Saturday, June 12, 2010

Daniel Bryan situation

So I found out last night from my friend that WWE released Daniel Bryan (hereinafter, "DB"). Apparently, some believe it's a work, while others claim it's legit. There are arguments for both sides, although I do believe that the "work" argument has the better of this one.

Why it's legit: Basically, the strongest argument for this is that WWE has informed high-level executives that the release was legit. There is really no reason to deceive these corporate officers, and it would be extremely unlikely to have them be "in on it" this whole time. After all, those guys have better things to do, like run the corporate side of things.

Another argument is the WWE's PG rating. Sources indicated that the reason for the release centered on two incidents from the NXT beatdown on RAW. The first was DB choking ring announcer Justin Roberts with his own tie (which, by the way, would be an awesome .gif). The second incident was DB spitting on John Cena in the ring before kicking the champ in the head. Puzzlingly, DB's assault of Michael Cole was not among the reasons (despite RAW airing much of that footage from NXT multiple times).

The choking incident apparently violated the WWE's "Benoit Rule," which basically prohibits anyone from choking another person with a foreign object (although apparently you can still do chokeslams and "choke" people by wrapping the victim's arms around their neck). I can see how this has merit, as WWE has tried to steer clear of any Benoit references (save for the crossface) over the last three years.

Also, sources state that high-level executives, presumably from the USA Network, basically forced Vince McMahon to release DB. So it's not Vince's fault, apparently, although Vince did allow the beatdown to occur in the first place.

Why it's a work: Put simply, why in the hell would WWE invest a lot of energy in building up DB's storyline between him, Cole, and Miz, and then release him after things were going so well? The NXT beatdown was arguably the best ending to a RAW in years, so much so that the NXT Season 1 graduates replicated it on Christian and Miz at an FCW show. Now, the NXT graduates are still a force even without DB, but let's face it: the stable just lost its most high-profile figure. Sorry Wade Barrett, but even though you won NXT, DB will always be the best of the Season 1 rookies.

Another apparent giveaway was Michael Cole's Twitter account, where he personally claimed responsibility (kayfabe) for DB's firing. I can see if Cole broke character and started saying how DB is really a nice guy and wished him well. But to keep this apparent charade up by claiming responsibility for another guy's misfortune -- especially when in a storyline feud with the guy -- all but convinces me otherwise.

And finally, I have to rebut that whole PG argument. OK, so WWE has banned chair shots to the head, banned certain moves from the show, and cut out the swearing. Fine. But the penalty for DB -- being released -- went against things pretty significantly. We've seen wrestlers spit on other wrestlers. Hell, we've even seen Carlito spit apple at Heath Slater (and other WWE superstars over the years; Carlito was released for refusing drug rehab, not the apple spitting). The spitting deal, in a nutshell, is not sufficient grounds for a release here.

I'll admit the choking of Roberts with the tie was pushing things. But let's see...Heath Slater was about to choke Cena with the ring rope, but aborted that for some reason. So does this mean you can't choke non-wrestlers, period? Hell, wasn't it Darren Young who punched the timekeeper? Shouldn't Young have been released for that? Oh, and David Otunga punched the referee...surely that's grounds for at least a fine and suspension, right? Not in this world, apparently.

And seriously, if WWE really was PG, they would have gotten rid of many diva gimmicks a while ago. Technically, we would probably have no such thing as a Last Man Standing match. Or even a Hell in a Cell match. Or an Elimination Chamber match. There would be no TLC matches, no tables matches, no ladder matches, no chairs matches.

And of course, if the show really was PG, John Cena would always bounce back like he's Superman, with no ill effects from the previous show. Oh wait, that already happens. Never mind.

Until DB shows up in another promotion in about three months, I will prefer to believe this is a work. Right now, it appears to me that DB is being treated as a scapegoat to "teach the NXT stable a lesson on not assaulting WWE workers."

If WWE really did release DB, it would likely go down as one of the worst decisions in recent wrestling history -- whether it was through USA or WWE higher-ups is irrelevant to me. And if DB was indeed released, TNA would clearly come knocking. ROH and Dragon Gate wouldn't be far behind. WWE knows DB has unparalleled potential to be a huge star, and they would make sure to keep him away from other promotions.

As a side note, will this affect Evan Bourne's push? Kaval is really the next big star in NXT, so the smaller guys need to be pushed. Rey Mysterio has been captivating us in the States for many years now, and it seems fitting he's in the World Title picture at Fatal 4 Way. But we do need more smaller stars pushed, and Bourne is the next guy in line.

Anyway, DB will have a job. But that's not the issue. If anything, this makes the whole NXT angle a lot more interesting, and it will definitely get viewers to tune in for the latest, given that they haven't totally turned their backs on WWE.

Bryan Danielson's future -- whether in WWE or another promotion -- is one of the hottest topics in pro wrestling right now, if not the hottest. It should be interesting to see what transpires over the next few days to weeks.

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