Posts Tagged ‘yes movement’

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By @anarchyroll

Life can be funny, and by funny, I mean frustrating as fucking hell why the fuck is this bullshit happening?!!!!

That was basically how every fan of Daniel Bryan/Brian Danielson felt when he retired earlier this month. A very low low. Premature retirement for one of the greatest and most popular of all time can’t be spun as positive.

The low of Bryan’s retirement completely overshadowed the ecstasy high that alternative wrestling fans had been feeling in the days following the long anticipated and even longer overdue debut of AJ Styles. Styles’ debut in the Royal Rumble match and subsequent programs with The Miz and Chris Jericho have been great. Only fantasy booking nitpickers could find flaws in how Styles has been showcased thus far.

AJ Styles is the biggest name and greatest star created outside of WWE since the end of the Monday Night War. He is one of only two legitimate superstars created by TNA Wrestling (Bobby Roode the other). His arrival and white glove treatment is validation of both him and his fan base.

His arrival also signifies the final deathnail in the coffin of the previous paradigm of WWE Superstar requirements. Young, tall, bodybuilder, without any accent, or experience outside of the WWE system. AJ Styles is an old (by pro wrestling standards), short, gymnast, southerner who is the face of alternative professional wrestling since 2002. The signings of Fergal Devitt, Kevin Steen, El Generico, and Samoa Joe were all fine and good, but AJ Styles was more successful in the non WWE world than all of them put together. AJ Styles is the embodiment in every way of the type of wrestler that WWE does not sign and showcase on their main roster.

But none of that matters right now does it? Not now, not for another month or two. Why? Because Daniel Bryan had to retire due to injury.

Daniel Bryan was the next John Cena, Steve Austin, Bret Hart, Hulk Hogan, Bob Backlund, Bruno Sammartino, Buddy Rodgers. Daniel Bryan was THE guy. The new face of WWE. The leader of the next generation. The main event player for the next five to ten years. The fans couldn’t have been happier since they went to war with Vince McMahon over the issue and won.

And now he’s gone. Cut down in his prime, right as his prime got started. How many televised matches did Daniel Bryan have after Wrestlemania 30?

Life isn’t fair, Daniel Bryan being forced to retire is not fair. AJ Styles’ ten year overdue WWE debut being lost in the shuffle of an entire generation of fans’ grieving the loss of their hero isn’t fair.

Daniel Bryan was so great, that if he never debuted in WWE, he would be the other face of alternative pro wrestling next to AJ Styles. Brian Danielson is still to this day the greatest star Ring of Honor has ever produced. He was an American indy scene main eventer for half a decade and international pro wrestling title holder years before ever debuting on the first season of the NXT on SyFy tournament.

AJ Styles is still the face of TNA Wrestling even though he hasn’t been there for two years. That company was built on his shoulders. He left as their World Champion and went on to become the most successful American in Japanese pro wrestling history with only maybe Big Van Vader in his league. He also main evented the last ROH pay per view of 2015, a company he first debuted for at their third show ever in 2002.

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Less than a month before debuting at the Royal Rumble, Styles co main evented a show in the Tokyo Dome against the second most popular and profitable of the last decade in Japanese wrestling (Shinsuke Nakamura).

The last memory of Daniel Bryan’s in ring career will be standing on top of a ladder, as WWE Intercontinental Champion, leading 70,000 people in a YES chant. Not a bad way to go out but not what anyone wanted, expected, or had a nightmare about.

What we can hope for is that AJ Styles will be slid into Daniel Bryan’s main event spot like Rey Mysterio slid into Eddie Guerrero’s spot in 2006. More importantly, hopefully Bryan’s rise and quick fall will serve as an impetus for WWE to strike while the iron is hot for wrestlers who get over in the future.

Daniel Bryan should have been the guy The Rock feuded with, not John Cena. Cena was over and overly exposed three years before his feud with Rock. Bryan had emerged as the most loved babyface in the company coming out of WrestleMania 28. Cena could have easily been slotted to continue his feud with Punk going into 29. A feud which btw, never had a blowoff.

Hopefully WWE will accept rather than resist when a super junior heavyweight gets over more than Vince McMahon’s chosen super heavyweight superman.

AJ Styles is already more over as a babyface than Roman Reigns. His babyface reactions in the arena are second to no full time wrestler on the active WWE roster with the possible exception of Dean Ambrose. But Styles is already selling more merchandise than Ambrose.

Will WWE do the right thing and listen to their fans? They are already paying AJ Styles like he’s a main eventer. They have to be considering what Styles was being offered via duel contracts with ROH and NJPW. So lets see where Styles is slotted both at WrestleMania and after it.

What would a healthy Daniel Bryan be doing at WrestleMania and Summerslam this year? We know what that answer should be. And that should be what AJ Styles is doing. I’m excited to find out. But not as excited as I am sad that the American Dragon will fly no more.

One legend exits, another arrives, and the machine rolls on.

 

 

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by @anarchyroll
10/13/2014

I have written far too little about Ring of Honor. As someone who was a fan of the original ECW, neither of the big two come close to being as good as the ROH product on a consistent basis in my opinion.

If you’re not familiar with Ring of Honor, it was founded by Paul Heyman’s #1, Gabe Sapolsky in 2002. Some of the stars and superstars that ROH has produced to TNA and WWE since their inception are;

  • CM Punk
  • Daniel Bryan
  • Samoa Joe
  • Seth Rollins
  • Austin Aries
  • Cesaro
  • Low Ki/ Kaval

The Ring of Honor product, style, and presentation has also been copied/used to build TNA’s X Divsion as well as WWE’s developmental territory NXT.

Years before either Chris Jericho or CM Punk were inserting the label Best in the World into their promos and onto their merchandise, fans were shouting those words after seeing ROH’s finest matches to the point they named their biggest show of the year Best in the World, which takes place every June.

If you’re an older wrestling fan who liked the Original ECW; then Ring of Honor is the product for your. If you’re a younger fan who likes NXT better than either RAW or Smackdown; Ring of Honor is the product for you.

I saw ROH live for the first time in 2005, during their 3rd Anniversary Show. The main event was Austin Aries vs Samoa Joe for the ROH World Title. I was hooked. The show stealer was Brian Danielson vs Homicide in a Falls Count Anywhere Match.

Ring of Honor has long been established as the top American independent professional wrestling promotion. They are the ECW of this era. They are about the best between the ropes, bell to bell wrestling on the planet. They are the only product in America that can rival the between the ropes action of Japan. If you like the matches that CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Seth Rollins, and Cesaro have been having on WWE TV for the last two years, then you’ll love Ring of Honor.

I have seen ROH live at least once a year, every year, since 2005. The product not only thoroughly entertains me, but consistently restores my faith in pro wrestling. My personal taste is pro wrestling is no better or worse than anyone else’s. I care far less about storylines and characters than I do about fast paced, physical, high intensity pro wrestling matches. I am fully aware that to draw big money like WWE has done for 50 years, the model of success is inverted from my taste.

Since 2010, there are very few who have seen the product who would disagree with the thought of; if ROH had the corporate backing that TNA has had, ROH would be in a much more prominent place in the pro wrestling and sports entertainment landscape. ROH has routinely proven they are able to produce memorable, unique, entertaining characters, promos, and storylines. People like Jimmy Jacobs, Truth Martini, and Kevin Steen have been involved in programs and promos that would have slid perfectly into the WWE’s Attitude Era.

What makes ROH great in my opinion is that in their world/universe, wrestling didn’t stop evolving after the end of the Attitude Era. They didn’t hit the pause, rewind, or erase buttons in the wake of the Austin/Rock retirements, the Chris Benoit incident, or the John Cena PG Era. ROH is what ECW on SyFy would have looked like if Paul Heyman and Tommy Dreamer would have been allowed to control the product as opposed to Kevin Dunn and Vince McMahon.

It is important that there be three major pro wrestling promotions operating within the United States. For the purpose of competition, innovation, and evolution of the business as a whole.

  1. NWA, AWA, and WWWF
  2. WWF, WCW, and ECW
  3. WWE, TNA, and ROH

Me and all the other smart marks will keep crossing our fingers and hoping someone with a lot of money decides to invest in ROH. They can make it if money isn’t as much of a limiting issue as it has always been for them. They have manufactured new superstars. They have a unique presentation style. They believe in storyline continuity and character evolution. Their product doesn’t insult anyone’s intelligence. The product would fit like a glove on FX, Adult Swim, or Showtime. The product isn’t overly vulgar or obscene. ROH routinely walks the line between family friendly and for adults only, they always have, and have always had the proper proportions.

Without ROH I likely wouldn’t be a wrestling fan anymore. What John Cena and the PG Era did to WWE and what Hulk Hogan and Eric Bishoff did to TNA were both more than enough for me to do, what so many fans of my generation have done; make a permanent switch to exclusive mixed martial arts viewing. But ROH pulls me back from the ledge everytime I need to be. With their great matches, clean finishes, intense rivalries, straight to the point promos, and continuous evolution I can’t recommend ROH enough to the casual fan whose looking for something different to Super Cena and the not ready for prime time booking of Impact Wrestling.

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@anarchyroll
5/1/2014

I am still in a happily subdued state of shock that Brian Danielson is now officially, without any doubt, of any kind, the man who will replace John Cena and take a place in history alongside; Andre the Giant, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Randy Savage, Bret Hart, Sting, The Undertaker, Steve Austin, Goldberg, The Rock, and Triple H. How awesomely surreal.

The leader of the “Yes Movement” has come a long way from the Rexplex in New Jersey. The man who is undoubtably on the Mt. Rushmore of Ring of Honor is can now make a completely legitimate case to be put on the Mt. Rushmore of WWE and the history of professional wrestling. Make no mistake, Daniel Bryan and his “Yes! Yes! Yes!” gimmick is that mainstream. Just as mainstream as anything that John Cena, Steve Austin, Ric Flair, or Hulk Hogan have done before him. And he is just getting started.

Daniel Bryan has at least five years as the face of the WWE left in him and five more years after passing the torch to the next guy whenever that is. Nothing short of a freak of nature accident can stop that. He is not going to burn out because he would have by now. The people aren’t going to burn out on him because if they were, they would’ve at the Royal Rumble. Now, he is the champion of the people just as much or more so than DDP or The Rock ever were.

How awesome is that?! The American Dragon is now The Man in the world of pro wrestling and sports entertainment.

I used to be an anti-Brian Danielson fan. I would boo him at ROH shows that came to Chicago Ridge. I would heckle his fans who thought the sun rose and set out of his ass. I would get into shouting matches over how he didn’t deserve to hold the ROH Title for over a year. Ironically he won me over during his ROH farewell tour which was dubbed The Final Countdown. That tour was chronicled in the awesome wrestling documentary “The Wrestling Road Diaries” staring Bryan, Sal Rinauro, and Colt Cabana. During that tour Danielson had two matches that completely blew me away as a wrestling fan. One I saw in person against Austin Aries, the other was his last match in the company against Nigel McGuiness. For me personally, and what I find entertaining, those two matches were borderline perfect and they took place within weeks of each other.

“The Wrestling Road Diaries” showed that Danielson actually had the one thing all of his critics (myself included at the time) said he was devoid of, personality. It also showed that I had blinders on as a hater, by showing him cutting quality promos in front of the curtain. The documentary came out after Danielson reported to WWE developmental, where he didn’t remain for long as he was soon thrust into the spotlight for the ECW on Syfy replacement NXT (which has since become WWE’s developmental territory.) I have, to this day, watched only a handful of NXT episodes. The bulk were during the first season of the Syfy show. It was immediately apparent to me that the now rebranded Daniel Bryan was head and shoulders the most talented person on camera. Chris Jericho as a heel, World Heavyweight Champion, broke character on an episode of NXT to say that Daniel Bryan was “a superstar already” in advance of a match they would have together a couple of weeks later.

In a weird way it always seemed to me like Bryan was being groomed to be the top guy, but that was probably rose-colored glasses. I am still under the impression his “firing” in 2010 was/is a work. His first show “back” he main evented Summerslam, the next month he won the US Title, a year later he won Money in the Bank, six months later he was World Heavyweight Champion, he was involved in one of the two world title matches at WrestleMania 28, spent the following four months feuding for either the World Heavyweight or WWE Title, then held the tag titles for eight months, shortly before main eventing Summerslam again and pinning John Cena clean for the WWE Title.

Bryan hasn’t just fought against the odds, he has leveraged fortuitous events against the odds being used to hold him down. Bryan leveraged WWE’s desire to erase the history of Chris Benoit in his favor by being cast in history as the new Chris Benoit without the steroids or skeletons in the closet. Bryan leveraged his ability to make a middle class living on the independent and international wrestling scene(s) to not be just another mid carder walking on egg shells, not being afraid of losing his job and therefore willing to take the risks necessary to win over management. Bryan leveraged his personal happiness by having a successful romantic relationship and a strong family life (as shown in WRD) to not let the business drag him down when things weren’t going his way. And finally, Bryan leveraged CM Punk’s decision to walk out on the company and the live crowds’ habitual revolt against the product being put on before them to save the day when WrestleMania XXX was left without a featured match and with a proposed main event guaranteed to get booed out of the stadium.

Now Bryan sits on top of the mountain and isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon, and we the wrestling business is better for it. Why? Daniel Bryan not just being a champion but being the face of the company means the following things that will have ripple effects on the industry for years to come:

  1. The era of the big man bias is over
  2. Independent wrestlers are and will be taken seriously as main event players
  3. John Cena’s run has finally come to an end

The corner has been turned, a chapter is being written, a new era has begun. The era of the next ten years will be led by a junior heavyweight indy guy! What a great time to be a wrestling fan.

Four years before Chris Jericho and six years before CM Punk adopted the moniker “Best in the World”, Brian Danielson had that title along with the ROH World Championship and defended both rigorously across North America, Europe, and Japan. It was assumed that he would always be just an indy guy, maybe the best indy guy ever, but an indy guy nonetheless. When he was signed it was assumed he would get the same treatment as his good friend Colt Cabana (toil aimlessly in developmental, only to be called up the main roster for job duty, and swiftly giving his pink slip). When Bryan main evented Sumerslam and won the US Title less than six weeks apart it was thought he was going to be a mid card mechanic for a few years at best. When he won Money in the Bank followed by the World Heavyweight Title both were dismissed as being token attempts to silence his supporters with pushes for the secondary title.

When he was bumped to the pre show and lost the opening match in consecutive WrestleManias, it was thought he was being used as a way by Vince McMahon to troll the internet fan base. When he became the most popular man in the company in a tag team comedy act it was thought he was achieving super stardom despite the WWE machine rather than because of it. That thinking was backed up when Bryan won the WWE Title and lost it less than five minutes later. After main eventing and not regaining the title over the course of the next three pay per views, Bryan was removed from the main event scene, his fate as a mid card mechanic seemed sealed.

When he was kept out the Royal Rumble, the fans revolted, and CM Punk quit the company; it was thought the most that could be hoped for was Punk’s spot in a mid card feature at WM XXX against Triple H. But something happened along the way, Daniel Bryan became a symbol, Daniel Bryan became a legend, Daniel Bryan became the leader of a movement. The live crowds are more hot for Daniel Bryan than they ever were for John Cena. They are just as hot for him as they were for Steve Austin. If you go back and look at the tape, the case can be made the crowd is as hot for Daniel Bryan as they were for even Hulk Hogan. I can’t believe that’s the case, but it is, it really is.

Now Daniel Bryan has pulled double duty at a WrestleMania and won two world titles in the main event of a WrestleMania that ends in a 5 or a 0. He is not just a made man, he is not just “The Man”, Daniel Bryan is now one of the greatest professional wrestler/sports entertainers of all time. He has raised the bar above the accomplishments of everyone who has come before him without exception. He has pulled the sword out of the stone and taken his place as the king.

During his WWE career that was much maligned up to this point Bryan was doing something very important that many of his supporters and critics may have missed. He became a COMPLETE performer.

He came to the WWE in 2010 as a mechanic who could wrestle literally any style. His work with The Miz and Michael Cole on NXT, his work with Kane in the tag division, his matches with Sheamus and CM Punk, and his program with Bray Wyatt each saw him take a full step forward as a performer. Every tool it takes to be both a great professional wrestler and a great sports entertainer Daniel Bryan learned and perfected. He swallowed his pride and got better rather than being stubborn and buying into his own hype earned performing on the indy scene.

Daniel Bryan is now as over with the 18-34 yr old male demographic as he is with women and children. He is safe for the PG era, does media, Make-A-Wish(es), and can be freshly monetized multiple times per year with more than just t shirts (towels, foam fingers). None of that was true and/or he wasn’t capable of those things even when he first won the World Title two years ago.

Bryan doesn’t do steroids or recreational drugs and doesn’t drink alcohol. He is a student of the game, a life long fan, and a wrestler first (as opposed to a football player or bodybuilder) so you know he appreciates the spot he’s in and isn’t in it strictly for the fame or the money. There is no reason, beyond individual, personal taste to not be a Daniel Bryan fan, supporter, and/or member of his Yes Movement.

It is because he is such a good human being, such a completely well-rounded wrestler and sports entertainer, because he is truly the best in the world at his profession by every standard; that he is now the Undisputed WWE World Heavyweight Champion, face of the company, and leader of this generation of pro wrestling. Daniel Bryan symbolizes everything that is right about pro wrestling. We as pro wrestling and sports entertainment fans can be proud that he is the man and breathe a sigh of relief that he is at the top of the mountain. What a great time to be a wrestling fan.

 

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by @anarchyroll
4/15/2014

Over a week later and I’m still reeling from WrestleMania XXX. Did Brian Danielson actually pull the sword out of the stone? Did The Undertaker actually lose? Did Hulk Hogan and Steve Austin actually go face to face in the same ring at the same time?

YES!

YES!

YES!

WWE decided to take a break from advertising their à la cart internet cable channel to produce a wrestling show. It just happened to be the best one in five years which was the best in the five years before that and the five years before that and the five years before that. Noticing a trend? My friends @CFH_Chief and @TheFantom have heard me say multiple times that the WrestleMania’s that end in a 5 or a 0 mean more than the rest. The rest are bastard shows. The exceptions to that rule out of 30 are numbers; 1, 3, 6, 17, and 18. You can make a case for maybe one or two others, but that would be a case built upon personal bias.

  1. Pro Wrestling isn’t fake, the winners are just predetermined. Just ask Dr. James Andrews about that.
  2. Pro Wrestling is good when either it is logically predictable or something was just done that shocked the hell out of an 20,000 fans in the arena and a few million watching at home.
  3. Pro Wrestling is bad when it tries to be unpredictable for the sake of being unpredictable. That is why TNA Impact Wrestling has been stuck in second gear for the last six years.

WrestleMania XXX was logically predictable and shocking as hell. The best of both worlds. WrestleMania V, X, XV, XX, and XXV shared the same traits. From the battle of the Mega Powers, to the Ladder Match, to Austin vs Rock proper, to Benoit/Guerrero, to the magic of The Streak vs Mr. WrestleMania…5s and 0s mean more. Vince knows it. The boys know it. The fans know it.

The ramifications of WrestleMania XXX will literally be felt for a minimum of five years and likely for a full ten…Why?

Daniel Bryan is the new John Cena, the new Steve Austin, the new Hulk Hogan. Daniel Bryan became the last Undisputed Champion at WM XXX. He is the chosen one. He is the people’s champion. No one will emerge to unseat him for at least the next five years, more than likely we’ll have to wait eight to ten whether Vince wants to or not. Strength in numbers folks, never forget that…ever.

The Undertaker is done. He may wrestle Sting next year and have a farewell tour, but he is done. The Streak is over. The Streak has been WrestleMania for the last half decade. WWE has sold a one hour, prime time, network television special to NBC centered around the aura of The Streak since 2009. John Cena being the definition of stagnant since 2006 has meant WWE has had to lean on Taker like a crutch to make WrestleMania mean anything to the adult male audience during that time.

The Streak has also put Undertaker in the same league as Hogan and Austin. Before 2007, The Undertaker was an all time great, a legend, an icon, and a wrestling fan’s wrestler. In the last five years he has crossed the pop culture dividing line. A line only crossed by Hogan, Savage, Austin, Rock, and John Cena. We would all love to think that Ric Flair, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Mick Foley, and Randy Orton crossed that line too…but they didn’t. They latter are just popular wrestlers, the prior are pop culture icons.

Taker now gets to retire a brand, as big or bigger than the WrestleMania brand, a brand that is bigger than WWE. Couldn’t happen to a more deserving person. No professional wrestler has worked harder or longer than The Undertaker since 1991. He earned his money the hard way. He earned his one match a year schedule the right way.

But that’s all done now. He’s going to ride off into the sunset, out to pasture. WWE now must pass the torch and give the ball to the new generation. Daniel Bryan is the face of this new generation. Behind him are Sheamus, Dolph Ziggler, Cesaro, The Shield, Bray Wyatt and definitely not Batista. The part timer fad may not be over but it is fading the face of the WWE Network profit model. No need to use big names of the past to pop a buy rate when PPVs only cost $10.

No crutch to lean 0n and no choice but to push the new generation of young talent who happen to be predominately junior heavyweight workhorses…..sounds like a reason to hope for me. How about you?

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by @anarchyroll
3/7/2014

Which came first? The chicken or the egg? Was RAW in Chicago this past week good because of the threat of #hijackRAW? Or did WWE play their audience like a violin and cut their strings?

I have much love and respect for the organizers of #hijackRAW, or I suppose I should say the attempted organizers.

Before they even got to the arena, during the week leading up, the trolls were out in full force spitting their mirrored self loathing venom at the @chicagorawcrowd for trying to try at something, anything, that involved something they love and want to improve. Then of course the minute Vince McMahon didn’t walk to the middle of the ring to ask CM Punk for the privilege to suck his dick on live television to prove he wanted him to be in the main event of WrestleMania, everyone turned on everybody.

I’m just kidding, they couldn’t turn on each other because they were never united. Trolls jealous an spiteful that they didn’t have the brains, balls, or creativity to attempt something like #hijackRAW movement were shitting on the concept in advance of shitting on it Monday night.

The movement didn’t do themselves any favors by being naive enough to think that Vince McMahon cares what they say after they pay to get in the arena to try and mess with one of 52 live broadcasts in a year. But all us wrestling fans are naive. We are all consciously naive, after all if we weren’t, after seeing one UFC event we would never watch pro wrestling again out of shame.

But wrestling is about imagination, creativity, and vicarious living. The hijack organizers were just a little too naive, and slightly too big marks to enact any meaningful change. Paul Heyman knew this, and like the lapdog of Vince McMahon he has always been, went out there and did what he has done best since 2001, destroyed the heart, spirit, and will of adult, male smart mark wrestling fans.

What happened to the crowd was sad. Put all the cynicism, sarcasm, snarkyness, and told ya so bullshit you want over it. If you’re a male wrestling fan over the age of 21, you hoped something meaningful would happen on Monday, and it didn’t. The Usos winning the tag titles means nothing. Cena and Wyatt’s promos mean nothing. The crowd shouting down Triple H and Stephanie (barely) for one segment means nothing. It was just another RAW on the Road to WrestleMania. One RAW out of 52 that will happen this calendar year.

The fans couldn’t stop tripping over each other or going into business for themselves to get a message across that didn’t involve CM Punk. If any other crowds are considering following suit, may I advise using profanity to piss of the censors and really putting Vince on his heels. Better yet, the only way to send a message is to #BoycottRAW not to pay $50, $100, $150 or more per ticket, buy merchandise, concessions, and pay for parking to say you don’t support what a publically traded organization is doing.

But kudos for the effort. Props for the desire. Respect for trying something which is always better than trying nothing. Maybe some other crowds will follow suit and learn from the failures of the Chicago crowd. Failures are just lessons after all. We all learned some things on Monday. Whether we wanted to or not.

potatoshooterlogoby @anarchyroll
2/8/2014

“It’s not right to pretend he didn’t exist. It’s one thing to include him as part of a historical perspective, which I believe is OK, and it’s another thing to promote him, which is not OK.” Vince McMahon

That quote from Vince McMahon (from a 2009 issue of WWE Magazine) could easily be confused for the company policy regarding Daniel Bryan’s main event push over the last two years. With Bryan being as popular as anyone on the roster since May of 2012, and undeniably the most popular member of the WWE roster since June of 2013, it seems the quote above fits into exactly how WWE has been using Bryan terms of creative.

If you saw the Royal Rumble, and my condolences if you did, then you know what I am talking about. 10-20,000 person arena crowds have literally been shouting at WWE management to give The American Dragon the WWE Title for eight to ten months depending on how good your hearing is and how good the speakers on your TV/computer are. Do the people in the arenas know wrestling is not a real sport? Do I? Do the Seattle Seahawks? Yes, Yes! YES!

The nod and wink, unspoken deal between pro wrestling promotions and it’s fans is this; “We know it’s not a real sport, but entertain us and we’ll suspend our disbelief and give you our money.”

Vince McMahon’s old, out of touch, personal bias against Daniel Bryan and physically small talent from the independent wrestling scene, has violated that contract between fans and promoters to the point of necrophilia.

I recently watched two WWE title defenses of John Cena from his prime in 2005. The crowd was loud, I’m not going to lie. BUT, the crowd reaction of even all those women, children, and military veterans that make up Cena’s lucrative fan base were not nearly as loud as Daniel Bryan’s fans are in 2013-2014. Not to mention half of the arena isn’t booing Bryan for sucking at his profession.

What are the parallel’s to he who shall not be named? Besides the signature (diving headbutt) and finisher submission move (Crossface/Yes Lock) they both share(d)? It is the fact that for their respective eras, they’re both undersized workhorses who made their name outside of the WWE, endeared themselves to both the hardcore and general pro wrestling fans, and were held out of the main event slot until they could not be ignored.

The first screen shot I saved when I got my first laptop was when I checked WWE.com after the 2004 Royal Rumble and saw Chris Benoit had won the whole thing and would be main eventing one of the most important and influential WrestleMania’s in history.  Benoit deserved to win that Rumble, he earned it. AND, he wasn’t half as over as Daniel Bryan is now. He was in Canada however, look up Backlash 2004 and turn your speakers down because the crowd noise might make them explode when he defends the WHC against Triple H and HBK.

Bryan and Benoit are both junior heavyweight wrestlers who made their names both on the American independent wrestling scene as well as in the major Japanese wrestling promotions.  Benoit to this day is still one of the most successful American wrestlers in Japanese wrestling history under the Pegasus Kid and Wild Pegasus monikers. Bryan earned the nickname American Dragon as well as multiple world titles in Japan from 2003-2008. In WWE however, those things work against you when it comes to getting to the top.

When you are in the entertainment business your job is to give the fans what they want, period. James Franco has said the movie industry is as much a business, and insider social club as it is an art. The same is true for WWE and its owner Vince McMahon. WWE is publically traded, at what point do the shareholders speak up? It doesn’t look good when the crowd verbally shits all over your third most lucrative show of the year.

It doesn’t help when paying customers in a large arena ignore the product in front of them repeatedly (almost habitually now) and in unison shout for a talent you are holding back because of a personal, not professional bias. Vince McMahon is a senior citizen now, and like most his age has lost touch with the reality of his younger demographic of fans. 2005 is almost a decade ago. John Cena’s time is over, Daniel Bryan’s time is now.

The same was true in 2004 for Chris Benoit. Austin and Rock both left suddenly and the guys picked to replace them, Brock Lesnar and Bill Goldberg, also left in a hurry. So Triple H was given the ball and got to dominate the landscape for two years.  But then his time was over and it was time for Chris Benoit to have his run. Even when Benoit was relegated to the third tier US Title division he was getting louder pops than Batista, Orton, Khali, Cena, JBL, and the other people Vince McMahon was more comfortable having in the main events after Summerslam 2004.

Daniel Bryan has been getting louder applause for his work in the tag division than anyone in the main event slots (Cena, Del Rio, Orton, Sheamus, Big Show) for the last two years. It is his time now. It’s not the internet marks demanding it. It’s not the hardcore wrestling fans demanding it. It is both groups plus; women, children, military veterans, and the rest of the general audience demanding it too. Chris Benoit after years of being the internet and hardcore fans’ darling finally got over with the casual, mainstream fans and as a result got rewarded with the WrestleMania XX main event in The Garden. Daniel Bryan has done the same and then some. It’s undeniable to anyone who didn’t just pay millions of dollars out of pocket to Dave Batista.

Where do the parallels between Bryan and Benoit end? In all the right places. No roids, no mental issues, no weird backstage reputation, no rocky marriage. Where do they begin? In all the right places. Humble, workhorse, mechanic, loves the sport, respects the business, over with the boys, over with the general audience. I’ve purposefully been careful to not use any insensitive metaphors or phrasing here. Like the quote at the top, Chris Benoit is a part of history, it can’t be denied. His similarities to Daniel Bryan can’t be denied. You know what else can’t be denied? That Daniel Bryan is more deserving by WWE metrics for success of winning the main event of WrestleMania XXX than Chris Benoit was of winning WrestleMania XX.

potatoshooterlogoajclogo2by @anarchyroll
1/31/2014

CM Punk walked out of WWE between the 2014 Royal Rumble going off the air and the January 27th 2014 episode of Monday Night Raw going on the air. In doing so, Punk cemented his legacy as the Stone Cold Steve Austin of his generation. Punk also showed the difference between the real thing and a cheap imitation; the Chicago Made Punk is the real thing.

WWE Superstars make guaranteed money nowadays, thank you Scott Hall and Kevin Nash.  In a way they are like sales people who makes a base salary but makes their real money from commission checks.  From 1985 to 1996, WWE Superstars were like sales people who were 100% commission based, and were literally dependent on a fat WrestleMania check for their livelihoods. CM Punk walked out of WWE over creative differences and burnout the night after the Road to WrestleMania began. He is definitely going to miss out on the biggest pay day of the year.

If CM Punk was some cheap imitation he would have bit his lip, sucked it up, faked a smile, gotten his WrestleMania check, then not resigned with the company when his contract is up in July or maybe just drove home from the Superdome and never looked back. But he didn’t, he got into shouting matches with medical and creative personnel backstage at RAW and informed Vince McMahon he was going home and not returning. CM Punk left a lot of money on the table by leaving when he did, the way he did. But he’s not about money, just ask Joey Matthews.

Why is he the Steve Austin of his generation? Austin did the same thing in the spring of 2002. Also like Austin, Punk is the best on the mic and in the ring simultaneously as Austin was in his prime, both bucked authority, both are Paul Heyman guys, both were initially held down by WWE management before exploding into mainstream pop culture popularity, and Austin has said Punk is the only guy he would come out of retirement to have a match with.

Will his legacy take a hit? Just the opposite, it is enhanced. In his pop culture cross over “Pipe Bomb” promo Punk spoke about his loathing of The Rock being a part timer and main eventing WrestleMania. What do you think he had to say backstage about Batista winning the Royal Rumble after a four year absence? Punk shouted for change in 2011. As 2014 begins the top spots of WWE are occupied by John Cena, Randy Orton, Batista, Sheamus, Big Show, and Brock Lesnar, sounds familiar.

Maybe Punk left because he selfishly felt he should main event Mania. Well he’s a workhorse in the ring, cuts the best promos bar none, moves merchandise, gets paid top dollar, is as over with the female children as he is with the adult males, and Vince trusts him; why not put him in the main event? PS he worked the Rumble for 50 minutes.

I think we all know why he left. It’s directly correlated to the live crowd’s reaction to the last ten minutes of the Royal Rumble pay per view. In 2011 CM Punk shouted for change. The change was Vince needed to start actually listening to what the fans wanted organically rather than using his billion dollar marketing machine to manufacture the consent of approval towards McMahon’s handpicked gym rats. Summerslam, Survivor Series, and the Royal Rumble proved beyond any shadow of any doubt that nothing has changed in the WWE.  CM Punk should have quit because of this and he did, like a real McCoy is supposed to do.