Daniel Bryan's Yes Chants: A Look Back at the WWE Phenomenon
A single, repeated word had an impactful run and aided Daniel Bryan's career in WWE after last year's WrestleMania. Yes! Yes! Yes!
Bryan's "Yes!" chants aren't dead, but it appears a new trend is overtaking it. Fandango's theme song is catching fire, to the point of being on the U.K. singles charts (h/t WrestleZone.com).
Fans playfully hummed the ballroom dancer/wrestler's music on the Raw after WrestleMania 29 and even after the show went off the air.
The biggest difference between the two crazes is that Fandango's popularity is a sign of WWE fans accepting a star the company has pushed on them, whereas the support for Bryan was more of a rebellious act. Bryan had just lost his world title at WrestleMania 28 to Sheamus in just 18 seconds.
Many fans voiced their disapproval in the form of the affirmative chant the next night on Raw.
The crowd in Miami spent much of the night chanting "Yes!" in unison, drowning out other performers and making their feelings obvious to WWE.
In an interview on GQ.com, Tom Breihan asked Bryan his feelings on the chants after WrestleMania. He responded:
I thought the whole thing was unreal, that all these people were getting behind me. Or maybe they weren't getting behind me. Maybe it's just fun to chant "Yes!" But it was really cool. I came out and did a post-show [non-televised] dark match, and there was a really special moment where they were behind me 100%.
Bryan soaked up the moment in an unaired segment. Bryan exited the ring while a mob of fans raised its hands, chanting exuberantly.
If WWE thought then that the chants would fizzle out, it was wrong. It became a sensation that stretched beyond the ropes, beyond the world of WWE.
Things began to get even more omnipresent from there.
Joel McHale did the chant on The Soup. The fad showed up at games for the Ragin’ Cajuns and the Red Bulls. Once, when Oakland Athletic and current beard-off contestant (h/t CBSSports.com) Josh Reddick stepped up to the plate, a section of the fans gave him the Daniel Bryan treatment.
The simplicity of the chant helped make it versatile and catchy. It could be applied to nearly anything. Snow days, raises at work, free sandwiches or a pretty girl accepting a date could all be celebrated with the Bryan-like celebration.
The chant helped Bryan's job security with WWE. Passionate fans ranting on their blogs about how much they love Bryan's work is one thing, but WWE simply couldn't ignore the thunderous response he was getting in arenas across the country.
It became an essential part of his character.
At one point, the storyline became that Bryan believed the fans were mocking him with the "Yes!" chants, and he responded with chants of "No!" Battling Bryan at ringside became a fun part of the show.
This is what led him to need anger management classes, an angle that led to his hugely entertaining run with Kane as a dysfunctional tag team—and the pair winning a tag team championship.
Humming and singing Fandango's theme won't replace Bryan's chants, but it appears to have overtaken them in popularity for now.
"Yes!" chants aren't dead, but they can't maintain the buzz they had at their apex forever. Still, they should be a permanent part of the WWE fan lexicon. They could join "What?" and "Woo!" as chants which last longer than the wrestlers who started them.
The next few months will show us just how powerful the hype surrounding Fandango's theme is when it either pushes him to championship gold the way Bryan's chants did or if it just dissipates with no real gain.
When his theme makes his way to a WWE T-shirt, when fans at a baseball game hum it and when fans make a 10-hour video of the song, then we'll know Fandango has truly arrived.
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