Monday’s Raw was highlighted by a spectacle of a segment where the Yes Movement was personified by hundreds of fans clad in Daniel Bryan T-shirts. Daniel Bryan and the Yes Movement staged a sit-in for two segments until Bryan received his WrestleMania wish.
Chanting, cheering and, most importantly, shilling were all on display as the squared circle was quickly filled with aptly dressed plants in a demonstration that could pass as a WWE.com commercial.
As a result, Daniel Bryan will not only square off against Triple H, he will be inserted into the WrestleMania main event if he is victorious. Regardless of what happens at WrestleMania, the voices of the people were heard loud and clear. The establishment has given in to the Daniel Bryan craze. The Yes Movement won.
Or did it?
With WWE now openly embracing the Yes Movement through merchandise sales and shrewd terms like #hijackRaw to garner social media attention, the Yes Movement is now a for-profit enterprise. What was once an anti-establishment agenda, that forced WWE’s hand and changed the course of WrestleMania, has now been monetized.
Welcome to Yes Movement, Inc.
Daniel Bryan’s status as an underdog is what led to his fervent support. WWE’s storyline dictated that Bryan was seen by executives as a “B-plus player” unfit to be the face of WWE. The more fans heard this rhetoric, the more passionately they backed Bryan.
Daniel Bryan’s movement was never about the WWE World Heavyweight championship. It was about equal opportunity and making sure the shortest kid in the neighborhood basketball game wasn’t picked last. Now that Bryan has successfully become WWE’s "it" guy, it’s only a matter of time before WWE’s aggressive nature turns him heel.
Bryan’s ascension no longer supports the theory of equal opportunity. He is now a top-five merchandise seller, according to Wrestling Inc (via the Wrestling Observer). A significant portion of television time and commercialization is dedicated to this corporate underdog.
Like John Cena, whose hard-edged hip-hop gimmick was eventually mortgaged for mainstream appeal, it will be Bryan who will be a catalyst for resentment. If Daniel Bryan sits atop the WWE for too long, every “yes” chant will be trailed by snarky “no” chants.
Now that the rebellious Daniel Bryan contingent is supposed to be “hijacking,” they’ll inevitably reject that instruction in a very real rebellion to combat the scripted one.
The Yes Movement has been taken from the people and given to the establishment. It was fun while it lasted, but now it’s just business.