Monday 10 February 2014


The concept of audiences “hijacking” shows doesn’t make sense to me. What they’re actually doing is responding to what’s presented to them, something they’re well within their rights to do as paying customers. Hijacking implies that they’re taking over the show. They’re not. WWE retains complete creative control before, during and after hostile reactions to unpopular segments. The crowd can influence what happens but they can’t control it.

This is how wrestling should work. Promotions should listen to crowd reactions for their stars and place them in positions of prominence accordingly. If someone provokes a strong reaction they should logically be given more to do because the reaction indicates that audiences are willing to pay to see them.

What’s more WWE, and other promotions, should be seeking this sort of reaction. It demonstrates that the audience is passionate about a performer. That’s exactly what any wrestling promotion should be after. Whether they act on the reactions is something else entirely. Obviously they should because the audience are making it clear with these outbursts who they desire to see moved into positions of prominence. But even if they take the poor decision to ignore the reactions they’re still desirable, because of the passion.

Another day another picture of Daniel Bryan on this blog
The reason this is considered a topic is of course because of the recent events involving Daniel Bryan. Crowds have been chanting for him during matches and segments that don’t involve him for the last month or two as a way of letting WWE know that they support the guy and feel he deserves to be used more prominently. Royal Rumble was hit particularly badly. The WWE championship match between Randy Orton and John Cena played to silence and smattering of boos while the Rumble match itself was met with outright hostility once all thirty entrants had been announced and Bryan wasn’t among them.

A fair question is: what do these fans actually want WWE to do with Bryan? He’s already wrestling in lengthy matches every week, which is by far the best use of him. He’s getting involved in talking segments but having his part kept to a minimum. Anyone who wants him doing more talking is being ridiculous. D-Bry’s promos have improved a lot over the years and he’s now above average but I don’t think he’s on the Austin, Hogan, Punk, Cena and Triple H level of being able to guide an audience through a lengthy promo that keeps them interested, explains plots and sets up matches. Besides, what’s he going to say if he gets more mic time? Part of his appeal is that he initiates monosyllabic chants. I think a lot of people want him to be given the world title. The reasoning behind this wish is almost certainly that a lengthy title reign, taking in WrestleMania, will be an acknowledgement from WWE that Bryan is capable of leading the company forward.

So really WWE bosses created this rod for their own backs when they decided to do a months-long storyline in which The Authority stated that Bryan is not worthy of being ‘The Man’. They have nobody to blame but themselves.

WWE’s way of combatting this so far has been a combination of ignoring and denying these outbursts. Some people have suggested they’re going out of their way to script deliberately ponderous and unexciting episodes of RAW as a way of burning out crowds. It’s certainly plausible, with recent episodes having been, well, unexciting and ponderous. I don’t think it’s what’s happening though.

Ignoring the reactions will only suffice for so long. WWE will need to either figure out a way to stop the chants or give the people what they want by WrestleMania. That’s their flagship show, the one they want to be as great and remarkable as it can be every year. They won’t want people booing their main event or chanting for someone who’s not involved. As I can’t think of any way to stop the reactions the only option left to WWE is to give people what they want: more Daniel Bryan.

There are worse things to do than give your customers what they want. But that’s not how WWE operates. As such I think we can expect a few more weeks of hostility before they finally remedy the situation by putting the championship on Bryan or adding him to the ‘Mania main event. Hey, he’s in the Elimination Chamber. That’s a start.

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