If you’ve listened to our Royal Rumble review audio with me and Dusty, and if you’ve listened to Stunt Granny Audio #174 with Kevin and Jeremy, you’ve heard a handful of opinions on the character portrayed by Daniel Bryan, described by the Masked Man at Grantland.com as a wrestler who “has transitioned steadily — artfully, even — from a vanilla underdog hero into one of WWE’s most effective and intriguing villains.” I could attempt to poke holes in adverbs like “steadily” and adjectives like “effective” – when Bryan’s heel turn began, it was obvious to all but the 10-est of the 10-year-olds, and its effectiveness is yet to be determined thanks to a downward-trending Smackdown rating and no real opportunity to draw money.
But it’s the artfulness of Bryan’s heel turn that has me concerned, for a number of reasons. I attempted to explain them in the middle of a vitriolic hate parade called a Royal Rumble review, and, possibly lost in translation, Kevin took that as me “not getting it” (paraphrased), assuming I didn’t realize it was part of a heel turn.
Oh, my friend, I realized it, and Kevin and I have since hashed it out over instant messenger, but I wanted to expand on my thoughts here. To set the agenda, this is the World Heavyweight Champion we’re talking about, this is the former Bryan Danielson we’re talking about, and this is a duplicate attempt at a comedic heel character we’re talking about. It’s a concoction that could either blow up like anhydrous and a batch of meth ingredients, fizzle like baking soda and vinegar, or turn out mildly palatable like this watered-down vodka cranberry I’m drinking in the hotel restaurant as I write this.
Allow me to post here what I wrote to Kevin, and elaborate as necessary:
his celebration is meant to be overbearingbut I also have the stance that it’s getting in the way of taking him seriouslyagain, they have a world champ who wins on flukesand a (former indy darling and) great wrestler who acts like a fucking dopeI understand the concept, but why they feel the need to do it to Bryan is a little confusingother than he really is a fucking dope
strangely, I could see Jack Swagger doing that with the US Titlebut not Daniel Bryan and the World Hvt Titlehistorical example: Randy Savage was off kilter like Daniel Bryan (but in a little more maniacal way)but you would have never seen him jumping around like a retard at the zoo with the WWF Title
can’t argue with a crowd reactionand it’s a decent crowd reactionif it were 20 percent sympathy boos and 80 percent crickets, then there would be more to criticizeBryan is getting over in spite of the goofiness, and thanks in part to the goofiness