This past Monday on WWE's Monday Night Raw, we had a beat the clock challenge for the No. 1 contender spot for the WWE Championship. The winner of that challenge was former World Heavyweight Champion and Smackdown star Daniel Bryan. While Bryan was all about the YES! chant, the crowd in Dayton, Ohio was not there. It would appear the "What?" chant returned for the night instead.
Bryan's YES! chant has been going on for some time, but not until the hot Miami crowd at WrestleMania did the YES! Chant really explode. The following Monday, still being in Florida, continued the chant and grew the popularity of Bryan despite the fact that he lost his championship in 18 seconds on the grandest stage of them all.
For weeks, we would see YES! signs, hear the YES! chants during any superstar's work on the mic and several times, we've seen a line of men either with the individual letters of YES! or each with the word itself. But this past Monday in Dayton, all I really saw were some small signs that looked to have been printed on standard 8x11 computer paper.
What brings a crowd to respond to a superstar and their chants or gimmicks is often unpredictable. Mick Foley's Mr. Socko was a complete fluke. As told in one of his biographies, he donned the sock as a joke when Vince was in the hospital, and the next week, everyone in the crowd had sock puppets and Mr. Socko signs.
The longest-running chant that seems to never be going away is the one made famous by Stone Cold Steve Austin. "What?" was made famous by the rattlesnake back in the Attitude Era. Stone Cold began the catchphrase, and it hasn't stopped regardless of Austin not even being back on television.
Most recently, it plagued R-Truth when he finally acknowledged the crowd and said, "Don't What Me!", which, of course, only made the crowd do it more every week no matter where he went.
Daniel Bryan's YES! seems to be coming to a conclusion; it very well can be because the largest backing of Bryan fans are the ones who always felt he wasn't getting a fair shot. They felt the Indie superstar deserved more, better matches and title shots. Once he got it, it seemed the outcries for Daniel Bryan and his boosting seemed to have mellowed out.
With an upcoming title match against CM Punk, a friend and former Indie sensation as well, it's very possible that it may come back on the rise. It will take a bigger crowd, some larger signs and a bit more than what Bryan has to offer for it to ever reach "What?" status, but in the WWE Universe, anything is possible.