Lately, the hype for Daniel Bryan has reached an all-time high.
The initial shock of his Money in the Bank win was big, but many expected him to drop the case to Cody Rhodes or Wade Barrett.
Instead, Bryan has held on and kept moving forward. Now, he sits at the crossroads between being a star and becoming a main eventer.
I, for one, am a huge fan of Bryan. He is quite possibly the greatest wrestler in the world, and he has many other subtle things going for him than many don't notice.
Now, we all know that Bryan can wrestle like a main eventer. I would contend he can talk like one too, given the opportunity.
However, there is something not quite in place yet. Bryan is good, even great, but he is not a WWE main eventer.
Why? Because of his character.
Bryan right now is portrayed as a small, nerdy figure who knows a thing or two about wrestling. That is not a threatening or star making character.
So I have a few suggested tweaks that Bryan could make to make himself a star in the main event. These 10 suggestions are not full blown character changes, as they are ways to transition him from mid-card IWC darling to full-blown superstar.
This is so important.
Bryan right now plays things so close to the chest. He gets angry occasionally and allows himself to go all out; however, he needs more of an attitude about it.
Bryan needs to go after his opponents.
His newest shirt is a warning and a a threat as it says that everyone taps.
That is the kind of phrase or mantra that would push Bryan to a much more interesting character, but instead it only means (at the moment) that his LaBell Lock is vicious.
In order to become a star, he needs to tap into that aggression that he has locked inside.
He needs to not just fly around, kick his opponents, and slap on the LaBell Lock.
He needs to take the chances to assault his opponents and make them feel pain. That would make him more interesting.
It's okay to smile every once in a while, but not every baby face in the company has to be Kofi Kingston and have an eternal grin glued to their face.
Seriously, he is ten times cooler when he has that angry and focused expression.
When he is smiling, it seems as though everything is a joke to him, and he can't have that.
The smile fuels the fires of guys like Michael Cole who call him a nerd and don't take him seriously.
I am saying he should stop smiling.
He should certainly be happy when he has won something or accomplished a goal.
However, smiling when he comes down to the ring for a regular match is not a positive trend for his character.
This is multi-faceted.
First, Bryan needs to explain his actions better at times.
The fact that he decided never to cash in on an injured Henry and Christian on PPV, but he would cash in on a prone Henry at SmackDown makes no sense.
That however is a minor quibble.
The main point here is showing off his in ring intelligence.
Bryan is supposed to be a submission specialist; however, he rarely uses minor submission holds to wear his opponent down.
The LaBell Lock is great, but he should not cause such a fast submission victory when Bryan has barely worked on that region the entire match.
Bryan needs to evolve in the ring as more of a grounded specialist, methodically taking apart his opponents while preparing them for the guillotine choke or LaBell Lock.
That would prove as a character how much of a technical star he is.
You can see it, right?
I'm not sure that Bryan can see it though.
It seems hard to miss a giant, dead animal growing on your face.
You would think that it would be hard to do anything with that mess.
Think about it: that has got be a pain to deal with, so you would think he would see it.
Oh well, at least he has everything about his look going for him.
Being you know, big, strong, muscular.
I guess a dead animal never hurt anybody's face.
Submission moves seem to be a dying breed in professional wrestling today.
Everybody seems to think it is bad to see your biggest stars giving up in a match.
While I don't agree with the direction, the fact is that a star will not get far especially in the main event if they expect everybody to tap out.
Orton and Cena might give a pinfall victory, but WWE will have a hard time being convinced to have their faces giving up to "lesser stars".
That is why if Bryan wants to succeed as a serious player, he needs a pinfall finisher.
This same thing is killing Del Rio right now as we all know he will never make Cena tap, and, though he has made Punk tap out, it seems unlikely to become a trend.
My suggestion: the dragon suplex.
A sweet move that nobody uses anymore.
It is cool to watch and, with the right leverage, looks painful.
If Bryan wants to stay away from being too aggressive and having heel-like tendencies, he needs to at least adds some intensity to his presence.
Sometimes, Bryan really looks the part of a vicious, intense star. Others, he simply looks goofy.
Examples: When he stood there with that World Heavyweight Championship in hand celebrating, that was some of that deep intensity. When he was being kissed by the Bella twins, that is absolutely not the looks he needs.
So I suggest Bryan look into the mirror before he goes out to that ring and remembers who he is.
This is Bryan Danielson, the man who has trouble hearing and seeing due to the risks and bumps he took through the years.
No jumping up and down. No goofy smiling. Bryan needs to come out and command the audience with his confidence through intense presence.
It doesn't matter how tall you are if you have that presence.
Most people are mistakenly under the impression that Daniel Bryan cannot speak on the mic.
They say he has no charisma. He just can wrestle, and that's it.
Yet, ever since he was eliminated from NXT Season 1, he has hardly missed a beat on the mic.
Sure, he is no Ric Flair or Chris Jericho, but he still has that necessary presence on the stick that made guys like Shawn Michaels work even without flair or absolute intensity.
The problem is that Bryan gets very few chances to show that ability.
No one gets to the top in the modern WWE without cutting promos.
So this is less about Bryan's character as the creative giving him more liberties.
Probably not entirely surprising, giving a star more freedom can actually allow their character to grow more than any direct changes.
Let him talk more, creative.
It is a good idea, ...I think.
Bryan could use some support in his corner.
His budding relationship with AJ has been surprisingly well done up to this point, and it would make sense to have AJ come out and stand in his corner.
She wouldn't be there to cheat for him, but the presence at ringside is something that could actually add more to Bryan's character.
Knowing that he has someone rooting for him could keep him focused and determined.
Managers and valets are few and far between in modern WWE, but they always add an extra dimension to a character.
While AJ should still be wrestling in the Divas division, this could also help her get more exposure rather than just playing the role of baby face who loses to Natalya in tag team matches.
Plus is anyone going to complain about heightened appearances of AJ on TV?
This could actually be the key to make him seem credible.
We all know that Bryan is a great wrestler, but the casual fans don't even know that Bryan was trained by legends like Shawn Michaels and William Regal (though he did talk about it once on SmackDown).
Just think what emphasis of that idea could do.
It could lead to a special appearance from Michaels to support him in a huge match. It could lead to the WWE audience to start relating the legends of these guys to Bryan.
This could be a catalyst that could be as big as facing Taker at Mania with Michaels supporting him.
The character change would be minor at best, but it could help him greatly.
This would not be an essential character change, but it would be an evolution that could greatly create Bryan's character.
Punk calls himself the best in the world, so it seems unlikely that Bryan would go down the same path.
However, he simply needs to say he is the best. Many stars do it, but Bryan can back it up.
He can even cite the many ways that he is better and then show it in the ring.
It may seem small even insignificant in comparison to most of others, but what is Bryan most criticized for?
It is not his mic skills or presence. He is criticized for being bland, without a real character for the audience to grasp.
If he starts getting the crowd behind him as he emphasizes that he is the best, his character will grow, and he will evolve into an even more exciting star.
Thanks for reading!
What do you think Bryan needs to do to tweak his character?