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The Wrestling 5 & 1 5.17.14: Mickie James vs Lana
Posted by Tony Acero on 05.17.2014

It is 10:00 AM, and I have just finished my final essay of my collegiate career. Forgive me if I am equally elated and saddened by this news. I had an entire diatribe typed out about just how wrestling got me through college, but considering the fact that this is a news report, and there are a few changes coming in weeks, I'd rather stick to what we know and talk about the past week the only way we know how….with the FIVE!

Bad News Bryan

Talk about a bad break, right? Since Wrestlemania, Daniel Bryan has been saddled with tragedy after tragedy, and surprise after surprise – both kayfabe and otherwise. From his father's death, to the childish storyline, to the most recent bump in the road – a neck injury – Daniel Bryan has been given a hell of a test as a Champion, and it makes me truly wonder if this will hurt or help him when all is said and done. With that being considered, I figure I'd take each unfortunate incident and see how much they will, or have, effected Bryan's reign as Champion. It's no secret that there are a few people who just don't like the Kane storyline and what it's turning Bryan into. There are those who feel the addition of Brie is doing nothing but hurting Bryan, and that his underdog persona is all but gone. But the question remains as to whether or not he'll survive all of this – and if he does, there's something very important to learn about it all…

Death of a Father
When Bryan came out as WWE World Heavyweight Champion, seething and fighting back tears, I nearly choked up my damned self. We got the news that his father passed away, and he came out, belt around his waist, to what I can only assume was his greatest form of therapy. He fed off the crowd and adoration we gave him, and with an emotional high such as that, it was poignant yet depressing to see. In terms of storyline, we saw Kane quickly come out and dispatch Bryan with ease, sending him packing, presumably for his father. It was a succinct "return" of the monster that is Kane, and looked to be the start of Bryan's first program as Champion – including adding to his underdog persistency as a champ.

Childish Games
Before I go on about the entirety of the Kane and Bryan storyline, I'd first like you all to take a minute and check out Jack McGee's Thank You Letter to the WWE that caused a lot of people to relook at the storyline of Good Guy vs Bad Guy in its entirety. While I won't go so far as to jump on the train with the notion that the WWE is actively trying to make Daniel Bryan the next John Cena (or, at least, see if he can possibly be that), I will say that in the PG-Era, we sometimes forget that the marketing of the product – especially the spotlight of the product – isn't meant for us. In some ways, we got exactly what we wanted, and now we have to sit back and watch to see what kind of Champion Bryan will be, AND whether we will accept it or not (more on that later).

Growing Pains
I think it was late Saturday when I saw the news that Bryan would have to undergo neck surgery immediately, putting the WWE World Heavyweight Title in jeopardy, and thought right away how much more Bryan must go through to get a solid, and legit reign as Champion. We know by now that the surgery was a success, and Bryan is said to be out 6-8 weeks, with a return scheduled for Summerslam. As of today, we do not know what the WWE will be doing with the title, especially considering there's a logical explanation to strip Bryan of said title – kayfabe wise, at least. After looking at everything that has happened to Bryan, and his tragic issues that have fallen – and continue to fall – on him, there's a trepidation that Bryan may very well lose the belt, and we could all call his first legit reign at the top of the game a complete failure…

BUT something hit me just before sitting down to write this, and that's the fact that we are dealing with the most resilient wrestler in a long, long time. If we are to blend kayfabe and reality for a minute, then what makes Bryan's underdog vulnerability so attractive as a fan, and what makes the issues at hand any different than, say, an angry COO that doesn't believe in him? No, I will not liken the death of Bryan's father to Triple H's sledgehammer, but if Daniel Bryan the wrestler can overcome the odds of some of wrestling's greatest villains, then maybe Brian Danielson the man could do the same. After all, aren't all the greats just the personalities of men pumped up to the nth degree? To those worried about the title, and Bryan, let me say this: he will survive. Bryan is an enigma; he created his rise, and we ushered it in with welcoming arms. The death of his father, the hokey storyline, the neck injury, these are nothing but obstacles, and obstacles have been proven to be ineffective to Daniel Bryan. In some ways, this argument could be coming from a 10 year old, screaming at the TV that Bryan is a Champion, and he's going to beat that scary man, Kane. In other ways, it could come from a 27 year old writer who sees that the man who plays the character is one of the most resilient and professional beings I've ever seen in this business.

Your Turn: Will we consider Bryan's first true reign as a failure when all is said and done?

Over on the Yes! Yes! Yes! Facebook page, I posted this pic for all to comment on...

And the commenter with the most "likes"???

Frank Paul: "What's the Capitol of Thailand?"

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A few weeks ago on RAW, Sheamus and Wade Barrett went one-on-one during the Intercontinental Championship Tournament. Barrett came out the winner, but the match as a whole made me feel like one, too. It was a hard-hitting match that picked up with the time it had and resulted in a desire to see these guys go at it again. It was shorter than I wanted, and I wondered just what these two could possibly do going one-on-one with a bit more time, or a PPV setting.

That was nearly a month ago, and since then, both men are in very different places. Each suffered some continual losses before winning a big title. Sheamus just recently picked up the US Title, while Barrett won the tournament that Sheamus was in to take home the IC Title. With both international stars holding gold, rumors and fantasy bookings have already placed these guys in all sorts of matches to unify the titles. The question isn't even so much will they or won't they, but how will they (or won't they).

I've been a firm believer in the ability to use titles as enhancers to character or storytelling, and when an opportunity to unify titles comes into question, I always worry that it's simply because the writers are lazy. After all, what are the most common reasons? The age-old "nothing to do with you" excuse? The lack of a legit challenger? The complete non-use of a champion? All of these have little to do with the inability to create, and a lot to do with the inconsistency of booking. Could Sheamus and Wade add prestige to these two titles? Most certainly, yes. Would unifying the belts add more intrigue to them – and the winner – as a result? Most certainly, yes. But is it necessary? No. No, it's not. And it's a shame that IF this does happen, we couldn't see two great programs resulting in great matches, instead of the possibility of one great match.

Your Turn: Is unifying the Intercontinental and United States Championship Title a good idea?

Lana is heading into Week 3 like a boss. Please guys, take a second to check out just how badly she put a beating on Rosa Mendes. Like…..damn.

Anyway, let's see how she does against that dirty, dirty girl…Mickie James!

And now…..

Voting ends Wednesday night and you can vote once every hour!

Last week, I was unable to make it. I was too busy altering the psyche of my male mind by viewing the show The Voice with my little sister. It was about as bad as one would think. In all reality, seeing Usher perform was pretty cool. Other than that, the sister was pretty happy, and I suppose that alone was worth it. Nonetheless, I missed the third episode of RAW REACTION. Have no fear, however, as a good friend of 411 and of the Y!Y!Y! Group helped out.

It's sure to be a game of good cop/bad cop as Harry and Tony entertain your calls and breakdown the happenings of WWE Monday Night Raw! Join hosts Harry Broadhurst (commentator for Real Action Pro Wrestling and Black Diamond Wrestling) and Tony Acero (411Mania.com, The Greg DeMarco Show) as they provide immediate reaction and analysis of wrestling's biggest show—WWE Monday Night Raw. The wrestling week peaks on Monday night with WWE Raw Reaction—only on Powerhouse Radio!

More Wrestling Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with PWP Radio on BlogTalkRadio


About the author:

Tony Acero is currently a student at Cal State University of Long Beach. He is double-majoring as a Creative Writing and Literature major. His first book, Through The Looking Glass, was published in April, 2012. School's Out is a short story that found the author arrested due to the severity of its content. Both can be found on amazon.com.

Tony joined 411Mania in April 2010, and currently contributes in both music and wrestling. Tony is an avid drinker of Mountain Dew and Jack Daniels. He is a writer who hardly takes himself seriously, yet has an innate ability to create moments that are both human yet fearful in his writings.

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Greg DeMarco is a graduate of Virginia Tech (Bachelor's in Business Management) and Arizona State (Master's in Higher & Post-Secondary Education). He works in online higher education. Greg started in improv comedy in 2001, making his stand-up debut in 2004.

Greg first appeared as a ring announcer for Rising Phoenix Wrestling in Phoenix Arizona in 2006 and served many promotions in both on-stage and back-stage roles for over six years, most notably Ring of Honor in 2010. He began writing for 411Mania in October 2010, founded The Greg DeMarco Show in May 2011 and opened WrestlingSmash.com (and Wrestling Smash Radio) in January 2013.

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Until next week...


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