Earthquakes and (Royal) Rumbles

Article written by:
Romeo Moran
Author: Romeo Moran
Ro is our resident wrestling geek. Don't mess with him; he'll elbow drop you out of nowhere.



I honestly don’t know what to tell you.

I could tell you that we weren’t denied a Daniel Bryan performance at the Royal Rumble. I could tell you that, as usual, it was a stellar showing. It was nothing short of amazing – full of drama, full of intensity, pain visibly bristling through every strike and throw. I could also tell you that that’s how you wrestle a main event match no matter where you are on the card.

But I couldn’t tell you that it was the kind of Daniel Bryan performance all his fans (which is to say, maybe 90% of the people watching the WWE right now) wanted to see in Pittsburgh that night. I couldn’t tell you that the loss was the result I was expecting. Bray Wyatt held up his end of the bargain, too; if he could keep up with the workhorse in Bryan, he could take the win and not have the crowd call for his head. That he did, and did admirably, putting up a performance in the ring that resonated on the same level as Bryan’s. That’s why I also couldn’t tell you that it was an undeserved win. Or an undeserved loss, on our hero’s end.

I could tell you that I had always predicted Batista to win the Rumble; that for some reason, I never saw Bryan realistically lock a victory down. That’s what I really wanted to happen that night, but even then I could never believe it would go down that way. There was some foreshadowing, I suppose, when the WWE first decided to stick Bryan with the Wyatt Family in some sort of side quest on his odyssey to achieve whatever passes the audience’s standard for success nowadays. (Is it a consistent reign or two with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship? Is it a constant presence at the top? You can’t really tell, sometimes – we demand so much, then refuse it when we get it.)

At the same time, I couldn’t tell you that my correct Rumble prediction brought me any comfort. There’s a feeling of satisfaction after getting the future right that everyone can identify with, but all I got to show for it was a numb, passive kind of acceptance. I could say that I prefer seeing Batista vs. Orton at Wrestlemania instead of Bryan vs. Orton, but I couldn’t tell you that I was in any way happy that the underdog Bryan wasn’t even honored with a chance to go to the main event in New Orleans.

But you want to know something weird, though? I may not have been happy, but I can’t even claim to be totally outraged by this development.

I could tell you that I have trust issues with the WWE. Hell, I already told you that last week, and today I’m going to use that as justification as to why I no longer expect a lot from the company. That’s why I’m not all that mad.

I’m a little broken as a fan of all the underdogs to ever step through those curtains and wrestle their hearts and bodies out, leaving it all in the ring. I’ve seen how the machine – as our hero has taken to calling the Authority (and whether that refers to an on-screen or off-screen entity, nobody knows anymore) – breaks them in the pursuit of their dreams. I’ve witnessed how it invites them to try their hand at succeeding, screws them over, and spits them out all broken but possibly hungrier than before. I could tell you that I’ve seen the Dolph Zigglers, the Rybacks, the Christians, and many more leap and fall this way.

However, another but: even though I could also tell you all that… strangely, I still have a little faith left in Vince McMahon and Co. You see, while I can’t really tell you what they’re thinking or if there’s anything logical or reasonable going on in those heads of theirs, I can say that I trust them to not be that stupid. I trust them to not turn a deaf ear to everyone who cheers for Daniel Bryan, the loudest of the loud, because every single “YES!” is still money in his pocket. Even if he’s still only cashing in on disappointment (a moneymaking formula ironically proven to work by, of all people, Cena haters) I trust that Vince will know when to finally give in, because I trust that he knows he can’t lead his customers on forever.

This is the part, then, where I can’t tell you to share that same faith I have. I can no longer try and sell you this belief that this is still a work that is going somewhere – even if I’ve found a way (and I really do keep finding ways, for some reason) to believe that this is an overarching work on a scale that we wrestling fans have never seen before.

Because to do so is to tell you that you do not have a choice in what you want to believe, which, in turn, is only feeding the status quo we all want to see destroyed. Even if we can’t really tell right now whether the outrage from the audience is part of the plan all along, or that it’s a coincidence that they opportunistically ride, your opinion is still important. It should be all that matters, really, in the end, and I may be able to tell you that that’s something we all could still trust them to keep in mind.

I could tell you that, being one of the best in the world right now, anything can happen to Daniel Bryan and he’ll be just fine. He’ll find a way to make the most of the shit he gets thrown. Thing is, I can’t tell you what those might be; I can no longer tell you with a straight face that he will break that glass ceiling in a way that it will remain broken. Nobody can tell for sure.

There is one thing, however, that you can keep saying to get you through all this. Like Bryan, you can always stick it to the man and tell them, over and over-



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