Daniel Bryan Is Perfect Challenger for The Fiend and More SmackDown Fallout
The November 8 episode of WWE SmackDown may have been pre-taped from Manchester, England, but it was still a solid overall presentation from the blue brand that introduced a new championship program for Daniel Bryan while simultaneously setting him up for yet another feud.
The former WWE champion found himself on the receiving end of The Fiend's wrath while also sucked into Sami Zayn's web of promises. Why were those stories among the top takeaways from the broadcast, and what does it mean for the beloved leader of the YES! Movement?
And why are The Revival still the most underutilized and mismanaged act on WWE TV?
Take a look with this recap of the Fox network show.
New Stable of Mat Marvels Key to Building SmackDown's Midcard
Intercontinental champion Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro partnered Friday night to defeat Ali and Shorty G. In the process, they gave fans a taste of what they can expect from a brand new team under the lead of Sami Zayn.
Prior to the match, Zayn touted the success both men experienced simply by being associated with him while recruiting Daniel Bryan to join them. In that moment, it was clear that Zayn is amassing Superstars to create a faction of sorts that will, hopefully, make the most of the immensely talented individuals that struggled to get a push or television time elsewhere.
In Cesaro and Nakamura, Zayn already has two of the most gifted in-ring performers in the world. The Underdog from the Underground, himself, is a phenomenal performer. Three of the best wrestlers on the planet, they will provide the babyfaces of SmackDown nightmares as they seek to jell, develop and evolve into a unified front.
The question is whether that front involves Bryan.
All signs point to the former WWE champion serving as the foil for the group, and that is perfectly OK, too. In Bryan, the heels have a legitimate and credible babyface opponent against whom to work brilliant matches on a weekly basis, if need be.
And if the bearded wonder is booked to join Zayn and Co., the foursome is set up to dominate the blue brand for the foreseeable future. That is, as long as creative remains invested in them.
Speaking of Bryan, he may find himself even busier in the coming weeks if what went down during a backstage confrontation with Zayn is any indication.
Daniel Bryan and Bray Wyatt Rekindle Rivalry After 5 Years
"The Fiend" Bray Wyatt reintroduced himself to Bryan with his vaunted mandible claw this week, sneak-attacking the leader of the YES! Movement in the locker room. Screaming in joy, laughing maniacally as he put the popular babyface down, The Fiend seemingly hand-selected his next victim.
And fans should be genuinely excited about the prospects of a Bryan-Wyatt program.
Rewind to January 2014 and a singles match between the two to kick off the 2014 Royal Rumble.
Bryan was the hottest wrestler on the planet, Wyatt was building a following of his own after an explosive debut just months earlier, and they proceeded to steal the show with a stellar wrestling match that saw Wyatt earn his first significant PPV victory.
There have been five years, many character incarnations and creative speedbumps in between, but Bryan and Wyatt still have the potential to build on that match and deliver one that is even better, more compelling and as intense as their first showdown.
Whereas Seth Rollins appeared to, at times, struggle to work a match around The Fiend character without overbooking it to death, Bryan is a strong enough worker and expert storyteller to work around the booking and still deliver a match that enthralls audiences and ranks among the better the champion has had in quite some time.
Their pairing is one that should benefit both the competitors and the brand itself. Hopefully it is not just a one-month program to get SmackDown past Survivor Series.
Latest Title Loss Proves WWE's Lack of Support for The Revival
Stop me if you heard this: The Revival won a set of main roster tag team titles, had an underwhelming run with them and lost them before they could do anything productive with them.
Such was the case this week as Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder dropped the SmackDown Tag Team Championships to The New Day's Kofi Kingston and Big E.
It was the latest in the mounting evidence that WWE Creative does not understand, care for or have any intention of supporting The Revival as the face of a tag team division.
Dawson and Wilder did not somehow become lesser workers when they jumped to Raw (then SmackDown) after a stellar, critically acclaimed run on NXT. They are still the same, talented tandem with ties to the old school that dominated the black-and-yellow brand. The Revival is still a team that recognizes what makes tag team wrestling great, applies that knowledge to their matches and delivers show-stealers on a seemingly nightly basis.
In a perfect world, they would be what they say they are: top guys.
Unfortunately, WWE is an unjust world; a world that does not always reward talent for their contributions or the strength of their performances. As a result, Wilder and Dawson have been left to wallow in creative mediocrity and runs that have been disjointed, abruptly cut short or altogether nonexistent.
And it will be on management's shoulders when Dawson and Wilder take their talents elsewhere.