Daniel Bryan is once again embracing his inner Yes man. The former WWE champion has seemingly been running from his old gimmick over the past several weeks until he was finally confronted with the reality of the situation on the November 29 edition of Friday Night SmackDown.
WWE Universal champion Bray Wyatt wanted to wage war with Daniel once again and only the Bryan of old was on The Fiend’s wishlist. Now Wyatt has what he wanted, as Bryan is once again turning babyface as a result of the angle. So while some fans see this as nothing more than a necessary evil, others are asking if Daniel Bryan is on his way back to main event glory in WWE.
It’s impossible to talk about Daniel Bryan’s career in Vince McMahon’s company without mentioning the Yes Movement. It was such a massive part of his run and it facilitated his rise in 2013. The man that WWE believed was not a top guy became a top guy because of one word and because of the fans who chanted it every night.
Those fans believed in him. They saw something in him that WWE apparently did not see and Bryan rose to superstardom in spite of the company. WWE could not deny the force that the Yes Movement had become and the power that it had over the audience, who could not get enough of Daniel Bryan.
Relive Bray Wyatt’s Firefly Fun House on Daniel Bryan!
Daniel took the fans’ support and he ran with it. It didn’t matter that WWE tried to ignore the groundswell that was happening under their feet. Bryan was happy to be a wrestler and to entertain the fans who loved him when WWE didn’t. But when the company finally backed him, it was clear that Bryan was headed for big things in the industry. He was fully capable of bearing the weight of WWE on his shoulders and he rose to the occasion in every way that mattered.
But when Daniel’s health became a problem, everything changed. Missing in action meant losing momentum and when he couldn’t get back on track, the Yes Movement was derailed. Bryan’s retirement sealed his fate as an in-ring performer and he soon became a shell of his former self.
So when Daniel was finally cleared to return to the squared circle, he once again found his passion for the business. He was a new man and was finally ready to resume his winning ways in WWE. Of course, things didn’t exactly go that way and it soon became clear that WWE had moved on from the Yes Movement. Bryan turned heel, rejected the fans and began the next chapter of his WWE career.
Watch Daniel embrace the Yes Movement once again!
Of course nothing was quite the same for Daniel Bryan after that. While he was praised for his work as a villain, much of that praise had to do with his ability on the mic. He’s always possessed great skills on the stick, but he hasn’t always been given the time to talk. So with a renewed character came the opportunity for him to step out front once again. The more he did so, the more fans were reminded of just how good he was.
Suddenly, the idea of a Daniel Bryan babyface turn was well received by fans who longed for Bryan to once again become the underdog they all loved. Now that he’s back into that character once again, the only question is just how far will WWE take him this time? Is Daniel headed for the top of the card again or is he just going to hit a certain level, then fall back down to earth?
The decision to move Daniel in any direction is up to WWE of course and that may not be a bad thing. After all, it’s not as if Daniel has been misused or underutilized over the past year. Indeed, he was once elevated as the top heel on Friday Night SmackDown. This is not the same Daniel Bryan who had to fight to prove his worth to WWE. The company is fully aware of what he brings to the table and they definitely seem to respect him for it. But could that possibly work against him now?
Bryan’s fans forced the issue before. WWE could’ve refused to go with Daniel, but the company listened to the crowd and gave them exactly what they wanted. WWE is not in that position this time, which means Bryan may only go as far as losing to Bray Wyatt again and then falling back to mid-card status on the blue brand.
Thus was one of the loudest reactions in recent WWE history!
But will that happen? Daniel has indeed proved himself and he’s also proven he can do anything asked of him. He’s always delivered and he’s managed to get over, even when it looked as though he had no chance. Bryan is highly respected by his peers and by the fans who recognize just how good he really is. Perhaps Daniel’s worth is much higher this time, when could also mean that he will not slide down the ladder in any real way.
However he’s now going up against a red-hot Bray Wyatt. The Fiend gimmick has put Bray on a level he’s previously never enjoyed and he’s become the most popular heel in Vince McMahon’s company. He’s booked as unstoppable in the ring, which means that he doesn’t just win matches. He dominates his opponents. Will Daniel Bryan prove to be different?
The fact is that if WWE wanted to boost Bryan back up the ladder to phenomenal heights, he would certainly be capable of handling it. He’s a pro and can deal with anything thrown at him. But it could very well be that WWE is counting on that fact, as well as all of Daniel’s attributes, to further legitimize The Fiend character. Despite what WWE does in this situation, it’s obvious that the old Daniel Bryan is back and his fans are surely saying yes to that.
Tom Clark can regularly be seen on Wrestling Rumors. His podcast, Tom Clark’s Main Event, is available on iTunes,YouTube, iHeart Radio, boinkstudios.com and live every Friday at 12pm EST on Wrestling Rumors Facebook Live