Though there had been tremors main as much as Tuesday’s momentous announcement, the return of Daniel Bryan to WWE as an lively competitor just about got here out of nowhere. Over a 24 hour span, WWE followers basically went from resigned to the truth that they’d by no means see Bryan wrestle once more inside a WWE ring, to anticipating his match at WrestleMania in a few weeks. After his retirement in early 2016, the final notion of Bryan was that he was too injured to wrestle, that if he have been to endure one other concussion he would endure severe, life-altering accidents. The truth was that whereas Bryan did have severe concussion points; the science behind concussions was so new that it wasn’t clear precisely how harm Bryan was. That at all times left a sliver of hope in Bryan followers that he would in the future return; and unexpectedly on Tuesday, March 21, these goals got here true.
On Tuesday, Bryan introduced his return in an ideal promo to open SmackDown, and by the tip of the present he was clearly again, taking bumps and dealing out offense to Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. Given present storylines, it seems to Bryan’s return match will likely be teaming up with Shane McMahon in opposition to Owens and Zayn at WrestleMania. Bryan’s presence takes a mid-card match and makes it arguably probably the most anticipated match of WrestleMania, much more so than Ronda Rousey, John Cena and The Undertaker, or the world title matches.
There are quite a lot of questions left unanswered by Bryan’s return. The primary is clearly his well being; in line with Dave Meltzer Bryan will likely be subjected to the strictest concussion evaluation possible; having to undergo concussion exams after every match. For followers, there may be some type of an ethical query about watching Bryan carry out; ought to we be excited a few performer if they’re risking their long run well being within the course of? It is a robust query; primarily as a result of we do not know the way harm Bryan actually is. There’s a perception that if different wrestlers on the roster have been subjected to the identical examinations as Bryan, they’d produce related outcomes since there are many wrestlers working full-time who’ve suffered a half-dozen or extra concussions over their careers. Ten years in the past, Bryan definitely would have by no means been pressured to retire within the first place, and there is not sufficient proof to attract a broad line for when somebody with a historical past of concussions ought to and shouldn’t be wrestling.
For me; I am going to at all times fear about Bryan when he’s wrestling, just because you’ll be able to’t dismiss his harm historical past. Nevertheless, dozens of medical consultants have cleared him to wrestle and he has made a private alternative to take action. I might additionally wish to assume that if Bryan was in a such a state that if he received another concussion he can be severely threatening his long-term well being, that WWE would not have him competing of their ring and that Bryan wouldn’t attempt to get himself cleared. Lastly; I am positive that whereas injured Bryan has thought lots about his wrestling type and the way he did some actually silly issues within the ring all through his profession; significantly throughout his run in Ring of Honor. As soon as he returns to the ring, he in all probability has developed a modified type that limits quite a lot of the dangers he can be taking.
The opposite massive questions are how a lot is Bryan going to wrestle, and in opposition to whom. The stories I’ve seen is that Bryan would work an everyday schedule however lower than a real full-time expertise; much like Randy Orton, who works TV and PPVs however will get quite a lot of home present dates off. Whereas a full-time employee could do about 180 matches in a yr, Orton does about 110; which feels likes the suitable quantity for Bryan. There may be additionally the matter of his contract, which expires this October. Earlier than WWE cleared him, Bryan had been cleared by quite a few different professionals, and the assumption was that he wouldn’t re-sign with WWE and wrestle elsewhere, which means ROH, New Japan Professional Wrestling and different promotions, having dream matches with Kenny Omega, Zack Sabre Jr., Kazuchika Okada, Matt Riddle and others. Now that WWE has cleared him; I think about he would possible re-sign with WWE, since he would not seem to need to maintain any grudges and there are nonetheless dream matches inside the firm that he can do; reminiscent of matches in opposition to Shinsuke Nakamura, AJ Types, Johnny Gargano, Andrade and others.
One other massive query is how Bryan will likely be booked going ahead. As a consequence of his harm historical past, it’s pure that WWE would need to chorus from giving Bryan too massive of a push. In spite of everything, the chance is at all times there that in a couple of months Bryan may take a nasty bump and by no means wrestle once more. Individuals anticipating him to be pushed over Roman Reigns or turn into the brand new face of the corporate want to come back to grips with that. On the similar time although; Bryan is BY FAR the preferred wrestler on the roster, even should you consider part-time performers. All you should do is take a look at the response he received on SmackDown; it was the largest pop I can keep in mind anybody getting in WWE for years. No one on the roster, not Cena, Reigns, The Undertaker, Triple H, Kurt Angle, Ronda Rousey, and so forth. has gotten a response like that. He was well-liked earlier than he was injured; however now WWE has the story of him being written off; however by no means giving up hope and dealing onerous to make a miracle comeback to get again contained in the ring. You may’t write a script any higher than the heroic journey Bryan has been on for the final two years; and from a enterprise perspective it’s important to capitalize on that, even in case you have reservations about his long-term well being.
Now, there was some revisionist historical past after he received injured, however make no mistake about it; whilst Bryan was hoisting the world title excessive on the finish of WrestleMania 30, WWE nonetheless didn’t imagine in him because the face of the corporate. The plan on the time was for him to carry the title till SummerSlam the place he can be destroyed by Brock Lesnar, establishing Reigns to dethrone Lesnar and turn into the true face of the corporate. Bryan after all received harm and needed to give up the world title; so the squash at SummerSlam was modified to Cena getting killed by Lesnar. Even because it was clear that Bryan was universally beloved by the followers to the diploma no wrestler has been capable of match for the reason that finish of the Angle Period, with the attainable exception being The Undertaker, WWE nonetheless did not see him as the highest man within the firm. In the present day, with all of his accidents, WWE in all probability would not really feel otherwise about him. I believe it’s possible that Bryan stays a star in WWE and works quite a lot of principal occasions and contends for titles and possibly even will get a world title run; however I doubt he will get a shot at being the highest man; irrespective of how well-liked he’s with followers.
On a extra constructive word; I am going to wrap it up with this: Bryan’s promo on Tuesday was nice, not due to the content material however due to who he’s and the way that individual comes throughout on tv. One of many causes he received over so massive was as a result of in contrast to most individuals in wrestling, he by no means actually felt like he was enjoying a personality; so when he provides a speech straight from the guts, it feels sincere. John Cena, as proficient as he’s, could not give a speech like that and stay true to his character. Definitely The Rock or Steve Austin could not do it both, and people are two of probably the most proficient talkers in historical past. It is humorous; Bryan is not related to being an ideal promo; however his capacity to come back throughout as an everyday man in an trade the place everybody is meant to be over-the-top makes him stand out.
Should Watch Matches
Zack Sabre Jr. vs Kota Ibushi: ****1/four – NJPW New Japan Cup Day 6
Zack Sabre Jr. vs Hiroshi Tanahashi: **** – NJPW New Japan Cup Ultimate
Over an 11 day interval, Zack Sabre Jr. tapped out Tetsuya Naito, Kota Ibushi, SANADA and Hiroshi Tanahashi in path to profitable the New Japan Cup and incomes a IWGP World Heavyweight Championship match in opposition to Okada at Sakura Genesis. The factor about NJPW is that when Gedo (the pinnacle booker) desires to push somebody, they get absolutely behind them and actually make them look good. In two weeks Sabre Jr. went from being a proficient mid-card performer who had by no means held a singles title in NJPW to being the primary contender for the world title; and it felt prefer it made sense as a result of he secured convincing victories over a few of the largest names within the firm.
Sabre Jr.’s basic British type centered on submissions and mat work is an acquired style; and quite a lot of followers discover him boring and missing charisma. I believe he’s sensible; however on the similar time after I was watching a number of of his matches in a row as I did yesterday after I watched his run by means of the New Japan Cup, I did discover myself becoming bored at his plodding tempo. At instances Sabre Jr. is sort of a nice golfer; you’ll be able to inform that what he’s doing may be very troublesome however that also would not make the exercise all that thrilling. However, I believe he’s a superb opponent for Okada; who wants recent new challengers and Sabre Jr. is definitely that.