WWE Raw: Can Daniel Bryan Truly Carry the 'Yes Movement'?

Tyler GroteCorrespondent IIJanuary 28, 2014

Stephanie McMahon, Executive Vice President, Creative for WWE,  arrives at the Superstars of Hope honors Make A Wish Foundation event at The Beverly Hills Hotel on Thursday, August 15, 2013 in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Paul A. Hebert/Invision/AP)
Paul A. Hebert/Associated Press

Question: Are you chanting "Yes!" because you're genuinely a fan of Daniel Bryan, or are you doing it to illustrate your disgust for creative?

It's relatively easy to blast the decisions made by WWE creative of late, but it's a brutal mistake to assume The Authority isn't playing along. We may have a plethora of creative adjectives to describe Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, but stupid shouldn't be one of them.

They know what's happening. And rather than own up to recent poor booking, it looks as if they're going to turn the "Yes Movement" inward to begin its inevitable unraveling. And in my opinion, that is entirely possible, for two very obvious reasons:

1) Not every crowd can replicate the efforts of Seattle and Pittsburgh.
2) Daniel Bryan isn't good enough on the mic to carry this.

Reason why No. 1 is so important: Unless the Universe can articulate its disappointment to the magnitude of Pittsburgh, expect The Authority to soak up every cheap pop that Batista's 50-plus fireworks entrance can muster. Expect creative to be content with John Cena being the company's top face, so long as "Let's go Cena!" precedes "Cena sucks!" 

So long as the fans continue to give writers anything, as weak as it is, they'll have grounds to label their ideas a success. And last night was a pretty big step back, mainly because Cleveland unfortunately lived up to every negative stereotype about itself.

How hard is it to coordinate a "Yes!" chant? "Dan-iel Bry-an!" seems relatively easy to shout in unison. But Cleveland appeared to struggle, so much to the point that The Authority took the opportunity to poke fun at the crowd while thoroughly dismantling Bryan on the mic.

By the way, if you're from Cleveland, don't be offended. I'm from Cincinnati, we follow the script here too—cheer the faces, boo the heels, sit, stand when told. 

The second point, if not painstakingly obvious prior to last night, became irrefutable on Raw. Fans of Daniel Bryan, and I do consider myself one of them, there is simply no mistaking that mediocrity is Bryan's ceiling, at least on the mic.

And for that, I do not think he's capable of carrying this movement. In fact, notice how the cheers sometimes get noticeably weaker when he's calling for them. And he's calling for them virtually every other sentence.

Daniel Bryan is phenomenal as a character of empathy. That's where he draws his support, that's why most of us can pull for him. He's the little guy with a heart thrice his size and a desire to put on for paid admission. He's the guy being blocked by the creative team none of us can stand—that is the appeal.

But most of that evaporates when he gets on the mic and can do no better than to acknowledge how popular he's become. And again, I'm confident Triple H and Stephanie recognize as much. 

That's not good for the future of Bryan. Because let's be honest with ourselves: Are we still going to cheer this guy to this extent if and when he's carrying the belt and jumping on the mic nightly? Are we still going to cheer "Yes!" when it no longer becomes a beacon of rebellion and instead becomes the company's biggest marketing tag line?

I don't think so. Name any Superstar who's ever had pops of this magnitude, name any one of them. They could all carry a promo without it getting awkward or stale. They all made outstanding television whenever they had the mic: Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, Chris Jericho, Hulk Hogan, CM Punk, etc. 

I know, best of all time on the mic, I'm aware. But look at the reactions Bryan is getting—are they not of that caliber? Are they not worthy of comparison?

People, I'm asking an honest question: How long can Daniel Bryan sustain this movement? Without the necessary skills on the mic, how do you keep him involved? How do you entrust him to sell the company when he can hardly sell himself?

You could argue that the company is doing that right now with Randy Orton. And you would be right. Orton has virtually no mic skills either, yet the WWE is content to let him be the champion and hand him a mic at every live event. All true. 

But our discontent is the result of that. That's exactly why we're chanting "Yes!" during an Orton-Cena title match. 

By the way, I'm not buying The Authority's gift to fans by having a Bryan promo open up Raw. Nope, the real promo that they truly wanted to hype was Lesnar, Orton and Bastista. That's not a game The Authority is playing—that's probably creative's next two to three three months of action. The faction honestly wanted this to garner noise.

And it sucks, because Randy Orton is a boring champion and Batista is a boring challenger. Brock Lesnar is a believable heel, but he works best when put against a great face. Tell me you wouldn't cheer Lesnar against either of Triple H's pupils.

So eventually, The Authority will give in and put Bryan in the spot. In the ring, I have no doubt Bryan can live up to the hype. But I think the Yes Movement is more a tool to express our dissatisfaction and less of a means to support Daniel Bryan the wrestler. 

Isn't it?

What happens if and when The Authority takes it back and tries to use it as a tool to market the WWE Championship? Is it still going to carry the same weight in arenas, knowing that The Authority wants you to be chanting "Yes!" instead of shouting nothing?

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the "Yes!" chants are 100 percent genuine and we truly buy into this guy carrying WWE into the future. Maybe Bryan matures into a verbal talent that matches or exceeds his in-ring ability. 

But I can't help but think that when the WWE channels our disapproval into a marketing machine to support its new champion, we won't be able to replicate the intensity of our current discontent.

That enormous task will land squarely on the shoulders of Daniel Bryan, and while his small frame can take the punishment in-ring, I doubt it can carry the titanic weight of our expectations.