July 26, 2010
Tap or Snap: The Future of Bryan Danielson
Back on June 11th, WWE.com informed the world that Daniel ĎBryan Danielsoní Bryan had been future endeavoured. This, apparently, came as a result of his over exuberance during the initial Nexus attack on the previous Raw, where he choked ring announcer Justin Roberts with his own tie and spat in the face of John Cena.
Interestingly, it is obvious that although he apologised for doing these things, WWE management didnít deem it to be an offence worth releasing him over; indeed, it was only when several of the WWEís new sponsors Ė due to their PG rating Ė asked that he be released that it happened.
It was completely understandable that most people at the time assumed that it was an angle of some sort. They were waiting to see how it played out. Many people assumed that given John Cenaís comments in the days that followed that it was only a matter of time before Bryan resurfaced.
But as days turned into a few weeks the realisation dawned that he had been genuinely released. No angle. No huge WWE push. No nothing.
He was gone.
Like the majority of WWE wrestlers, sorry, sports entertainers, he was given a 90 day non-compete clause as part of his release. (Although most of us know what we mean by that, just in case some donít Ė he can wrestle for anyone in those 90 days, but canít appear on TV/DVD/PPV recording until his 90 days have run out)
The half way stage of this clause comes on July 26th. With that in mind, I want to look at what his options are, and what he might do, when his 90 days officially run out, on September 9th.
He has three options: Go to TNA, stay on the independent scene or go back to WWE.
(Lets be honest, retirement is not an option!)
1 - TNA
This might be the most obvious statement Iíve ever made (and thatís saying something) but TNA would love to have Bryan in a heartbeat. Regardless of the fact that has been off TV for over 6 weeks already, he would EASILY have as much momentum as anybody in the business if he were to join. They would take great pleasure in rubbing their new acquisition in WWEís face. They would allow him to be competitive against their main eventers and the hardcore fans of TNA would get behind him instantly (and I mean that in the real sense not in relation to the ECW lovefest that they are promoting shortly).
Imagine TNA matches with RVD, Samoa Joe, AJ, Kurt Angle, Desmond Wolfe, Jeff Hardy & The Pope to name just a few (and apologies to the others Iíve omitted, but you get my drift).
He would be at the top of the card against some great wrestlers and be allowed to be himself. Interested? Iím sure he is. Would they be interested? Absolutely. Are they willing to spend themselves further into the red to get him? Thatís a different question.
2 - The independent scene
Bryan has said that he is hoping to use his exposure on WWE TV to help elevate the independent scene, in turn bringing more attention to it and helping more guys earn a living out of wrestling (or as much as is possible). These are honourable intentions, and I believe he is being honest when he says it.
Is it feasible in the long run? Can he continue to work the Indies and retire off of his earnings? I would doubt it, but then again thatís not his reasoning behind it.
He was (rightly) viewed as one of the best, if not the best wrestler in the world for several years. He can justify that reputation on the Indy scene against a wider variety of opponent than he would ever get in WWE or TNA while helping to bring the best out of, and elevate, the wrestlers he is in he ring with.
He can use his notoriety to bring attention to both recognised groups and emerging ones. He can help develop emerging talent and perhaps, eventually, use his name to make a viable third promotion in the states again.
Is that realistic in todayís wrestling environment? The juryís out.
3 - WWE
On the July 19th episode of Raw, I know of several people that right before Bret Hart walked out were hoping against all hope that it was Bryan who would walk out at the top of the ramp as John Cenaís final team mate for SummerSlam. Now, admittedly he wouldnít have received just as big a pop, but the thought was there.
True, it was more impossible than possible but thatís beside the point.
If he chooses to return to WWE there are several obvious built in storylines and feuds that he could be involved in straight away Ė would he for or against Nexus, battling The Miz, showing his anger against WWE management for his release, etc. However, those of us with sufficient knowledge over the years know that the WWE doesnít always run with obvious storylines, however much money they would make on them.
This one I think they would run with, as itís of their own making. They may hate outside names, gimmicks or storylines, but in this instance they hold all the cards.
Would he be willing to put his career back in the hands of the WWE? I donít see why not. It was pretty much out of Vinceís hands that he be released, no-one seems to bear any ill feelings towards the other and he would arguably have more momentum than he had at any time since the original Michael Cole incident. There is (or it appears) another shift towards elevating more talent to the top of the card, and his timing could be perfect.
Notice I said could.
What do I think Bryan will do come September 9th? Iím not sure, although I have an idea. He evidently has something planned, as he only has three dates currently booked for after that date and (allegedly) has been a little vague with some promoters who are looking to book him further in the year.
This would probably indicate that he is headed to either TNA or WWE, with most people assuming WWE. I guess weíll have to wait and see.
One thing is clear, however Ė we havenít see the last, or the best, of Bryan Danielson yet.