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Is Daniel Bryan The Ultimate Thorn In Roman Reigns’ Side

Roman Reigns is the most over WWE Superstar, but Daniel Bryan is by far the most popular. Is Bryan’s popularity a thorn in the side of Reigns?

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Roman Reigns Daniel Bryan

January 2014. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Royal Rumble. Daniel Bryan loses to Bray Wyatt in a singles match and does not participate in the Rumble match itself. The live crowd in Pittsburgh continually chants for Bryan throughout the night during the Rumble and the WWE World Heavyweight title match main event, and effectively begins the “Yes Movement” that would culminate in Bryan winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in epic fashion at WrestleMania XXX.

Fast forward one year. Royal Rumble 2015. Philadelphia. Ironically the same state, different city. After returning from injury less than a month prior, Daniel Bryan enters the Rumble at number ten but is eliminated ten and a half minutes later by old nemesis Bray Wyatt (again, ironic). The crowd again revolts, chanting the Yes Man’s name throughout the rest of the match and booing other wrestlers as they enter, even beloved babyface Rey Mysterio. The crowd resents and rejects everyone not named “Daniel Bryan,” including the eventual winner- Roman Reigns.

Now here we are in 2018. WrestleMania has come and gone, and SummerSlam is still on the horizon. And, ironically again, Daniel Bryan has recently returned from injury-related retirement, reassuming his place as one of the top babyfaces in the company and the recipient of almost universal support and adulation. Meanwhile, Roman Reigns is still trying to fully emerge from the stink that Bryan unintentionally enabled to first start to settle in on him, way back at the 2015 Rumble.

In some ways, above all else, Daniel Bryan is and has been the biggest obstacle for Roman Reigns to overcome in his apparent predestined path to becoming THE face of the company. We hear all the time how important timing is in the wrestling business. Some wrestlers are believed to have both underachieved and overachieved due to the fact that they arrived too early or too late onto the scene in their careers, or couldn’t break through to the “next level” because it wasn’t necessary for the times (think Hulk Hogan circa the late 80’s).  Despite all of the barbs that Reigns’ detractors might throw at him-some valid, some not, some not in his control- his biggest sin might simply be that he is being pushed as the “Big Dog” in an era when more fans prefer the underdog. And how’s this for timing? Had Daniel Bryan NOT been injured and forced to retire for a long period of time before ultimately returning, who’s to say that fans might not have turned on him and his “scruffy guy beats the odds” schtick by now in the same way they have turned on Reigns? The long sabbatical may have been the best thing to happen to Bryan for the sake of his longevity, and the worst thing to happen for Reigns’ and his eventual ascent as the undisputed “Man” in the WWE.

However, when comparing Reigns to Bryan, the same thing that was working against Roman in 2014-2015 might be working for him in some ways in 2018. The “Yes Movement,” in my opinion, more so than anything, represented the first time in any recent memory that the WWE listened to the fans and allowed an organic uprising of support for a superstar drastically shift their pre-planned course of direction. The planned main event for WrestleMania XXX was set to be Randy Orton vs Batista. Daniel Bryan was scheduled to face Sheamus. This has been confirmed by Bryan himself, as well as others. However, due to the overwhelming response and support he was getting, and lack thereof for Batista, Vince and the creative team relented and struck while the iron was hot with Bryan, shooting him into a featured match with Triple H that would then lead to him being added into the main event and winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in one of the best “WrestleMania Moments” ever.

Then, Daniel got injured.

He made only one pay-per-view title defense, in May at Extreme Rules, and by June he had relinquished the title and was put on the shelf until January at the aforementioned 2015 Royal Rumble. Vince had gambled. He had deviated from his course. He had allowed the fans to dictate to him and his company instead of the other way around. And it blew up in his face. Months of planning and writing was thrown out the window to accommodate Plan B- making Bryan the new champion- and then just two months later, it was time for a Plan C.

“Never again.”

Change can be hard. And the last time Vince embraced change, it didn’t work out like they planned. Better to “keep it simple, stupid.” Roman’s push is solidified because it’s safe.

So, all signs seem to point to the fact that, despite fan backlash, Reigns is still the “Chosen One” and will continue to be pushed as the top babyface in the company. Vince doesn’t want or need another “Yes Movement.” Roman will continue to be on top of the card and shoved down our throats, which isn’t going to hurt his paycheck, but might it have lasting effects on his success in the future? Many fans have already thrown up the spoonfuls of Roman fed to them over the last few years, and there have been instances where some might even question the WWE’s true faith in him as the top draw (see this year’s WrestleMania for example).

Would Roman be better served if Vince were to give the people what they want, just as he did in 2014, and turn him heel? Some may argue it would be the best thing for Roman’s career right now. But thanks to Daniel Bryan’s past, that isn’t going to happen. Vince won’t be sucked in by the hype again. He isn’t going to let “internet fans” dictate his creative direction. He isn’t going to pivot by turning Roman heel, which would probably thus make RAW’s assumed new top babyface Seth Rollins, who’s had his own injury history.  He is going to stay the course, push Roman as the top dog, and count his billions of TV deal dollars.

Roman Reigns is boxed in and he is what he is. And he’s going to continue to be what he is- “the guy.” It’s the safe bet, though maybe not the one with the biggest potential gain. But Vince’s doesn’t need to gamble. And perhaps, for the second time in three years, Daniel Bryan may directly or indirectly be the biggest factor in putting a stranglehold on Roman’s potential growth.

@KoreyGunz
@KYWrestleReport


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Opinion

TIME AND FATE: NOAH’S GHC HARDCORE CHAMPIONSHIP

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“It seems there was once a belt a long time ago I guess.”
Hi69 (May 4th 2018 after a hardcore match with Daisuke Harada).

I hope to present here a brief history of what was known as the GHC Hardcore Championship.

NOAH is not a hardcore promotion that does deathmatches (although they did run one in May 2018 between Hi69 and Daisuke Harada, this was Harada’s first time doing hardcore), so you weren’t going to win this belt by lighttubes, blowing the ring up, electric barbed wire or stapling paper to your opponents head; although it was defended in some matches termed as “hardcore”, or at least as hardcore as NOAH got in that era.

In this situation “Hardcore” meant that anyone could challenge for it regardless of division as it was openweight, you just had to survive and have incredible endurance. The title could be won by a count-out, and if the challenger was smaller than the champion and lasted fifteen minutes, the title could change hands. A win could only be gained by a pinfall, no submission was allowed.

The title could only be challenged for by NOAH wrestlers (or those working for NOAH at the time, such as Scorpio in 2005), not from anyone by an outside promotion.

The title began in 2004 when Jun Akiyama came up with the idea. He felt the concept would be exciting as it would create matches regardless of weight and size and would be open to anyone of any division. Mitsuharu Misawa agreed to the idea, funded it, and the belt was created. For this reason Misawa was considered to be the chairman of the belt (in the same way that the GHC has its own committee who decide who gets it etc), and the belt was thought to be Jun Akiyama’s as it was created in his style, the same way that the GHC Heavyweight is Misawa’s.

The GHC Hardcore belt differed from the other GHC belts as the main belt was white (Jun Akiyama’s colors) with the crest being silver, and for that reason it was sometimes known as “The White GHC”.

In the beginning it was decided that the belt would only be defended outside of the Kanto area (outside of the metropolitan Tokyo district which included Chiba, Saitama etc), with a fan who won a competition reading out the match announcement (like Joe Higuchi did for championship matches). After the match they would have the honor of handing the belt to the winner, and posing for a commemorative photo afterwards. This didn’t happen as the belt would be defended very much in Tokyo.

Immediately the rules caused confusion as in Jun Akiyama’s first defense, Takuma Sano was put in a front necklock and passed out, the referee not hearing his “I quit”. The belt then passed to Naomichi Marufuji who lost it to Mohammed Yone. NOAH held a rare deathmatch, where Yone faced Morishima in a “Chain Death Match” in Osaka in April 2005, it went to a double knock out. Yone’s fourth defense was against Scorpio, who was taken to hospital after the match having injured his leg.

Scorpio lost the title to Kentaro Shiga in September 2006, and the title became a tag title as Shiga unified it with Kishin Kawabata after vacating the belt as he declared he wanted to make a tag with it, (although there were never two belts made for this purpose), and the belt was billed as the “GHC Openweight Hardcore Tag Team Championship”. It was defended that December at Korakuen Hall in a “Lumberjack Deathmatch”.

By late 2007, the championship belt was becoming sporadic as NOAH booking and NOAH fans were losing interest in it, compared to the turn around of roughly six months when the belt was first inaugurated, Kishin Kawabata made only four defenses in eleven months before losing it to Makoto Hashi in October 2008, he made only two in nine months before losing it to Kenta Kobashi in June 8th 2009 who defended it four times before vacating the title after becoming injured that December.

No one after this it seemed to have much interest in reviving the belt and NOAH had little interest in booking it. Simply put, the concept had run its course, and by late 2009 and early 2010, NOAH were facing serious problems with the death of Misawa and internal fighting about the company restructuring. In the following years talent walkout, scandal, a decline in business and money issues became a far more pressing problem than who held a little white belt with a silver crest.

As of August 2018 NOAH have announced no plans to bring the GHC Hardcore Championship back, and the belt is not listed on the site under a the list of championships.


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Opinion

The Elite Should Not Join WWE

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After both All In and The G1 Supercard were sold out, reports of Vince McMahon wanting to sign The Elite in a way to stop the rise of competition for his monopoly were reported everywhere. More than just The Elite rumors regarding a lot of Indy talent joining the ranks of WWE, thanks of these events and the next lucrative deals that WWE will receive in the coming years, gives credence to the speculation in all wrestling circles. The big problem that comes with The Elite joining WWE is that currently after all these years, the wrestling world is no longer a one place only to make big money. Promotions like ROH and NJPW have grown a lot in the last couple of years thanks to the efforts done by the The Elite to change the wrestling world.

If NJPW loses Kenny Omega to WWE, the promotion based in Japan will lose not only a top player but their ambassador of puroresu in the US. As we know, NJPW has big plans to expand into the American market, and those plans have Kenny Omega as the flagship of that expedition.

The Young Bucks will also face some serious problems if they were to go to WWE. The first problem is that as we all know, WWE and more specificly Vince McMahon, is not a fan of tag team wrestling and teams like Anderson and Gallows coupled with current booking, are a clear example of this. Creative will be bad for them and their creative minds will not be used to the extent we’re familiar with. That would be a shame seeing how beloved their YouTube show is, Being The Elite.  Also let’s not forget the case of the cease and desist letters sent to them because of the Too Sweet sign. Vince McMahon does not forget and could easily bury them in a way to punish them for the case of the situation of the letters and the fan’s saying in the show he got free tickets like most people do to fill RAW

If The Elite stay for at least  2 or 3 years before joining WWE and help the wrestling world grow, the business will not only be good for the fans but to wrestlers not signed with WWE. Like we saw with Flip Gordon, who thanks to the Being The Elite show is a well known name already and his career is just beginning. If we’re to believe the brand is as big as any brand in WWE right now, The Elite should stay away from WWE to preserve their phrase, ‘’Change the world’. If they leave, a big hole will be present in the indy scene and the wrestling world will go five years back in time. Further increasing the gap, in a bad way, between WWE and the rest of the wrestling world.

 


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Opinion

Jim Neidhart: Remembering The Anvil

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Jim Neidhart

A piece of my childhood passed away.  Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart was known best as half of the 1980s tag team, the Hart Foundation.  Along with his tag team partner and brother-in-law, Bret Hart, the Hart Foundation were active between 1985 and 1991, and won the WWE Tag Team Titles in ’87 and ’90:  Then in 1997, the Hart Foundation was revived in the form of a stable. The group’s line up consisted of family members and students of the Hart clan.

The Neidhart-Bret partnership mirrored a relationship between a big brother; protective over his younger sibling; this illustration became evident when the Harts switched from being villains to heroes, in 1988. An example of the brotherly relationship was demonstrated during their matches as Bret would take the brunt of their opponent’s foul tactics while Jim; frustrated and concerned, waited reluctantly in his corner for Bret to escape their opponents and tag him in.

I believe that a lot of Hart Foundation’s success and appeal is credited to Jim Neidhart’s contributions. Bret was known as the cool member and ‘technical wrestling’ part of the team; Bret occupied the ring during most of their matches as Neidhart shouted moral support in the corner while waiting for his turn. When Bret was the recipient of their opponents’ foul play, the fans depended on Neidhart as the ‘big brother’ to make the save.

Bret’s appeal as the ‘cool’ guy was an element to the Hart Foundation’s fan base; however, it was Neidhart’s infectious and loud personality that transformed the Harts into an inclusive brand. The Hart Foundations interviews highlighted Neidhart’s abilities to sell the group with his animated charisma. What Bret did for the team in the ring; Neidhart equaled while promoting the duo in their interviews.

RIP Jim “the Anvil” Neidhart

@Ite_Lemalu
Ite Lemalu Writings


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