Well, it happened. I predicted for the last PPV that he’d turn heel and, while I was a little too quick on the draw, it finally went down last night: A very broken Daniel Bryan joined the Wyatt Family! My boy Pepe and I were marking like school girls. You should have seen the texts that were flying between the two of us while this was happening. It was riotous!
There are varying opinions about how this can go. Some think this is an absolutely horrible idea. They feel that Bryan was built up for so long and now he’s being torn down. While I understand what they’re getting at, I disagree completely with this line of thought. I think this could be great! There are a few reasons for this and I’ll enumerate them.
1. It will bring further dimension to Daniel Bryan. So far, all we’ve seen is Daniel the underdog. Last night, while we watched him emotionally crumble in front of us, he did so incredibly well. He was at times pained, beat down, disillusioned, and numb – sometimes all four at once. While he was talking, you could have heard a pin drop at the Richmond Coliseum! He had everyone in the palm of his hand. As he stood at the top of the catwalk, the fans began chanting his name loudly and we watched him go to war with himself. The nuance Daniel displayed sucked us all in. We have all been in that place for one reason or another – battling internal disillusionment – so it’s something we could all relate to. This change in direction has already broadened Bryan’s palette and I can’t wait to see how much further this goes.
2. It will give Bray someone new to play with. We’ve seen him silently yet decisively hold sway over Luke Harper and Erick Rowan. Up until now, Bryan has been feuding with all of them and doing so in all the expected ways. While watching Bray diabolically come after him in his own creative and menacing way has been fun, watching him control Daniel could bring something else out of Bray we haven’t yet seen. Undoubtedly, Bryan will continue to battle with himself and Bray will be there to make sure he doesn’t backslide. Luke and Erick never put up a fight so he never has to worry about them. Bryan’s not yet an absolutely sure thing. He’ll have to work at him and I think it’ll be a lot of fun to watch the indoctrination.
3. Luke and Erick as middle children. Up until now, it’s just been Luke & Erick. With Bryan, will they shift to the back burner in Bray’s twisted mind? Will they become brothers to him? Will they vie for Bray’s attention? If they do, what form will that take? I’m curious and I know I’m not alone!
4. It will give the crowd something new to engage with. Did you see the crowd last night as Daniel cracked? They were almost totally silent! This shift in direction rattled all of us. There are many different directions this could go in and the crowd will eat all of it up because their beloved Daniel Bryan won’t feel heel; he’ll feel lost and the crowd will take pity on him. It’s totally different from anything else that’s going on. No other feud feels the least bit like this and I think that, in an uneasy way, we’re all excited to see where this takes us next. Will Punk or Cena swim in and save him from Bray and from himself? Do we get, as my man Pepe surmises, “The Battle for the Soul of Daniel Bryan” at a PPV? Only time will tell.
In short, I think there’s far more to gain from this than is lost. Yeah, it takes Bryan away from the fringes of the “main event” picture and away from the title hunt. I honestly don’t believe this will destroy him, though. There’s time to get back to that. This is a far more interesting direction to travel in. I don’t remember the last time they did anything this potentially dark and interesting. Gonna miss “Raw” next week? Me neither!