TLC has come and gone, and things are looking bright, aren’t they?
The problem with this line of thinking is that I remember thinking that a few times before, even as recent as August. And before that in July.
Fellow main page columnist OniBarubary said it quite well on LOPforums in the Daniel Bryan thread, but it’s hard to be excited for something involving WWE these days, because more often than not (especially recently) the rug is pulled from underneath us. And for the most part, this occurs entirely too soon.
Last night, Smackdown switched directions drastically. The blue brand was dominated over the last few months in a main event scene that could have been labeled “Land of the Giants” . Mark Henry has run roughshod over Smackdown since being drafted over from Raw in April, and has accomplished this with wins over fellow hosses Big Show, Kane, and Ezekial Jackson. He’s demolished everyone in his way, including the seemingly semi-invincible Randy Orton for the World Heavyweight Championship, and in convincing fashion. In fact, it’s been a long time since a heel run like Mark’s has worked so well, and that’s because of the sheer amount of domination he’s delivered onto Friday nights.
No matter what long term plans WWE had with Henry, Big Show and Daniel Bryan, it looks like they had to go with PLAN B, due to an injury to the World’s Strongest Man. The Big Show won the World Heavyweight Title by throwing his devastating right hand, the Weapon of Mass Destruction, and pinning Mark Henry. While Big Show celebrated, Mark Henry attacked the giant with a chair, capping it off with a DDT onto a pile of chairs, laying the new champ unconscious. A small chant arose from a smarkier segment of the crowd of “Dan-iel-Bry-An –clap-clap-clapclapclap”. Soon, the music started, the American Dragon ran with the referee grasped by the collar, and cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase, in a record breaking title win. What record? Well I’m officially calling it the largest size differential between the challenger and the champion, with a new champ declared.
I marked out as it happened. I did, I was quite pumped. It was the best moment of the entire event to see D-Bry hold the World Title, and brag about it to Michael Cole’s face.
But where do we go from here?
See, while CM Punk can brag about the change that’s officially started in the WWE, he should know about the delays with kickstarting new eras. I’m sure he thought he was changing things when he pinned Cena 2 PPVs in a row. Yet now, after losing to HHH in what is still a painfully stupid “booking-on-the-fly” error, he is tweeting the change of the guard.
It all seems a bit premature. While it’s hard to deny that the WWE has jumped on the CM Punk bandwagon, there’s hardly any evidence that Bryan’s win will be anything that rejuvenates the wrestling world. Last night, I had to double take when Michael Cole called Punk a 5-time World Champion. It took 5 titles to allow the WWE to see the worth of Phil Brooks? I don’t like to think of the IWC as a true test ground, but it wasn’t just CM Punk being an indy darling that propelled him into the ECW Title spotlight. Fighting the obvious WWE stubbornness, Punk utilized the recent John Cena slogan, and “Rose Above the Hate” . The funny thing is that Cena means to rise above the hate of the Universe, while supported by the brass, and Punk had the exact fucking opposite scenario. It wasn’t just the IWC who were getting behind Punk, it was a large portion of the WWE audience. He was the WWE’s best heel for almost 2 years, yet refused to take advantage of it.
Why am I discussing CM Punk’s struggles to the main event? Because it definitely correlates to the recent ascension of Daniel Bryan (and Zack Ryder).
Now, I won’t pretend that Bryan has the same talents and tools that Punk does. In WWE land, size, charisma and mic skills count for a lot more than in ring skills, which is the only thing Danielson has over Punk (and even that might be debatable). So it’s hard to see Bryan’s future being nearly as bright as Punk.
So take all the strife Punk had to face to reach that pinnacle, and multiply it significantly, and you have Bryan’s chances of succeeding as a main event talent in WWE. The fact is that a talent like Bryan CAN succeed, but the WWE have somehow lost their touch with someone like him.
To be fair, while they can book a guy as an athlete, they’ve only succeeded once, and he’s become one of the most overrated wrestlers in WWE history: Bret Hart.
I’m not turning this into an anti-Hitman column, because honestly, it’s not that interesting, and it’s based on opinion. The real point to make is that the blueprint Vince used between 1991 and 1997 for Hart is what should be implemented for Daniel Bryan. Hart pulled at our heartstrings by winning the big one as the underdog, and succeeding when he wasn’t expected to. He would outwrestle and outsmart his opponents into a legendary run as WWF champion. His hard work would earn him victories, and the fans would cheer him on for denying the odds, similar to Cena, but it was believable more often due to size and strength disadvantages.
It wouldn’t be that hard to pull off… yet the WWE have already shot themselves in the foot. D-Bry won the title over the world’s largest athlete via a surprise cash-in.
I’m quite confident that creative realized they did not have the tools and brain power to pull off the Wrestlemania title shot with him, and shot their wad in haste. Even if they plan on putting Bryan over the Big Show and/or Mark Henry in the upcoming weeks, it’s still a decision that is staggeringly stupid. Boil it down to the annoying twat named Michael Cole: he’s right. Due to the buffoonery in booking Smackdown’s main event, WWE have given Michael Cole every single weapon needed to justifiably chop down the new World Champion. While calling Daniel a hypocrite is wrong (Cole, he’s a liar, not a hypocrite), it’s now more than enough ammo for fans to hear the voice of the WWE and side with him. We had a wrestler who wanted to go the honest and honorable route, yet cashed in on one of the most beloved personas in today’s wrestling world.
If that’s the case, if someone’s turning heel here, it’s not Big Show.
Now, I may be short sighted, and maybe WWE has a grand plan in place like they did with the Chrsitian title run, which was a huge career boost for him no matter who online tells you otherwise. But my experience tells me that once again, WWE dropped the ball. They can recover…
But they won’t.
And on that note, peace out.
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