Kleck Goes Daily! Week 4- Day 28: The Bully That Never Was
Mar 12, 2017 - 7:39:51 PM
Hello all and welcome to the last column of week 4 of my Kleck Goes Daily! series. That constitutes a month! Smallest month or not I'll take it! Thank you all for reading any or all of that month, and hopefully I don't scare you off today. Today we have a bit of an older topic made new by a recent Bully Ray Dudley interview. Let's take a look...
The Bully That Never Was
In a new interview Bully Ray Dudley had with Sports Illustrated, he confirmed that he was actually set to debut the Bully Ray character on the Monday Night RAW episode that the Dudley Boyz retired on (August 22nd, 2016). Apparently at the last minute, WWE decided not to go through with it, and instead of us getting an angle where Bully effectively retired D-Von (which was happening either way due to D-Von transitioning into working in the WWE offices), we got both guys retiring, and Gallows and Anderson beating them both up for their troubles afterwards.
For those who maybe don't know much of the Bully Ray character, it stemmed from Bubba Ray's time in TNA. The funny thing is, it stemmed from a Team 3D retirement angle. Bubba turned on D-Von during the retirement, stating that D-Von had become weak. The following week Bubba changed his name to Bully Ray, and became a very aggressive, smash talking heel. And let me tell you, the Bully Ray run was a revelation that elevated a career tag wrestler up to a multiple time World Heavyweight Champion top of the company heel. And when I say top of the company, he may even have had a claim as the top heel in all of professional wrestling in that period of time. Especially during his Aces & 8's run. That run was magic, and provided one of the greatest heel moments in professional wrestling history in my opinion.
Maybe WWE canned the angle in 2016 because they had done it already in TNA just six or so years prior? Or maybe WWE just decided it was time to move on altogether? We may never know an honest answer to either of those questions. With less than 24 hours to go though, WWE had the angle green lit. So something sparked a change last minute.
As I thought back through I realized that was the very same Monday Night RAW that Finn Balor had to relinguish his newly won Universal Championship due to injury. And with The Dudley Boyz being on the RAW roster, you would think WWE would have wanted to go through with the Bully Ray angle just to keep some roster depth/strength, and or try to divert fan attention with a nuclear heat kind of moment.
That is when I started thinking about what was about to happen- a nuclear heat heel moment. It wasn't a week later when there was a 4-Way match to determine who would win the Universal Title, and Triple H helped Kevin Owens win the Championship. So maybe WWE was worried about the Bully moment stealing some of that angle's thunder?
And that angle resulted in the Kevin Owens title run we just witnessed. So when you wonder about this, you begin to see how Bully would have been competing for heat on RAW with KO.
Maybe it would have worked out? Maybe they could have kept the two out of each other's orbit and built both up, but ultimately where would it have led Bully Ray? We know KO got fed to Goldberg, which I've been mulling over in my head a lot the past few days, but if you look at the scene beyond that angle on RAW there hasn't been much heel momentum or purpose outside of the tag, women's, and Cruiser divisions. Meaning WWE wasn't really looking to build another male solo heel on that brand in that time period, the emphasis was on the other divisions and KO. Which in hindsight is not such a bad thing.
Initially, as a long, long time Dudley Boy fan from way back to first run ECW, I was disappointed to hear that Bully didn't get a chance to run in WWE. I love the tag team, to this day they are one of my all-time favorites, and I absolutely loved Bully's heel character work in TNA- it was truly a revelation, like an uber Bubba from the old ECW days. I'm sure a lot of fans would have liked to see a Bully Ray run in WWE, and I distinctly remember a lot of fans clammoring for exactly that when the Dudleys resigned with WWE in 2015. Which is kind of ironic when you stop to think about it.
Downright hypocritical even. And that means I am admiting I'm a bit of a hypocrite at times, which I can't even deny. We fans, especially lately, are really laying our disdain for part-time and legend wrestlers on thick. Fans have went nuclear levels of emo and angsty since Goldberg won the Universal Title and the main event was set at Wrestlemania to be two part timers fighting over the companies top title. And yet in some regards we don't mind certain legends. It seems like it depends on if it suits us.
Even when Goldberg first came back fans were way on board. Some were skeptical, but most were thrilled in the moment. Then Goldberg destroyed Lesnar a couple times and intrigue was sky high. Right until KO and Goldberg's paths converged, then suddenly fans despised Goldberg's return. Where does the line draw? If Stone Cold came back and won a world title dominating Cesaro right after Cesaro had just finally climbed the mountaintop- how would you feel? What if Stone Cold just kept destroying the top new guys, would we turn on him too? Do we only accept it if no titles are involved? Then why did we initially love when Lesnar came back and won the WWE World Title? Is it all legends and part-timers, or are we all just raging hypocrites? (I'm in that boat as well if so). Kind of puts things into perspective.
When you think of it that way you start to realize why WWE keeps doing stuff like this, because it does sell. Even among us long time, more hardened fans we have individual lists of guys and gals that we wouldn't bicker or moan if they came back for one more little run, and that is the hardcore fans. Everyone else is much more relaxed on the idea, and casual fans are where that formula comes from anyways. I can tell you it worked. I know of multiple high school friends who signed up for the Network because they heard Goldberg was back. My brother started watching again because of it as well. They successfully tapped into an audience that wasn't necessarily watching the product anymore, in addition to some who were already watching having bought into it. That's effectively another win for WWE. Which encourages them to do it more going forward. And they would do so anyway, as it has proven successful in the past, and comfortable bottom lines need to be ensured to appease the shareholders.
And yet WWE tempered themselves in this particular moment. What was their reasoning? We may never find out, but WWE opted to let the kids run with the ball at least for a while, before the impending Goldberg run. That Bully angle could have been great, and given him an awesome run as a top heel for a while, but WWE pushed the future instead, which has got to count for something. I'm not always very impressed with WWE's booking or decision making, but if you look around they have invested into the future a lot for a publicly traded company that is essentially on a shareholder leash of proven commodities.
So Bully Ray never happened in WWE, but as you've seen here, there were some clear reasons potentially mixed in with some not so clear ones. The bottom line is though, WWE was in a situation where they tend to impulsively scoop up commodities to strengthen a perceived weakness (big player going down hurt), and this time they didn't. The truth is, we don't really need to know the reasons, as we should appreciate that it happened at all. And yeah, it was at the expense of one of my favorites, but if we all truly want to see the future take the mantle, then we all need to look in the mirror, question our own individual lines, and make our own sacrifices.
There will always be a couple spots on the card for special attractions and part-timing legends, but pieces of info like this particular Sports Illustrated interview show us that WWE is trying to find a balance that suits all parties at least somewhat, and they are investing into the future more then we often give them credit for. It is more of a tight rope walk then we on the outside tend to realize, but WWE is walking it. At least we can give them that much. So instead of the Bully that never was upsetting us, we can be thankful for what did happen- young talent got more of a chance to shine, which is about as much as a forward thinking fan can hope for from WWE.
Well that wraps up week 4 of Kleck Goes Daily! Have any questions, comments, discussion, anything to add? Sweet nothings for my virtual ears? I'd love to hear it below. Until then I'm Kleckamania, thanks for humoring me once again, and I hope to see you tomorrow for day 29. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!
Hello all and welcome to day 27 of Kleck Goes Daily! Confession time, this is actually my 28th column in 27 days. What gives with the mystery column? Well it is a part of a series that is exclusive to the columns forum here on Lords Of Pain. This series is put together by fellow MP columnist Triple R, and it is called D.O.A.- a play on the Dead On Arrival game series that pits teams against each other on an island to determine a tournament champion. The twist on Triple R's series is the teams are made up almost entirely of wrestlers from past and present, spanning the world over. The series is fictional fantasy and is just a light hearted, fun, sometimes graphically violent (but light hearted graphic violence!) writing exercise. It is set to start within the next few days so sign up to our columns forum (free) and check it out if it sounds like something that floats your boat! Sign up anyways, though, cause the Columns Forum rocks.
Anyway, today's topic is the kind of tale that should warm even the coldest of hearts, and is one of those moments that seems to show you as a fan of professional wrestling just what it's all about. Now that I've hyped this column to impossible heights, let's free fall!
The Fallen Angel Has Risen: Christopher Daniels Wins ROH World Heavyweight Championship
24 years. Long time, right? Even in terms of working the same job that is quite the stretch. And in the world of professional wrestling it is a very intimidating amount of years to be an active competitor. Most guys are considered the long timers on the scene after 15 or so years, and Christopher Daniels is nearly a decade past that point. And up until last night, he was never a World Heavyweight Champion.
Despite being dubbed the King Of The Indies, and working for big feds like WWF/E, TNA, WCW, ECW, ROH, and NJPW throughout all those years, and winning countless other titles, a World Heavyweight Championship had always eluded him. You see Christopher Daniels is good- no, a really, really good wrestler- a quintessential ring general, who can pretty much make a broomstick look great in a ring if he wanted to. And that is part of why the guy never ascended to that top level, because he is the perfect hand to elevate other guys.
He has done it for AJ Styles (useless fact: Daniels' best friend irl), Bryan Danielson, Samoa Joe, CM Punk among many others throughout the near two and a half decade career he has had to date. And his track record for stellar matches (of which involve a few between the guys listed above), is pretty staggering. The guy has been burning up wrestling rings for a long, long time now. Yet whenever he had World Title opportunities in the past he was always putting the other guy over (minus a time limit draw with CM Punk). It was starting to look like he would be the classic tale of Mid/Upper Mid Card legend who never got a chance to run at the top, but that all changed last night.
Christopher Daniels beat Bullet Club member, and record setting 3-Time ROH World Heavyweight Champion Adam Cole... babaaay, to win his first ever World Title at ROH's 15th Anniversary PPV- in hindsight a very fitting stage to finally prevail. You see, 15 years ago at the very first ROH PPV, Christopher Daniels lost a World Heavyweight Title match between himself, Low Ki, and the one and only Bryan Danielson. And for 15 years since Christopher has lost numerous title shots in ROH. Last night his run in ROH, and professional wrestling as a whole finally came full circle though, with help from another Bullet Club member, and former tag team partner of Daniels, Frankie Kazarian.
A bit of backstory, Daniels and Kazarian, in my opinion, were the best tag team in the world for the better part of this current decade. Including being one of my personal favorite modern tag teams when they were wrestling as Bad Influence in TNA. Last month, however, Frankie Kazarian turned on Daniels, and joined the Bullet Club.
Then last night when asked by Cole to do the deed and lay out Daniels, instead Kazarian ripped off his Bullet club shirt which was enough distraction for Daniels to seal the deal. Frankie helping Daniels pull off last night's win just adds another layer to the night, and to the overall climax of Daniels' career. And when you see the finish, the narrative shows how much he needs that win, leaving no doubt it was over as he nailed 3 consecutive Best Moonsault Evers before pinning Cole.
And if you watch his shoot immediately after the match and see a few tears, or hear a few creeks, that is a guy who has spent his entire career putting over other guys in World Title matches, but this time it was finally he that went over. And as he makes jokes you want to laugh that much harder, as the wellspring of emotions coming from the guy was palpable, especially when you know what it took for him to no longer be falling. It hits your heart as a fan to see a guy acheive one of, if not the biggest goal he had after decades of entertaining us. One of those kind of moments as a fan that I really love. It never gets old for me, watching a wrestler win a title they had chased, or dreamed of winning for years. It feels good to be able to witness these moments, as it's hard not to feel indebted to the wrestlers that bring us so much entertainment. And Christopher Daniels has been one of those guys for many, many years.
I imagine within the next couple years Christopher Daniels will retire, capping off a truly incredible career spanning an obscene amount of feds, and accomplishments. And this moment he has now, the culmination and symbol of all the sacrifice, and dedication, is his crowning acheivement. It is the moment he will look back on and remember fondly. And you could see that feeling written all over him right after he won, and during that speech. For this brief moment in his career he isn't putting someone else over, he isn't making someone else look better, he isn't playing a side role, he isn't falling. This moment belongs to Christopher Daniels, and as a fan of his for quite a few years now I couldn't be happier for the guy. This is a moment that makes being a fan all worth it. Today, after 24 years in the industry, in this moment Christopher Daniels is a World Heavyweight Champion.
Well that concludes day 27! Anything to add or discuss? Let's hear (see) it below! I'm Kleckamania, thanks for reading, and hope to see you tomorrow for day 28 of Kleck Goes Daily!
Hello all and welcome back to Kleck Goes Daily! As you can see from the title I am being a bit of a cheeky smartass tonight, but what's new? Let's just jump right in to today's topic to see just what I'm on about...
WWE: TNA's Sloppy Seconds
This past week of WWE programming, across all platforms, I noticed something that honestly made my heart swell a bit. What I'm talking about is all the TNA talent I spent years thoroughly enjoying before they came to WWE. For all the trash some people talk about how TNA can't successfully run a federation using so much WWE talent, I think this TNA explosion the WWE roster is currently experiencing can just quiet those people up for quite a few years judging from trajectories. As there are many TNA guys and gal(s) ascending the WWE ranks rather rapidly.
The obvious one, AJ Styles, kind of started the trend. He came in from a brief run in New Japan between, and suddenly everyone was buzzing about AJ. Like his time in Japan was such a revelation. I'm not saying his NJPW run was anything short of great, but it wasn't as if he wasn't that awesome for over a decade in TNA beforehand. I know, I loved the guy through most of his TNA run, and he put on some of the best matches the entire world of professional wrestling saw in that time span. You can even ask fellow MP guy, and NXT Review expert Mr. JCool how much Kleck loved AJ Styles in TNA, as I'm sure I annoyed him at least a few times gushing about the guy (that or my undying love for Gail Kim.... mmmmmm.) The thing is, a lot of wrestling fans don't watch TNA at all, which is fine, but I think nowadays a lot of WWE fans are starting to realize what they were missing out on. AJ now gets the deserved credit of being considered by most as one of, if not the best active pro wrestler in the world, and he consistently puts on clinics in the ring, with the most recent example being his stellar Smackdown match with Randy Orton a few nights ago. People finally seeing him on a bigger stage has propelled him way up the WWE card seemingly overnight, as he hovers around one of the World Titles pretty much constantly (as he should!). AJ is currently in the upper echelon on the main roster, and deservedly so. And I will say I think AJ even opened WWE's eyes a bit as to the talent TNA had, and it pushed them to effectively purge the TNA roster, though some credit needs to be given to Dixie Carter for butchering a perfectly good wrestling federation.
And if we are talking about top 5 wrestlers in the entire world, we can't forget about the man that just laid out King Neville this week on RAW, Mr. A-Double- Austin Aries! This is another guy who is such a hidden gem in the world of pro wrestling that it is nearly a crime. And yet the guy showed how incredible he was about a bajillion times in TNA. He was effectively a cruiser (X-Division in TNA) that broke through to the World Title scene on sheer skill and effort. He actually paved the way, as he (I believe?) was the first guy to cash in his X-Division Title for a World Heavyweight Title shot and actually win (in TNA, once a year the X-division Champ has the choice to vacate the title in exchange for a World Title shot, this is something I firmly believe WWE should do as well!) Austin was a technical wizard in TNA, and if you don't believe me watch his upcoming feud/match with Neville. I predict that match will be a potential contender for match of the year. Though WWE has placed him in the Cruiserweight division, he is more then capable of being a top player in both the mid-card and World Title scenes, and the tag scene, as he was part of an amazing World Champ tag team in TNA for a while with the next guy I'm gonna talk about. Aries is shaping up currently to be a top player on 205 Live, and in the Cruiser division in general, and WWE is beyond fortunate to have him there. Despite loving the resurrection of the Discus Elbow as a finisher, I hope WWE will let him use his top two moves (in my opinion), the Last Chancery, and his outstanding Brainbuster. Seriously though, the guy is a modern day Dean Malenko plus ariel ability and spoken charisma. such a gem!
If our next guy could be summed up in one word, it would undoubtedly be glorious. Bobby Roode has had the pedigree to be a top player in any federation in the world for a very long time now. I'd personally rank him skillwise as a top 10 active wrestler in the entire world. Add in his look, charisma, and build and the man seemed to be hand carved for professional wrestling success by the gods themselves. He spent many years thriving in TNA, mostly in World Championship tag teams (his notable partners were Mr A-Double, and his partner from Beer Money fame, Mr. James Storm). Bobby developed a theme of turning on guys when it suited him best, and it is a trend I sincerely hope continues in WWE, as it fits his heel persona tremendously well. The man is a born top of any fed heel, with wrestling skills on par with a guy like Randy Orton. He is currently tearing NXT apart, with some of the best entrance music in professional wrestling history. Expect Bobby to ascend to the main roster and climb the ranks fast, but in the meantime he is a one of the very top guys in NXT.
Another guy climbing the ranks fast, that just got promoted to the main roster and has been instantly thrusted into the spotlight of a top of the card feud is the monster Samoa Joe. Joe at his prime might have been one of the best monster wrestlers in pro wrestling history. When motivated, Joe is an absolute diamond that just about any fed would covet. It's not just his size that makes him great, he is deceptively agile, and at times can string together some beautiful, clean, perfectly timed wrestling. Notice I said when he is motivated. Joe has shown in the past that when booking isn't what Joe wants, he tends to start slacking and phoning it in. He hasn't done that in WWE yet, but with the way WWE books it is only a matter of time. In the mean time though Joe could prove to be a top heel on the main roster for a solid few years, and if booked right could be a monster of a heel, especially in the muscle role for another guy. To be honest, I'm kind of surprised Joe didn't go the Stan Hansen route and make a career out of wrestling in Japan, as he is literally the perfect fit for that scene, but WWE fans should feel lucky that he is in the company for now, as he is a top player capable of adding a layer of interest and intrigue to any feud or storyline. And to think not many people knew of his work in TNA before. If you were interested, I'd point you to his work there from 2004-2008, which truly was the prime of his career. Now though he is holding the top of the WWE main roster card hostage, enjoy the ride while it lasts!
Another guy is one who most people learned about through the Cruiserweight Classic- the tournament winner and inaugural Cruiser Champ T.J. Perkins. What you may not know is he was one of the best X-Division wrestlers in TNA history for many years. TJ is an absolute prodigy, and I'd rank him in the top 10 best wrestlers in the world as well (see, TNA was loaded with top of the world guys!). TJ spent most of his time in TNA under masks, as his two major gimmicks there were wrestling as Suicide, and later Manik. It was only towards the end of his TNA run when he dropped the masks and wrestled as himself. But the entire time he was there, it was obvious what a gem the guy is. He was a top player in the X-Division scene for years, and I honestly think he is so good that WWE doesn't quite know what to do with him yet. We've seen him wrestle with the Cruisers and on 205, and we have recently seen him wrestle a few matches in NXT, most notably in a barn burner against a returning Shinsuke Nakamura just this week. Once WWE figures out a gimmick and push though, expect to be seeing a lot more TJ Perkins on your tv screens, as wherever he winds up he will be a top player for years. TJ is still pretty young, so he has a lot of career left with a little luck and care. Keep an eye on this TNA homegrown talent, as I suspect he will be a part of many top matches down the road in whatever division he winds up in.
Up next is a guy who based on NXT you would suspect was always a heel, but it was only the last couple years of his TNA run that he turned that route. The majority of his long stay in TNA he was the quintessential babyface! To the point where many fans could not imagine him as a heel ever, because he was so beloved. Though once he went heel he turned a lot of heads, and blew a lot of people away with his character work. I am talking about Mr. Eric Young. EY heads up the faction known as SaniTy in NXT, and he has yet to really be able to spread his heel wings and show WWE fans just how great he is- once he does though, you will see how valuable of a signing the guy was/is. If interested, I'd point you to his heel run in TNA during the companies television stint with Destination America, as he had a feud with Bobby Roode that was just perfection. At the time, TNA fans were initially skeptical about EY turning on longtime friend Bobby, but in very short order he wowed us as a heel, to the point where I was starting to forget he was ever a face! Which is saying something as I believe he won most of his 11 Championships in TNA as a face, including one World Title run, which was a night of pure magic. EY won a multi man match for a World Title shot against the odds, and in stunning fashion, pulled off an upset nobody expected in the very same night against then Champ Magnus. It is only a matter of time until he has more of a solo spotlight, and if WWE lets him off his leash the man is one of the best deranged heels you will have the pleasure of watching. I'm not positive his ceiling will be too high, but EY could be an outstanding midcard heel for a handful of years on the main roster when he gets the call up, and I'm confident he will. The guy isn't just great at character work, as he is quite skilled in the ring as well, with agility being his bread and butter. Not to mention he may have the best Piledriver in the business, leagues better then Taker has done it since he was a rookie. You may have to watch that from old TNA footage though, as WWE doesn't let that move happen much. Regardless EY is another TNA homegrown talent that is worth keeping an eye on!
I was going to throw Mickie James into this discussion, though she was a WWE talent first. She did quite well for herself in TNA though, and dare I say she got better as a wrestler in her time there. You see it was the Knockouts division (Women's) in TNA that pretty much sparked WWE to redouble their women's efforts in recent years, and Mickie James was at the forefront of that TNA division along side the wonderful Gail Kim. Since WWE has brought Mickie back they paired her with the young prodigy Alexa Bliss, and this week they split, beginning what should be quite an awesome feud. I see Mickie picking up at least one Women's World Title reign in her time back (and it might be sooner rather then later), as she still is one of the best female wrestlers in the world today. I do see her in WWE to help teach the younger girls the ropes primarily, though you can safely expect her to be part of some outstanding women's matches for the next few years in WWE, and a top player in the division in that time. Keep your eyes peeled, as she isn't just an extremely pretty face!
As you can see, WWE is filled now with past TNA talent, which I love for multiple reasons. One being they all deserve greater spotlights and exposure, bigger paychecks, and runs at the top of the wrestling world; I personally love watching them all, as I did for years in TNA; and another reason is fans now have no room to open their mouths about TNA poaching and living off WWE talent, as I've shown you here that many of the top players in WWE now are TNA's "sloppy seconds". Truth is it doesn't matter where talent comes from, the point is WWE isn't the end all be all, and creator of all things good in the pro wrestling world. Many of their own top stars now came from other places, with TNA currently being the main source.
Now in my head I daydream of a TNA invasion angle, as with the list of talent I wrote about today, that would be a seriously badass faction, and potential amazing rehash of that kind of company wide angle, but I am content just seeing all these wonderful wrestlers thrive in WWE. And who knows, maybe after seeing all of this, and or watching these wrestlers and enjoying them in WWE, more people will feel the urge to dive into TNA's archives and potentially expand their fandom outside of WWE. I can only hope so, as there is a wealth of talent the world over, and professional wrestling as a whole wins from crossover exposure (as do us fans!). Pro wrestling isn't just WWE, it is merely the federation with the most spotlight. There are other games in town, and you don't have to just like one federation! So let today's topic show you that if anything, expanding your pro wrestling horizons is good for your fandom, and good for wrestling as a whole. Stop the senseless hate and bashing. Quality wrestling comes from everywhere. Different feds, one love.
And that wraps up day 26! My series is so grown! And as always thanks for reading, and discussion is happily welcome below! Until then I'm Kleckamania, and I hope to see you tomorrow for day 27.
Hello all and welcome to day 25 of Kleck Goes Daily! When looking for Smackdown topics this week it struck me to notice so many occurrences of today's topic. A while back someone within WWE (drawing a blank) had said that this Era isn't about neatly defined face and heel dynamics. Today I was hoping to talk about that.
Face or Heel? Define The Lines!
I'd imagine the title gives away my stance? Well this past Smackdown made me feel a bit nutty. Why? Due to too much "reality". Well, WWE reality that is. The not so black or white but more gray "reality" most of the characters now display on the regular. I didn't really notice how much it annoys me until recently. And it isn't really one particular instance, but a couple.
The first glaring one is one AJ Styles himself pointed out, Randy Orton being rewarded by management for burning down someone's house. Uhhhhh what? Jack Tunney would be rolling in his grave! AJ had a very valid point. If Orton turned down his shot, what else is he being given a title shot for? I can't blame fans for cheering Orton, as the segment was definitely cool, but I can blame booking glorifying arson just a bit, to the point where the GM and Commissioner saw no issue with what Orton did, at all. Even if fans have a history of liking the more scandalous angles, the people in positions of authority in the product are not supposed to no sell stuff like that. At the least it is an opportunity to build heat two ways- between management and the wrestler, at the most it is a way to clearly define or reinforce a heel. WWE played it off as gray though, which makes no freaking sense. In the real world, if you commit arson you typically go to jail for a while. Not to mention the crime was caught on film so uhh, yeah- police might have noticed. Use that in the freaking angle! Though they didn't because? Because Orton is facing a mega heel at Wrestlemania. So burning down his house is justified? Ooookay!
The next example is connected to the first, AJ Styles. AJ was in a battle royal to determine who faces Bray Wyatt for the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania. WWE officials determined he won, but fairly had a match between he and Luke Harper to determine who gets to main event with Bray at Wrestlemania. That makes perfect sense for a questionable finish. Where it dives off the road of sense and logic wildly is when face Orton burns down a heels house, and face GM and Commisioner grant him at the least a chance to face off with heel AJ Styles to determine who faces Bray Wyatt at Wrestlemania, after AJ had just secured his spot. Huh??? I realize AJ's catchphrase is "The face that runs the place", but it's because he is such a dastardly heel. How is he the heel in this situation at all? Did Orton, Daniel Bryan, and Shane McMahon all just turn heel while AJ turned face? No. Some yuppy in WWE corporate would probably say we are looking at this from a face/heel paradigm, when it is more complex and filled with grays. In other words, we got lazy with booking and the resulting clustered mess is okay because Reality Era. Sure thing.
We could also throw in face GM Daniel Bryan booking heel Alexa Bliss into a match where any other woman on the roster can win her title by pinning anyone else. Granted Alexa's character is highly obnoxious (great heel character work by her), but that isn't the kind of match a heel gets booked into, it is the kind of match a face gets booked into to build sympathy. Building sympathy for a heel makes no damned sense- especially when you were booked into that situation by the top face in the company, and they are supposed to be fair and impartial! The old school wrestling fan inside me is screaming right now. But Reality Era, so it works apparently.
And that is just Smackdown. RAW is no better. Face Sasha interferes in a Championship match and causes heel Charlotte to lose; face GM Mick Foley not even entertaining the thought that Charlotte deserved another Championship shot despite two straight Championship matches being decided against her due to face interference; heel Braun Strowman being courteous to, and backing down from face Undertaker; face Enzo trying to hook up with heel Lana behind heel Rusev's back a while ago... I'm going crosseyed.
Tossing all of this under the umbrella of Reality doesn't make it logical or work. Maybe I'm overstepping, but fans don't want reality when they watch wrestling, especially not WWE's brand of it! Why would we be seeking reality when we sit down to watch a scripted sport?? I don't want gray area. This isn't Spider-Man or Batman. This is professional wrestling. I want my heels to be dreadful jerks with no redeeming qualities. To the point where they are in character even when they aren't in an arena, and it makes me want to punch them, or think "what a jerk". I want my faces to at least try and be fair and impartial, and act mostly morally upright. I get and like the tweener sub genre of face, but even Stone Cold had a fair streak and typically was only a jerk to heels. Defiance is fine, when it fits the narrative properly. What we are seeing lately has no rhyme or reason though, and we are told it is because this is the Era of Reality. No. This is the Era where it is easier for bookers to be sloppy under the guise that nobody is intrinsically good or intrinsically bad. And though that is dominantly true in the real world, I don't want that crap in my wrestling.
I guess I'm just old school. But at least back then I wasn't confused by a characters actions not fitting their alignment. Or a situation not fitting a characters alignment. A lot of people are happy the PG Era is gone, but I'm not sure anything is worse than this gray area character booking we are seeing these days. If someone is a face or heel, book them accordingly and only deviate when said character(s) are changing alignment. The only instance of that in all of the examples I gave was Sasha Banks potentially being on the verge of turning heel. Every other example makes zero sense within their own contexts, and the aftermath will be fans having no idea what they are watching, or who they are rooting for. When someone burns down a house they are a heel. When someone gets booked in an overcome the odds situation they are a face. When management is impartial they are a heel. Announcers side with only wrestlers within their alignment. None of this JBL crap. So in other words, Reality booking is damaging fan enthusiasm. And I know I'm not alone in that sentiment, as I've seen a lot of people comment on it recently.
WWE, we don't want "Reality", we want fantasy. We want fiction. We want to be entertained and be able to follow fairly easily. We want theatric levels of good and bad, as the embellishment helps carry us further from the realities we are seeking to escape from for a little while. We want neatly defined lines, with little to zero gray area, and to be swept away in the hyperbole of it all. The exaggeration is part of what makes professional wrestling, professional wrestling. It's pure entertainment in that form, and I for one want it back. And judging from the hottest angle in WWE today, how people are feeding off Kevin Owens doing what he did to Chris Jericho (no question who is the face and who is the heel in that situation!) it's pretty clear a lot of fans want the same.
There goes day 25. What do you think? Let's discuss it below in the comments. Until then thanks for reading, I'm Kleckamania, and hopefully see you tomorrow for day 26 of Kleck Goes Daily!
And welcome back one and all to day 24 of Kleck Goes Daily! Today is a tough topic for me, as this particular guy re-energized my fandom just a few short years ago, though I'm not sure he should be working in the pro wrestling industry at all present day in any capacity. I am talking about Daniel Bryan, and the reasons why I feel that way, and why I think WWE should possibly end terms with him are below...
Should WWE Part Ways With Daniel Bryan?
This one is hard to write, as while I'm thinking about it I'm conflicted on my point. The tragedy surrounding Daniel Bryan's career is no secret, as I'm sure everybody reading this knows all too well how things went down- Daniel had to retire way too soon due to multiple concussions and a brain lesion. His retirement was such a shock that I'm sure I wasn't the only person sitting there wondering if we were watching one of the cruelest works ever. I sat there until the credits and fade to black still expecting at any second something, anything to indicate that it was all just some ruse, but it never happened. I sat staring at the briefly black screen, and that second was when it truly clicked that it wasn't a work, and he was genuinely done. As a fan, it hurt. And I can only imagine how it must have felt to actually be Bryan Danielson in that moment.
I found myself wondering that same thing last night on Smackdown. I will say Daniel was awesome last night in the GM spot, but early in the night when Daniel said he thought the Rumble winner should get the Title shot at Mania, and I chuckled a bit by how obvious it was that Shane and Bryan swapped each other's lines, partially because DB himself wouldn't have agreed with that sentiment as an active competitor- in that moment I wondered just how hard it must be to be anywhere near wrestling if you are Daniel Bryan in 2017.
And I thought I had a topic figured out for Smackdown until Talking Smack happened, and Daniel kind of confirmed my fear. Daniel, in response to the Miz said in not so direct terms that he wasn't done wrestling, WWE was done with him wrestling, and when his contract was up in 2018, the world would see him in the ring again somewhere. His actual words were in response to the Miz saying Daniel can't wrestle anymore, "I can't or they won't let me?" and continued... "We'll see. We'll see in a year and a half."
It's no mystery that his WWE contract is up in a year and a half, and it is also no mystery that WWE has denied multiple requests by Bryan Danielson to terminate his contract with the company. WWE has kept Daniel off the active performers list, and on the payroll to prevent him from wrestling elsewhere. WWE is that concerned about his well being, which is pretty unprecedented. WWE is in the business of making money, so that should show anyone just how serious Daniel's health concerns are.
I spent a long time hoping Daniel would come back and wrestle. Half heartedly I hoped this was all some big angle and when DB returned it would be the most legendary storyline ever. Though this year kind of confirmed that WWE is genuine, and they intend on Daniel never wrestling in one of their rings again. That comes from the fact that WWE scrapped a Daniel Bryan versus Miz match for this upcoming Wrestlemania despite multiple respectable doctors outside of WWE clearing him for active competition.
Why is WWE standing firm behind their decision? Because they have to. Times have changed, WWE has grown into a fortune 500 publicly traded company, and along the way in order to reach that level you have to conduct business within certain standards and practices. Among those is proper care and response to the wellfare of their contracted employees/athletes. They can't really deviate from what they have in place because it is there for legal reasons. And part of it is undeniably WWE needing to try and prevent it's gruesome past from becoming anything but the past. I am sure all the tragedies in this companies history, and wrestling's for that matter, have added up emotionally and mentally on them, and that is part of why they are standing firm on this matter.
So I can say that WWE is actually acting nobly in that regard. I can also say though that if WWE doesn't want Daniel Bryan to wrestle anymore, then they should want him as far away from the action as possible. As working that close to the job of your dreams and not being able to do it must be maddening. And moments like on Talking Smack show that frustration bubbling over inside of him. Daniel Bryan being around wrestling is not helping him. Part of me even thinks WWE should just give him the Rey Mysterio treatment, and have him sit at home and just collect a paycheck until his contract expires. Maybe if he is closer to Brie and that sense of family takes over him, he wouldn't be so stubborn and resolute in returning to action. And it pains me to say that, because I freaking loved watching that guy wrestle.
Part of why most of us loved watching the guy wrestle though, is the very same style that got him so banged up along the way. Even if he comes back he will have no choice but to be a much safer wrestler- almost a different wrestler entirely. His matches likely wouldn't resemble anything we have seen of him before. Part of his magic will undoubtedly be gone. And maybe he would see that clearer if he was further away from wrestling then he is.
Another part of me thinks that regardless of how noble WWE is being, and how right it might be to prevent him from wrestling, I cringe knowing that it isn't WWE's right to make that decision for someone. They keep him under contract partially because they know another federation won't be as safe and will put Daniel in a ring because it equates to massive money, though another reason they keep him under contract is they know he is stubborn, and he will wrestle again if he has a ring to do it in, regardless of the risks and potential consequences. Ultimately though, thst isn't WWE's choice to make.
Granted they feel responsible, and would feel awful if something happened to Daniel somewhere else, but bad things happened in his time before WWE, and the choices and decisions have always entirely been Bryan Danielson's to make. WWE doesn't have the right to control a human being, even if their aim is true.
And now, their noble in intentioned decisions are starting to hurt them, as remarks like Daniel made on Talking Smack make the company look bad. Bryan is publicly calling out his companies medical practices, he is effectively calling their judgement into question in front of their entire consumer base, on one of their own products no less. Daniel is noticeably not over wrestling, and now he is becoming increasingly resentful towards WWE, and is making WWE look like a fool when he pretty much plainly states he will go behind their backs the second he gets a chance because he thinks they don't know what they are talking about.
Maybe Daniel did that purposefully to try and provoke WWE into terminating his contract early, and I think they should at this point. The fact is Bryan Danielson is a grown man, and can make up his own mind. If the guy wants to keep risking his life then it is his decision and his alone to make. WWE is just getting hurt at this point, and Bryan has pretty much stated he is going to wrestle anyways, so at some point WWE has to resign themselves in knowing they tried to do the right thing, but in the end Bryan Danielson is a human in control of his own life.
I don't even feel 100% right in saying that, because I am also as a fan becoming racked with guilt over all the tragedy that has happened in pro wrestling's time since I've started watching so many years ago. I can relate to WWE in this regard- we feel responsible. The thing is though, the other side of this is that these people are free men and women in control of their own lives. We can only take so much blame for their tragedies, as they have the ability to not put themselves in those kind of situations. You can only change yourself. You can only control yourself. We can only do so much to right the wrongs. The line ends at basic human rights.
We as fans can make change in letting it be known that we won't patronize a company that blatantly risks their workers lives, sometimes even entirely unnecessarily. We can make change by making these companies accountable for their conduct, and helping to usher in safety precautions and measures for these performers that we love to watch. The companies and federations can do their part by firmly implementing more extensive and exhaustive safety procedures and precautions, and ramping up their medical response and practicing procedures. Beyond that though it is out of our hands. If after all that a wrestler wants to take risks, it is their perogative and right to do so. It is Daniel's right no matter how bad of a choice it might wind up being.
Daniel could wind up perfectly fine and wrestle for another decade, or he could intensify his medical issues the first match out and wind up paralyzed or dead. WWE and we as fans need to accept that those risks are his to make and take. You can only do so much to protect those around you. At some point you have to accept that and leave it in their hands and just hope for the best. And WWE holding Daniel back now is becoming a fool's errand that is starting to damage them. They need to let go. Just like we do. We all need to let Bryan Danielson make his own decisions.
Shooting stars burn the brightest, but they burn out the quickest and hardest. I think this is part of my love for Daniel Bryan. He shone so brightly, but the glare made me miss the narrative. I lost touch with that fact, maybe I subconsciously suppressed the thought. I was in denial. Anything that runs that hot cannot last. And afterwards, like WWE, I held on. I couldn't do anything else. At some point though we need to relinguish our sense of responsibility and let the world around us live and evolve the way it will. Which is why regardless of how afraid anyone is of the consequences, WWE needs to let him go.
All the WWE can do now is to terminate his contract, and make it publicly known that they don't approve of him competing again for his own safety. Beyond that it is out of their hands. And as fans all we can do is hope Daniel's love for professional wrestling, what drew us to him, won't eventually kill him, or ruin his life or the lives of those who love him. It is out of our hands. It is time to let Daniel Bryan be himself again, and hopefully the next chapter in his life will be one of heightened wisdom and sensibility.
Hope is all we can do now. But make no mistake, it is time for Daniel Bryan to have back control over his own actions and life, because this half life he is living is already killing him, which is crystal clear in moments like on Talking Smack. And seeing that is kind of killing me. So I do think WWE needs to part ways with Daniel Bryan, as sad as that also makes me, but WWE, I, and possibly we need to give up our perceived control, as we can't prevent life from happening. We can only hope this time we won't wind up having to mourn again, and that this time there is a happy ending, but regardless, the life and outcome is Bryan Danielson's to make. All we can do is watch and hope.
Well that's it. What are your thoughts? Let's discuss it below. Until then I'm Kleckamania, thank you for reading, and I hope to see you back tomorrow for Day 25.
Ha! You clicked you perv. Though this may not be the three way you were thinking of when you first read this title, it's still a good time. After all, you can only do the five knuckle shuffle so much, so might as well stick around and read some words. The three way I am speaking of is the one between Bayley, Charlotte Flair, and Sasha Banks at Wrestlemania for the RAW Women's Championship.
Will The Lady Three Way Satisfy?
Well, will it? If we were going by the general booking of the RAW women 'since' the brand split then this would be quite the dumpster fire, but I think these three particular ladies are capable of producing pure magic at Wrestlemania if they are given at least 15 minutes. Granted the kooky logistics for adding Charlotte, and oddly infuriated Stephanie McMahon weren't good starts, but this was the thing pretty much all of us dreamed of.... right?
Charlotte and Sasha have had great matches together, Bayley and Charlotte have had great matches together. Bayley and Sasha have had some barn burners as well, so it must be safe to assume the three way at a Wrestlemania that many fans have daydreamed of will be everything we ever imagined and more, right?
Not a guarantee. And I won't compare this to their Clash Of Champions go, as Wrestlemania tends to bring a heightened effort. If I did though, I would say adding a partner brings concerns.
Rhythm, timing, psychology. All things that are much more difficult when you add someone to the mix. And I will say there were times in last year's match where those three things were off the mark. I remember missed spots by at least two of the ladies, and dodgy timing all around as well. Adding that third partner can be a tricky proposition. Especially when you feel the pressure of performing in front of a larger audience. The ladies will want to hit it out of the park, which will have them looking to throw a lot into the match. A lot of spots paired with that stage could get the best of nerves, and make the match feel a bit disjointed in spots like last time, so there is no guarantee that the match will prove to be a gem.
Though still all three of these particular ladies are towards the very top of the skill chain in WWE, and have produced some of the best matches between them in modern times. Add that to all three wanting to build their own individual legacies and generally being comfortable working together and I'd say this match has the potential to easily be one of the top matches of the entire night. Yet not everything rests on these three ladies, part of the value of the match will come from the booking leading into it.
And in that regard I'd say temper your expectations. I don't think we will be experiencing any ladies booking renaissance on RAW any time soon, though I would guess this particular feud will at least keep us enticed enough until the moment when the magic happens. And that's already pretty much more then we normally get from the women's booking on RAW. Add in a match that has potential to tear the roof off and we are fortunate in comparison to just a handful of years ago.
Does that mean WWE should just continue to phone in most of the women's booking? Absolutely not. These girls deserve better material to work with, or at least the ability to come up with some ideas for their own feuds and booking within. The issue isn't the ladies or how thin the roster is, it is all in how the feud and matches are booked.
The issue seems to be that WWE only puts maximum focus and effort into top feuds at top events. And often times the women's division gets lost in the creative shuffle. Add in the daunting schedule they have, coming up with new ideas, and new match movesets every time is pretty difficult. Essentially a big part of why most of the booking and feud matches fall flat is the sheer weight of the WWE schedule. They have to do it so many times that often times they will go with a set routine. It can negatively impact the quality you get if you watch every match.
Though this is the biggest stage. The one all the athletes aspire to in this industry. And a stage all three dreamed of being in when they were little girls- these are three girls who have lived wrestling since they were young kids. They all want it. And between them I think this match could shine if they are allowed to have a solid amount of time and freedom to work with.
Though I imagine most three ways don't live up to the hype, I do believe this one will be great. Which means keep an eye on this devloping match going forward. Especially considering most of us were clammoring for matches like this not too long ago. I'm optimistic and excited to see what these three highly skilled girls can do on this stage. Hopefully WWE will give it the time and attention it deserves, because if they do, this could be a night we remember for a long time.
What are your expectations for the Triple Threat match between these ladies at Wrestlemania? Any thoughts or comments would be appreciated below. And that wraps up another day! I am Kleckamania, thanks for reading and I will see you all tomorrow for day 24 of Kleck Goes Daily!
Hello all and welcome to day 22 of Kleck Goes Daily! A day I was amped up for yesterday, knowing how close we are to Wrestlemania, and on the eve of a PPV- I was looking forward to jumping into the results and speculating on how the road to Mania would take shape. Not so much immediately after the PPV though.
I'll be honest, overall I thought the PPV stunk out loud. After I had some time to think though, I did see some positives that could come from last night, which I'll talk about below.
Fast Lane Optimism? Embrace The Dark Side!
Wow did I miss the predictions by a country mile... Got took behind the shed! WWE is just making me feel like Vizzini trying to sleuth out which glass has the poison in it from Princess Bride. It feels like they are being contrarian simply for the sake of it. We can thank DolphinFan9er (can't remember number so 9er will suffice) for that- now they force unpredictability at the oddest times. Kind of felt like last night's overall PPV theme.
Charlotte dropped her PPV streak, Strowman dropped his awesome win streak in clean fashion, Nia Jax got beat (I actually predicted that one, wooooooooooooooo!), and Goldberg beat KO thanks to Y2J distraction.
I spent some time browsing the comment sections of the results and the news articles and columns scattered throughout the internet and here on LOP and wow, we are a saltier bunch then a Sardine can! I haven't seen this level of hate, despair, and disdain since Rey Mysterio came out 30th instead of Daniel Bryan for the 2013 Royal Rumble! It's even worse now, fans are really slapping on the black lipstick and popping in the Dashboard Confessional for this one!
I'm referencing two things that happened last night in particular- Bill Goldberg winning the WWE Universal Title in under half a minute against KO, and Roman Reigns pinning Braun Strowman clean to break Strowman's undefeated record. As those moments seem to be where most of the fan ire resides.
I will admit taking the Universal Title and adding it to the Lesnar versus Goldberg match seems a bit overkill, especially when the Owens versus Jericho match at Wrestlemania could benefit more from the title's prescence- especially considering how much of their storyline involves the belt, but a bit of optimism hit me this morning, 'whether Goldberg or Lesnar wins at Wrestlemania, someone on the full time roster will eventually go over them for the Universal Title.
Granted, it's not a complete fix to Owens losing in twenty some odd seconds last night, but it's something positive. Having said that, WWE dogged Owens there, and he deserved much better. At least a defeat in which he could show that he could hold his own against Goldberg, possibly even have the upper hand before Y2J distracted him. So I think a lot of fans aren't necessarily as pissed that Owens lost, but just the manner in which he did. This could be an example of how a little bit of care can go a long way in protecting all wrestlers involved. Wouldn't have taken much effort to better protect Owens, would have bolstered more of the roster/Wrestlemania card with him coming out looking strong.
Someone will ultimately come out looking strong against Lesnar or Goldberg though, and the big question is who?
Some might sarcastically respond with 'Roman Reigns', because Reigns has been the guy WWE has seemingly shoved down audiences throats for the past couple years, but even if it is, I'm not entirely sure that would be a bad thing depending on how it is booked.
Yes, Roman Reigns beat Braun Strowman, but something about this go around feels different. WWE has played into perceived reactions with Reigns before, even recently, and this current run just screams heel. Imagine a scenario where Reigns retires Undertaker and says he did it to screw the fans out of the ones they loved. Imagine if he backs it up later in the calendar year by beating down and possibly retiring Lesnar or Goldberg under the same pretenses? I don't know about you, but that has all the makings of an outstanding heel run if you ask me. And if WWE goes that route with this I could justify everything they've booked up to now.
If this is yet another attempt to connect Reigns with fans as a babyface though, or tweener Legend Killer 2.0, then not only is this a collosal failure just waiting to implode, but it negatively impacted wrestlers that had all kinds of momentum on their sides.
Braun Strowman and Kevin Owens were building solid names and reputations for themselves. They were helping to create a new generation of ringbearor. If that was all just to feed to Roman in the hopes his nine billionth attempt to hit as a face would stick, then WWE may not be noticing the opportunities they are squandering. These two men were on paths to greater things. They were both connecting with fans, as you could tell from their average crowd responses.
Above that even though, fans just love to boo Reigns. They love to boo him at this point about as much as they love cheering for Bayley. So if ever there was a time to strike while the heel iron was white hot, then it is around the time when you can use heel tactics to retire the Undertaker. A legend could truly become born under those pretenses. I think fans want Roman Reigns around, but they want him to be the jerk heel he was born to play. And he could make quite the awesome career out of it.
He could even go face years down the road, once fan sentiment was just that high towards him after all those years. The moment when that works though is much, much, much, much, much, much, much further down the road then next month. If this is a face push then I have to think WWE just wasted Braun Strowman's first loss, and Kevin Owens' new found level of heat since he savagely took Jericho out. Both pushes were gold, I think a lot of fans just get frustrated at the notion that they could both be sacrificed for something that is much less desireable. If Roman Reigns picks now to embrace the dark side though, this could be one of the best builds yet.
Well thanks for joining me for yet another day! Anything to add? Let's hear it below in the comments section. Until then I'm Kleckamania, and see you tomorrow for day 23!