Lost in all of the excitement surrounding Brock Lesnar’s return to the WWE was the monster reaction Daniel Bryan received on WWE RAW. Just 24 hours after losing in 18 seconds at WrestleMania 28, Bryan may very well be on the verge of becoming the WWE’s next breakout megastar.
Something strange happened on Monday Night RAW this past Monday night in Miami. Starting in the middle of a promo from The Rock through the end of the night, Bryan’s signature “Yes” chant became the star of the night. But it was more than just the chant. The second (and I do mean second as it wasn’t long) the live audience had the chance to see Bryan they just went absolutely nuts. Has Daniel Bryan finally broken through the proverbial glass ceiling?
[adinserter block=”2″]The irony of all of this is that Bryan’s popularity comes just 24 hours after he lost in 18 seconds on the biggest show of the year to Sheamus. For most WWE superstars, they would be seen as a paper champion, a fluke, a jobber, and a joke. Yet Bryan thanks to his amazing talents and entertaining personality turned that moment into history. In 18 seconds Bryan became the second most popular star in the WWE…or at least until about 11:15 PM when Lesnar returned.
There is no denying Bryan’s popularity right now. No thanks to WWE booking, Bryan has made more out of his push in the last several months than anyone has in years in that position. Even CM Punk never connected the way Bryan is on his first mega push. Guys like Punk, Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler, Sheamus, and The Miz all fell hard once the rug was pulled out from under them. Bryan on the other hand looks like he has a chance to truly become the star most of his longtime fans felt he would be.
Bryan’s popularity is a bit of vindication for longtime fans of the former American Dragon that followed Bryan for years on the independent circuit, from Shawn Michaels local Texas promotion to the King of the Indies to Ring of Honor to overseas success, savvy fans have always recognized Bryan as arguably the best in the business or dare I say the “Best in the World”. Seeing the fickle WWE Universe recognize this is almost chilling.
This isn’t a story of success overnight. Bryan is enjoying his third run in the WWE. His first two ended with Bryan receiving the infamous “future endeavors” from the company. To Bryan’s credit, he appeared to use these hurdles as motivation and got better and better with each dismissal. How many WWE stars do you see come and go over the years and never hear from them again? For Bryan, his quest to be recognized as the best in the business never stopped.
Unfortunately this could all backfire in the interim for Bryan. Vince McMahon seems to have some kind of a fetish for burying guys that get over with the audience in spite of their role. I don’t need a better example of this than Bryan himself this past Monday. Any logical booker or promoter would have recognized what was going on immediately and given the fans the star they were chanting for all night. Not Vince McMahon. Instead, all those fans got for their passionate “Yes” cheers all night was a brief sighting of Bryan looking at a monitor and walking off of an interview in the back. I understand that the show is scripted in advance but shame on Vince for not calling an audible and embracing the moment.
[adinserter block=”1″]Whether this is the start of a new era for Daniel Bryan or the result of an overly enthusiastic WWE crowd having fun with a specific chant is something we won’t know for a few weeks. Fortunately for Bryan, more fans are bound to copy what they saw Monday and out “Yes” the previous crowd. We could be watching something special developing here.
And to that I say, “Yes!”