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Posted in: Doctor's Orders
Doctor's Orders: The Official "Relax, Daniel Bryan Fans; He's Still Going to Win in the End" Column
By The Doc
Dec 31, 2013 - 12:22:42 AM

The Snowman is a genius

God Bless the pro wrestling industry and its fans.

It is a rare thing that I have a Tuesday off so that I can fully emerge myself in Monday Night Raw. Tonight, I was not exactly expecting something monumental to occur. I figured that, at best, we might get a Wrestlemania tease. The Daniel Bryan "turn" (and I use that term very, very loosely) was out of left field. It was an emotionally engaging final segment that left people with their jaws dropped.


One of the great things about having this platform is that it gives me an outlet to dive into conversations about my favorite pastime with others who enjoy discussing pro wrestling. What did "Bryan joining the Wyatt Family" do first and foremost? It got people talking. Immediately. On Twitter and across the social media platforms, the people are absolutely going crazy over this happening. Sorry, Al, I'm going to talk Tweeting for a moment. One of Mr. Tito's followers said that "Tito was right all along," insinuating that the story is over and that Bryan's career is finished. I saw Hustle going back and forth with the great former writer of "All About The Game" (check your history, LOP long-timers), along with a few others you might know from LOP Radio, in which the communication ranged from comparisons to Steve Austin and the Corporation to predictions of Bryan's redemption to this being the end for Bryan as we know it. It reminds me of that scene from Ghostbusters when the boys are trying to explain to the Mayor of New York the ramifications of the paranormal phenomenon. The thing about wrestling fans is that, in this day and age of worldwide web and constant information, when you throw them a curve ball when they're expecting a fastball, then WATCH OUT. "Real wrath of God type stuff. Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling! Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes...The dead rising from the grave! Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!" In other words, rational thought mostly goes out the window in favor of a wonderful litany of emotionally charged comments. I repeat: I...LOVE IT! Welcome to the WrestleMania Season, ladies and gentlemen! This is why I wrote a freakin' book about this stuff!

Honestly, I think that Bryan joining the Wyatts is a great thing. I know that the kneejerk reaction rules the world in this era of constant information leading to quick opinions without much forethought, but let's take a step back for a second before we declare the WWE a bunch of idiots for ruining Bryan's career. In all likelihood, this is just a plot point that just sucked everyone in and will eventually lead to a monumental moment in the next few months. If not, then the WWE needs their collective head examined. I've studied sports entertainment with a fine tooth comb for a decade and been a fan of it for thirty years. They would not take a red hot, merchandise-pushing babyface that they groomed for a year to become a top guy and then just abruptly put him in a mid-card heel turn storyline that did not serve any kind of greater purpose. Don't give me Rock in 1998. Red hot, he was, but that was a different era and they had Steve Austin. Bryan is white hot right now, actually. I have no idea how they're going to do it, but somehow Bryan is going to turn the tables on this whole thing and give all of us what we want.

Here's why I'm so optimistic...

Bryan has never fit the mold of a traditional top star. We all know that. There's not a single relevant comparison out there for him, historically, that shares the same body type and skill set. He's unique to wrestling lore. So, the WWE cannot do the same rinse and repeat stories that they've done before. Bryan's tale has to reflect frustration and disappointment because they have a hard time seeing him as just a guy who is so good that he can win in the end. He is you. He is your neighbor. He just happens to be a world class wrestler. The WWE is going to tear him down and you in the process. Bryan just did a wonderful job of showing conflicted emotions, but outright guttural heartbreak at coming to the self-realization that he just cannot beat the machine. I guarantee you that 99.9% of Bryan's biggest supporters have felt that way at least once in their life. Hell, we all feel that way at some point about something that just keeps getting the best of us. It is the human condition to fail and then overcome. So help me God, I believe it in my bones that this is the story that they're telling. Bryan joins the Wyatt Family in a moment of weakness rarely displayed and even more rarely acted out so well on WWE TV. But THEN, he's going to endure. You'll endure with him. And it'll make money. Cue "Win in the end" from Teen Wolf.

Now, there's always an understood "if" in pro wrestling. This story's "IF" is the same as most...and that's "will they handle it right?" If they do, then this is the most purely compelling story of a babyface since Batista turned on Triple H in 2005. Can we just make that a quiet understanding between all of you and I for the rest of my years? Whenever I write a column, just inherently assume that particular "if" - as in "if they handle it with some modicum of competence."

One of the things that I love about modern times is that so many opinions get thrown out there that there is so much to talk about. However, sometimes it gets a little crazy here on the net. Instant opinion often means jumping the gun. So, remember, Bray Wyatt still said the "devil made him do it." Recall that The Authority has well-established a track record in its four month existence of storyline continuity. Do not forget that Bryan has been cheered out of the building since the summer and that the WWE purposefully put him in that position. They know what they have. They just need to get all of us really, really locked into this story. The challenge for the WWE all along has been "how to get people to pay to watch Bryan wrestle." Well, a good old fashioned tale of the human condition might very well do it, folks. I've gotten texts from three people already in the last hour that have not given a cat's meow about wrestling since WrestleMania 29. They're intrigued. Not just the IWC is talking. The wrestling world is a buzz.

I tweeted the other day that the wrestling media either gets bad info from its "insider" sources or they just make stuff up to sell newsletters. Hustle jumped on me for that one, saying that I cannot make such a claim without knowledge of it being true. Well, sure I can. I watch trends. I know Bray Wyatt is not wrestling John Cena at WrestleMania because I have a fully functional brain that studies WWE patterns. I told him that I'm also happy to eat crow when the occasion calls for it. So, let's put it this way - if Bryan wrestles Joe Poop The Rag Man at WrestleMania as a merry man of Bray's clan, then I'll eat a giant helping of crow and admit to being a fanboy that gives the WWE way too much credit. Promise. Cross my heart. I'll write a column about it. Just do me a favor, if you will, dear readers, and sit back and watch this whole thing play out. I've said this several times over the years...January through April is not the time to complain and dissect; it's the time to enjoy. We have nine far less significant months to be critics. For WrestleMania season, let's just watch and suspend our disbelief for a while. In my mind's eye, I see tonight's happening as an excuse to get Bryan so far down that he uses it as motivation to pull himself back up...and up, up, and away he'll go to the biggest match of his life at WrestleMania XXX. If he doesn't, I'll admit I was dead wrong and join you in ripping the WWE a giant new rear end opening and probably take a three month break from Raw and PPVs.

The bottom line is that this is going to be a huge discussion point for the next week until Bryan provides the next wrinkle. Go ahead and prepare to talk about this next week, too, because the odds are strong that this story may well last awhile. Strap yourselves in, folks. The Road to WrestleMania might be a bumpy one for your emotions.

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