“With Daniel Bryan entering the Rumble, Roman Reigns will assuredly become the biggest heel in the land if he wins the event.” – @SullivanBooks
Let me start off by saying this. I am a big Daniel Bryan fan. I was a fan on the independents and had the pleasure of calling matches of his, including some historic Ring of Honor bouts. He was always a nice guy and a show-stealer. I have always loved his work in the ring and thought the Yes Movement was one of the most fun stories of 2013-14. In other words, this is not an opinion coming from Bryan hate.
That said I am completely stunned at the predictions being made by fans and media alike in the last 24 hours. Many are predicting that Bryan must win the Royal Rumble. The problem here is that it would completely disrupt a year-long booking plan. The working plan has always been reported to be Roman Reigns winning and winning the WWE title at WrestleMania 31. Let’s just hope the creative team is working through the New Year holiday because if you listened to everyone else, that plan needs to be ditched immediately.
Not so fast! People are assuming that the Yes Movement will pick up its momentum right where it left off eight months ago. Eight months ago it was red hot. Sans a few sporadic appearances, Bryan hasn’t been around since hitting the disabled list due to injury. To expect something as magical as last year’s Yes Movement to continue like nothing ever happened is just plain ludicrous.
All I have to do is go back to Monday night when Bryan made his announcement. I was shocked at the tepid response Bryan received when he first walked out. I am not talking about the announcement itself but the first time Bryan appeared, after being hyped throughout the show, the response was nowhere close to the level he would have received a year ago. Right then and there I was worried for the Movement.
The landscape of the WWE is completely different today than it was heading into the Rumble last year. The WWE Universe were starved for something new a year ago. They were tired of Randy Orton and John Cena. A returning Batista only heightened that hunger in fans as they were tired of the retreads. Unfortunately for those pulling for Bryan, that WWE Universe is much different today.
Times have changed…and changed quite a bit over the last year. A youth movement has taken place and fans are seeing Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt, Rusev, and even Dolph Ziggler in the mid-top spots on the card. I am sorry but Roman Reigns is not the same rallying cry that Batista was last year. Batista was a guy who was seen as a “Triple H guy”, coming in and taking Daniel Bryan’s spot. Ironically Batista was actually quite hot when he left the company a few years prior. It was the perfect storm for the Yes Movement. Roman Reigns is not that storm.
We go through this same dilemma every year around this time. Every year at this time we know the Mania plan yet for some reason we start talking about changes. Someone gets hot, someone cools off, someone comes in, there is always some reason we are talking about a change to the Mania plan. Guess what? It never happens! Just got back and listen to those CM Punk podcasts and how he wanted to change around the Mania 29 main-event and you’ll know all you need to know about how committed the WWE are to their Mania booking plans. Before you point to last year I don’t believe for a second any of that would have happened had CM Punk not quit after the Rumble. Again, Batista coming back, Punk quitting, it all formed the perfect storm for Bryan and the Yes Movement. I don’t foresee any of that going down this year.
I just think we need to step back and understand that it will be 2015 and the lay of the land will be much different on January 25. Sure maybe Bryan does reclaim that massive momentum heading into the Rumble but I can tell you right now that it isn’t going to be nearly as easy as everyone thinks it will be.