He stands 5-foot-10 with solid build (not hulking) and bushy facial hair, resembling more a mini-mountain man than a larger-than-life, a-typical, main event WWE superstar.
Come Sunday, Oct. 6 at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, WWE superstar Daniel Bryan will main event another WWE pay-per-view, proving change with a marketable bearded face can work.
And that makes WWE fans, a.k.a. the WWE Universe, chant with excitement, “Yes! Yes! Yes!,” the one-word catch phrase which has helped turn Bryan from an A-list wrestler into an A-list sports entertainer.
Subsequently, Bryan will face the A-pex Predator Randy Orton for the WWE title in the main event of the WWE Battleground pay-per-view on Sunday, Oct. 6.
With the good looking, chiseled bodied John Cena sidelined from injury, who would kids and women cheer most and older male fans boo loudest? (You get 2-for-1 with the talented Cena.)
WWE opted to script Orton a monster bad guy for the boos, something he’s done in the past with great success, and hype Bryan as the heavy underdog, cheers, “Yes.” WWE power couple Paul Triple H Levesque and Stephanie McMahon’s characters created Bryan’s ‘little engine that will not’ status by their promoting/siding with Orton and duping/mocking Bryan at every angle.
Triple H, Stephanie McMahon and Randy Orton represent the establishment and Bryan its anti.
It’s worked before, with the elder statesman of the McMahon family, WWE CEO/Chairman Vince McMahon, feuding with the anti-corporate, middle-finger raising, coarse talking, beer-swilling Stone Cold Steve Austin. It became one of the most lucrative times in company history.
Bryan is no Stone Cold Steve Austin, and Triple H and Stephanie McMahon are not Mr. McMahon, but the premise is there.
Bryan does have a one-word catch phrase like the Rattlesnake did, but where Austin’s asked a question, Bryan’s makes a statement.
Like Austin, Bryan is beloved by fans, and like Mr. McMahon, the corporate Triple H and Stephanie are not. To advance the disdain, Triple H and Stephanie embraced The Shield, embarrassed the Rhodes family and made Big Show feel small with a constant ‘do this or you’re fired’ stip.
Change is good. You want something different. Who enjoys stale bread?
From Hulk-A-Mania to the cartoon run and later the Attitude era to the PG present, WWE now features a “Yes” man but an anti-establishment “Yes” man.
It’s made for some entertaining WWE Raw television programming, and when needed most, as ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” and ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” provide some stiff viewing competition on Monday nights.
“It’s been a lot of fun, and it’s just surreal,” Bryan said. “It feels like yesterday I was wrestling at the armories in front of 200, 300 people. Now being in these big stories in WWE and main eventing pay-per-views, I’ve main evented every show I’ve been on the last two months, it’s pretty surreal, and to do it in front of large crowds on such big shows, it’s awesome.”
Bryan, 32, from Aberdeen, Wash., spent 10 years honing his skills and paying his dues on the indie circuit, including a strong run with multi-star matches in Ring of Honor, before being signed by WWE in 2009. It’s been a roller-coaster ride in WWE, but he is currently enjoying the upward climb and the posing challenges in the ring and out.