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Monday Morning Thoughts
Bryan’s WrestleMania Booking
After last week’s Raw, the big news is obviously the change to the WrestleMania main event, or rather the possible change. Daniel Bryan will face HHH at some point at WrestleMania, with the stipulation that with a victory for the Washington native, he will be inserted into the WWE World Heavyweight Title match. It all took place in a rather historic moment, where the “Yes! movement” took center stage, and the ring was flooded with fans donning Daniel Bryan t-shirts, and chanting in unison.
The tide has changed. Many fans, including Mick Foley, took to their blogs and social media to thank WWE for finally giving the WWE Universe what they have been wanting and hoping for. After months of back and forth, and off screen dramas involving CM Punk’s sudden departure and Batista’s sudden inclusion into the main event, fans were given a reason to smile again.
WWE has been pretty headstrong in delivering what they think is best (for business). With that in mind, I hope you don’t have your hopes too high up.
I can assure you of something: Daniel Bryan is not winning both his matches clean.
It just doesn't work. And WWE, in all their doggedly determined methodology of screwing with us at every turn, know that a Daniel Bryan double win at WrestleMania XXX is shooting themselves in the foot. For months he’s been struggling and achieved nothing (big wins or titles), and suddenly he’ll defeat all 3 of the top heels in one night?
I know there is a lot of you thinking this is what you want, but the day after Mania will need something more than "what will he do as champion?" to keep you interested. There aren't any heels ready to be interesting in a title hunt outside of the Authority, so they need to still be involved in some capacity. Having them lose clean twice the night before isn't compelling enough.
I think if Bryan beats HHH, but gets screwed out of the title, it's more of the same drawing out garbage that we've seen since SummerSlam. It's been good for the most part, but I would join those questioning if it's been going on too long now. How would Raw work is WrestleMania ended with Orton of Batista with their hand raised?
That is why I think the better story is for Bryan to lose to HHH by BS reasons. There would be an immediately deflation within the live audience. It would then be wise to move to a “piss-break” match of some sort, before getting the crowd back into it with something like Lesnar vs Undertaker.
We’d then go into the main event. I know I’m repeating from last week, but it is essential. It has to look like WWE, or more precisely, HHH, went all out for his buddies and cronies. The most elaborate ring entrances possible. Bring back the WrestleMania III and VI entrance vehicles, and only use them for Orton and Batista. Have JBL hype up how much these guys mean to the business, and that’s why HHH put in all the effort. Let Cole and King play the patsy conspiracy theorists. Get everything settled until Lillian starts the in ring introductions.
“I am a Real American!”
When I suggested Hogan make his way out to change the match up, it was for a good reason. Hulk will be the host of WrestleMania, but he’ll need something to do, other than hang out backstage. It’s possible he gets involved with the John Cena vs Bray Wyatt match, especially after last week’s Raw first segment, but I doubt he’ll be put in harms way and should still have the physical ability to walk out on the stage with a microphone.
“You know something Hulkamaniacs, I’ve seen quite a lot of screw jobs in my time, brother. And I’ve seen a lot of people use politics to pick and choose their favorites. Well, the Hulkster is in a position to right a couple of wrongs tonight. As the Host, I am hereby making the announcement that I cannot accept what happened earlier tonight, and that I am officially changing this match to be a Triple Threat, and I think the best man to be included is my main man Daniel Bryan!”
Many of suggested Vince be the man to make a move such as this, but Vince hasn’t been on TV recently. Barring the idea of starting the Vince vs HHH feud for post-WrestleMania (which is always possible), there’s no reason for a single Vince appearance when Hogan is already booked in a position to make that change.
Now, as for the Authority, many have been pestered by the idea that HHH wouldn’t just sit back and let Hulk make this change. It’s a valid point, but one that is very easy to fix.
My personal choice is that we find out that HHH was attacked backstage after his match with Bryan. Make the old mystery assailant storyline, which would continue on the idea that Daniel Bryan has some friends who can help him take advantage of security and letting in hundreds of fans in the ring for last week’s Raw. With HHH taken to a “nearby medical facility,” or as regular people call it, a hospital, Kane can try to come out to do something, but I think Kane taking a few right hands from the Hulkster on the stage with a pose down afterwards would be a great help to hype the crowd before the match officially starts.
Basically, as much as Daniel Bryan’s main foe has been HHH and the Authority, the moment people want is the crowning of the new champion at the end of WrestleMania and the live audience chanting “YES!”. So let HHH still be the thorn in Bryan’s side after the event. With HHH losing clean to Bryan, there’s just so little for HHH to work with to screw over Daniel. Not only is it not in HHH’s DNA to put someone over in that grand of fashion, but it tells the much better story. Daniel Bryan might have the title and momentum, but he still isn’t rid of HHH completely.
And, as long as I’m fantasy booking, with Orton and Batista temporarily out of the title picture, who better for HHH to bring in to take out the new champion but CM Punk?
I can dream.
Frustrated Midcard Stable
I am not sure how seriously to take the recent rumors of an upcoming team or stable consisting of The Miz and Dolph Ziggler with the intent of them being frustrated about their position on the card. It sounds like a great idea in theory, but something that could be bungled up easily as well.
So far, the names mentioned have all been faces. This leads me to think of comparisons to The Union, or the Job Squad. Those are not kind comparisons.
Hopefully, with previous WWE and World Title reigns behind the names of the The Miz and Dolph Ziggler, they would be treated with more integrity.
The problem is how big this stable could end up becoming. Zack Ryder is already mentioned as another possible member, while a look down the WWE roster can bring up another half dozen who would fit in such a role (if face, Kofi Kingston, Evan Bourne, Tyson Kidd, Justin Gabriel, R-Truth; heels Christian, Damien Sandow, Drew MacIntyre).
How wild would it be to see any grouping of these men just randomly run down during a Raw tag team main event like Show/Bryan vs Orton/Batista and attacking like the Nexus did a few years back? The confusion at the announce booth, maybe an NWO-esque “We’re taking over!” battle cry, and just more and more beatdowns of established stars. It could lead to a very “New Blood vs Millionaires Club” angle, which I think can work.
The problem, as I’m sure all of you have already realized, is that WWE is unlikely to give these guys a stable with the strength that The Shield have had over the last year and a half. As similar as their intentions may be (seeking to serve justice, but in this case on their careers), there’s no way we could conceivably expect any of these guys to be threats to the Ortons, Cenas and Batista of the WWE.
Still, it’s a wild concept that I would be excited for. As many name as there could be, I’d like it to be The Miz and Dolph as the top guys in an almost Rated RKO type tag team that does have some sort of main event credibility, while they’d have guys like Zack Ryder or Drew Mac underneath them in a more midcard position. Even if the group is of 12 people, they can’t concentrate on everyone. Let the guys who are less likely to be used for anything but the midcard, due to their age or ability, be the foot soldiers, while special treatment is given to the names on the short list of future stars to shine.
Last week's Raw saw the unprecedented occupation of the ring by dozens of members of Daniel Bryan's "Yes!" Movement. Although Bryan achieved his ultimate goal — a chance at the WWE World Heavyweight Title at WrestleMania — he first must get past Triple H, who is eager to squash Bryan's big dream. As The Road to WrestleMania heats up, what will unfold this week? Here’s WWE.com’s Five-Point Preview for Raw.
1. Bow down to The King
Although Daniel Bryan got what he wanted from WWE COO Triple H, it’s clear it’s not going to be an easy journey for him to get to the WWE World Heavyweight Title Match at WrestleMania. On SmackDown, The Game vowed to deal with Bryan this week on Raw. Will Triple H enlist others to do his bidding, or will he handle matters himself?
2. Big Red Reprisal?
While Triple H has Bryan in his sights, the Director of Operations has some unresolved issues with The Shield. On SmackDown, the trio defied orders to help Kane in his losing battle with Big Show. The chaotic night left The Big Red Monster seething. Will The Shield face repercussions on Raw?
3. Cenation leader's next move?
Bray Wyatt’s cryptic words have done little to rattle John Cena. While Bray may speak in riddles, Cena has been more direct: "Success in this company is earned. And change will come and it will go through me,” he said on the March 3 edition of Raw. With Cena confirmed to be at this Monday’s Raw, what will unfold next in their war of words before their collision at WrestleMania?
4. Who's next for The Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal?
As WrestleMania approaches, additional Superstars continue to be named for the high-profile Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. With the huge opportunity to compete on The Grandest Stage of Them All, who will make the next move to impress in hopes of getting a bid?
5. A new strategy for The Viper & The Animal?
The hunt for WWE’s prized possession could change drastically come The Show of Shows. If Bryan can get past Triple H, he’ll square off with WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton and Batista in a Triple Threat Match. Could The Viper or The Animal look to make a preemptive strike to let the so-called “B+ player” know what he could be up against?
Live Raw Discussion
8:28 PM - Reader Response
I wanted to share a post from one of my LOP buddies, and damn entertaining column writer in his own right, Cult Icon from a thread discussing the Daniel Bryan vs HHH match at WrestleMania.
I think Pen is brilliant.
That’s a good point, I agree.
But he also sent me a Private Message about my above entry about my scenario for the Daniel Bryan story to continue.
I got a chance to read the beginning of the RAW column earlier. I'm a little surprised you seem to think that Bryan winning both matches would effectively kill the story. To me, Bryan winning both matches would only reinforce Triple H's desire to have someone get the belt off of Bryan. Before Bryan was merely an annoyance; now that he's conquered everything, he's something Triple H has to get rid off, and he won't stop until he finally puts Bryan down. It makes the motivation stronger in my eyes. That's not to say that I don't agree that your scenario couldn't work; while some of it may be a tad overbooked, it could certainly work and would definitely add some shock value. I just see it being more effective from the heel perspective if Bryan wins.
I can understand that my idea isn’t going to be popular. I don’t think Cult, or anyone else who has the same point of view, is wrong. I just don’t think it’s considering the big picture.
When Steve Austin won the WWF Title in 1998, he barely started his feud with McMahon, so there were lots of ways to watch Vince screw Stone Cold at every opportunity. But once Austin lost the title and regained it a couple of times, the only thing left was a cage match between the two. After St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, the Austin vs McMahon feud was empty. It didn’t die, but there was nothing left to milk out of, so it started involving the Undertaker and the famous “It was me, Austin” BS. They pushed a couple of PPVs out of the carcass of the feud, but it was over at WrestleMania XV.
At that point, Austin moved his attention to the new challenger in HHH.
If Bryan unseats HHH in the first match, and then Batista and Orton in his second match, there’s literally nothing new for the Authority to throw at the new champion. Sure, they could continue messing with him, but it’s not the same - we know Bryan can beat them all.
Truly consider how wonderful it will be for Daniel Bryan to be WWE Champion the Raw after WrestleMania, with HHH and Stephanie displaying their cocky smirks with the attitude that “You might be champion now, but we both know anytime I want it back, it’s mine!” The rematch for the title would then be the biggest match possible for Daniel Bryan within the confines of the current storyline (meaning if Punk comes back, or Bryan vs Warrior vs Hogan).
There is simply more money to make off Daniel Bryan with the concept that he still has a few mountains to climb. We, as fans, love the chase of a challenger to the championship. But once the title is on his shoulders, the dynamic changes. He’s no longer the underdog B+ player. He’s proven himself, from beating Orton, Batista, and John Cena from SummerSlam. What’s left? More combinations of the same? Or guys who shouldn’t be in the main event getting title shots, while the elite headline PPVs like it was CM Punk’s reign all over again?
That is unfortunately the reality you’re left to face with WWE in 2014. Sure, Bryan vs Wyatt, or The Shield, or Dolph Ziggler, or whoever else you might prefer might be of interest, but they don’t sell tickets or shows. Not yet.
HHH vs Bryan does in a rematch for the title when we’ve never seen Bryan defeat the COO.
Intro - HHH promo /Orton/Batista
I know this might be the standard expectation of HHH with his promos, but this needed to be done. With all of HHH’s comments on Raw, he’s yet to really make it clear that he feels he’ll wipe the floor with Bryan. Yes, he’s called him a B+ player, but HHH needs an ego going into this contest.
Batista and Orton’s comments are needed as well, because after teaming together last week, there’s very little beef between the two so far.
Big announcement: winner of HHH vs Daniel Bryan is in the title match, making it a guaranteed Triple Threat. I like the drama that is added, but there’s still no way we won’t see Daniel Bryan involved in that championship contest.
But I have to comment on something that was discussed quickly on LOPforums today, concerning how Raw is booked overall. That segment took 15 minutes, and it won’t be the only time any of those men will be on TV. All the messages and beats to the story needed to take place, but my problem is that it can be condensed even more. The top guys deserve the most TV, especially to sell WrestleMania, but there’s always a chance to cut down on how much time they take while still get the same impact and message across.
WWE Network Commercial
John Cena, Hulk Hogan, and Steve Austin are all hyping this thing in a single commercial That’s ****ing huge; 3 of the biggest stars working together in some way. I don’t even know if all 3 were at the same event before. Besides WrestleMania 21.
The Usos vs The Real Americans
This is a match and feud I’ve been craving. Too bad that it feels like a TV angle more than something that should be developed into a PPV championship match.
Were those really “CM Punk” chants?
What a match! I’ll never get sick of tag team wrestling. The Usos are decently over, while the Real Americans were the big stars in this match, and the crowd loved pretty much every minute of this contest. A great ending sequence as well.
Will his lead to the Real Americans getting a WrestleMania Tag team Title match? I’m hoping so. Though I thought they were booked in the Battle Royal… We’ll see.
An interesting discussion broke out on the Forums concerning Jack Swagger’s value. Some say he’s never going to make it, while myself and others feel that the booking he’s had since leaving ECW has been poor and ruined all sort of his possibilities. Hot Shots to the titles and title shots has been a killer more often than not, and Swagger has been a victim of this sort of booking a couple of times.
I won’t deny he’s lacking on the microphone, but he has a manager that can make up for that. What’s missing now is that he use his size more often, much like he did in ECW. Let him use his true wrestling credential, and ragdoll his opponents around the ring more often. I think he’d be best to go back to the Gutwrench Powerbomb, because he’ll get more clean wins with that move than a submission move. Too often are face wrestlers protected from tapping out, so he’ll rarely become a credible threat, which is odd due to his size and ability. If Alberto Del Rio can get some clean submission wins, so should Swagger.
I think he’s got potential to be a top heel. Not someone like HHH, but more like a King Kong Bundy. With more ability.
Where is this going? I’m very interested. Maybe The Authority or Kane have hired the frustrated midcard faction to be their new backup? Leading to a 6 man tag at WrestleMania?
Who knows, just shooting out some ideas.
Bad News Barrett
I know a common complaint against the first NXT winner in his current character is that it doesn’t lead to any feuds. I find that so incredibly short sighted, especially when the Dudley Boys were most fondly remembered from ECW with their promos on the crowd. What about Rick Rude and Ted DiBiase? They were heels for how they got under the skin of the audience more than with their opponents. Dollar bills down throats, and posing for the women to show them “what a real man looks like” would work today, and so is Barrett. His music and podium rise is getting heat, and his segments have been showing just how strong he is on the mic. I wasn’t a huge fan of his when he won NXT, mostly due to his lack of wrestling ability. But he’s worked some really strong matches on TV with opponents like Orton and Sheamus since then, and really improved in general. I hope he continues to do these Bad News segments, until someone gets pissed off, and takes him on. Bring back the Bull Hammer, or whatever that finisher’s name was. I loved it.
Sheamus vs Titus O’Neil
O’Neil is another that’s really impressed me since NXT. I never thought he’d make it, with his lame face character. But his work as a heel in the Prime Time Playas showed how he can work as the villain, and then the face turn for the PTP let him show a lot more personality as a goofy dude. Now’s he’s back to heel in a singles run, and I think there could be a lot of potential for the guy. He just needs decent booking. He’ll lose tonight, but he can’t afford too many Raw losses.
Christian has been gold on commentary.
So, this feud is continuing? Ok.
Many complained last week that Cena was laughing Bray Wyatt off, and as I predicted, he returned this week and took him much more seriously. It’s the standard Cena feud.
“Plastic girlfriend”??? I wonder how that got through the WWE machine…
Bryan vs Orton
These 2 have not had great chemistry on PPV, but their TV bouts, especially No DQ matches, have been tremendous.
Nice new merch for Daniel Bryan with the foam fingers.
“One More Time” chants. What a time to be a WWE fan.
Masterful job incorporating everyone involved in the title hunt to create interest and drama. As much as it is the Daniel Bryan story, the drama among the 3 former Evolution stable mates is essential to creating the full atmosphere, and it’s been lacking since the match was announced. Massive improvements.
Paul Heyman Promo
Heyman is next? Yes Please!
Fandango vs Goldust
I like this match. Excuse me as I drop the keyboard and just watch.
That is the type of midcard match we need more often. First, it was fast paced, and booked properly to make up for the fact that there isn’t a storyline between the 2 sides. With Goldust being in a team, his partner was by his side so that they both get screen time together. Summer Rae was used in the match in a productive manner. Everything just came together really well for a midcard bout.
I really want to see what The Shield will be doing going forward. I’m following whatever they are doing, and loving it. I just wish I had an idea where it was headed towards.
I skipped the Divas Match.
But I still love AJ’s bum.
Raw needs more matches like this. It should go through a commercial break, too. Capitalize on the exposure for some talents who are currently directionless.
Ryback vs Big E.
Ryback vs Big Show
Ryback vs Mark Henry
Do it WWE.
Lots of attention on Big Show winning this Battle Royal. I think I’ll withdraw my prediction.
But what did I tell you about this match? No real storyline, but you had enough over and interesting guys in there with some momentum, and it gave the rest of the men involved a rub. This is key placement for the midcard. Well done. It’s tough to find reasons to get guys to team up, but they manage to find enough excuses to combine the Divas together randomly.
Bray vs Kofi
I guess Bray needed a squash. Meh.
I hate rap music.
HHH and Daniel Bryan Face Off
I’m interested in what might happen or be said, but I’m not sure what else can or should happen here. Maybe a physical confrontation? Seems early for that, with too much time until Mania.
A handcuffed beatdown works, because it’s one sided. HHH needs to be as close to his vicious 2000-2005 persona.
Man, 3 hours can drain someone. It’s past midnight here, so I tend to find it tough to comment as much at the end of the show as the start of it. So I’ll be back tomorrow to wrap up some thoughts.
And on that note, Peace out
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