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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Latest Masked Man Article - Vince loves Daniel Bryan

Curious what the Blog of Doomers think of this line from The Masked Man's most recent article on Grantland.
 
 
In their meeting with Maddox, Triple H and Steph asked if he'd talked to Vince and said that if Cena chose who they suspected, Vince might be upset. This is incredible on two levels. First, they were plainly alluding to Daniel Bryan, who until then had no legitimate claim to the SummerSlam main event, aside from widespread Internet speculation that Bryan was being penciled in for the match. They could have handled it in a more straightforward manner — with some kind of winking reference to online fans — but instead they just let the rumor mill be the entire backstory. Second, the entire sequence was based on the idea that Vince doesn't like Bryan, another Internet trope. Except this one isn't true — at all. Sure, Vince earned his reputation for favoring tall, brawny beach bodies, but he was also responsible for Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart (back when they were considered miniature), as well as Rey Mysterio, Eddie Guerrero, and Chris Benoit. He may like oversize hero types, but he likes underdog stories just as much. So allow me to break some news for once: Vince loves Daniel Bryan. I know this because people with firsthand knowledge started telling me so 18 months ago. But more importantly, I know because Daniel Bryan is featured prominently on television every week and now he's going to headline SummerSlam. He was arguably the star of Money in the Bank, and undeniably the star of the weeks leading up to it. He's a headliner, and you can thank Vince for that.

Whoever said that Vince doesn't like Bryan?  I didn't even know this was a thing, aside from the TV character feeling that way.  

44 comments:

  1. I think it's more of a general thought amongst the smark community that Vince won't give the mega-push to the tippy-top of the card to an undersized guy who isn't homegrown. However, I think CM Punk's mega-push to the tippy-top of the card should give those of us who love guys like Bryan legitimate reason to believe that Bryan will become, at worst, permanent upper mid-card / main event level guy.
    I'm still holding out hope he ends up being super-protected till he's on Punk's level, but if he ends up filling a spot that's a half-notch below that, I'd feel good about that.

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  2. Wasn't it brought up a few weeks ago in one of the Observer broadcasts that Shawn Michaels did an interview where he said "Vince didn't see money in this guy" and the whole world assumed this guy = Bryan? That's when I thought the Vince hates Bryan stuff started to get steam.

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  3. Its just typical smark self-hate, although there was that one time Vince made a comment on Raw about Bryan not looking like a wrestler. Still, at this point it should be clear he's anointed.

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  4. I think this just confirms that Vince's love is like Branigan's law.

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  5. If Vince didn't like Bryan, he wouldn't be main eventing the second biggest PPV of the year with WWE's chosen one.

    Now, if Bryan loses cleanly, or god help up wins then immediately drops the belt to Orton cashing in, we can wonder.

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  6. They since confirmed it wasn't. Latest spec is it was in fact Wade Barrett, which would make a lot more sense.

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  7. That strawman took an awful beating there.

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  8. If Bryan wins cleanly, then drops the belt to Orton 5 minutes later (or even the following night on Raw) after a cash-in, it'll turn Orton into a monster heel, and only cement Bryan as an even bigger babyface.

    Bryan as champion will be great, but if he's just won the belt in a hard fought clean victory and then has it taken, the chase for the belt back could be epic. If booked right. But right now I'd give the WWE the benefit of the doubt on that.

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  9. Yeah I'm just saying that's when I remember it starting, I was t saying it was correct. Michaels himself ever said it wasn't Bryan.

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  10. It's crazy how ridiculously good David Shoemaker's columns are at Grantland right now. With due respect to Attitude Era-holdovers like Scott who are still plugging away, most online wrestling sites are perpetual garbage with zilch in terms of redeeming qualities. I haven't seen this consistent a level of quality in years, and it really does add a fresh layer onto a sometimes-stagnant fandom.

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  11. "The gentleman was immaculately put together but not the best-looking man in the club, so one of the guys became intrigued and approached him. "You look like you have everything you ever wanted in life," he said. "What advice can you give me to end up as happy as you someday?" The gentleman looked him in the eye, smiled, and said: "Just think about who you are — what makes you you — and be more of that. You do that and you'll succeed. That's the beauty of capitalism." Then the man left with his entourage and my friend who approached him asked a waiter who the gentleman was. "That was Vince McMahon," he said."

    I guarantee you that if Vince reads this article he will shed a tear at that first sentence.

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  12. This is correct. The end-game for Bryan isn't winning the title and then having it forever and ever. It's establishing him as a super-duperstar megaface. Beating Cena does that. Having dickhead Randy Orton cash in on him and turn heel, then have Bryan chase him and eventually get it back, would do so even more.


    I'm willing to give the WWE the benefit of the doubt on Bryan, too, because everything they've done with him since Wrestlemania 28 has been perfect. Loses the title in 18 seconds, gets a groundswell of fan support as a result. They resist what had to be an urge to immediately capitalize on that and hotshot him back to the top and/or turn him face, but they do keep him near the top of the card with classic title matches with Sheamus and Punk over the next few months. They transition Kane's involvement in the Bryan/Punk feud into an awesome tag team, letting the DB face turn come organically through that as he shows more and more of a bizarre, hilarious, awesome, wholly unique persona.


    I don't know if they had this shrewd of a long-term plan for him or if it was just a string of wise booking moves with him that has culminated in him becoming one of the three biggest stars in the company, and I also don't particularly care either way. I can't recall the last time they played it this smart for this long with someone the fans wanted this badly before finally giving it to us at the perfect time and place. I hope they don't suddenly become self-aware and fuck this all up.

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  13. No doubt. It reminds me of a point that Masked Man made in another column recently: beyond the typical swerving and surprising that wrestling has always given us, WWE has taken to outright trolling their fans in a sorta brilliant way. It's simple, but effective.

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  14. Bryan has been a prominent figure on a gradual uphill climb for a couple years now. If Vince didn't like him, he'd be Zack Ryder redux.

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  15. The only thing I don't love- and considering he's writing for a wider audience, you can't blame him- is that it often contains a lot of stuff that the smarkiest of us are already hip to the room on, but it's so well-written that I don't care.

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  16. The last two years or so of Daniel Bryan's career has to be the most old school push WWE has done since the Attitude Era, no? Just a classic way of building up a guy from the midcard to the top.


    When DB was with AJ, a lot of people were making the Randy Savage-Elizabeth comparisons, and I think the Savage comparison fits best here. Mid-card heel slowly built up until he had a huge face turn, propelling him to the top.


    I really love everything WWE has done with the guy, from the firing/rehiring all the way to now. And the support he had from the Brooklyn crowd at Raw was off the charts. The minute Maddox announced Cena would pick his opponent, the "yes!" chants started up.

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  17. I often wonder how many non-smarks are reading his stuff. I know Grantland appeals to a wider audience, but how many people who went to Grantland for a Simmons piece or a basketball story, and I mean people who may not necessarily like wrestling, are clicking on the Masked Man pieces?

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  18. "Responsible for Shawn and Bret" or had his hand forced by the upcoming steroid trial, sure.

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  19. VINCE LOVES BRYAN. He's like Benoit but without the headache

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  20. Look, I think Bryan's run has been a happy accident. The 18 second thing wasn't meant to get Bryan over; it was meant to give Sheamus his Ultimate Warrior moment. Bryan was supposed to be the Honky Tonk Man. The problem is, today's audience would lose their shit over a guy as entertaining as HTM (see: Santino, DBry, etc.). Everything that happened after was definitely done on purpose, but that moment was never intended to send Bryan on to bigger things. He was probably going to drop back down the card and do his rounds of putting over everyone who they were looking to move up the card, like Sheamus.

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  21. Either way, they were his top guys for nearly five years.

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  22. Good question. I click on a lot of stuff on Grantland and Deadspin that isn't about a favorite subject matter of mine, and I'd like to think others do the same. Even here, I'll skim stuff like the "Waiting for the Trade" posts, and I've never read comic books.

    That said, regardless of who's reading it, Masked Man is fantastic because he writes in a way that's accessible for non-fans to understand that yes, talking about pro wrestling can be an intellectual endeavor of sorts.

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  23. I've always believed the same thing, but if Shoemaker's "inside sources" are correct that Vince has always loved Bryan- and we have little reason to believe they aren't, in my opinion- maybe they were more shrewd with Bryan's push than we were led to believe.


    I'd like to believe it was a happy accident, and it probably was. Because if they're capable of taking a Daniel Bryan and slow-burn pushing him to megastar status this perfectly over the course of 18 months, it would make me even more angry how many other guys they fucked up. So I don't think that's the case; I think it takes a lot of luck to push a guy this perfectly. Even with the biggest stars in history, a heavy dosage of luck factored in. That's why I lean more toward a string of good/lucky booking decisions that worked because a)Vince loves the dude and b)Bryan made them work through sheer force of will and awesomeness.

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  24. The beauty of Grantland is that some of their best writing comes about topics you'd never think to click on. Two of my favourite Grantland pieces were a profile/bio of Richard Simmons and a story about an professional walker from the 19th century.

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  25. There's no strawman here, especially not when WWE itself is wink-winking at that trope with Vince's character not being a Bryan fan.


    Until HBK debunked the rumors- and I'm sure even after, for some. was it that hard for everyone to believe that Vince "didn't see money" in Bryan? Even though there are plenty of small guys who have been on top of the card, it doesn't take much for smarks to believe Vince wouldn't want to push a guy like Bryan. Even if there was nothing specific, it's absolutely a held, prevailing notion that they're playing off of.

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  26. That's what makes the "Fake Grantland" twitter account so brilliant.


    https://twitter.com/fakegrantland

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  27. I know, but the article makes it seem like Vince just had the idea one day and he didn't. No points given because he wanted his PR people to have something to point to during media interviews back then, you know?

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  28. Oh, I absolutely agree that Masked Man is fantastic, and I read him regularly. My question mainly came as someone who works in the media, remembering the axiom of "Writing for your audience."


    While I usually peruse anything posted here on the BoD (mostly for the comments and camaraderie), I definitely don't do that on other websites. I usually stick with what interests me.

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  29. Amsterdam_Adam_CurryJuly 18, 2013 at 12:33 PM

    I don't see how he was responsible for Rey, Eddie, and Benoit, either.

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  30. Because he owns the company and they wouldn't have been main eventers/world champions if he didn't want them to be.

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  31. If Bryan loses cleanly we can keep wondering (even though I personally won't). If he wins with any degree of cleanness (ala Punk at MitB where there was Vincerference but not REALLY, just a distraction where Punk might have escaped the STF anyway), I don't see any reason at all to wonder even if he immediately drops the title to Orton. There's no way they'd put Bryan over Cena, cash in or not, if he wasn't liked.



    I also agree with Nebb. I LOVE Bryan and badly want him to win, but I actually think the best move for business is a Bryan win and an Orton cash in almost immediately (same night or next night). Orton becomes the top heel they badly need right now, and Bryan probably becomes an even bigger babyface with a (hopefully) longer build to a big title win against Orton.

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  32. To me, if you have Cena/Undertaker penciled in for WM 30 (as is rumored, obviously things could change), and Punk probably faces either Austin or a Brock rematch (depending on whether Rock wrestles or not), the money is in Bryan beating Cena relatively clean (completely or in the way Punk beat Cena at MitB or Summerslam in 2011, not totally clean but pretty close), then immediately getting cashed in on. Just to put him over more, I'd actually like to see a long cash in and not a quick 30 second one...say Bryan keeps fighting back but finally succumbs to an RKO after 5-10 minutes. Since they seem obsessed with the McMahon angle, have Vince deny Bryan title shots for awhile and finally have Bryan lose some kind of "no more title shots while Orton is champ" #1 contenders match due to outside interference. Bryan then wins the Rumble to get around it, beats Orton at WM for the title.



    Not saying that WILL happen, but I think that's the way to go. It puts Orton over as the #1 heel in the company, it gives Bryan a huge Rumble win, a huge WM win, and gives you a long chase (Orton can spend the months between Summerslam and WM defending in triple threats also involving Bryan, or against Cena/Punk/Sheamus).

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  33. It says he was responsible for him, and he was. If you think Shoemaker was making it seem like he concocted them out of nothing, it's because you want it to, because that wasn't implied anywhere.

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  34. No, not "concocted them out of nothing," I took "responsible for Bret and Shawn" as "responsible for the switch to smaller guys on top at that time," implying that Vince simply wanted to change gears to smaller guys entirely on his own. That didn't happen without outside pressures. Any suggestion that Bret winning the belt in Saskatoon and Bret-Shawn at Survivor Series '92 as the main event had nothing to do with the feds breathing down Vince's neck would be silly.

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  35. I'm a little fuzzy on exactly when the steroid scandal really started to bite, but Bret was certainly getting a strong push well before Saskatoon.

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  36. And less murder-y.

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  37. As a midcarder? Yeah. As a World title contender? Not in the slightest.

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  38. Brandon Stroud is a million times better than Shoemaker. Shoemaker writes columns where he bends facts to conform to his thesis. But consider it's a Bill Simmons site (and they love Malcolm Gladwell) it's not shocking.

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  39. That's Shoemaker, Simmons, et. al. for you, if the round peg doesn't fit in the square hole, just whittle it a bit so it does. Look at his bit in the trolling the fans column about the Ziggler-Del Rio match or about Phila fans in this one.

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  40. I think he still would have wound up a World title contender. Hogan and Warrior were gone, Flair was on the way out, Savage was being used more as a commentator and Shawn wasn't anywhere near ready.

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  41. I agree with Vince on that one if that's the case

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  42. I can dig it. Undertaker vs. Cena. . .Lesnar vs. Punk II. . .Orton vs. Bryan. That would sell me WM30 for sure.

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  43. Eventually, sure, but not that fast. He dropped the IC belt to Bulldog and 44 days later had Ric Flair in the Sharpshooter at a house show (yeah, taped for Coliseum, okay) to win the World belt. Drop the midcard belt, feud with a gatekeeper to test the waters, if the fans accept you on that level, go with a certified main eventer, yeah. How he did it? C'mon. Of course, as Bret admits in his book, the joke is that he was on the gas like everyone else then, he just didn't look like people expected roiders to look, so.

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  44. An email I sent made it to the Blog of Doom! Hurray!

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