In every successful leader of their respective industry, ebb and flows are sure to happen. But ultimately it’s what you gain from those experiences that keep you atop the throne of the sports entertainment/ professional wrestling world.
When the sea begins to get rough, the ship is faced with new opportunities. A ship is only as good as it’s captain. And Vincent J. McMahon is the captain. As Gorilla Monsoon shouted through the ethos of history “The Irresistible Force Meets the Immovable Object!” During that time Hulk Hogan represented the new vision and Andre represented the result of all that is. The WWE shortly thereafter steered its ships course for new and uncharted waters. The WWE hit it out of the park. As Jim Ross’s masterfully blended phrase to the tune of “STONE COLD, STONE COLD, STONE COLD”. Stone Cold Steve Austin was the next. This era catapulted the WWE and McMahons dream into heights that were unimaginable at the time. The WWE hit it out of planet earth. The reason why his vision has manifested into incredible heights is because he never gave up on his vision and he believes in his vision of the WWE. Whatever you focus on, grows. This time, Mr. McMahon has the WWE ship sailing directly into the waters he fears to enter most. However, these waters don’t house any Immortals or Rattlesnakes…. This individual is Daniel Bryan.
The WWE Draft is the catalyst for what’s to come for the WWE. Yes, my initial reaction was probably the same as most of you. The RAW roster was “stacked” and Smackdown’s was “in some trouble”. Most fans envisioned to see Smackdown be all about wrestling, and Raw leaning heavier on the entertainment side. Even the wrestlers themselves perhaps were feeling the same. Hence why you saw strong emotions come from Cesaro’s post interview on not being chosen for Smackdown live. I could feel Kevin Owens anger on not being selected higher. John Cena had to have been surprised on going back to Smackdown. Later that night I was looking at the rosters and something becoming truly fascinating to me. Not it wasn’t Hulk defying strength and slamming Andre. It no, this time it wasn’t Stone Cold stompin’ mud holes n walkin ‘em dry. It was Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahons selections.
Vince McMahon has decided to believe in not only himself or his kids (HHH too), but also Mick Foley and Daniel Bryan. Raw is only going to become more successful with Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley putting their time and energy into in. No Doubt. But they have their hands full with a roster jammed packed with all sorts of personalities and attitudes. They are without a doubt, the right duo to make it happen. With Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan though, here’s why the identity of Smackdown is so unique:
Daniel Bryan is unique. He is infectious to his employees because his vibes are real and genuine. He is as passionate about the WWE as anyone. People tend to gravitate to him because he is aligned with who he really is on the inside. He believes in something bigger than himself. Just like Vince McMahon is at the core. If you go back to the early televised shows on the WWE Network, you’ll see a young Vince McMahon having fun and feeling good. Over the years, and the magnitude at which his creation grew, it’s not hard to see how difficult it must be to run this company 365 day a year. Nevertheless, he still loves the WWE more than anyone, and he’s set dead set on making things better, as always.
As I looked over the names of the Smackdown roster, I sense that every talent chosen believes in this same passion as well. Shane McMahon included. In fact, I believe this time around for Shane will be more impactful for him both professionally and personally. I am in no way insinuating that the RAW roster doesn’t have that magic or passion. Like I said, RAW too, will soar to new heights. It will just take longer because RAW has to be restructured over time, while Smackdown will start with a fresh slate and immediately. With this specific energy that Mr. Bryan will bring to Smackdown day in, day out, the momentum will begin to gather in a positive direction at a faster pace for BOTH brands.
What about “Cena?” “What about a heel announcer like JBL” “It doesn’t fit”. On paper, maybe not. In reality, it fits perfect. Guys like Cena and JBL have an intense passion for this business. Perfect example. After the MIB match between Cena and Styles, JBL’s passion poured out over the commentary. Or hearing John Cena speak on the WWE Network the night of the draft, about how he, AJ Styles and the rest of the locker room have the opportunity to unite as one and take Smackdown further than thought possible. You’re telling me you wouldn’t want a roster full of guys and gals like that?
Point being, the Smackdown roster will feel great about going to work every day, and for the most part feel good around each other while having fun in the process. As the weeks go on, you’ll see that recipe unfold into pure gold. The fans will love it. The roster will love it. The WWE will love it. When you have employees that are happy and love what they’re doing, the universe takes it to even higher unimaginable heights. Whether or not Vince McMahon and the WWE are conscious of it, he made the perfect move at the perfect time. Daniel Bryan is the answer.