The “Occupy Raw” segment Monday night was one of the freshest and most original segments on WWE’s flagship show in many years – and I hope it never happens again.
But attempting something like this on a future episode would be perceived as copying or even watering down the original segment. And that would render the segment into just another publicity stunt.
Whoever dreamed up Occupy Raw should get a raise from WWE. It turned an otherwise humdrum Raw broadcast into a history maker.
We’re used to seeing 30, even 40 performers in the ring at one time for a battle royal. But never have we seen hundreds of fans storm and surround the ring in the name of their hero, Daniel Bryan.
They could have been plants, hired by WWE to be its version of a flash mob. Or they could have been just ordinary fans who leaped at the chance to get their 15 minutes of fame on national television…even if it was only as a face in the crowd.
Nonetheless, it worked. Very well.
It symbolizes the bond that many WWE stars have with their fans. That night, those folks had the chance to do something that others in the arena and at home could only dream up. They got into a professional wrestling ring, jumped up and down, bounced off the ropes and stalked ringside.
For a shining moment, they got to experience what it was like to be a WWE performer.
And Bryan is the only WWE superstar who could have carried it that well. Sure, fans might have gotten into the ring if John Cena had called them down, but with Cena being the lightning rod of controversy that he is, certainly more than a few of them might have tried something a little less fan-like.
Bryan is WWE’s Everyman. He’s not big, he’s not sculpted, and he’s not even the strongest superstar. But he is the hottest thing going in WWE right now. That’s why it worked.
The crowd also could serve as WWE’s nod to the groundswell of support Bryan is getting to be included in the championship main event at WrestleMania XXX. And in the end, they got their wish…with a stipulation, of course. All Bryan has to do is beat Triple H in New Orleans, and he is in the ring with Batista and WWE World Heavyweight Champ Randy Orton.
Come on, now. You know that is going to happen. If Triple H defeats Bryan, we could see the crowd storm the ring again, just like Monday night.
Bill Atkinson is a contributor to Camel Clutch Blog and the owner of WrestleWatch, a family-friendly wrestling web site. Follow Bill on Twitter at @BAtkinson1963 and visit WrestleWatch at www.wrestlewatch.com.
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