Without a doubt, I can honestly say the WWE will not be able to fill the shoes of Daniel Bryan.
Some holes are harder to fill than others. Some losses are harder to take. Some wrestlers cannot be duplicated or imitated. And no, don’t expect to see Damien Sandow trying to recreate the “YES!” movement anytime soon.
Daniel Bryan is a wrestling icon.
If you don’t believe me, then think of it this way. The underdog of the business continued to defy odds, win titles, please the fans and give them a better performance than the one before. I used to hear people talk about how great Tito Santana was in the ring – the fact he “never” had a bad match. Couldn’t the same thing be said about Bryan and his ability and his spirit and his performance? Yes! Yes! Yes!
Now, that kind of energy cannot be replaced. That physical nature cannot be duplicated. The WWE isn’t like that these days. The company doesn’t hang onto the past like that – it moves forward with steam engine speed.
The one thing that I used to admire about Vince McMahon and his bigger than life circus of the 1980s was his ability to put the “Next Man Up” theory to use. There was always someone there to fill the role, take the spot, or become the next star. Someone replaced Santana. Bret Hart, The Rock, Steve Austin – even Hogan… All replaced at one point or another. And even with the series of promotions in other organizations, there were enough “part” players to go around. Hacksaw Jim Duggan. Hercules, Junkyard Dog. Ace Orton. And the list goes on and on.
Truthfully, tell me who is going to do that now? The obvious choice would have been that wrestler turned MMA fighter who still has his name chanted in arenas nightly, but took his trunks and ran to the UFC. He’s not around.
Bryan was every bit Shawn Michaels, Chris Jericho, Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit all in one – and that is no exaggeration.
There is a theory I have that you don’t “replace” him, but you replace the momentum he created.
Maybe that’s why Dean Ambrose has been thrust into the main event at Payback. Maybe there are plans for a shakeup in the WWE World Title picture. Then of course, there may be another idea brewing.
While the Bray Wyatt/Ryback program is still on the plate of WWE’s creative team, there are plans according to What Culture, of a Wyatt face turn.
It couldn’t come any sooner.
In John Canton’s story, he refers to Dave Meltzer’s comments on Observer Radio at F4WOnline.com, he’s likely going to be a babyface, although there are no immediate plans in place for that to happen. Meltzer noted that now is not the right time for it.
This is one of those things that we have to keep in the back of our minds because there’s a very good chance that Wyatt will be a huge babyface star once he does his turn. He’s already got the fans support when he enters the arena and the entire crowd lights up the darkened arena by holding up their cell phones to give him light.
The thought is Wyatt could take a similar path that Mick Foley did fan support and ultimate face supremacy.
If it is in the offing, it had better come quick. Fans aren’t going to sit around and approve of stagnation. If not Wyatt to make the leap, then who. And if it does happen, when. Only time and the WWE know the answers to those questions.
And in the meantime we wonder, who replaces the icon?