WWE: Daniel Bryan and 4 Other Reasons to Love WWE Right Now
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I must confess: It took almost an hour for me to "come down" after watching Monday Night RAW. It’s been years since I felt adrenaline like I felt coming off that show.
This confused some of my wrestling fan friends, who maybe thought I was saying this was the best RAW in many, many years. What I was saying was this: WWE has more diversity than any time I can remember, and more potential in that diversity.
This may be the first time since the height of WCW that one company can boast the best of the past, present and future.
I hope you are excited; I hope you love what’s going on. In case you are not quite there, allow me to highlight the magnitude of talent that is circling the WWE as you read these words.
The Attitude Era (Past)
The door remains open to a potential return
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The Rock has never been a personal favorite of mine. It would be a lie to say I was anything less than bitter when The Rock, not Steve Austin, got the match with Hulk Hogan so long ago.
Does that mean I don’t understand his appeal? His charisma? His reach?
I was no happier when The Rock went over John Cena than I was when he got the match with Hulk Hogan, but that doesn’t stop me from understanding the potential with The Rock versus much of the WWE roster.
I was glad to hear his vision. I was glad we could open up the conversation on The Rock beyond Rock vs. John Cena.
It also opens the door to the aforementioned "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, who has steadily beat the drum that he is healthy enough to wrestle one match or full-time.
I trust the judgment of Austin over almost anyone around. I believe he knows the wrestling business that well and will settle for nothing less than quality.
I believe there is a strong possibility Austin will return. The Rock is not completely going away. These men are at the disposal of the WWE as potential active wrestlers. All of WWE is better for that.
And that is just one of the reasons to love the WWE right now.
The Era After Attitude (Past)
The long-lost appeal of crossing over
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I was met with a mixed reaction after the Brock Lesnar arrival when I commented, this is what it was like to watch wrestling during the Monday Night Wars!
I meant this in two regards.
The first was concerning the unreal reaction from the live crowd all night long. People forget this is how it was almost every night at the height of the Monday Night Wars.
The second was Lesnar almost jumping ship to arrive back in WWE. OK, yeah, it’s different. UFC is not WCW, and Lesnar had to retire. But it’s damn close in that Lesnar has a shine and a buzz from being someplace else that he would not have had if he had been sitting home all these years.
In a world without a real strong wrestling alternative, it is almost impossible for someone to come in (or back) from someplace else. Yet Lesnar did exactly that: He came from someplace else.
WWE has a window to capitalize on this excitement.
They have the best of the Attitude Era. They have the best of the era following. They have UFC’s Lesnar (or, WWE’s UFC’s Brock Lesnar…).
And these are just two of the reasons to love what WWE is doing right now.
Those Ring of Honor Guys (Present)
Still at it; still a fan favorite
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Like The Rock, CM Punk has never been a personal favorite of mine. Still, I understand what he can do in the ring and on the mic.
I understand what he can do because I’ve seen what he has done. He has revolutionized the current WWE era. John Cena is currently a man who is most recognizable on his back on the outside of the ring.
Whereas CM Punk has become synonymous with WWE champion and has helped pave the way for the now almost-magical Daniel Bryan.
I posted on Bryan yesterday, and I plan to try out a weekly, Saturday evening “This Week in Daniel Bryan” article, so I will not belabor the point on him.
I will just say re-watch the reaction in Miami while focusing your mind on the word "unglued." That should be enough to suffice.
WWE is now boasting the best of its past with a strong and growing present roster.
But those are not the only reasons to love what WWE is doing right now.
Dean Ambrose, Future Threat
What the WWE has been missing. Photo courtesty of wwe-zone.ru
On March 12, 2012, I posted an article calling Dean Ambrose a future threat. With the help of my brother, I compared him to everyone from Brian Pillman to The Dark Knight's Joker.
I also compared his potential to that of Mick Foley.
It seems the future arrived early, and the threat may not be far behind. Guess who Ambrose confronted on WrestleMania weekend.
That's right, Mr. Mick Foley himself.
Isn’t it the perfect place to launch Ambrose?
WrestleMania has become the “Shh. Not so loud. Be on your best behavior. There are non-wrestling fans watching!” weekend.
So, there is no better time to bring in the clowns. Dressed spiffy to get in the door, a well-dressed psycho clown.
Even when I can’t hear Ambrose in the video, he makes me uncomfortable. Notice how close he gets to Foley, how he whispers in his ear. Notice how he keeps throwing out the word accountable without need to explain what or why.
This excites me because it tells me WWE understands Ambrose's character, and hopefully they will do nothing to stifle it.
I hope they keep the word accountable involved.
Guys like Foley, who made his way as Cactus Jack, Mankind and Dude Love, but now plays the writer/activist Foley, could use a mad man to teach them accountability.
WWE is big and powerful and unaccountable.
But if they let Ambrose be Ambrose, all the world may be paying for their sins soon. Whether they committed any or not.
Along with guys like Seth Rollins, the future of WWE is now as accessible as the past and present. And that only leaves one group.
The WWE Others
The future is a crowded market
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Perhaps you’ve read everything I’ve had to say and you are still not happy. Maybe you don’t want to be. Perhaps you are used to having more reasons to complain than to rejoice.
Well, depending on who you are, this might be your opportunity.
You might be huffing and puffing because Dolph Ziggler is not a world champion anymore, or that Cody Rhodes hasn’t yet been one.
I get it. Really, I do.
I am a lifelong fan of Christian, and (no offense to the guys mentioned above) I think he’s done more than Ziggler and Rhodes combined.
But he’s always had a bit of a ceiling with Vince McMahon. Good news is we don’t know that to be true for the others.
If Ziggler or Rhodes or fill-in-the-blank-with-your-favorite-non-world-champion deserves to be world champion, that person will raise his game accordingly. Or else, go the way of John Morrison.
The one thing wrestling has taught us over the years is competition makes everyone better. Everyone who truly wants it, that is.
Look at Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels, at Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero, at CM Punk and Daniel Bryan.
I see great potential in WWE guys like Ziggler and Rhodes. I also see weaknesses.
It will be interesting to see who rises, who falls and who maintains.
But, for me, it’s just one more thing to love about WWE right now: nothing is guaranteed, nor should it ever be.