Daniel Bryan has traded in his trunks for a jumpsuit and joined the Wyatt Family, and it is a move that has received a mixed reaction from WWE fans.
Daniel Bryan was one of the most "over" Superstars we had seen in years, and to turn him heel and join a group as crazy as the Wyatt Family was a big risk for WWE to take.
But with big risk can come big reward, and there are a lot of ways this could play out for Bryan. Let's take a look at the pros and cons of turning Bryan into a Wyatt.
First the pros.
Bryan as a Heel.
Daniel Bryan has been a babyface for a while, but he really got to where he is during his heel days, and giving him a chance to play a heel again could be the thing that lets Bryan really prove his worth and cement himself as a top name.
It has always seemed like WWE wanted to capitalize on Bryan's ability and popularity, but they didn't trust him enough to carry the company's top title.
Bryan is always producing the best bouts, and he is obviously popular with every kind of WWE fan, but he hasn't been given the chance to stay in the main event for very long.
As a heel (and as a tweener while partnering with Kane), Bryan proved that he is able to portray more than just a bland babyface, but lately he seems to have fallen into that trap. Being a member of the Wyatt Family might be just what Bryan needs to remind everyone that he is as versatile a character as he is a wrestler.
Keeps the Wyatt Family Fresh.
The Wyatt Family debuted with a lot of hype in a feud against Kane, but after their abduction the story was abandoned and never resolved.
They then spent a few months floating from feud to feud until they came across Daniel Bryan. Wyatt's goal of recruiting Bryan has been an ongoing storyline for a couple months, and now we have a new twist.
It actually worked. Bryan joined the Wyatt Family and turned heel, effectively turning him from one of the most popular Superstars into someone the fans are split on, but the Wyatt Family as a whole will benefit from this storyline.
The Eventual Face Turn Will Be Great.
Daniel Bryan turning heel and joining the Wyatt Family might not be a universally loved decision, but the eventual turn back to babyface for Daniel Bryan will make him more popular than ever.
Nobody expects Daniel Bryan to be a career heel. He is just too good as a babyface to be booed for very long. His matches are too good and his popularity is too high.
It's always possible that WWE is having Bryan infiltrate the group in order to break them apart and defeat them eventually, but if there is a long-term plan in place for Bryan as a heel, we have an epic face turn to look forward to.
These are just three of the upsides of Daniel Bryan joining the Wyatt Family.
Now let's look at the cons.
We Lost a Hero and an Underdog.
Daniel Bryan is the kind of guy who appeals to everyone. The hardcore fan loves him for his wrestling ability. The casual fan loves him for his unique look and style. We love him because he is an underdog.
But WWE took that away from us. By turning Bryan heel, a lot of fans became upset that one of their heroes was now a villain.
Again, this might be a short-term plan on Bryan's part in order to trick the Wyatt Family, but it could also be a real heel turn, which has upset quite a few fans.
His rise to stardom came during his first real heel run, but his massive popularity came about when he turned back into a good guy.
Heels Win the Battles, But Not the War.
As a heel, the odds of Bryan winning big matches go down. Fans mostly like to see the good guys win, and WWE gives fans what they want (most of the time) to keep them coming back.
2013 did not see a big difference in heel and babyface PPV victories, but the good guys had a slight advantage. The following stats will include pre-show matches.
- Royal Rumble- 4/5 Babyface Victories
- Elimination Chamber- 4/8 Babyface Victories
- WrestleMania 29- 6/9 Babyface Victories
- Extreme Rules- 6/9 Babyface Victories
- Payback- 3/8 Babyface Victories
- Money in the Bank- 3/8 Babyface Victories
- SummerSlam- 5/9 Babyface Victories
- Night of Champions- 4/9 Babyface Victories
- Battleground- 3/8 Babyface Victories (One match went to a no-contest)
- Hell in a Cell- 5/9 Babyface Victories
- Survivor Series- 5/8 Babyface Victories
- TLC- 5/9 Babyface Victories
This means that out of a possible 99 PPV and pre-show matches in 2013, 52 matches were won by babyfaces. Not a big difference, but one that seems to be the trend year after year.
If Bryan stays heel for a while, he will probably lose more often. It's just the way it is in wrestling. Ric Flair talks about never winning any matches while he was a heel with the Four Horseman. It's the heel's job to get the babyface over.
He Might Be Forced to Tone Down His Style
The best part about Daniel Bryan is his ability. He can have a great match with just about anybody, and he is always pulling moves out of his bag of tricks that he has never used in a WWE ring to keep himself fresh.
Being a heel means he isn't supposed to hit the big exciting spots to pop the crowd. That's the babyface's job. Bryan is supposed to look like a bully and take a beating during the babyface's comeback.
It's hard to boo a guy who is getting "This is Awesome" chants for his matches. His style might get more brutal to make him look like a legit heel, but he has always been more exciting to watch as a babyface.
Trying to fit in with the much larger Superstars of the Wyatt Family might bring out a new side of Daniel Bryan, but it will likely see him rein in the exciting moves.
Daniel Bryan joining the Wyatt Family is one of those moves that is hard to gauge. It could be great for Bryan's career, or it could completely take him out of the main events.
Hopefully WWE has some grand plan in place and this all pays off, but for now we just have to sit and wait to see what happens.
What do you think? Was putting Daniel Bryan with The Wyatt Family the right move or is it going to bring Bryan down?
Thanks for reading, and follow me on Twitter @BR_Doctor.