There’s a weird thing that happens whenever Daniel Bryan gets in front of a crowd of people and start chanting “Yes!”. It’s not fear as much as an awareness of the inevitability of whatever magic he’s caught in a bottle running out. He’s so “hot” and so “over” right now, hitting every single button perfectly and coming up big in every possible way. But, it still feels like the other shoe is going to drop. Not on his career, but on this incredible run. And after that, it becomes increasingly hard to say what will happen to him after this. At what point does his career the point of no return. Will there ever be a time where we — meaning fans of him — don’t feel like he’s on his way “back to the midcard”. Or, because this is the Reality Era, do we just have to accept that all good things come to an end, and there’s no way of knowing when?
They need to stop putting together talented trios with great storylines built around them, or Chikara is going to sue them for copyright infringement. That said, I swear to God, if people don’t stop booing Big E. by association, I’m going to start throwing hands. LOVE BIG E., OR YOU’LL GET THE MASON RYAN AGAIN!
HAVING SAID THAT, the stuff they let Luke Harper and Bray Wyatt do are more a function of Randy Orton than any of us realize. Instead of constraining performers based on their size — and this is your weekly reminder that Randy Orton is a giant monster — they constrain them based on their abilities. The Heyman mantra of accentuating the positives have been full incorporated into the way that performers are developed now in the company. There’s a been a transition from “you’ll learn by doing” to “you’ll learn, then do”. The incubator of NXT in particular has made it so big guys like Wyatt, Harper and Big E. can learn what looks plausible, what looks good and what’s the best combination of the two without having to do it in front of anyone who doesn’t spend the majority of their time thinking about what does and doesn’t work in a wrestling ring. So they have that going for them, which is nice.
Why can’t we have nice things that don’t involve Santino uncomfortably dry-humping them?
*** WARNING YOU ARE NOW ENTERING A WRESTLING NERD DISCUSSION ZONE *** PLEASE KEEP YOUR EYES AND EARS INSIDE OF KAYFABE AT ALL TIMES *** Until last night, if you were picking a horse in the “greatest non-playable characters” derby, the favorite on the board would have been Bobby Heenan. Along with the intense pull of nostalgia, The Brain’s work — both in terms of longevity and peak — stood separate from anyone else’s. Everything he did seemed to exist above whatever was happening in front of him, even when he was directly involved in whatever was happening in front of him. The ’92 Rumble stands out in particular, as Heenan played heel, heel manager, sympathetic fan wanting to see his favorite make it and color commentator at the same time. While Flair’s tour de force performance would have likely be extremely enjoyable and memorable, but without Heenan, it wouldn’t have been transcendent.
Heenan, like Heyman, understood the importance of being “above it all” as a tool of “heeldom” (for lack of a better term). Heenan could see the forest from the trees: he was able, both in real life and in front of the camera, to be entirely cognizant of what he could say/do and to whom. Last night, for the first time, it became clear that Heyman has reached the same place. He completely understands his place in the company — as the mouthpiece for the company’s biggest draw — and moreso, as the “greatest manager of all time”. And while he’s been that for a very long time, him being able to acknowledge that has completely changed the dynamic of his character on camera. He’s no longer a drifter passing through town on his way to another promotion, but a permanent fixture on television.
This has given him a certain level of inherent stature to everyone that was “missing” until he said what he said and did what he did on this Raw, not once but twice. He’s established himself on the level of other real life agents and advocates, and allowed his character to transcend his surroundings. He no longer has to be afraid that he’s going to be sent home, that his work won’t be appreciate or that he’ll offend the wrong person at the wrong time. He’s no longer the person you brought in for someone who can’t talk, a means to an end. He’s now a made man, who makes all the other people that come along with him into Paul Heyman guys and more importantly, made that into something more than a t-shirt. *** WARNING YOU ARE NOW EXITING A WRESTLING NERD DISCUSSION ZONE *** PLEASE ENJOY YOUR COMPLIMENTARY SONIC MILKSHAKE ON THE WAY OUT ***
Yr correspondent is normally indifferent to whatever booking decisions are made by the “powers that be”, but last night was the first time I realized that I was a genuine fan of the Usos and not just someone who likes all of wrestling all of the time equally. There was a pit in my stomach when I felt what was coming and an overwhelming sense of relief that, while they weren’t made to look “good”, they kept what gives them value to casual fans: the belts. But, mark my words. If they lose the titles to the new Evolution, I’m writing my Congressman.
If there is one concern about the new wave of NXT performers, it’s that they are all jokes. Wonderful jokes that will be more fun to watch than we’ll know what to do with, but with the obvious caveat that JOKES DON’T WIN CHAMPIONSHIPS. Well, important championships.
Replace Damien Sandow with Jerry Lynn, and I’d hate this match. This was a very UGH free show, but RVD returning at least made the UG come out.
I’M AFRAID I’VE GOT SOME BAD NEWS! JUST KIDDING, THIS IS THE BEST NEWS EVER!!!!!!!!!
Okay, the second best news ever, because Lana saying “Rusev, CRUSH”.
Listen, I may hate you for it, but you can be a homophobic, weirdo sociopath all you want. It’s the price you pay for freedom. But, a full length duster with your picture airbrush on the back? That’s a bridge too far.
Awww, Paige! You botched your first move on the main roster! Welcome to the Divas Division!
Okay, so remember when I said that whole thing about NXT performers all being jokes and how jokes don’t win championships? I lied, because I AM A BO-LIEVER!
In the past three days, I have “marked out” — meaning completely lost my shit (in a good way) as a wrestling fan because of something simultaneously happening that was simultaneously all I could ever hope for and completely unexpected — more times than in the previous eight months combined. And more than half of those involved Cesaro or Paul Heyman. So Cesaro announcing his was a Paul Heyman guy, then Paul Heyman holding the Andre the Giant trophy that Jack Swagger broke pretty much made me mark out and go to wrestling heaven.
When you’re a wrestling fan, you’re always chasing a big, louder, more intense pop. There are pops that are perfectly timed, pops that are bring your attention to a single point, there even pops for when things go terribly wrong. There are pops for when someone like Daniel Bryan does something the crowd likes, and for when someone like Big E. does something to win a crowd over who isentirely against him (even if it’s only for a second.) There are pops for when someone says something cutting and for when someone says says their catchphrase. There are pops when half the audience gets what happens while the other half races to catch up, crescendo in the way that singing in the round does when it’s done properly done. There are pops at the end of well-executed blowoff matches for well-executed storylines, pops for things like Money in the Bank cash-ins and pops for people winning their first champions. Then, there’s the pop you heard when Roman Reigns speared HHH. That’s the sound of a star being born.