After a dull but what I would still consider good year for WWE, they closed things out this past Monday with the last “Monday Night Raw”, or major show of any kind, of the year. As almost any regular wrestling fan knows, that means it’s the start of Royal Rumble, and therefore Wrestlemania season. This past Monday, we heard the first major entrant into the Royal Rumble match, which means speculation season is officially open. Today we’re going to focus on what this might mean, where things could go as a result, and why I think that’s a bad idea. Let’s get to it.
In case you didn’t see it, the surprise first entrant for the match was Daniel Bryan, who announced his return to the ring after being out of action since the spring. This immediately makes him one of the favorites for the match, right along with the man who has been the man considered the chosen one in Roman Reigns. While there will obviously be other names added in the future, these two will likely be the favorites all the way to the end.
The other major story on top of that is of course the Authority returning to end the show after Seth Rollins might have set a new record for evil by threatening to cripple Edge if Cena didn’t do what he wants. There’s a long column to be written on how Rollins is nailing his role as a top villain but we’ll save that for later. The Authority is back, and you know that they’re going to clash with Bryan in the near future.
Earlier this year, I was lucky enough to be in the Superdome for “Wrestlemania XXX”. I felt the energy and emotion when Daniel Bryan made Batista tap out and defeated the Authority in one night to become WWE World Heavyweight Champion. It was one of the best moments in WWE history and exactly why Daniel Bryan should not feud with the Authority again now that both are back in WWE.
Above all else, this story scares me for one reason: why would you try to recreate something that worked so well in the first place? Back at “Wrestlemania XXX”, Bryan defeated Triple H, Randy Orton and Batista in one single night to prove that everything Triple H ever said about him was wrong. That’s where we get to the crux of the problem with this rehash: what is there left for Bryan to prove?
For once, the flashback example isn’t going to be a WWE one. Instead we’re going to jump back to ECW and “Wrestlepalooza 1997”. Other than having a goofy name, this show is notable for one reason: Tommy Dreamer pinned Raven to FINALLY end their feud of nearly three years. The entire story hinged on the idea that Dreamer had never been able to pin Raven, but as soon as he did there was no reason for them to fight again.
Now flash forward with me to 2010 and TNA’s “Hardcore Justice 2010”. I’ll give you one guess as to what one of the featured matches was. Well aside from Team 3D vs. Axl Rotten and Kahoneys, because this show wasn’t pitiful enough without being able to use the original names due to copyright issues. Of course the show saw Raven vs. Tommy Dreamer again, with Raven winning yet again.
What was the point of this match happening again, other than to stir up some nostalgia? Dreamer had already won the important match so him winning again wasn’t going to mean anything, and Raven had already beaten him a bunch of times so it’s not like anyone really gained anything here.
The same thing is true with the Authority vs. Bryan happening again. Bryan has already won the big match that people remember, and the Authority already beaten him so many times that another loss isn’t going to mean anything new. The first big showdown between Bryan and the Authority was built on the pure emotion, and recreating that is going to be next to impossible. The wrestling will be solid due to the parties involved, but why would you try to recreate something that was already done so close to perfection the first time?
On the flip side though, we have the major issue of who else is there to do take Bryan’s spot? John Cena and Randy Orton on top have been done to death. Both men are incredibly talented and some of the best of all time, but I really don’t care to see either of them challenging the Authority as WWE’s white knight. However, who does that leave?
This brings us back to Reigns. Yeah he’s been rumored as the next top guy in WWE, but like many people have been saying, I don’t quite see him as ready yet. Other than setting the Rumble elimination record last year and beating Orton at Summerslam, what other major accomplishments does he have under his belt?
At the end of the day, there’s quite a major leap from a win over Orton in the semi-main event nearly five months ago and being the next guy on a short list of top stars in company history. Reigns has a good deal of potential and could be another Batista, as in the gladiator that lets his fighting do the talking, but he really doesn’t feel ready to take on the role of the company star.
There’s also Dean Ambrose, who seems to have more potential than anyone else right now and at least has some main event experience. I could see his rebellious attitude rising up to take on the Authority, but at this point he’s too busy in the never ending feud with Bray Wyatt, where Ambrose has lost more often than he’s won. That doesn’t mean he’s crippled for life or anything (see Steve Austin back in 1997 when he lost almost every major match he was in) but he needs a few more victories before he’s ready for that kind of elevation.
Unfortunately, that’s about it for the options. Barring a last minute face turn by Rollins or Lesnar, neither of which would be advisable, there really aren’t a ton of options either way to take on the Authority. We’ve basically erased “Survivor Series 2014” from history and much like Bryan, we’ve covered Dolph Ziggler vs. the Authority already. There are several options on the table, and unfortunately I think we’re going to see Roman Reigns being thrown into water he’s not ready to swim in yet.
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