Even Stephanie's character has improved. Maybe it hasn't changed a bit, but it feels more real now because her character finally has a clear motivation besides "act mean, get called a bitch." The whole thing is brilliant and I honestly don't know why they didn't figure this out sooner. It's impossible not to cheer Daniel Bryan against these guys.
(For the purpose of this article I will choose to ignore crying Big Show, 24 year old Stephanie and the occasional douchebag Daniel Bryan.)
However, there was a major problem with the characters and the story that surfaced this past Monday (and, from the looks of things, this Friday on Smackdown) that I hope WWE can correct and that's Triple H and Stephanie McMahon doing things that get them cheers. Read more