|  News |  Columns |  TV Reports |  Video Reviews |  Title History |  Hall of Fame |  News Report |  The Dunn List |
// Emma K Instagrams a New Bikini Selfie
// Meet GWAR's Replacement For Oderus Urungus - Vulvatron
// WWE Reveals Most Watched WWE Network Shows
// Cyborg Says Ronda Rousey is Running From Her
// New Multiplayer Gameplay Trailer Released for Battlefield Hardline

//  CM Punk
//  John Cena
//  Triple H
//  Hulk Hogan
//  Randy Orton
//  Christian

411mania RSS Feeds

Follow 411mania on Twitter!

Add 411 On Facebook

 411mania » Wrestling » Columns

Thoughts from the Top Rope 1.17.14: The Wait and See Approach
Posted by Daniel Wilcox on 01.17.2014

Good morning. Or afternoon. Or evening. Regardless of what time of day you're reading, I will be indulging in birthday celebrations that absolutely involve being intoxicated. How old am I today you ask?

Yeah, 22 going on 42.

Welcome, one and all, to Thoughts from the Top Rope. I am your host, Daniel Wilcox, and we kick things off this week on a sombre note.

The wrestling world is in mourning following the passing of legend and pioneer Mae Young, who passed away on Tuesday at the age of 90 following several weeks of being on life support and under hospice care for an undisclosed illness. Staying true to form, Mae gave us a couple of false finishes on her way out proving all the comments that her friends and co-workers have to be made to be absolutely true she was always one tough old lady, emphasis on the lady. Many stars of the wrestling world paid tribute with words such as "pioneer" and "trail-blazer" used frequently. If you're like me, you knew Mae primarily for her work in the last fifteen years on WWE television, typically participating in various comedy segments and skits, some of which were quite hilarious, many more of which were completely cringeworthy, but they were all heartwarming in their own way. Although I imagine no one reading this knew Mae Young personally, it's nice to think that we all got to know her through her television antics of the past decade and a half and it's truly amazing to think that of lady of her age was able to enjoy life to the extent that she did, right up until the very end. It's sad that she never got to fulfil her dream of wrestling on her 100th birthday, but I can guarantee it was a dream she never relinquished, even on her deathbed.

Following the misinformed reporting of her death last week I attempted to look into this wonderful lady's life in greater detail. A lot of people have talked about what a pioneer she was in the world of women's wrestling, but unfortunately I could find very little footage of her in-ring career, nor could I find access to the documentary "Lipstick and Dynamite" anywhere on the web, although I'm sure it has to be out there somewhere. I did find a little information about Mae's personal life, specifically her many siblings and single mother, who Mae took care of when she became ill later in life. The fact is there's very little information available out there chronicling how important Mae and her contemporaries were in the development of women's wrestling, during and after World War II. While we can all comprehend her role and her influence thanks to the testimony of her friends and fellow wrestling personalities, we may never truly be able to appreciate just how great Mae was. Regardless, she managed to provide us with much entertainment even through the last two decades of her life. Without trawling through hours of archive footage, we all know that Mae Young was a fearless woman who will never be forgotten.

Rest in Peace, Mae Young (1923-2014).


WWE announced the launch of its long-awaited Network last week, and the reaction has been positive on the whole. Every wrestling fan and their grandmother has voiced their opinion on the launch so I won't bore you with my thoughts, which are largely irrelevant as I won't be able to sign up until it launches in the UK anyway. The one aspect I can't wait to take advantage of, however, is the vast history of professional wrestling that the company's video library guarantees we will have access to. The amount of programming the WWE Network will showcases will allow fans, new and old alike, to educate or re-educate themselves on classic WWE, WCW and ECW and countless other promotions I'm sure. I can't wait to re-live old shows I haven't had the time or the access to enjoy since they first aired, and that's not because I don't enjoy the current product, that's simply for the nostalgia factor. Of course, the death of Mae Young highlights the importance of understanding and appreciating the history of the sport we all are fans of, professional wrestling. So be thankful for the launch of the WWE Network, but more importantly be thankful for professional wrestling being blessed by the likes of Mae Young.

Social Media Propaganda

411Mania is not just a website, it's a revolution. Join the revolution, and more importantly, follow it on TWITTER and like it FAECBOOK!

And what about me? I don't TWEET MUCH but I might if I had more followers. I am, however, all over that FACEBOOKIZZLE so be my friend on that and then like all my statuses so all my real life friends think I'm funny.

Last Week's Feedback

Here's the best of last week's comments, complete with feedback. Please note comments may be edited for spelling and grammar.

From Bawlmer; "As someone who was in attendance at Baltimore, I can promise you that nobody was sitting on their hands when Roberts came out. The place was on their feet. The section I was in went nuts."

My Response: Well it didn't translate well to TV, in all fairness. And you could tell by the blank expressions on the faces of fans in the first few rows facing the camera that they were only standing because they had no idea who the music belonged to. That's not a knock on Jake or the Baltimore crowd, just an inevitably when he's been so rarely featured on WWE TV for so long.

From August; Kofi's handstand walk was better then that lame chair thing he did when he realized he couldn't make the leap from the announce table. Also, CM Punk preaching during 2010(?) is a highlight for me."

My Response: I nearly included the handstand walk but I just liked the inventiveness of the chair spot, including landing on Tensai's back first. And it was kind of funny that he got eliminated almost immediately after getting back into the match. Punk's work in the Rumble that year was a highlight, no doubt, and narrowly missed out on my list.

From Nicholas Adam Villareal; "You misspelled "Lima". Other than that, a pretty solid analysis this week. Admittedly, it would be interesting to have Undertaker come back to take on Reigns one-on-one as comeuppance for what happened pretty soon after WrestleMania between Undertaker and The Shield (for the sake of continuity), but that could go either way. Either he pulls a Hogan and tells Rollins and Ambrose that he has to do it on his own, but then in loss recognizes that he needs The Shield, or The Shield comes out as a unit and Rollins and Ambrose inadvertently cost Reigns the match. If they don't have Undertaker face off against a member of The Shield, you're right, breaking them up for the sake of having a match between members of The Shield at WrestleMania makes no sense at all.

My Response: I really, really like the idea of Reigns "pulling a Hogan." And you could go numerous ways with it. Leave the match one-on-one and have the Ambrose and Rollins berate Reigns post-match, leading to Reigns getting beatdown. Could you imagine the rub Reigns would get if Shield turned on him, only for Reigns and Undertaker to clear house at WrestleMania? That would make Reigns in an instant and now I've talked myself into wanting to see it.

From Panda; "I would keep the Shield intact as long as possible. Even if some are heels and/or faces. I would even let them have rivalries between each other and wrestle each other down the road. But I would have them always have each others backs when it came down to it. Brothers to the end."

My Response: Be very careful, you are bordering on now territory with this kind of thinking. Have you considered a career at Total Non-stop Action Wrestling?

From AG Awesome regarding Bryan and the Wyatts; "Absolutely terrible and hopefully didn't kill things already... So disappointed in how they addressed it. I was hoping they would have Regal come out (Old School Raw) and try to talk sense to Bryan. Wyatt would demand Bryan wrestles Regal to prove his allegiance. We get an amazing 20 minute match and Bryan would destroy his "mentor" after beating him in a post match angle."

My Response: See now, emotional, linear stories that make sense and play on what the audiences already knows to be true is what is needed to develop multi-dimensional characters that a paying audience can invest in. This would have been an excellent follow-up.

From Berlyn regarding AJ Styles; "I think he deserves a chance in WWE, but I don't think Vince has any interest in him due to his age and size. With the rumors of a new promotion with JJ and Toby, he could be a guy who can give them national recognition. Yep, I don't see him back in TNA."

My Response: It's not surprising Vince has no interest in Styles; the guy is a phenomenal talent [pun not entirely unintended] but he's never been able to develop his minimal talent on the microphone and that makes him a dime a dozen as far as Vince McMahon is concerned. If this new promotion ever does materialise, AJ Styles would be a good hand to have around and adds a small amount of credibility, but he'd need to be used to put over your new stars of your new promotion.

From Ryan Ingram regarding today's talent opposed to that of the Attitude Era; "I actually think ability wise they can, but the direction they're pushed just isn't there. The E doesn't seem to handle the mid-card so well these days, and instead seems to allow them to mire in nothingness. The rebirth of the tag team means something, since I think a lot of good tag wrestling occurred during the Attitude Era. However, I think it needs to be booked better and once that would be done, would surpass the Attitude Era."

My Response: There's far too much stop-start booking nowadays. Benoit, Jericho, Angle were all champions or challenging for the WWE Championship within months of debuting with WWE. You can argue some of them had exposure prior to WWE, but the point still stands. They selected talents and they got behind them. I think the other factor is how much wrestlers benefitted from the territory system back then, which today's crop doesn't have the benefit of.

Regarding No Way Out 2001; lots of people said they'd never seen this pay-per-view or couldn't recall anything from it. In addition to the awesome match I showcased last week, what about Angle and Rock in a classic title match (botched ending and all), Austin and The Game having their best-ever match together, and one of the best WWE women's matches ever featuring a rookie Trish Stratus and Stephanie McMahon of all people. It was an incredible show. If only WWE had some massive Network where we could watch all their classic pay-per-views. Hmm.

This Week's Match

Four Way Ladder Match for the WWE Tag Team Championship:
Paul London and Brian Kendrick vs. The Hardys vs. MNM vs. William Regal and Dave Taylor Armageddon 2006

I'm an absolute sucker for ladder matches, especially WWE's big multi-man affairs that always rely on high spots. That's why I love the Money in the Bank concept, and it's these matches that first got me into tag team wrestling way back when. This match was great for a number of reasons. Firstly, it was a big surprise. On the pay-per-view, London and Kendrick were set to defend their tag titles against the team of Regal and Taylor but in a very late twist, Teddy Long decided to add two teams to the match the recently reunited Matt and Jeff Hardy and the recently reunited MNM comprised of Johnny Nitro and Joey Mercury. Oh, and if that wasn't enough impromptu shenanigans, it was going to be a Ladder match! Bravo, Mr Long.

What followed was fifteen minutes of balls to the wall action. A lot of the spots didn't come off too great but in matches like these, that merely adds to the excitement. Toward the end of the match, Kendrick used a two-ladder set up in an attempt to hit William Regal with Sliced Bread and he nearly managed to kill himself and Regal in the process. There was a scary spot where Nitro kicked a ladder out from underneath Jeff Hardy who subsequently got hung up on the top rope in a nasty fall. And then there was the matter of Joey Mercury getting his face completely smashed in by a see-saw-esque spot. It was one of the most brutal things I'd ever seen in professional wrestling and Mercury was rushed to the hospital mid-match leaving Nitro on his own. I don't recall how many stitches Mercy needed, but it was a hell of a lot.

Sometimes it's very easy to forget how often these guys put their bodies on the line for our entertainment. In a normal one-on-one match, everything looks safe and that's because these guys are professionals. We don't see too many legit injuries occur on television that are the fault of the competitors in the ring. But in a match like this the health risk are brought back to the forefront of our minds and I think that's why I appreciate these matches so much. Nobody wants to see anybody get hurt, but I would be lying if I said seeing such car crashes weren't tremendous entertainment.

This Week's Feature

I am going to present you with a direct quote taken from my own entry in a future edition of 411 Wrestling's Top 5 column. I won't put it into any context, because that will spoil the surprise, but here's the quote;

"There was never a long-term plan that saw Daniel Bryan as a permanent fixture in the main event. The optimist in me had always said that the end goal of the Bryan/Authority angle would see Bryan's stock rise to all new heights, but that never materialised and likely never will."

Four hours later, Daniel Bryan refused to be hit with yet another Sister Abigail at the hands of Bray Wyatt. Urged on by a capacity crowd on their feet going absolutely insane, Bryan pushed Bray away, hit him with a series of dropkicks before throwing him face-first into the side of the Steel Cage in which he and Wyatt had just lost to the Usos. Following one final running knee to the face of his former leader, Bryan was perched atop the Steel Cage, arms raised to the ceiling as the Raw crowd shouted "Yes!" in unison with 411's Wrestler of the Year. Once again, Raw was all about Daniel Bryan. Once again, Daniel Bryan was getting more of a reaction than anybody else on the show, John Cena included. And once again fans are left scratching their heads and asking themselves "what the hell are they doing with Daniel Bryan?"

The Wait and See Approach

Let's rewind to the summer of 2013. Bryan is still one half of Team Hell No along with the demonic monster Kane. The Big Red Machine's size, strength and longevity coupled with Bryan's paranoia led Bryan to believe that he was the weak link of the team, so he set out to prove himself. Somewhere in the mix was a water-treading Randy Orton, who planted seeds that felled Bryan's belief that he was the inferior member of Team Hell No. This lead to series of matches between Orton and Bryan, and after they split the first two, Bryan made Orton to submit in the Yes Lock in an hellacious Street Fight on Monday Night Raw. And it was performances like this that made the WWE Universe take more notice of Bryan, so much so that they were clamouring for him to be John Cena's hand-picked challenger for the WWE Championship and Summerslam. Well, Cena obliged and the match was set, with the majority of fans rallying behind the underdog. See, Cena was the ultimate obstacle. The true face of the company that nobody, not even The Rock or Brock Lesnar, could overcome. He was the unfaltering WWE Champion who just didn't lose. The last time somebody seemed to have Cena's number, CM Punk goaded Cena into putting his WrestleMania championship match up for grabs and of course Cena beat Punk clean. Nobody can topple John Cena.

Except, Daniel Bryan did. John Cena and Daniel Bryan had a phenomenal thirty-minute match that showcased how good both really are; many voted it their Match of the Year and those that didn't included it in their shortlist. In the end, Bryan debuted his running-knee finishing manoeuvre and pinned Cena one-two-three, clean in the middle of the ring to win his first WWE Championship.

Enter that old nemesis, Randy Orton. Orton slithered down to the ringside area where he teased cashing in his Money in the Bank contract, before turning and heading back up toward the entrance. Then right on queue, special referee Triple H spins Bryan around and nails him with a Pedigree before allowing Orton to cash-in and pin Bryan to make his reign one of the shortest in history.

Daniel Bryan's dreams are realised and then crushed at Summerslam 2013

There were two schools of thought following the conclusion of Summerslam, neither any more or less rational than the other.

One was a pessimistic outlook, arguably typical of your bog-standard member of the fabled Internet Wrestling Community. This outlook suggested that WWE had screwed the pooch, for lack of a more elegant term. WWE had a huge star in their hands, and they had the perfect platform to give him his crowning moment and make him into a money-making machine for WWE. Fans young and old alike were behind him and ready to cheer him as their new WWE Champion. And now the title was back on Randy Orton who, let's be honest, no one was clamouring for to be champion, and no one wanted to see Triple H heavily featured on TV again, even in a role as an authority figure, or The Authority figure as the case turned out to be. The Daniel Bryan push had been killed dead.

Then on the flip side you had the optimists. Oh, it was a brilliantly-executed swerve, and now we have Bryan chasing the dominant heels with the fans getting behind him even more. We'll get some great matches out of it. And then eventually, Triple H gets his comeuppance, Bryan gets the title back with the climax likely coming at the Hell in a Cell or Survivor Series pay-per-view.

See the optimists argument incorporated a logical line of thinking; heel does something dastardly, faces chases until bad guys get their comeuppance. That's wrestling 101. Good guys vs. bad guys. The money's in the chase and all that. Whereas the pessimists were justified in their views simply because history tell us that WWE's Creative has form for short-term booking without long-term goals that often leave us asking questions and don't provide a satisfying conclusion to a story.

Then came the onset of reality.

Bryan got his rematch with Orton at the next pay-per-view, Night of Champions. Nobody expected Bryan to win because that would be too soon, so of course Bryan won, beating Orton with the same move he used to defeat Cena. Bryan was a two-time champion. Until it all came crashing down once again and Bryan was stripped of the title on the opening segment of the following night's edition of Raw. Enter the two trains of thought once again. The sceptics: money wasted on another shitty pay-per-view, this angle's bombing. And the more patient fan: there's a long way to go in this story yet. So we moved on to Battleground where the two met again for the title. Except this time we got no finish, as Big Show laboured down to ringside and knocked out everyone in sight. At this point, the pessimists were circling like vultures, three pay-per-views in a row where Bryan was robbed of the title, more money down the drain, everything's going straight to hell. But at this point the defenders of the angle were brimming with confidence as we reached a major pay-per-view, Hell in a Cell, and this time we were guaranteed a winner. Of course, we all know the story. Special guest referee Shawn Michaels superkicked Daniel Bryan and counted the final as Randy Orton retained the WWE Championship. Bryan hasn't challenged for the title since. Those fans who had been patient and continued to purchase the shows to hopefully see their hero prevail had been let down and robbed, rewarded for their patience by yet another screwjob. People demanded refunds, people vowed to never watch again and even the most ardent WWE apologist could hardly blame them.

What made it even worse for those who had stayed loyal to the programming was Orton's next challenger was Big Show. Show's an incredible talent and a great hand, but to see him in the main event of one of the company's biggest shows while Bryan was relegated to the mid-card was quite honestly sickening. But us optimists had a silver lining to cling to. Bryan had beef with Shawn Michaels, who would surely come out of retirement to wrestling Bryan at WrestleMania XXX. The night after Hell in a Cell, the two had a confrontation that led to Bryan putting Michaels in the Yes Lock. What was more intriguing was that Bryan was getting cheers for it, and Michaels' every word was greeted with boos as he tried to explain his actions of the night before. At this point Daniel Bryan was so over that he could make one of this generation's most-beloved legends get booed.

Shawn Michaels tries to explain his actions to the uncrowned WWE Champion

Fans salivated at the prospect of Michaels stepping into the ring one more time, especially to have a match with the man who many claim to be the greatest professional wrestler active today in Daniel Bryan. How could these two have a confrontation like they did and it not lead to a match? News sites began posting stories of how WWE and Michaels were in negotiations about the HeartBreak Kid's WrestleMania involvement and it was only a matter of time before they struck a deal. Sure, Bryan may not be the WWE Champion, but being the guy who Michaels came out of retirement to face was surely a greater honour anyway? That match could even be billed as the show's main event, regardless of who's involved in the title fight. Even I placed the match at number one of my list of Most-Wanted WrestleMania Matches. And hey, even if Michaels didn't wrestle, the back-up plan was Bryan vs. Triple H, which you knew was going to be positioned as a marquee match in its own right. So there was no need to worry, right?

Shawn Michaels disappeared from television. The issues between Bryan and The Authority became an afterthought as Bryan was pursued Bray Wyatt and the Wyatt Family, who took Bryan out with a series of attacks. And we're back to our two trains of thought. On the one hand, this was clearly a stop-gap. Bryan would feud with the Wyatts who would turn out to be under the rule of The Authority this would reignite Bryan's feud with The Game, Bryan would win the Royal Rumble and get his ultimate moment on the Grandest Stage of 'Em All. Or, Bryan was being shunted back down the card, doomed to mid-card hell. He had had his moment in the sun, but now John Cena was back and back in the title hunt. He and Orton were to vie for the top prize as well as the claim of being face of the company. Daniel Bryan? He was always the goat-face of the company. Bryan was to be the punchline in Triple H's big prank on the IWC this was the plan all along.

Personally? I've always prided myself on being an optimistic person, especially when it comes to professional wrestling. Never take anything for granted. There's always a long-term plan, because that just makes sense. Admittedly my faith began to wane somewhat when Show was entered into the title picture and then Cena and Orton fought over the WWE World Heavyweight Championship with Bryan as an afterthought. I liked the idea of Bryan feuding with the Wyatts because I like both acts, but I couldn't quite work out where it was heading. I do recall the Championship Ascension Ceremony prior to the Tables, Ladders and Chairs pay-per-view, thinking that there was no way WWE would ignore reactions like that. If there's one thing Vince McMahon knows, it's how to make money and Daniel Bryan is a licence to print money right now.

So Bryan's rivalry with the Wyatts continued while Orton and Cena continued to fight for the title. Bryan was once again getting beat down on a regular basis with seemingly no light at the end of the tunnel. And even if he did eventually get the better of Bray and co, so what? He wasn't champion, and he wasn't going to the main event of WrestleMania. Then we got the big turn, with Bryan joining the Wyatt Family. Much like his fans, he was tired of the beatings, tired of the near misses and sick to the stomach of failure regardless of how much people wanted him to succeed. None of it was even his fault, Daniel Bryan was left with no other option but to join the Wyatts in much the same way that many fans felt that had no other option but to demand refunds or stop watching the product. And for the record, I've said it before and I'll say it again, the execution of Daniel Bryan joining the Wyatts was phenomenal.

Daniel Bryan succumbs to temptation and joins the Wyatt Family

The way the angle was presented was so brilliant that I knew that there had been big plans for Bryan all along and actually, his failure to win the WWE Championship back from Randy Orton was merely the beginning. Many people criticised the heel turn, saying it was a massive opportunity wasted, but I knew it wasn't really even a heel turn. Regardless of how short-term the deal was, Bryan was always going to "see the light" eventually. The one thing that always stuck in my mind, however, was that this segment probably wouldn't have main evented the show if it wasn't for the fact that half the roster, including Randy Orton and John Cena, were at a house show in Canada that night and thus not featured on Raw. But hey, even if this wasn't leading back to the Authority and the championship, at least Bryan was getting featured in an interesting angle on the road to WrestleMania, right? I mean, there was even talk of a potential match with The Undertaker for crying out loud. Of course, it would all come crashing back down to earth with the weak follow-up on Raw the following week. Bryan was decked out in Wyatt Family-esque attire and put into a six-man tag match against Rey Mysterio and the Usos. Bryan and the Wyatts lost, leading to a post-match beat down and yet another Sister Abigail. It was a luke-warm follow up at best to one of the more intriguing endings to Raw in a good while.

All of a sudden the elaborate theories of Bryan joining the Wyatts to take down the Authority from the inside were dead in the water. People actually believed that Creative would remember before Kane went corporate, he fell victim to Bray. Maybe Kane was planted in The Authority to take them down from the inside. Or maybe Kane and Bryan had reconciled as Team Hell No and were plotting to take out the Wyatts and The Authority. Maybe CM Punk was in on the whole thing and they all aimed to eliminate the Shield. And maybe the reason the Wyatts targeted Kane upon their debut was become Sister Abigail had a sibling herself, Sister Katie Vick. All the fantasy-booking in the world wasn't going to change the fact that somewhere along the way, WWE had seemingly moved on from Daniel Bryan.

And that's what lead me to this;

"There was never a long-term plan that saw Daniel Bryan as a permanent fixture in the main event. The optimist in me had always said that the end goal of the Bryan/Authority angle would see Bryan's stock rise to all new heights, but that never materialised and likely never will."

Four hours later, Daniel Bryan refused to be hit with yet another Sister Abigail at the hands of Bray Wyatt. Urged on by a capacity crowd on their feet going absolutely insane, Bryan pushed Bray away, hit him with a series of dropkicks before throwing him face-first into the side of the Steel Cage in which he and Wyatt had just lost to the Usos. Following one final running knee to the face of his former leader, Bryan was perched atop the Steel Cage, arms raised to the ceiling as the Raw crowd shouted "Yes!" in unison with 411's Wrestler of the Year. Once again, Raw was all about Daniel Bryan. Once again, Daniel Bryan was getting more of a reaction than anybody else on the show, John Cena included. And once again fans are left scratching their heads and asking themselves "what the hell are they doing with Daniel Bryan?"

The answer? Nobody knows. Well, nobody outside of Vince McMahon, Triple H, creative and a select few others. Maybe not even Daniel Bryan himself. But I'm an optimist who's given up hope on this Daniel Bryan thing on a couple of occasions, only for one moment in time, or one twist in a storyline to reaffirm my faith.

WWE is in a state of flux, with Vince McMahon handing over a certain amount of power and influence to his son-in-law Triple H. We all know Triple H has an old school mentality for wrestling with a new school mind for business. We don't truly know how much influence he has over McMahon. We know he is a supporter of tag team wrestling. And we know he's a fan of longer title reigns, with champions who mean something. If you look at today's product, you can see his influence. We've also been told that he is a fan of long-term angles, having a plan for everyone on TV. Maybe, just maybe, he's played a blinder and booked one of the best long-term angles ever. The fact is, no matter how much people like to claim they're in the know, now more than ever, we don't know a damned thing.

Brock Lesnar would never go back to wrestling.

We all knew Bruno Sammartino would never go into the WWE Hall of Fame.

Obviously, Ultimate Warrior would never have a working relationship with WWE ever again.

Don't worry, I'm not going all Watry on you, in fact this is the opposite. I'm asking you to keep your minds open. It's WrestleMania season, anything can happen. And is if you needed any further proof, Daniel Bryan goes and gets himself a concussion and throws the whole thing up in the air one more time!

You just couldn't write this stuff. But maybe Triple H could. Wait and see.

Daniel Bryan frees himself from the Wyatt Family

This Week's List

The list this week will be a short one, reason-being I've had to do extra shifts at work this week, coupled with having to put extra time into 411 Music's Year-End feature, which is coming soon. On the brightside, I now have twelve days off work. Tomorrow I celebrate my birthday, but after that I'll be non-stop writing for the week just to get myself ahead of schedule so a full list will return next week.

Daniel Bryan's Top 10 WWE Moments

Honourable Mention: The Rock Confronts Daniel Bryan and CM Punk

Honourable Mention: Daniel Bryan Takes Batista to the Limit

10. Daniel Bryan Attacks Michael Cole and The Miz on NXT

This was in the middle of Bryan's run on NXT, or technically just after it as he'd been eliminated from the competition at this stage. It was like Vince McMahon's personal running gag against the IWC and those who followed Bryan through the indies. He debuted on NXT with The Miz of all people as his Pro, and he embarked on losing streak. Worst of all however was Michael Cole, who had a bit more freedom as commentator on NXT and spent the majority of the broadcasts ripping Bryan to shreds. Cole seemed to rejoice in tearing down Bryan's credentials. Well here he did that to Bryan's face and eventually got popped in the mouth for it. Bryan made sure to give Miz some as he was escorted out by security too. Although they were clearly poking fun at the IWC, they clearly had a plan for Bryan, not dissimilar to he's two cups of coffee with the WWE Championship.

9. Daniel Bryan Returns to Fight The Nexus

The debut of the Nexus was one of the greatest closing segments on Raw of all time. Eights guys from Season One of NXT jumped the barricades, decimated John Cena, CM Punk and the Straight Edge Society and tore apart the ringside area, ring and all. It was utter carnage. According to a recently turned PG WWE, Daniel Bryan went too far, unfortunately. Bryan was seen viciously choking ring announcer Justin Roberts with his own tie and was thus canned for it. The uproar was phenomenal. The Nexus berated Bryan on TV to explain his absence, but fans would regularly chant his name on episodes of Raw. Finally at Summerslam, the Nexus teamed up to face the best WWE had to offer, but they were a man down. While the Miz promptly named himself the seventh man, John Cena stopped him in his tracks and introduced Miz's former nemesis, Daniel Bryan. For those that say WWE lacks continuity, at least they're consistent with having John Cena rally behind the former American Dragon.

8. Daniel Bryan Debuts Against World Heavyweight Champion Chris Jericho

Daniel Bryan debuting on NXT was seen as an insult to many, especially alongside so many no names, and with The Miz as his Pro no less. Then they started him off on this losing streak where he couldn't beat anybody, not the Pros on NXT or even his fellow rookies that included Heath Slater and Michael Tarver. But more often than not, when Bryan got in the ring, they let him show his stuff. His debut match was against the reigning and defending World Champion and Pro of Wade Barrett, Chris Jericho. It was a great free TV match with Bryan getting in plenty of offence against the World Champion. Unsurprisingly these two had great chemistry and although they didn't get a ton of time to showcase their skills, what we got was enough to tell us that actually, WWE liked Daniel Bryan and knew what he was capable of one way or another, he was going to find his place in this company. As it happens, he's gone on to become one of its top stars, but that shouldn't really have come as a surprise.

7. Daniel Bryan Wins the United States Championship

After months and months of being torn down by both Michael Cole and The Miz, Daniel Bryan eventually made it to the main roster where he found himself a contender for The Miz's United States Championship. Such was the hatred that the WWE Universe for The Miz that Bryan managed to get himself over to a point where the audience was truly clamouring for him, or anyone for that matter, to dethrone the obnoxious Miz. Even with Alex Riley by his side, The Miz could not combat Bryan's offence on this night and Bryan would force Miz to submit to the LeBell Lock to capture his first taste of gold at the aptly named Night of Champions. Miz was a big time player at this stage, and he was on his way up, so it was a massive moment and a great platform for Bryan to show off his skills. The most important aspect of this match was the massive reaction Bryan got when he finally won the match, and as time proved, that was merely a sign of things to come for Daniel Bryan.

6. Daniel Bryan Wins the World Heavyweight Championship

Some might argue that this should be higher, because the prospect of Daniel Bryan becoming a World Champion in WWE seemed preposterous when he first debut in nXT and was then fired months later during the Nexus angle. But at the Tables, Ladders and Chairs pay-per-view Bryan cashed in Money in the Bank to win the big gold belt. The reason this isn't higher is primarily because it was the weakest Money in the Bank cash-in of all time, and his title reign wasn't much to shout about. Throughout his reign Bryan was portrayed as lucky rather than good, he won an Elimination Chamber against an incredibly weak field, and then lost the title to Sheamus in 18-seconds at WrestleMania. Of course, the reign was beneficial to Bryan who got to show his skills as a heel and debuted his "Yes!" chants which would really take off at WrestleMania.

5. Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus, 2 Out of 3 Falls for the World Championship

Bryan dropping his World Championship to Sheamus in 18-seconds felt like another slap in the face, especially after their match at WrestleMania the previous year for the United States Championship was relegated to pre-show and didn't even have a conclusive ending. But as it turned out, it was the best thing that could have ever happened to Bryan (the old Wait and See Approach in full effect) as another crazy post-WrestleMania Raw crowd helped the "Yes!" chants really take off and all of a sudden Bryan was one of the most over guys in the company. At Extreme Rules the following month these two finally got their chance to showcase their skills in front of a rabid Chicago audience also anticipating a Lesnar/Cena showdown. But the Chicago crowd loved Bryan in this match. Even though Bryan lost, this was his (and Sheamus') best WWE match to date and an important part in rebuilding him following the 18-seconds mis-step.

4. Daniel Bryan Wins Money in the Bank

I think moreso than the World Heavyweight Championship victory, this was the moment fans realised that actually, WWE had faith in Bryan and there was a chance that he could become something more than a solid mid-card hand. Even looking at the line up for this match, Bryan wasn't one of the favourites. You had at least three guys in this match that seemed like more likely winners and even though we were in front of a partisan Chicago crowd once again, it just didn't seem likely that WWE would go with Bryan. But they did just that, Bryan last knocking Wade Barrett from atop the ladder before retrieving the briefcase that he would carry for four months, despite claiming he would wait until WrestleMania 28 before finally cashing in. And as you'd expect, the response from the Chicago crowd echoed the sentiments of many people who were clamouring for Bryan's success.

3. Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton in a Street Fight

I made mention of this match above but I think it's important to underline just how important it is to Daniel Bryan's career. Typically when WWE gives a guy a "weak link" angle it's never good because it usually just reinforce the idea that the wrestler isn't actually very good, much like the awful losing streak gimmick. But here WWE made it impossible for anyone to believe that Bryan was a weak link of any kind, even though he believed it himself. The first match these two had ended in a win for Orton due to ref stoppage, a decision which angered Bryan, who would then pick up the win in the rematch. That brought us to this Street Fight, which was a fantastic bout and actually got the main event slot on an episode of Monday Night Raw last summer. Despite both guys being fan favourites at this point, the majority of the WWE Universe were rallying behind Bryan, who was wrestling as the underdog. Eventually he forced Orton to submit with a singapore cane-assisted Yes Lock, and the crowd went ape. It was a great match but it cemented Bryan as a top tier player, more-so than his world title win or feud with CM Punk over the WWE Championship. This meant Bryan was the real deal.

2. Daniel Bryan Hands the Shield Their First Loss

In hindsight it's difficult to imagine just how big a moment this was. This match happened in June, nearly eight months after the debut of the Shield. Aside from one or two hokey DQ losses, the Shield were undefeated in six-man tag team matches. They were unbeatable. They'd beat any and all combination of WWE's top tier talent that included John Cena, Undertaker, Sheamus, Big Show, Ryback and the three men in this match, Kane, Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan. Every time you thought they were going to lose, the Shield survived. And it was booked brilliantly because the fans really, really wanted to see the Shield get beat. And the way they reacted to Daniel Bryan's hot tag in this match made it clear that Daniel Bryan was the guy they wanted to see beat the Shield. It was one of many fantastic tag matches involving the Shield in 2013, but the reaction was off the charts. Bryan cleaned house. Kane took care of Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose on the outside before shoving Seth Rollins off the top rope into a thunderous RKO. The crowd is on fire at this point, and then Daniel Bryan locks in the Yes Lock, Rollins submits and the crowd lose their shit. One of the moments of the year, and a sign that Daniel Bryan had the faith of everyone in the back.

1. Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena, WWE Championship

This is the easiest number one pick, ever. Again, it's a match I discussed earlier but I shall reiterate. Daniel Bryan pinned John Cena as clean as a whistle to win the WWE Championship. You can probably count on one hand the number of people who have beat Cena clean in the last few years, and Daniel Bryan is one of them and he did following a phenomenal thirty-minute match that had the crowd on their feet for the duration. What's more impressive is the response from the WWE Universe, in the build up to and during this match. They wanted to see Bryan dethrone the reigning king of the WWE Universe. Grown men, women, many young children and every age and gender in between were backing Bryan. He was the chosen face of WWE at this time and they pulled the trigger before immediately pulling the rug out right from under Bryan's feet. But this match will go down in history, irrespective of where Bryan's career ends up as one of the most important main event matches of the modern error and the pinnacle of Daniel Bryan's WWE tenure. Monumental.

This Week's Farewell

And so concludes another Thoughts from the Top Rope. Remember to leave your comments and criticisms in the comments section below. I want to hear your thoughts on;

- Daniel Bryan's push - where's it going?
- Are wrestling fans to quick to judge storylines?
- What are Daniel Bryan's most memorable WWE moments?
- Who remembers the Ladder Match from Armageddon 2006?
- What aspects of the WWE Network are you most looking forward to?
- How will you remember Mae Young?

I will be back next week with a look at the merits of the WWE's Hall of Fame, until then, thank you for reading and have a great week.


Top 5 Wanted Movie Re-Releases

A Walk Among the Tombstones Review

This Is Where I Leave You Review

comments powered by Disqus

Copyright (c) 2011 411mania.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
Click here for our privacy policy. Please help us serve you better, fill out our survey.
Use of this site signifies your agreement to our terms of use.