By Will Pruett
For the first time in a long time, there is hope for fans of Daniel Bryan (or people who just want to see the obvious and fantastic story surrounding him told to the fullest). This hope is different than any they received going into SummerSlam, where Bryan was treated like a passionate anomaly, but not a man worth pushing. Coming out of SummerSlam, Bryan was treated like a man who's fan would abandon him if the machine downplayed him enough. They didn't. Now they have hope.
Daniel Bryan didn't win his match. He lost. In this loss, he was presented as the main babyface in the match (ahead of John Cena) and was only defeated when a multitude of unfair circumstances conspired against him. Daniel Bryan isn't the Goat Faced Warrior anymore. He isn't the silly guy with the beard. He is being presented as the top babyface in WWE. This is more than just hope for fans, it's confirmation that they'll get what they wanted all along.
As the pay-per-view went off the air, Michael Cole delivered a passionate tirade detailing the plight of Daniel Bryan from SummerSlam to this show. In the moment where Cole would usually wrap up the show and drive the main story home, Bryan's struggle poured forth. Daniel Bryan is the central story in WWE going into the most important show of the year.
We all know this wasn't the plan all along. WWE didn't want to run with Bryan going into WrestleMania. They didn't want to have to admit their plan of Batista vs. Randy Orton was ill-advised. They've been forced to by a remarkable combination of their own stubbornness and their fans rallying behind a different and unlikely hero.
Daniel Bryan's loss on this show, while frustrating, points to a brighter future. WrestleMania is coming up. WrestleMania XXX is the future.
And now for some random thoughts...
- Maybe WWE's production department is a little overwhelmed by the network's impending debut, but their video package game was weak on this show. The opening package wasn't anything to write home about. The main event package didn't impress me. This was a sad day for video packages.
- Big E had his best singles outing yet in a match against Jack Swagger. I'm surprised at how likely a Swagger win seemed here. Both men worked hard and I'd be interested in a rematch on Raw or Smackdown sometime in the next couple weeks.
- There was an overload of Bad News Barrett on this show and I'm not quite sure why. Did I miss the grand payoff from his multiple appearances?
- What is the point of the New Age Outlaws being WWE Tag Team Champions? They are dragging down every other team in the division. They aren't willing to be true heels and abandon their nostalgic babyface act. What's the point?
- The Uso's did what they could with sub-par opponents. I'm not sure why they didn't win the titles here.
- Darren Young and Titus O'Neal had a tough task. They had to capture the imaginations of fans who didn't care about their feud. This tag team breakup isn't clicking. Their match was fine and Titus looked alright with the win, but I'm not sure this is the best story to tell.
- The Shield and The Wyatt Family tore the house down without even touching. These fans (and everyone at home) wanted and needed to see these teams clash. It was an impressive bit of wrestling storytelling as the teams came face to face.
- WWE has to be happy watching Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, and Dean Ambrose all break out of their shells in six man matches. There is a ton of personality being shown by all three men and The Shield, when it dissolves, will always bring back some fond memories.
- Bray Wyatt looked awesome against The Shield, and almost more importantly, Luke Harper and Eric Rowan performed exceptionally well. Hiding the weaknesses of Harper and Rowan (especially Rowan) is quite important for the success of the Wyatt's and they did so here.
- Color me surprised at Roman Reigns taking the pin against the Wyatt's. I'm not very curious as to where they go from here. I expected Reigns to be protected.
- A.J. Lee vs. Cameron was all sorts of bad. Why did this match need to happen? Give me more network commercials, please.
- At least we have women who can wrestle well, like Emma, playing with toys backstage. The #Emmalution is upon us.
- I'm so proud of the Minneapolis crowd for starting a Boo-Tista chant for Batista. Way to go, guys.
- In (minor) defense of Batista, he did look better in this match than he did in the Royal Rumble. Maybe those house shows are doing him some good.
- I've said this an awful lot, but I'm going to reiterate it here, please give us six months of Cesaro vs. Sheamus. They work really well together and have very complimentary styles. I'm totally for it.
- Christian deserves some credit for playing his part in the six man match well. I'm not going to ask for another Christian run on top (or anywhere near the top), but he is doing some nice work as his career winds down.
- The moment in the final four when Cena and Bryan faced off in the middle of the ring was great. They played the drama really well and the crowd was more than willing to buy in.
- The end was obvious when Kane ran down to the ring, but there was still enough drama built in to keep it interesting. I found myself buying into the story and hoping Bryan would win. There was disappointment afterwards, but sometimes good matches have to disappoint you.
This was the final pay-per-view (in the traditional sense) and it was a great effort, especially in the two matches the show was built on. I'm more optimistic about WWE right now than I have been in a long time. They seem to be finding their way with Bryan and with the WrestleMania stars returning on Raw, they could have some magic on their hands in the next month.
So, what did you think of the show? Agree? Disagree? Either way, feel free to email me at email@example.com or to follow me and interact on twitter at twitter.com/itswilltime.
Pruett's Pause: WWE Elimination Chamber 2014: Randy Orton retains, while providing frustrating reassurance of Daniel Bryan's brighter destiny, The Shield and The Wyatt's go to war, Boo-tista, and more!
Feb 24, 2014 - 01:02 PM
Feb 24, 2014 - 01:02 PM
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