Having seen both Wrestlemania 28 and Raw there were only two things going through my mind: the freak of nature, the athlete that needs to be seen to be believed, the wrestler formerly known as the Next Big Thing – Brock Lesnar – is BACK!!!! And of course, YES!!! YES!!! YES!!! YES!!! YES!!! YES!!! The reaction both Lesnar and Daniel Bryan got at Raw was unbelievable, especially when you consider the short amount of time they were on screen in total. Of course, Bryan was part of the dark match, and when he got to talk after the crowd reacted to everything he said.
I’m not going to lie, I marked out when Brock’s music hit. I knew it was going to happen, but it was still an insanely awesome moment of epic proportions. The only small negative I have about it is that it did not happen at Mania. That would have made both the moment and the event seem even more special. It would have been comparable to the Ultimate Warrior returning at WM 8. As it is, when I look back at this past week I will remember Brock’s return more than Wrestlemania. And that is not a good thing. Nothing should over-shadow the biggest show of the year. I understand they wanted to keep something this massive for the night after, but for me Wrestlemania should always be the focal point for the major happenings in the year. Still though, his presence is exciting. The landscape of the WWE has changed. And he has almost single-handedly re-invigorated my passion for the product.
Look at the potential match-ups we could see. Cena, Punk, Orton and possibly even Rock after he’s done filming would all be big money feuds. And after reading Brock’s book, if one thing became apparent, he’s all about the money. But the other possible opponents include Cody Rhodes, Sheamus, Daniel Bryan, Mark Henry, Christian, Alberto Del Rio, Rey Mysterio, The Miz. And I am definitely hoping for a Lesnar vs Dolph Ziggler match at some point. Ziggler is one of the best in the world (sorry Punk/Jericho) at selling – and I truly believe he could make Brock look like an absolute monster – like the one we all once knew and loved. With Lesnar having reportedly signed on to do two shows a month, with more regular appearances in the build up to WM29, I am truly excited to see what the WWE will do with him.
The other big story circulating the wrestling community this week has been the story of the World Heavyweight Championship match at WM. It lasted 18 seconds, and featured Daniel Bryan getting squashed by Sheamus. For a lot of people, this opening angle (is it worth even calling it a match?) ruined the rest of Wrestlemania. It was obvious that the crowd in attendance were shocked, because they were quiet for a lot of the show – or at least that’s how it came across on TV, I’ve read that the crowd weren’t done justice. That all changed on Raw. There were consistent “Daniel Bryan” and “YES” chants, and the crowd popped big for him in and after the dark match. Add in the mixed reaction at best that Sheamus received and there’s no chance in hell that Vince doesn’t know how those people feel (Though I still think there’s a chance that Vince knows what he’s doing and is playing us all). Since Raw there has been a lot of speculation that this leads to a double turn – Bryan becoming a face and Sheamus becoming a heel. I personally don’t think turning Bryan would be a good idea. Look at history. Stone Cold Steve Austin was the biggest face in the business – arguably ever – because he acted like a heel. Eddie Guerrero lied, cheated and stole and became one of the biggest faces in the WWE. This is the same opportunity being afforded to Bryan. It is possible that, by degrading women and being unconditionally arrogant about lucky wins that he could be as big as CM Punk.
I still worry though, that this won’t translate into the unanimous support of the fans. It is still totally possible that younger fans especially will still see him as a coward who they hate. For me though this is just a case of wait-and-see. Until I see him get ovations week in-week out I will fear that he becomes the new pre-“pipe-bomb” CM Punk. The majority of fans still boo him, but he retains a relatively small, unwavering group of loyal fans – who are just waiting to see him break out into his full potential. Yes Bryan has been doing stellar work recently, but let’s not forget that CM Punk won back-to-back Money In The Bank matches at Wrestlemania and was a three-time World Heavyweight Champion before he truly established himself as one of the top guys in the company. The next few weeks are crucial for Bryan, and will go a long way to deciding how long he will remain at the main-event level.
Yeah, so in case you haven’t already gotten the point, I am excited for the immediate future of the WWE. Prior to Wrestlemania, I had believed that my interest would peak with the grandest stage of them all. But now there are so many roads they could go down that I think I’ll find it impossible to not watch every week. It’s great to see Lesnar back where he belongs, and just by being back he has become one of my favourites again. For Bryan I will wait and see, but as long as he gets a big reaction – cheers or boos – he’ll be around for a long time to come. YES!!!