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Welcome back to the Mr. Tito experience exclusively here at LordsofPain.net / WrestlingHeadlines.com. Man, I didn’t expect to write tonight but there are times when the crap hits the fan so hard that if forces my hand (or hands… to type). And I should say “crap” because this is an absolutely HUGE news story. Daniel Bryan, who retired from in-ring wrestling with the WWE due to post-concussion issues, has been officially cleared by WWE doctors. For over a year, Bryan has been seeing multiple doctors and trying to prove to WWE’s physicians that he is over the head injury issue which forced him to retire. WWE’s doctors refused to clear him, hence why he’s been operating in a non-wrestling role for the past few years (notably as Smackdown‘s authority figure).
But now, he can compete in the WWE ring. As you just witness from Smackdown Live, he’s taking bumps in the ring again. Wow…
Reportedly, Daniel Bryan‘s contract was set to expire sometime during 2018 (somewhere during the Fall). In some ways, I believe that Bryan’s flirtation with wanting to wrestle in the Indies or Japan may have forced the WWE’s hand… That, and the need for STAR POWER for the WWE. Money talks and fears about liability over injury walks…
Several facts to consider:
(a) WWE’s television deal expires during the Fall of 2019.
(b) WWE attendance, especially for houseshow and Smackdown LIVE events, is down. By thousands per night.
WWE has a real threat of losing Brock Lesnar following Wrestlemania 34. His 3 year deal contract is set to expire unless the WWE opts to renew. However, once Roman Reigns disposes of him, what is there left for Lesnar to do? Maybe put over Braun Strowman? Eh… We’ve seen that match already. Then you have the potential retirement of John Cena to go deeper into Hollywood opportunities. So far, we’re not sure how much Main Event star power that the NXT developmental call-ups of 2015-2016 have… Can Ronda Rousey draw in the WWE? Last week’s RAW drew strongly without her or Lesnar on the show.
WWE’s reliance on on Television Deal consists of about 33% of their Total Revenues. The Comcast deal, signed during 2014, gave the WWE about $175 million to $200 million per year. If you factor in inflation and potentially negotiating the WWE away from Comcast (possibly by FOX), the WWE expects to “break the bank” to get a bigger deal for 2019. Of course, they told that to investors during 2013 that they’d “triple” their previous deal and were barely doubling the previous deal during 2014. That crushed their Stock price that year, if you’ll recall… Getting back to the TV Deal, you might not think much of 1/3 of their revenues being from television deals but consider the “multiplier” effect. WWE’s media audience is reportedly around 52 years of age which means that their audience is older… I’d argue that with their disposable income seeing peak years from late 30s through late 50s, they can afford to retain Cable/Satellite. Thus, retaining a strong Cable/Satellite deal remains important. From RAW and Smackdown, that’s when the WWE advertises WWE Network, Live Events, WWE online stuff, and hypes their Pay Per Views. That’s the “multiplier” effect as the TV show helps prop up the other revenue streams.
Live attendance needs more help, however… What packs in live events is STAR POWER. WWE relied on John Cena way too much from 2005 through 2014 to carry that business, notably Houseshows. When Cena was injured, WWE actually offered refunds to fans because John Cena was unable to appear for certain Houseshows and television shows.
But do you know another wrestler whom the WWE offered refunds for being absent at a show due to injury? Daniel Bryan. It happened during 2014 following various injuries (early 2014 and then after Wrestlemania 30).
Daniel Bryan WAS a major star in the making through mid 2013. John Cena saw it and demanded that Bryan be his SummerSlam 2013 opponent. He was over… Sure, Bryan was undersized, doesn’t cut the best promo, and isn’t as charismatic as one would hope… But there’s something about him that sells. Maybe it’s the “underdog” feeling that he has heading into most matches? Maybe his in-ring ability is so good that it’s inspiring to fans? Maybe fans see how WWE disregards his talent such as his under 20 second loss to Sheamus at Wrestlemania for the World Heavyweight Champion?
Something draws with Daniel Bryan and sometimes, you can’t explain it. His catch phrase is “YES!” and the entire arena shouts it during his entrance and matches. Why? Hey, I don’t know… It just works. Sometimes you just have to accept that it works and build on it. It was such a FRAUD when the WWE tried to transfer those “YES!” chants to Big Show during late 2013 after they had Randy Orton BURY Daniel Bryan during that JOKE of a late 2013 feud. Nobody bought it… Big Show wasn’t Daniel Bryan. WWE tried to shove Bryan into the Wyatt Family and it took the halftime of a Big 10 basketball game during early 2014 to finally convince WWE officials that Bryan might be over and that booking Batista vs. Randy Orton was a major mistake for Wrestlemania 30.
What was the WWE thinking during the Fall of 2013? FINE, if you really wanted Randy Orton to cash-in the Money in the Bank briefcase to end SummerSlam 2013, at least let Daniel Bryan get his revenge on Orton. THEN you book that match against Triple H for either Survivor Series 2013 or Royal Rumble 2014… Hell, the main event could have been Triple H vs. Daniel Bryan at Wrestlemania 30. That could have been a bigtime match up… Bryan getting through Orton and Triple H with 100% clean wins would have built him into a major superstar. But nooooooo, that didn’t happen. Orton remained WWE Champion through the end of 2013, Daniel Bryan was shoved into the Wyatt Family (lost to Bray cleanly at Royal Rumble 2014), and then once WWE realized their mistake, they RIGGED Wrestlemania 30 to shoehorn Bryan into that Batista vs. Orton main event.
I’m sorry, but I find that the whole Wrestlemania 30 scenario was a JOKE. The way that Triple H came up with that ridiculous contender’s match that would add either himself or Daniel Bryan to the Batista vs. Randy Orton WWE Title match was LAZY booking. That completely negates the importance of the Royal Rumble match winner obtaining the #1 contendership. Meanwhile, Daniel Bryan was NOT even in the 2014 Rumble Match and fans were booing heavily at that event. THEN, at that Wrestlemania 30 Triple Threat between Batista vs. Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan, Bryan defeats Batist to win the WWE Title. HE ISN’T ALLOWED TO PIN THE WORLD CHAMPION!
Now, of course, Daniel Bryan could have just feuded with Randy Orton AFTER Wrestlemania 30, right? Nope… Orton completely ignored the fact that he lost his WWE Title by NOT GETTING PINNED (aside from the RAW after Wrestlemania 30) and immediately went into the Evolution vs. Shield feud. Meanwhile, Daniel Bryan got to wrestle the “walking glass ceiling” Kane before the injury bug bit Bryan.
But all could have been fixed for 2015… Oops, poor showing in the 2015 Royal Rumble and then getting beat 100% by Roman Reigns at the following Pay Per View that year. BUT DON’T WORRY, we’ll have you win the Intercontinental Title at Wrestlemania 31. Yes, that’s right… WWE Champion at Wrestlemania 30 and Intercontinental Champion at Wrestlemaia 31. Sounds like WWE Creative were also enduring head injuries.
WWE squandered it. Daniel Bryan was that #1 drawing babyface that they have been looking for yet they had other plans. From 2014, the plan has been to have Roman Reigns ALONE become that #1 babyface replacement for John Cena. Bryan was RIGHT THERE for the taking and the fans were screaming at the WWE to push him strong at the top.
A GOOD WWE Creative Team would have recognized Daniel Bryan‘s talents during 2013 and then set him aside to tell him to SCALE DOWN HIS MOVESET. In other words, your personality, connection with the fans, and look are somehow getting over. STOP taking ridiculous dives off the top rope that could injure you. Top draws don’t have to do high risk stuff to impress… Why? Because they draw without the needed sugar high. True story… Heavy metal band W.A.S.P. had to do all kinds of special effects at their shows including a fireworks shooter that was attached to their lead singer’s crotch. On a bad night, the fireworks shooter malfunctioned and caused all kinds of multiple degree burns on around the lead singer’s crotch. His response to his band? “We wouldn’t have to do these stunts if we could write better songs!” Bryan didn’t need to do all of those high risk maneuvers. The PERSON behind the Daniel Bryan character was ALREADY OVER.
See, what’s where weaker management backstage within the WWE hurts… During SummerSlam 1997, Owen Hart injured Steve Austin with a sitdown Tombstone Piledriver that went horribly wrong. Austin broke his neck but kept going for the next 2 years anyway. How did he do it? He carefully worked in the ring and used more brawling and psychology for his moves while letting his personality of “Stone Cold” do the talking. Less in-ring time and more time on the mic to flesh out his character. Austin wrestled with a broken freakin’ neck for over 2 years and grew WWE’s business tenfold. But of course, Steve Austin had experienced pros like Jim Ross, Gerald Brisco, and Pat Patterson advising him how to work smarter.
Daniel Bryan didn’t have that during 2013-2015. The only experienced “pro” backstage that could advise him was Michael “PS” Hayes and he was the guy reportedly coaxing Edge/Christian, Hardys, and Dudley Boyz into wrestling many dangerous matches with cages and TLC. Not that guy… Nobody sat down with Bryan to modify his in-ring style.
See, what Daniel Bryan has is his kicking strikes. That is the ultimate equalizer that Bryan has as a smaller wrestler that lets him challenge LARGER wrestlers. Those KICKS are the equalizer and the fans are 100% behind each one. “Yes!” after each hard kick is delivered. It’s that simple… Go watch the Rock‘s old matches. That man threw like 40 punches per match. Did he love to punch? No… But they were good looking punches and it kept the Rock from taking additional bumps during a match. In other words, they were filling spaces within his matches.
Bryan is 5’10” and 2010, probably soaking wet. Yet, it should be his KICKING ability that helps him even the odds. Not idiotic spills from the top rope.
Again, that’s where weaknesses from your WWE management team exist… Who can tell Bryan to modify his style and/or slow down?
I worry that if Daniel Bryan returns, will he become the PUNCHING BAG for the following wrestlers who beat him repeatedly?
(a) Roman Reigns
(b) Randy Orton
(c) Bray Wyatt
Reportedly, that SummerSlam 2014 BEATDOWN that John Cena received at the hands of Brock Lesnar was reportedly intended for Daniel Bryan. Think about that for a second… Bryan would get to wrestle Kane following Wrestlemania 30 and then get destroyed by Brock Lesnar shortly thereafter.
I don’t have faith in WWE Creative to appreciate Daniel Bryan‘s star power…
And then there is the head injury side of things… What if Daniel Bryan gets injured again? 1 more concussion and it could be over…
Check out David Fenichel’s Eternal Optimist – Is Daniel Bryan the Next Chris Benoit? column… He hits upon my many worries about Daniel Bryan‘s health. I have seen too many Pro Wrestlers, Boxers, and NFL Football players sustain LONG-TERM health problems due to repeated head injuries. Chris Benoit is the extreme because of his actions towards others but then you have a handful of NFL players who committed suicide due to frustrations with memory loss caused by post-concussion syndrome or CTE. There are lawsuits going on in both the NFL and WWE regarding concussion safety and treatment.
In my opinion, I have already seen the best out of Daniel Bryan… I’m OK if he remains retired. As a father myself, I would hate that my workplace was causing serious health risks to could spill over to my family life. Ditto for being a devoted husband. Seeing many wrestlers since the late 1990s having major health problems due to high risk maneuvers or repeat blows to the head is heartbreaking. I’ve met a few wrestlers from the Monday Night Wars era and it is sad in some cases. Wrestlers like Tommy Dreamer and Mick Foley have spoken out about actual memory loss due to repeated violent blows to the head. I DO NOT want that for Daniel Bryan. As a big fan of his, I care…
However, if Daniel Bryan is really back and can work SAFELY… The Sky is the Limit, baby!
And keep him on Smackdown. Let him be the star of that show and a selling point of your 2019 Television Deal. Let Roman Reigns & Braun Strowman hoss it up on RAW and let Daniel Bryan and others draw on Smackdown.
Daniel Bryan HAS to seek out the Miz. That “Talking Smack” segment was on the finest worked shoot segments that we’ve seen for a while. It caused momentum for the Miz that helped revitalized his career. Yet, Bryan wasn’t allowed to respond physically.
Safety first and foremost, please, Daniel Bryan. Your family is more important than fulfilling a dream to return as an in-ring wrestler.
Besides, WWE will pay you. All it takes is simply flirting with joining the Indy Circuit or New Japan and the WWE will add more dollars to your paycheck. Use that LEVERAGE to get paid well as a non-wrestler. Bryan has personal pride and he LOVES to perform in the business. So here we are…
WRESTLEMANIA 34… So Far
2 Weeks ago, I wrote a “gloom and doom” column… But I’ll be damned, I’m getting more and more pumped for Wrestlemania 34. Before, the show was all about Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns but now, there are MANY great matches booked. Someone in my Comments section (jjballard75) said “WM34’s probable lineup is the most exciting, stacked one they’ve had in years, if not ever.”. 2 weeks ago, I laughed at that comment… I’ll be damned if I’m not laughing now. He was right.
Look at this card:
– Usos (c) vs. New Day vs. Bludgeon Brothers
– Cruiserweigh Title Final
– 2 Battle Royals
– Sasha Banks vs. Bayley
– Daniel Bryan/Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens/Sami Zayn
– The Bar (c) vs. Braun Strowman & Mystery Partner
– Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Nia Jax
– Randy Orton (c) vs. Jinder Mahal vs. Bobby Roode
– The Miz (c) vs. Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor
– Ronda Rousey/Kurt Angle vs. Triple H/Stephanie McMahon
– Undertaker vs. John Cena
– Charlotte (c) vs. Asuka
– AJ Styles (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
– Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Roman Reigns
Wow.. 5, 6, or 7 hour show?
Now, most are complaining or even telling me that WWE should go the “music festival” route and spread Wrestlemania across multiple days. Nah… ENJOY THE DAY. Do you complain much when Super Bowl Sunday by the NFL has non-stop coverage all day long and then has the football game? I used to attend World of Outlaws Sprint Car races (Steve Kinser 4 Life, baby!) with my Dad and many races would start Hot Laps at 6pm and we’d leave the stadium around 1am in the morning when the A-Main was over. Did we complain? Hell no… Just kicked back and enjoyed the day.
We’re getting to the point where WWE is building more around 3 events during a year rather than fully caring about all 12 months. Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, and SummerSlam are the main shows that matter. It’s a lot to ask wrestling fans to follow 1 big show per month, let alone 2 shows per month (thank God WWE is changing that!).
Wow… I’m feeling much better as a WWE fan today. There’s a party in my mouth and everybody is invited.
QUICK FOLLOW-UP to the last column… Many of you were trying to ding me on buying WWE 2K18 for my comments on “boycotting” the WWE. I purchased it on the Nintendo Switch and reviewed it here on Lordsofpain.net (review is below).
It was not hypocrisy… I bought WWE 2K18 to support Nintendo, not the WWE. See, I’m a loyal Nintendo gamer and put tons of money into the DS, 3DS, and the Wii U systems. Since the regular Wii system had disappointing 3rd Party sales, the Third Party support for the Wii U was lacking. Thus, with the Switch out, I’ve been going out of my way to try most of the top line 3rd Party games such as FIFA, NBA 2K, LA Noire, Skyrim, and of course, WWE 2K.
While I do enjoy Nintendo’s 1st Party games the most, I want more variety on this system… That and I’m BEGGING RockStar Games to put Grand Theft Auto and/or Red Dead on the Switch. Thus, you do what you can to support 3rd Party companies to keep placing games on the Nintendo Switch.
Of course, nothing matters when Rocket League has its full hooks in me right now and I’m ashamed to admit how many hours that I have poured into that game. Best sports game ever made. Plays like soccer but for some reason, my many years of playing roller hockey, pool (for angling shots), and racquetball (for hitting stuff off walls) is coming in handy. My scoring averages are going up and I’m starting to win the majority of games that I play… If wrestling ever ticks me off to the point where I’ve had enough, I’m content with chilling with this game instead.
DON’T FORGET to check out The Doc Says… during early Wednesday (3/21/18) for Mr. Tito‘s FIRST EVER appearance on LoP Radio.
SO JUST CHILL… ‘TIL THE NEXT EPISODE!
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