(If you don’t like professional wrestling please proceed to another blog post.)
There is plenty wrong with professional wrestling today. Ratings are down, old superstars are retiring, and the WWE can’t seem to book a compelling show. But why? Why is professional wrestling stuck in a slump? There’s a number of reasons, but Daniel Bryan is not one of them.
I’m a simple consumer who sees something good in today’s program. And I’m going to point this out because I’m enjoying it.
A few months ago, I discussed the career of Daniel Bryan and how I was concerned with his future. I still am. Since the last time I discussed it, the WWE did something I feared they would. They had him cash in the Money in the Bank before Wrestlemania.
Bryan doesn’t get the strongest reaction. I was hoping the WWE would give him a better chance to connect with the crowd by letting him wrestle on PPVS and win matches before he became champion. This didn’t happen. Now he’s the world champion.
I watched in apprehension the next RAW after the PPV. Bryan had a nice segment with Punk and won the tag team match for his team. He then had a great match with Dolph Ziggler on Smackdown. He looked like a champion. He really did fit the belt. Then the next Smackdown happened.
He showed heelish tendencies. He mocked the Big Show. He overly celebrated. I wasn’t sure if I wanted him to turn heel. From what I have seen, heel turns are stronger when the audience cares for the person more. I feel like Bryan needed to get a stronger reaction. As one wrestler put it, “You basically have to stab the fans in the heart.” It doesn’t mean much if someone starts being a jerk when you don’t care about them.
Another reason I was worried is that he was facing the Big Show. The Big Show is a great talent but he doesn’t have the best track record in helping out young heels. He stopped Swagger’s push in 2010. He destroyed CM Punk’s Straight Edge Society. He’s a big guy. It’s hard for the audience to care about the person he’s beating up. They don’t look to be a threat. Big Show is always better as a heel.
So this week’s episodes of RAW and Smackdown roll by. I watch both of them. RAW wasn’t great. Bryan beat Cody with a roll-up and celebrated like it was the biggest victory of his career. I wasn’t sure what to make of it.
It all became clear when I watched Smackdown. Bryan faced the Big Show in a pretty good match. I enjoyed every part of it. I was expecting it to be a straight up massacre but he looked really good. He almost made the Big Show tap out. He got himself intentionally disqualified and celebrated like he won the main event of Wrestlemania. I really liked the direction his character was headed. It seemed natural to Bryan. He didn’t come off as looking like a complete pussy. He almost beat a man bigger than him.
Bryan also cut what may be his best promo in the WWE before the match. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0etcZHs9bs
I’m still worried but if the WWE lets Bryan run with this it can be great. We’re still on the road to Wrestlemania though. The WWE can cut the legs out from Bryan at any time and give the title to someone else. I’m enjoying Bryan’s development. He’s a great wrestler. He can be a great heel for the company.