Posted in: Mr. Tito
MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - WWE Caused Daniel Bryan to Retire, RAW is Hulu Review, and More
By Mr. Tito
Feb 10, 2016 - 1:28:57 AM

Follow Mr. Tito on @titowrestling

Welcome back to the EXCELLENCE IN COLUMN WRITING here at / So what are my thoughts on Daniel Bryan's retirement? Based on the content of that speech and the real emotions given, I think that it's legit... I don't think we're getting worked in this case as I'm guessing Daniel Bryan can get paid well as a non-wrestler and he'll get paid enough to STAY AWAY from competitors as well. Plus, there could be real value in sending Daniel Bryan to NXT or the developmental facility.

That was a great speech on RAW... I especially liked the moment where Daniel Bryan spoke about the edition of RAW where the fans hijacked the show and it was the last live show that his Dad attended. If there was any part that got me choked up, it was that... I'm happy that Daniel Bryan reconsidered the retirement route as he's made lots of money in the WWE as a wrestler and actually has value as a non-wrestler to them. Given that he's still over, the WWE can use him for appearances and also use him within the developmental system to teach wrestlers how to get over...

But as nice as that retirement speech was, I'm a big disgusted on how the WWE caused his retirement. Hear me out...

WWE employed Daniel Bryan from 2009 through now with Bryan's last official WWE match being on the April 2nd, 2015 edition of WWE Smackdown against Sheamus. So in almost 6 years employed with the WWE, he's accumulated enough concussions to cause him to retire? Really? Is this the same promotion who worked around Stone Cold Steve Austin's broken neck for 2 years? Seriously, Owen Hart destroyed Austin with a Tombstone Piledriver and Steve was able to carry on for over 2 years by adjusting his in-ring style to prevent further injury. On episodes of RAW, we often saw more talking by Steve Austin rather than wrestling. The beauty of adjusting Steve Austin after the SummerSlam 1997 neck injury is that he focused more on his personality and ability to cut promos. The result? WWE's business signicantly grew with people wanting to see Steve Austin the character and not specifically the in-ring wrestler.

But this isn't 1997-1999... The backstage personnel and developmental system who properly trained wrestlers, adjusted for weakness, and actually protected wrestlers from harm. They taught wrestlers about psychology instead of needing flashy high risk moves to get the attention of fans. The ECW spillover effect eventually began to influence WWE's product and Michael PS Hayes's booking of repeat dangerous matches between Hardys/Edge & Christian/Dudleys took it a bit further. Then, one by one, the backstage personnel and developmental system teachers began to change. Instead of an army of former pro wrestlers acting as Road Agents being backstage and advising wrestlers, there are less of them now and more former Hollywood writers around instead. The same guy pushing TLC matches, Michael PS Hayes, remains and probably keeps drawing from the same playbook of flash before substance. The developmental system after Jim Cornette left during 2005 through the early 2010's may have had some training issues as well. Once again, athleticism was pushed harder than psychology.

WWE's foundation for training and correcting wrestlers created a culture that hurt Daniel Bryan. After all, look at some of the wrestlers from those eras who have hurt wrestlers with carelessness. Sheamus was Bryan's last opponent and unfortunately, he gave Bryan his last concussion. Ryback was one who hurt CM Punk not once but twice during their matches. The Miz has also caused some injuries. What do Sheamus, Ryback, and the Miz have in common? Each wrestle like a robot with not much psychology involved. They just hit move after move, spot after spot... They are not selling pain nor are they selling emotion that can connect with fans (generating heat or pops). Sheamus was a developmental wrestler from 2006-2009, Ryback for 2006-2010, and the Miz from 2004-2006. Specifically for Sheamus and Ryback from the post-Cornette era, both may have been pushed as power wrestlers without being taught basic in-ring psychology. As you can see to this day, both Ryback and Sheamus rely heavily on big power spots instead of keeping it simple and relying on their personality interacting with their opponents in the ring to get over.

Funny thing about these wrestlers who LACK in-ring psychology is that they are the exact wrestlers WWE is into pushing these days. Miz, Ryback, and Sheamus keep getting repeat chances to succeed and yet the keep getting demoted back to the midcard in the end. Why? Zero connection with fans because they may not have been properly trained and/or not corrected backstage by WWE officials. And you also see that now with Roman Reigns. He just can't sell moves or perform simple psychology in the ring.

How does that relate to Daniel Bryan? His in-ring style... As a shorter wrestler, he was heavily reliant on high risk moves. Nobody from Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW)/NXT sat down with Bryan to revise his wrestling style and ditto for WWE officials overseeing the main roster. Better yet, the WWE really owns his retirement from Bryan's early 2015 return. Instead of forcing him to change his style, he was still hopping around the ring and taking high risk moves from the top rope. You HAVE to adjust his high risk style. How can you do that with a smaller guy like Daniel Bryan? The guy has great looking kicks... The WWE could have easily told the story that Daniel Bryan's ultimate equalizer against larger wrestlers was his ability to strike opponents with his legs. Why would he need the Top Rope when he can effectively hurt a larger wrestler with his kicks? I have argued this point for YEARS.

The WWE developmental system and the changed backstage area caused Daniel Bryan to retire... They didn't take care of him and revise him as an in-ring wrestler. The funny thing is that he didn't need to take those high risks. Daniel Bryan actually figured out the "sports entertainment" part of the business and GOT OVER with his personality. Remember his Tag Team with Kane? People need to realize what a failure the "Demon" Kane's return was back then... They just threw him with Daniel Bryan and Bryan worked with Kane perfectly. He injected real personality into their interactions and Kane/Bryan were getting over bigtime as a midcard act. That's where the "Yes!" chant came from. Hell, Daniel Bryan MADE AJ Lee's character work as his on-screen girlfriend. He drew serious heat when he blamed her for his loss. Stupid WWE Creative thought so much of AJ Lee's performance with Bryan that they actually made AJ become the RAW General Manager! Remember that?

Someone during 2012-2015 backstage in the WWE should have recognized that they have a real babyface sensation in place and advise Daniel Bryan to reduce the high risk offense.

As I've stated REPEATEDLY in this column, the problem is that Vince McMahon and Triple H repeatedly pushed their own favorites over Daniel Bryan. They did their absolute best to marginalize WWE fans who were repeatedly screaming at the WWE to make Bryan the #1 guy. WWE kept ignoring their pleads and shoved whatever wrestler they wanted down their throats. Sheamus destroying Daniel Bryan in 18 seconds at Wrestlemania 28, Randy Orton in Bryan's way during and following SummerSlam 2013, Bray Wyatt repeatedly owning Bryan and almost forcing Bryan to be a permanent member of the Wyatt Family, and then Roman Reigns going over Bryan at Fast Lane 2015. Consider the absolute disasters of Royal Rumble 2014 and Royal Rumble 2015 as well... Fans were BEGGING the WWE to push Daniel Bryan but the WWE would not budge. They did a half-assed attempt to "correct" Wrestlemania 30 by forcing Bryan into the WWE match but that Wrestlemania moment is hard to savor considering the damage done since SummerSlam 2013.

WWE had their top babyface at SummerSlam 2013. Daniel Bryan was RIGHT THERE for the pushing... Simply put, you could have still had Randy Orton "screw" Daniel Bryan at SummerSlam and then have Daniel Bryan get the best of him in the end. Nope... Then, after disposing Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan headlines Survivor Series 2013 against Triple H. Nope... Instead of getting revenge on Orton/Triple H during late 2013, Daniel Bryan was shoved into the Wyatt Family to become a permanent member. It took Vince McMahon seeing the "YES!" chant loudly during halftime of an Ohio State vs. Michigan State to convince him to change course. Then, fans going absolutely nuclear on Batista's return and overpushing to cause yet another changed course for Wrestlemania 30.

And who knows? Maybe if the WWE realized that Daniel Bryan was seriously over during late 2013, they wouldn't need him to wrestle any high risk matches. They could have just pushed him as a personality, as a sports entertainer... He was THAT over... Instead, Vince McMahon hated his size, Triple H was emotionally hurt when Daniel Bryan yelled at him backstage for canceling his RAW match due to injury, and other wrestlers of choice were pushed instead. After Wrestlemania 30, Daniel Bryan got to wrestle Kane and when wrestling a guy as tall as Kane, Bryan had to take high risks to look good. Injury happened, Bryan had to forfeit the WWE Championship. Following Wrestlemania 31, Bryan had to wrestle Sheamus who loves using power moves. Bryan is lighter than the average wrestler that Sheamus wrestles and I'm sure that night made life easier for Sheamus. Too easy. Injury happened, Bryan had to forfeit the Intercontinental Title. Now, he has to retire..........

Everybody is having a hissy fit over what Jim Cornette recently said about Lucha Underground. Granted, the comments were written in Cornette and were probably not as politically correct as some may have wanted. But if you've followed Cornette, he has ripped the recent style that just hits spot after spot without any emotion attached to it. Wrestlers aren't selling nor do promotions sell the legitimacy of their Championship belts. When Cornette said "It's a TV show. It's a movie. It's not wrestling. It's not a sport. They make no pretense of even attempting to make this (stuff) believable.", it's so true. WWE, TNA, and Lucha produce television shows and not staged sporting events. Prime example is how the WWE cares less about their midcard titles for the last 10 years, especially with zero "sense of urgency" of any wrestlers to chase those titles. As old fashioned as Cornette may appear, he was backstage during the early stages of the Attitude Era and the booker for the Ohio Valley Wrestling developmental system for the WWE through 2005. Results speak for themselves and wrestlers since that year might be missing training and fundamentals.

I wish Daniel Bryan the absolute best in his retirement... The WWE must learn from their mistakes when they encounter a wrestler LIKE Bryan. First of all, if ALL of the WWE fans in an arena are STANDING and CHANTING "YES! YES! YES!" for a specific wrestler, PUSH THAT GUY. WWE tried that "YES!" chant with Big Show and even Brie Bella. Didn't work for those wrestlers... It was Bryan's chant. Secondly, take better care of your wrestlers and hire some wrestlers who knew psychology. Part of why NXT has been greatly lately has been the Dusty Rhodes influence and many developmental wrestlers took his lead on learning psychology. Put a few more wrestling veterans backstage at WWE events and let them criticize wrestlers on their matches. They need to teach the current crop of wrestlers psychology, how to work fans, and timing... Hitting spot after spot will bore fans after a while... But if you're a heel and you're purposely torturing a wrestler just for the enjoyment of it, that generates heat.

And you don't need to have gimmick matches to have a successful Main Event. No need to have cages, weapons, or ladders... Great matches in an ordinary wrestling ring sell themselves.

The WWE system FAILED Daniel Bryan... And now he's retired. We missed out on what should have been an amazing babyface ride.



Missed the Cut (Hulu show is 1.5 hours long):
- Charlotte vs. Alicia Fox
- Bray Wyatt vs. Ryback
- Titus O'Neil vs. Adam Rose
- Lucha Dragons vs. Alberto Del Rio/Rusev
- Becky Lynch vs. Tamina Snuka
- Goldust/R-Truth Segment

Being brutally honest here... If THAT list of cuts doesn't inspire you to try the condensed RAW is Hulu out, I don't know what will. Wow...

Video packages throughout the night to hype Daniel Bryan's return and gee, what happened? Oh, about 400,000 more average viewers tuned into see this week's RAW instead of last week's. Same effect happened a few weeks ago when the WWE hyped the Rock's appearance. So, the WWE hypes 2 wrestlers who have barely appeared on RAW during the past year and they draw fans but the current "chosen one" Roman Reigns can't draw on his own? Yeah, the WWE has picked the wrong guy to become top babyface. Better begin redrawing Wrestlemania 32 plans OR let Triple H retain...

Stephanie McMahon does the opening 20 minute interview and it's a contract signing between Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, and Brock Lesnar. Gee, nothing ever goes wrong at a contract signing... What I like is how Dean Ambrose is going directly after Brock Lesnar. HELLO MCFLY, this could be a Wrestlemania 32 match!!! Obviously, Dean provoked Ambrose and all hell broke loose. Lesnar destroyed both of them and I loved how he picked up the table and smashed Reigns in the corner. Classic stuff. GREAT segment...

But later in the night, as a GREAT follow-up, Dean Ambrose came out to the ring and called Lesnar out. He said that the F5 barely hurt him, called him some names, questioned his manhood, etc... Of course, that prompted Brock Lesnar to come out and redeem himself by destroying Ambrose. Lesnar then gets distracted by Roman Reigns's music and that allows the opening for Ambrose to hit Lesnar in the nuts for a low blow. I'm telling ya, there's MONEY in Ambrose vs. Lesnar. All the WWE has to do is play up their feud within the WWE Fast Lane Triple Threat and allow that to enable Roman Reigns to win. Then, you have Wrestlemania 32 co-headlined with Triple H vs. Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar vs. Dean Ambrose. IN MY OPINION, I would run Undertaker vs. Bray Wyatt again for a 3rd match to look forward to...

Kevin Owens vs. Dolph Ziggler was good... Nice to see an ongoing feud that just has wrestlers just trying to one-up each other. Good feuds don't HAVE to be for titles... But, I just don't know where the WWE is going with either wrestler. That hurts my enjoyment of this feud... What's next for both guys? Both have loads of talent yet are disliked, for whatever reason, by Vince McMahon.

The Miz was out for his in-ring interview segment, as if we don't have enough talking in the ring... Before I rant further, I must say that I really enjoyed Miz's match with AJ Styles on WWE Smackdown. Best that Miz has looked in a while, in my opinion. He seemed to really look like he cared in that match. Anyway, Chris Jericho comes down and converts the segment into his in-ring interview. They argue, AJ Styles eventually comes down to attack the Miz (why, I don't know because Styles already beat Miz) and then Jericho joins Styles in the Miz beatdown. Staredown ends the segment... OK, I guess, but it should lead to an easy WWE Fast Lane match between Jericho and Styles unless that becomes a 3 way with Miz. Probably the latter with the favorable booking Miz seems to receive (see above).

Tables match between Dudleys/Usos vs. New Day + Mark Henry was fun... Good backstage segments between Usos and Dudleys and then the New Day to prepare for this match. Fun match, as the more bodies you get in a gimmick match, the more chaos can happen. To my surprise, the Duds and Usos won... But then the Dudleys turned on the Usos in which the Seattle crowd actually cheered the Usos getting attacked. Uh oh... I like the Uso brothers but they are a tad forced... WWE should be very careful about the Usos and Dudleys as many older Attitude Era fans will definitely cheer for the Dudleys in that feud.

And of course, the MAIN EVENT was Daniel Bryan's retirement speech. Great stuff...

SHOW THOUGHTS: From what I saw on Hulu, good storyline driven show as WWE Fast Lane actually looks pretty good including the Main Event. That's all I can ask for in my daily viewing of RAW and the Hulu version did a nice job "trimming the fat" from the show. [ B+ ], although Daniel Bryan was never a B+ player in my book. WWE screwed up BIGTIME in 2013 on that guy.



Reportedly, at least according to the usual wrestling insiders, the draft Wrestlemania 32 card was going to feature the following 3 matches:

- Bray Wyatt vs. Brock Lesnar
- Undertaker vs. Braun Strowman
- Triple H vs. Roman Reigns

Sorry, but if I didn't have WWE Network, there is NO CHANCE IN HELL that I would buy that Pay Per View. No thanks and I personally think that Bray Wyatt vs. Brock Lesnar could be really good. But if you're tasking me to sit through Undertaker vs. an inexperienced Braun Strowman and a snorefest between Triple H vs. Roman Reigns, "no thanks".

The bigger issue is that Vince McMahon is the man behind the MEGA PUSH of Roman Reigns for the past 2 years to become the "next John Cena" and Vince has personally been behind the usage of Braun Strowman. The results of Reigns being on top are in and we're consistently under 3.5 million viewers when he's headlining RAW even after the NFL football season. But Braun? The guy performed in Strongman competitions through 2013 before joining the WWE developmental facility that same year. He's worked out at that place and never joined NXT before arriving in the WWE. Now, unless he's a prodigy, there's a good chance that he could struggle in the ring against the Undertaker at Wrestlemania 32. Taker is older and needs his opponents to sell. Strowman has that weird hugging chokehold and... Well, and... I can't name another move.

If Reigns and Strowman are the guys being pushed to the main event for 2016, God help us as wrestling fans. Both are WWE manufactured creations instead of being students of the wrestling business for years on the independent scene. WWE is trying to sell WWE Network subscriptions to watch what used to be called Pay Per Views but if you have 2 very green Main Event style wrestlers in Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman at the top of your card, those numbers will drop. The fact is that WWE has lost over 500,000 fans on average for RAW viewership since Wrestlemania 31 with the viewership loss ramping up during November. And yet forcing Reigns is getting you that viewership loss, why push a guy that is actually greener than Reigns to a serious spot on the WWE roster? Makes no sense...

When this Wrestlemania 32 plan goes into place and the show is deemed a failure, then it's time for WWE management and directors to begin to challenge their CEO and Board Chairman, Vince McMahon. Make no mistake, he's the BEST promoter of professional wrestling that the world has ever witnessed. Nobody comes close to his success. Yet, as we approach the 15th year without serious competition (WCW died during March 2001), the 70 year old Vince just might not have it any longer. The competitive drive is gone and WWE still sells enough tickets, merchandise, and WWE Network subscriptions to still make money. As I described above with the Daniel Bryan rant, Vince repeatedly screwed Bryan and yet many fans kept coming back. Until we walk away for good, Vince will put on WWE shows to entertain himself.

But the rest of the WWE management staff and the directors of the company have to stand up and challenge Vince's authority. Numbers don't lie... Roman Reigns is NOT drawing. Period. They have tried to repeatedly push the guy and fans just get louder with boos. Either turn him heel or start smaller with a climb in the midcard instead. I know, Vince McMahon made everybody rich and created many jobs in the company... His decisions, though, are affecting the growth of the company now and in the future. For all we know, someone like Dean Ambrose should be receiving that MEGA PUSH instead.

I've always defended Vince McMahon and I've actually argued that he's a product of his surroundings as well. In the past during the Attitude Era, he leaned on Jim Cornette, Pat Patterson, Vince Russo, Bruce Pritchard, Gerald Briscoe, Jim Ross, and other veterans for assistance... All of those guys are GONE from the WWE. Now, he has family who nod their head and say "yes sir" along with a bunch of writers with zero creative power other than what paper they'll type the script. Still, Vince should see the numbers and realize how bad Reigns is doing and how Strowman is yet to move the meter.

Now - That's not to say that Reigns and Strowman couldn't be potential Main Eventers... Maybe with a few years of seasoning and experience, they could get to that level. But pushing them based on looks, that's ridiculous!

Vince loves those 2 wrestlers and are willing to give them TRIPLE H and the UNDERTAKER as opponents at Wrestlemania to prove a point. That's scary and provide for a long summer. You'd almost hope that Daniel Bryan's retirement was a work at this rate.

If Vince fails on Reigns and Strowman, then the Directors of the company (that includes you Stephanie and Triple H) need to call out Vince at a Board meeting for his actions. He's hurting the company by pushing the wrong guys at the top and has done so for years (Miz, Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio, etc.). Someone needs to grow a pair and begin to call out Vince. Again, I'm aware that he's made you millions and hey may be family to you... But he's hurting the business by pushing those wrestlers into something they're not: Main Event superstars.

When Reigns/Strowman's pushes fail, he should be ready to take a reduced role... Vince's legacy is in tact, so it's no worry if those 2 wrestlers fail. I remember him from the 1980's boom with Hulkamania and I remember how he rolled the dice for the Attitude Era. Nobody will ever top him as a wrestling promoter. If you don't have it any longer, step down... Enjoy that money that you've worked way too hard to obtain throughout the years. Seriously, has Vince ever taken a vacation?


Comments and feedback are welcome. Follow and Tweet me @titowrestling or login in below to post comments.

Like Super Mario Maker for the Nintendo Wii U? Then check out my pro-wrestling based courses within Course World --> Search:

- WrestleWar - ID: AEAC-0000-01C3-4578

- nWo Run-in - ID: 2274-0000-01B3-5AC0

- WCW Wargames - ID: 7BAA-0000-01B0-8F99

- WWE Royal Rumble - ID: 7B38-0000-01A3-2F4C

- Pro Wrestling Mario - ID: E290-0000-0199-7AC7

© Mr. Tito and - 1998-2016