The Delco Elbow Drop

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Raw, December 30 - Daniel Wyatt?!

The last episode of Raw from 2013 had a few huge surprises in store for fans. The Shield is starting to show cracks and Brock Lesnar returned with Paul Heyman (with the blessing of Triple H no less) to demand a title shot at the Royal Rumble. But the most shocking moments happened as the show was winding down. The unthinkable has finally happened – Bray Wyatt and the Family have broken Daniel Bryan.

For weeks now, the Family has been hounding the tenacious underdog, dogging him at nearly every turn. Not content to just beat him up in the ring, the Family have attacked Bryan backstage numerous times, abducting him and even throwing him from a loading dock to the cement below. Bryan is accustomed to fighting adversity in the ring but fighting against the behemoth members of the Family and the deranged ideals of Bray Wyatt is entirely new territory for him.

With Bray Wyatt in his sights, Bryan asked for a one-on-one match with the leader of the Family. Brad Maddox, General Manager of Raw, was happy to oblige – on one condition. Bryan would have to face – and defeat – Luke Harper and Erick Rowan in consecutive matches if he wanted a shot at Bray. A challenge that Bryan gladly accepted.

Harper fell to Bryan, as did Rowan. But as soon as Bray stepped in the ring to face Bryan, his hulking brutes Harper and Rowan entered the ring and quickly brought about an end to the match. On paper, Daniel Bryan defeated all three member of the Wyatt Family in a row but in the ring, Bryan was brutalized and left in a heap.

Recently, Bray has been extending an offer to Bryan – join the Family and together they will bring down the machine. An offer that Bryan has been quick to decline at every turn. On Raw, Bray made it clear that this would be the end of his offers, the end of his affinity for the underdog Superstar. As Wyatt lifted Bryan from the mat by his hair to tell him this would be the end, two words slid from Bryan’s mouth that most thought they would never hear.

“You’re right.”

The crowd was stunned. Even Bray looked shocked and told Bryan to repeat himself. A loud “No!” chant broke out through the crowd but it was too late – far too late.

Bryan admitted Bray was right all along. No matter how hard he fought. No matter how loudly the fans cheered – he would never have the support of the Authority and would never be the face of the WWE. Facing a future of continued attacks from the Wyatts and no support from the Authority, Bryan accepted that his only choice was to become part of the Wyatt Family.

As Harper and Rowan drug Bryan to the back, Bryan struggled to regain his feet and walk under his own power. For a moment it seemed he might have a moment of clarity and forsake the decision he had just made – but he continued on his path, pausing only momentarily to survey the dismayed crowd, and followed Bray to the back as the show ended.

The way Raw ended was one of the most incredible bits of storytelling the WWE has produced in a long time. Many people on the internet haven’t fully believed in the potential of the Wyatt Family but after the way that segment was carried out, I don’t know how you couldn’t be completely hooked.

Daniel Bryan, to indy fans and even casual WWE fans now, is the hardest working wrestler and one of the most impressive wrestlers on the planet today. All the success he has enjoyed in the main event scene over the past year hasn’t come from backstage politicking but from his work ethic in the ring and his genuine personality connecting with the audience, making his rise to popularity all the more impressive. And even considering all that, the Authority still hasn’t seen fit to make him “the face of the WWE.”

Bryan has fought overwhelming odds in his WWE career. He came back from one of the most humiliating Wrestlemania losses ever (losing the World Heavyweight Championship in 18 seconds at Wrestlemania 28) to become a huge fan favorite, and Tag Team Champion, as part of Team Hell No. Since then, he has defeated John Cena cleanly (important to note as Cena rarely losses at all, let alone clean) and held the WWE Championship twice, even though both reigns combined equaled less than a day as champion. His popularity is at an all-time high and yet, the Authority still doesn’t think he has “it.”

But the Wyatt Family does. Despite his methods, Bray Wyatt has been one of the only supporters of Daniel Bryan throughout his current problems with the Authority. Wyatt sees the potential in Bryan even if the Authority can’t. He can see what the fans can see and now, Daniel Bryan finally sees as well.

My take…
This current storyline will hopefully continue through Wrestlemania, leading to Daniel Bryan defeating Brock Lesnar for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WM30.

With Triple H welcoming Brock and Heyman back on Raw and Lesnar stating his intention of capturing the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, it seems like the Authority has added another huge weapon to their arsenal – one that already contains Randy Orton, Kane, and the Shield. It sounds weird to say, since Lesnar and Heyman have both been at odds with Triple H and Stephanie over the past year or so but “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer” seems to be the theme in WWE these days.

I don’t think Daniel Bryan necessarily wants to join the Family but he really has no other choices anymore. His former friend, Kane, now works for the very same Authority that has been so intent on keeping him out of the championship picture. And for weeks now, at every turn, the Family has been right behind Bryan, waiting to strike. But with the Family at his back instead of on it, Bryan has forged an incredibly strong alliance with some very powerful Superstars.

Whether it’s the Rumble or the Elimination Chamber, Bryan will win a shot at the WWE Heavyweight Championship with the help of the Family. And at each turn, he’s going to lose more and more fan support. But in the end I think we will see the popularity of Daniel Bryan turning the Family faces against the nefarious Authority. (Mainly because the Authority just can’t be faces – much like Cena can’t be a heel)

Though the Authority and the Wyatts have been operating under the same roof for months, they have never crossed paths. Never really had a reason to. But I have to believe that the Authority won’t overlook – can’t overlook – the threat that Bryan poses now that he has the support of Bray Wyatt. Keeping this in mind, Kane will be used by the Authority to brutalize his former friend at every turn, eventually earning Bryan and the Family sympathetic face heat from the crowd.

If they wanted to make this even more convoluted, it could be revealed that Kane has been working with the Family since Summerslam to take down the Authority from the inside. Kane disappeared after losing to Bray in an inferno match at Summerslam and returned weeks later, only to freely offer himself to the Authority – a move that seemed very out of character for Kane.

And if that’s the case, the clues have been in front of our faces the entire time. Bray has said numerous times that “The devil made him do it” whenever referencing his actions and who, on the WWE roster, most resembles a demonic entity? That’s right – the Big Red Machine, Kane. Kane is very close to Daniel Bryan and understands his potential and used Bray Wyatt to push Bryan into an open confrontation with the Authority. Kane knows that on his own, Bryan would not be allowed to achieve the WWE World Heavyweight Championship but with powerful allies like the Family, he might finally be able to earn what has been kept from him for so long.

However, I don’t necessarily think that Kane will have been working for the Family this whole time. It would be weird to overlook his connection to the Family, since it ushered such a dramatic change in his character, but having him pulling the strings in a storyline that will turn the devious Family into faces would just be too convoluted.

To be honest, turning the Family into faces seems like a very daunting task as well – but in my estimation the WWE would be making a big mistake turning Daniel Bryan full heel (as in, not turning the Family face because of him). He’s one of the most – if not THE most – over face in WWE right now, rivaled only by John Cena. No one gets as loud of a pop as Bryan when they enter. Cena gets plenty of boos as well as cheers, but only D-Bry can claim a huge, positive reaction whenever he shows up. To take that away from the fans could be hugely detrimental to the product.

It’s a big risk WWE is taking right now, aligning their most over face with a group of heels who don’t get nearly the same amount of jeers as Bryan does cheers. It’s a move that could end up alienating more fans than gaining but if they play their cards right, this storyline could be the beginning of Daniel Bryan’s first true reign as champion and the creation of legitimate stars in the Wyatt Family.

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An avid gamer and long-time pro wrestling fan, stay tuned to Grizzly Gaming and the Delco Elbow Drop for game reviews and pro wrestling news.

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