The 8-Ball 5.14.14: Top 8 Ways to Salvage Bryan vs. Kane
Posted by Mike Hammerlock on 05.14.2014
From making things personal and bringing Vince McMahon into things to a John Cena heel turn, breaking past the PG barrier and more, 411's Mike Hammerlock counts down the top 8 ways to save the Daniel Bryan vs. Kane feud!
Minimally invasive neck surgery has rocked the wrestling world this week. Daniel Bryan is going under the knife and we don't know whether he's going to have to drop the WWE title. It will be a crying shame if he does, particularly because he seemingly picked up this injury in an absolute throwaway feud with Kane.
So far Bryan-Kane has been dreadful. It's given us obligatory Kane spots like popping up through the ring and setting tables on fire. We've been treated to Brie Bella's terrible acting. Seriously, how hard is it to look frightened and scream? The WWE champ has been reduced to running scared from a psycho stalker straight off the Hollywood reject pile. The whole thing has been a colossal waste of time and now it's put the most over wrestler in the business on the DL. Thanks WWE.
Regardless of how long Bryan's out, Monday's installment in this little drama - where Kane dragged an unconscious Daniel Bryan out from behind the Titantron - ensures that Kane is Bryan's first order of business when he returns. Unfortunately there is little chance of this feud getting relegated to the trasheap of wrestling history never to be revisited. So the task set before the Magic 8-Ball this week is to inject some life and purpose into the Bryan-Kane conflict. If they're going to do this, and they are, then they ought to do it well. Ideally Brie disappears and we get 100% fewer theater tricks, but that's minor stuff. Let's get to the meat of this sandwich.
8. It's Personal
Could have listed this at #1, but it's such a basic, obvious concept that it weaves itself into any larger storyline Bryan and Kane might be working. The core of their issue is once upon a time Kane thought D-Bry was the Robin to his Batman. Then Bryan went on to become the biggest star in the wrestling firmament while Kane got relegated to the enhancement ranks. Kane isn't an otherworldly being, he's not a demon. He's a driven, vindictive, petty man. This shouldn't be a bad stalker movie. It's an old warrior running on desperation and anger. The violence and bitterness should be amped up while the voodoo completely disappears.
7. Revenge of the Broski
As has been noted by many, Daniel Bryan's not the first wrestler who's been cast as the hapless victim of Kane's wrath. Zack Ryder still hasn't recovered from being the sidekick who gets croaked in the Kane-Cena dramatics from two years ago. Now that D-Bry is on the shelf for an undetermined amount of time, it creates an opening for someone else to step in and stick it to Kane. Zack Ryder, literally, isn't busy with anything else. Having Ryder step up to Kane and call bullshit on the entire Kane-Bryan-Authority angle would be a shrewd move. He essentially could become the stand-in for all the fans who are hating this storyline so far, not to mention that it would serve as karmic justice for Ryder's burial two years ago. When Bryan returns, he can finish the job. Until then, Ryder could be the poster boy for fans fed up with some of the idiocy that leaks out of WWE Creative.
6. Enter the AmDrag
Regardless of the title situation, when Bryan returns he's going to have to finish up his business with Kane. It's on his must-do list. However, they've got to lose the big, bad Kane stalking the small, defenseless Daniel Bryan dynamic. Once upon a time, back before he was in the WWE, Bryan Danielson was known as the American Dragon and he was generally revered by fans in the know for his ability to slap a zillion painful holds on his opponents. AmDrag used to twist his opponents like they were made of pretzel dough. Have him return as that guy in a foul mood with a burning desire to hurt Kane. This doesn't have to devolve into a string of plunder matches or involve heavy machinery or caskets. Daniel Bryan can start jumping Kane, taking him down and hurting that sumbitch. Extra points awarded if D-Bry throws in a Cattle Mutilation or two.
5. It's Me, Bryan! It Was Me All Along, Bryan!
Not that we should believe her, but Stephanie McMahon has been insisting Kane has gone rogue. She "can't control the demon." What's she supposed to do? Call the Winchester brothers? Maybe Kane has gone off the reservation, but rather than pretend he's tapping into some cockamamie supernatural force, why not have him channel the WWE's real supernatural force: Vince McMahon. After all, Vince let the Billion Dollar Princess and HHH run the show and they failed to eradicate the threat of Daniel Bryan. Now Vince is back to the pulling the unseen strings of the WWE universe. How is Kane constantly getting the drop on Bryan? Why is Stephanie apparently oblivious to what Kane's next move seems to be? Vince isn't going to let some plucky, undersized grappler and his daughter's incompetence destroy the empire he's built. And if they insist on making Brie a prominent part of this story, they can always crucify her as part of Vince's big reveal.
If people hadn't noticed, the WWE has a bit of a war going on at the moment. Shield vs. Evolution is already the feud of the year and they haven't even hit the epic portion of that program. There will be collateral damage and it will spill over into numerous other storylines. One thing we're almost guaranteed to see at some point this year (perhaps at SummerSlam) is Shield vs. Evolution vs. Wyatts. See how you just went to your happy place the moment you thought about the possibility of that match? It's got to happen. Of course, you might ask what does this have to do with Daniel Bryan and Kane? Well, if various factions are running roughshod over the WWE, then a WWE champion might want to form a faction of his own. One obvious choice would be Bryan + Usos, the company's face titleholders banding together in common cause. On the upside, it would allow the Usos to be cheered rather than suffer the collateral booing of standing next to John Cena. They could take down Kane and then stand together as other factions come at them. In fact, if the WWE really wanted to push the faction envelope, it could turn Survivor Series into a trios tournament (and Kane could pick up the Ascension along the way).
3. John Cena, Evil Genius
Let's not forget that Daniel Bryan split off from Kane and became the nominal top face in the company last summer when he beat John Cena at SummerSlam. That was when the Team Hell No break became official. Bryan took Cena's spot and Kane got thrown aside like an old pair of gym socks. If Kane is being fueled by the bitterness over Bryan leaving him behind, then he isn't the only guy with unresolved anger over that moment. John Cena's starting to acknowledge that crowds are going from a split reaction on him to boobird domination. Bray Wyatt even turned kids against him. Where did it all go downhill for the Chosen One? In 2013 he was sitting on top of the world. He was WWE champion, he'd beaten the Rock at WrestleMania, the world was his oyster. Then he gave the fans what they wanted by insisting on Daniel Bryan as his opponent at SummerSlam … and the fans turned on him. Now Bryan is their favorite and Cena's yesterday's hero. Maybe Cena's enlisted Kane to soften up D-Bry or to create the chaos needed to put him back in title contention. While I remain skeptical Cena ever actually will pull a heel turn, this would be a perfect time and place for it. Hero Bryan vs. Villain Cena would be a red-hot ticket.
2. The Third Man
The simplest way to extricate Bryan and Kane from a feud heading in the wrong direction (aside from forgetting that the whole thing ever happened) is to insert a third party into the mix. It would severely cut back on the mystical mumbo jumbo and put the focus back on action that happens in the ring. This could be combined with entry #3 on the list. Once again, Cena maneuvers himself into the title picture, selling Bryan that he's got just as much beef with Kane. Then in a three-way title match we get the big reveal that Cena was conspiring with Kane. Cena gets the belt, Kane gets to beat Bryan to a pulp. Battle lines get drawn. Or they could bring in Cesaro or Brock Lesnar or Bray Wyatt or pretty much anybody. Someone else getting into the fray immediately makes Bryan-Kane more interesting, and this feud definitely needs a major infusion of "more interesting."
1. Paint the Ring Red
I know the WWE is PG these days, but one of the big problems with Bryan-Kane at Extreme Rules is it felt like the safety scissors version of an Attitude Era match. These two supposedly beat other to a pulp, but it somehow ended up bloodless. If this is personal and if it's going to take absolute, unflinching brutality to win this war, then it's time to bleed. The WWE has been playing footsie with blood during the past six months. Surely you've noticed a lot of guys are getting bloody lips these days. It's like they're sprinkling in a tiny bit of hardway just to add some spice. It's not a blade job, just the unavoidable result of titanic men smashing into each other. TNA recently worked some positive bleeding into the Eric Young-Abyss hardcore match. It worked like a charm. Let Bryan rip off Kane's red mask and then give him a new one. Go at each other like you were Roddy Piper and Greg Valentine in a dog collar match. We're not buying into this feud because it seems too contrived, because it seems destined for some goofy, overbooked finale. The story they're telling really should end with a bloodbath and we have little to no confidence we're going to see it. Surprise us in a good way. End this feud in capital red letters.
I take requests.. The purpose of this column is to look forward. What could be? What should be? What is and what should never be? What would make more sense? If there's someone or something you think should be given the 8-Ball treatment, mention it in the comments section. I might pick it up for future weeks.