My relationship with wrestling has always had its ups and downs. Wrestling was my first love, even before football, baseball or hockey. Wrestling was with me all through childhood when I was a fan of Hulk Hogan and through my teenage angst period when Steve Austin and DX ruled the airwaves.
Today, my relationship with wrestling is at its lowest point. Wrestling has been so bad to me for so long that some days I feel like I want to give up and get rid of it forever. I keep giving it chances, though, and, sometimes, wrestling is very good to me. CM Punk comes along and delivers his "pipe bomb" promo, the Undertaker and Shawn Michaels steal the show at WrestleMania or Brock Lesnar returns in front of the most raucous crowd in recent memory.
Much like the relationship that is saved by one great Saturday night every couple months, I keep giving my relationship with wrestling "second" chances. Sure, I might skip a week or two here and there, but both of us know that I will be back, typing away on my laptop about the latest tag team or failed babyface push.
Unfortunately, wrestling might have finally run out of chances.
The past three pay-per-views may have broken my spirit for good. Daniel Bryan has been buried so extensively and decisively that I see no way he can recover from it. Last night's loss at Hell in a Cell was the final nail in the coffin, as Shawn Michaels cost his former student the WWE title and helped Randy Orton become champion.
Hey look, John Cena and Randy Orton as the company's champions! This can't go wrong...right, guys? Guys?
On the final Raw before Hell in a Cell, Triple H said that Daniel Bryan was just like Chris Jericho, Edge and Rob Van Dam: A popular wrestler who lacks what it takes to be the "face of WWE" (presumably like the almighty Triple H once was).
As Jericho rightly pointed out, Triple H never was the face of WWE. He was a major player, for sure, but Steve Austin and the Rock made Hunter into what he was. However, Triple H now has the suit coat, much like Vince McMahon, and that makes his word the only word that matters.
Hunter has spent the past few months convincing crowds that Daniel Bryan is a midcard wrestler who doesn't deserve his main event matches. That storyline would usually progress to the point where Bryan wins the big match against his foe to prove the evil heel wrong and win respect for himself in the process.
However, Bryan has lost each and every time that he has had his "big-match moment." It doesn't matter that Triple H screwed him once, or that Big Show interrupted the second time, or that Shawn Michaels superkicked Bryan during his third opportunity at redemption...what matters is he lost. Fans don't want to cheer a loser, and that's exactly what they are doing by backing Bryan.
Soon enough, Bryan will be pushed down the midcard or tag ranks once again, and John Cena or Sheamus will swoop in to save the day.
Don't think it already hasn't started happening, either. Crowd reactions (outside of the "YES!" chants) to Bryan have become noticeably smaller, and people are starting to lose faith in him. To make mattes worse, Randy Orton has been reduced to being Triple H's sniveling henchman while Hunter gets to play the smart-ass heel who is smarter than all the babyfaces.
1. The top heel in the main event storyline is Triple H, who is retired.
2. The second top heel is Stephanie McMahon, who cannot wrestle, has never been a wrestler and is a female and can therefore never be touched. This is a major problem because heels have to get what's coming to them eventually and Stephanie is untouchable. Plus, she's a McMahon, so you know she's never going to look bad.
3. Shawn Michaels may or may not have turned heel at Hell in a Cell, but, then again, who cares? He's retired.
4. Randy Orton is relegated to the background during Hunter and Steph's evil promos. He's so stiff out there that they might as well replace him with a cardboard cutout and give a prize to the fan who notices first.
5. Daniel Bryan is becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy about who belongs in the main event.
I can already hear some of you in the comments section: "Well, they're going to give Daniel the title at WrestleMania! You don't know what you're talking about!"
Look, I shouldn't have to wait until April to see Daniel Bryan win the big match. By that time, he'll have lost so many times that no one will care when he actually wins the title, and then he'll drop it to someone else at the next pay-per-view.
What was wrong with allowing Bryan to win the title from Orton, thus proving he could win the match, and then having Triple H make his life a living hell for a few months?
Also, what match is this whole storyline building toward? We've already seen Orton vs. Bryan, so does that mean I'm supposed to hope it's Bryan vs. Triple H? What about Bryan vs. Shawn Michaels? I really don't know where WWE is going with this and I don't think it does, either.
Which brings me back to my original point: I think it's over. I think professional wrestling as an art form and sport is dead and buried. In its place is whatever this product that WWE presents on a weekly basis with 50-50 booking, completely scripted promos and punishment for the audience when they dare to cheer someone they weren't supposed to. Of course, the death of professional wrestling is the subject of an article for another time (or a book...hmmm).
Will I be back next week to watch? Sure I will. I know I will. However, becoming emotionally invested in a character and hoping that WWE does the right thing for once? That's become near impossible.
Anyways, this article is in place of my usual Raw review tonight because I simply need a week off of the Triple H Show. Maybe Bryan will get some measure of revenge tonight, throw a pie in Steph's face and get a pinfall over Orton in a tag match to show he means business and pop the crowd huge. No matter what happens, I know it won't matter in the end, and that's probably the most disappointing thing of all.