After 2 installments of “Wrestling Rumblings” this week I figured it was time to give the VIP’ers a bit something extra this week so I am back with another installment of “Outside Interference.” I actually was awoken from a sound slumber with the many text messages from people I know informing me the news about Bryan Danielson’s release from WWE. I am still getting text messages, emails and phone calls as we speak from people inside the business who are speculating as to whether this is a work or not. I think we have to operate under the assumption that this is a legit release so the big question for me is what’s next for Bryan Danielson?
First off, isn’t it a bit odd to release someone early Saturday morning for something that happened on a Monday? Particularly after running a similar angle with that same individual on a Wednesday night show. There is still the odd chance that WWE wants to keep fans on their toes with this angle and could have set up the release to bring Bryan back later but I doubt that this is what has occurred. My reasoning is really because of the time that this has come out. WWE has had people talking about this invasion angle all week long and I believe if they would have released Bryan right there on the spot the focus wouldn’t have been on the invasion angle all week but on the release of Bryan Danielson. I also think that WWE wanted fans to see the angle on all there shows and it wouldn’t have made sense running the angle on NXT and Smackdown if one of the guys was already fired. So by doing this release early Saturday morning you gave people a whole week to get trapped into this angle and you put the news out on the weekend where wrestling fans who were already smitten with the angle would probably not even be aware of the release until Monday because it tends to be the case that most fans don’t read much internet on the weekend (except the guys who don’t have girlfriends, a social life, and still live with their moms those guys are glued all weekend…just kidding).
There is still the issue of the reason that is being thrown around for the release itself, that being the part of the invasion angle on Raw that involved Bryan choking out Justin Roberts with his own tie. You know something just watching that I kind of felt that was a little bit more violent than what WWE has been putting out lately but I didn’t think it was a fireable offense. I know there are some people who have privately asked me if I thought this was because of anything to do with WWE still having a bit of link between simulated strangulation and the Chris Benoit tragedy and I highly doubt it. To be quite honest I thought Dolph Ziggler using a sleeper hold on Hornswoggle and then following it up by cutting a promo saying that he put him to “sleep permanently” reminded me more of the Benoit tragedy and that got a free pass and no one really batted an eye about it. Besides if it was simply because WWE thought that was too violent for TV wouldn’t we have heard about it sooner? For that matter couldn’t they have just told Bryan “Hey don’t do that we are PG”? It has to be more than that; my theory is that maybe Justin Roberts complained about it. I mean he is not a wrestler and it’s not really in his pay grade to take that kind of abuse to further an angle. You can argue and say he didn’t have to do it but let’s be honest if you have a very well paying job that is really hard to get in a field that is hard to get into and your boss asks you to do something out of the norm; you’re not going to argue too much for fear of losing that job. My theory if this is because of the tie incident is that Justin Roberts was told that the NXT guys were going to beat him up but was not told of him being legit strangled with his own tie and might have made some noise about it in the back and WWE now being a corporate entity feared some sort of lawsuit if the incident went unaddressed and overreacted and released Bryan. If this is true I have no doubt in my that if Bryan plays things the right way and doesn’t badmouth anyone he will probably find himself back in WWE sooner than later. After all if you recall Cryme Tyme had an incident where they gave there finish to a referee and was released and eventually after serving out there punishment were allowed back into the company. So what are Bryan’s options?
1. A return to Ring of Honor- This is probably the option that most fans of Ring of Honor are hoping for as that promotion is really lacking star power at the moment. One of the best things about Ring of Honor fans is that they are smart enough to ignore the last few months of Bryan’s career and would be willing to welcome him back as if he never left and still be willing to give him main event status. The drawback to him going back to Ring of Honor is that he was in WWE for the last 6 months if you count his time in FCW and hasn’t been in a Ring of Honor ring since September of last year and during his time in WWE he really wasn’t all that protected or made out to be a big star. He lost to pretty much everyone and got a flukey win over the Miz and a win in FCW over another former ROH talent in Kaval (Low Ki). While I do think ROH fans would be willing to overlook that as they have in the past with other former WWE talents (see James Gibson AKA Jamie Knoble) you have to wonder if the powers that oversee things at HD Net would. Remember ROH is trying to bring in more casual fans to their product. If they weren’t than there wouldn’t even be a show on HD Net. What does the casual fan who may be watching ROH for the first time say when they see Bryan Danielson on HD Net dominating? “Hey there goes that Daniel Bryan guy who couldn’t win a match in WWE, this must be one of those ‘minor leagues’ that WWE was referring to cause he is winning, those guys aren’t any good”. Granted anyone reading this would probably disagree with me a bit on this but bear in mind you know of Danielson, and you know of Ring of Honor so you are slightly biased. Think of the first time you saw or became aware of an independent with a familiar star that wasn’t that big of a star on it, how seriously did you take that company afterwards? This is not to say it can’t be done, I mean look at Raven in ECW after stints as Johnny Polo and Scotty Flamingo in WWE and WCW, but it would be a much harder sell.
2. Compete in Dragongate USA, and Evolve- Some fans are not aware of this but when the concept of Evolve was originally conceived Bryan Danielson was supposed to be the star of the promotion and was involved in much of the thought process that created the promotion. While most fans give it great reviews Evolve has been struggling at the gate as there shows have done really just a few hundred people in a building that seats about 1300. Plus the promotion really has no buzz at the moment since it runs on odd months as opposed to most independent companies that run monthly. Bryan Danielson going to Evolve could get some of those ROH fans that don’t want to really give that promotion a shot to start attending some of those Evolve shows and you have to believe that he fits the prototype of a Evolve wrestler better than anyone else in that promotion right now. Of course competing in Evolve opens up doors for him in Dragongate USA which is another one of Gabe Sapolskys projects in addition to Evolve that while critically acclaimed is again struggling at the gate. As much as people are talking about Jon Moxley being the American star of DGUSA I can much easier accept it if Bryan Danielson had that role as he already has that familiarity with that fanbase and now even has a familiarity with casual fans. With that promotion trying to make headway on PPV it only makes sense that they try to get Bryan Danielson to do some of there shows. The only drawback to this is that these companies run infrequently and are opposition to ROH which Danielson may want to not burn bridges with it but for the right amount of money I think anything is possible.
3. Wait the 3 month no compete clause out and go to TNA- I am sure TNA fans would love to see this happen, especially with rumors running rampant about Paul Heyman coming into that company. I am sure if Paul Heyman is coming into TNA and is given complete control of booking an X Division headlined by Bryan Danielson will give us some pretty amazing match ups. However if Heyman isn’t coming in and the company stays in the control of Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff and Vince Russo you have to wonder how far Bryan would go in TNA. Remember those guys don’t watch Ring of Honor and don’t really know much about Bryan other than that he has a great indy reputation and was jobbed out in WWE. Sure they could bring him in with a whole lot of steam like they did Nigel McGuinness (Desmond Wolfe) but look at Nigel now in TNA. He doesn’t seem to be in the ring with the best of workers or given much of a chance to utilize his strengths to the TNA audience and at times is seemingly lost in the shuffle.
4. Compete in Mexico and Japan- In the past Bryan has formed a good reputation for himself competing in Japan where he is a former IWGP Jr. Tag Team Champion and GHC Jr. Heavyweight Champion why not just go back? Those fans really won’t care if he was jobbed out in WWE or not and you know he will have great matches with anyone on those rosters. He can always go to Mexico where the AAA promotion seems to want to build up there cruiserweight division now and he can blend in there and have strong matches with Jack Evans, Alex Koslov, Extreme Tiger and others. In recent years as WWE has gone over there and done a lot of damage to the Mexican promotions AAA has been very open to signing American talent and while not a luchadore I think Bryan could fit in alright over there.
5. Go back to WWE- If this was really just a mistake there is no reason to believe he won’t be welcome back in WWE at some point. The truth of the matter is he has roots there as he was a developmental wrestler early on in his career and WWE tends to think of those guys as there guys regardless of where they go and what they accomplish throughout their career. He doesn’t have a bad backstage reputation and seems pretty willing to do whatever is asked. Maybe once this blows over if he doesn’t go and do a scathing shoot interview WWE will be willing to take him back. After all, if this NXT invasion is to go anywhere it is going to need guys who can work and Bryan Danielson was the best worker in the NXT faction. This wasn’t just a blow to Bryan but a blow to WWE as well as I get the feeling they were prepared (and maybe still are) to go hard with this NXT faction and make it there headline story. I hate to sound cliché but anything is possible in the WWE.
That’s it for this installment of “Outside Interference” truth be told I don’t know what is going to happen with Bryan Danielson and I will say it again this could all very well be a work of some kind. I doubt it and if I had to put money on it I would bet on it being a legitimate release but nothing really surprises me anymore. I truly expect to see him back in WWE sometime in the future but the bad thing is if this is a legitimate release he is now on the outside looking in and it has to be frustrating considering it took him 10 years to make WWE in the first place. Maybe he won’t want to come back when that call comes, maybe that call will never even come. Only time will tell.
Of course if you want to hit me up regarding this or anything else in the crazy, wacky world of professional wrestling you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and well that’s it, next time I will try to do better and until then, I am out.