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Thread: REQUESTING FLYBY #51: Why I Love The Authority

  1. #1
    Main Pager Maverick's Avatar
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    REQUESTING FLYBY #51: Why I Love The Authority




    #51: Why I Love The Authority

    The arena turns a sickly shade of green as the first notes of Motörhead’s gut churning riff echo through the air. Triple H, once chief rebel of an outlaw band but now clad in a business suit, his hair cropped short, his trademark handlebar beard a thing of the past, steps out and walks methodically to ringside. There are no histrionics, no blowing of water into the sky from the apron’s edge. This is not man you used to know. The Game has changed the game, and everybody in that locker room is going to toe the line, or suffer for it. He has back up too. Daddy’s Little Girl has grown up; no longer the weak willed, petty harridan once labelled a “bottom-feeding trash bag ho” she now exudes the grace of a lioness. Her fourth decade has been kind to her; she has grown into herself, become a woman in truth as well as name. By their side is their champion, Randall Keith Orton, once personally groomed for greatness by Hunter. Having discarded his awkward attempt at being a fan favourite, his entitled arrogance is perfect for the scene, for this display of power. The belt over his shoulder looks like it belongs there. He is the heel champ incarnate. Around the ring are the enforcers, three black hearted mercenaries in SWAT clothes, standing insouciantly, daring some foolish rebel to try to attack their paymasters.

    I love The Authority. Conceptually, visually, narratively. I’ve adored the direction they’ve given the product, and the way they’ve made Monday Night Raw feel vital again. I appreciate the way their antics have allowed babyfaces to develop emotional ties to an audience desperate for them to vanquish the bad guys. I enjoy chuckling along to the promos that push at the fourth wall. Many will violently disagree with me. Some will quote ratings; others will claim a favourite wrestler has been buried. There will be a few fans that agree that the company is better off with consistent stories, but who feel that this has been the wrong story. Well, look, I’m aware that I’m probably not going to change too many minds that think that way, but I owe it to myself and to you, the reader, to explain why I feel that this is the best WWE product since the Smackdown brand in 2003.

    If there’s one thing I have consistently criticised WWE for over the past number of years, it’s for their complete disregard for consistent long term storytelling. Now, I’m not naïve enough to think that everything in pro wrestling is going to exist in the same continuity, but I do like history to be referenced and I do like overarching stories that take in a good portion of the roster. I suppose that’s the lingering influence of teenage and early adult years spent watching the Attitude Era. The moment that the Authority began to coalesce on the Raw after Summerslam, I suddenly regained faith in the creative team’s ability to come up with an interesting long term storyline. Yes, it borrowed heavily, particularly in the beginning, from the Corporation angle of 1998 and 1999, but wrestling has always cannibalised its own past, and when the story is as good as that one was, and a whole generation of fans have never seen it, well, I say why not use it again? William Shakespeare did not write a single play that came from his own imagination; he mined sources from his education and from popular publications of the time, including the plays of his own contemporaries. There is a long and rich tradition of stories being recycled. So originality is not a valid criticism as far as I am concerned.

    For the second half of the last decade, creative generally gave the audience only individual, short term angles that resolved themselves within that particular bubble. The one true exception was the advent of the Nexus, but it became clear very quickly that the company hadn’t really planned that piece of plotting out much past Summerslam and it quickly lost momentum. When Randy Orton won the red Money in the Bank briefcase in July and Daniel Bryan was booked to go over John Cena clean in the main event of the second biggest show of the year, it was clear that, for the first time in an age, creative had a long term narrative arc in mind. What I’ve appreciated most is that it was not just “The Beard vs. The World” as it might have been if this had happened a year or so before. The plot encompassed a large swathe of the midcard, too. Ziggler spoke up against the regime and was targeted by The Shield for his troubles. Cody Rhodes said the wrong thing at the wrong time and had to wrestle for his job in a thrilling contest against The Viper that took him to a level of babyface stardom few could’ve imagined before. By the time Goldust returned to attempt to get his brother reinstated, a story which rapidly drew in The Big Show and the patriarch of the Rhodes family, the American Dream himself, there was huge heat in the midcard as well as up top between Bryan and Orton. The side effect? The tag titles were elevated, Cody was pushed back into a prominent role, and The Shield added yet more stellar tag matches to their resume. As a side note, we should not forget how horribly Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns had started to drift after Extreme Rules; this angle refreshed them. Furthermore, I’ve spoken before of my love for the way the World’s Largest Athlete became a deeply sympathetic hero for the crowd to root for, and his journey- from kayfabe interview to reluctantly doing The Authority’s bidding, from being fired to rogue revenge acts, from lawsuit to title tilt- was beautifully charted by the writing staff, in my view. The thing to remember is this: the neo-corp narrative has reinvigorated the careers of several upper-midcard talents and serves to make Daniel Bryan’s ultimate triumph more meaningful.

    Yes readers, it all comes down to the thorny issue of D Bry, doesn’t it? If you believe he was buried, there’s little I can do to change your minds. But he wasn’t. He wrestled in four consecutive pay-per-view main events: the first two saw him cleanly pin John Cena and Randy Orton (despite the fast count “abeyance” situation that followed), the third had a dusty finish and in the last one, he only lost because Shawn Michaels treacherously kicked his head off…and lest we forget, the next night on Raw, the American Dragon practically wrenched Sexy Boy’s shoulder off in the middle of the ring. Moreover, Bryan had to leave the main event after Hell in a Cell. He’s been denied by circumstances, by a damned formidable heel faction, the one I detailed at this column’s outset. Have his reactions got any less loud? No! Has he stopped appearing prominently on Monday Night Raw? No! Does his storyline with the Wyatt Family mean that he won’t return to the main event in time for Wrestlemania? NO! NO! NO! NO! I believe that many fans have reacted with this vehemence because their favourite wrestler isn’t champion. My favourite singles wrestlers growing up were Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts, ‘Ravishing’ Rick Rude and ‘The Million Dollar Man’ Ted DiBiase. Did any of those men ever hold the top title in the Hulkamania era? No, they didn’t. But did I, as a ten-year-old kid, refuse to watch the product anymore because Rick Rude had not beaten The Ultimate Warrior for the top strap at Summerslam ’90? Of course not. Daniel Bryan is on your TV in a prominent card placing every single week. Just enjoy watching him perform; don’t waste your time howling at the moon to no purpose.

    People continually raise the path of ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin in reference to the Yes Man. They say that Vince McMahon channelled the white hot reactions the Rattlesnake was receiving at precisely the right time and pulled the trigger on a push that made Austin the hottest property since Hogan. This is, at best, a selective reading of history. From his face turn in the main event of Wrestlemania XIII, it took a full year for Austin to ascend to the title. At In Your House: Cold Day In Hell, two months after the turn, the Bionic Redneck faced The Undertaker for the WWF Championship…and he didn’t win. Was he buried by Vince McMahon? Of course not. I have said this every week since Summerslam, it seems to me, but imagine the confetti raining down on the bearded wonder after pinning a unified champion in the main event of Wrestlemania and tell me that wouldn’t be better than him winning the title at a nothing pay-per-view like Hell in a Cell, or defending his title against a Cena-less top echelon in the aftermath of the Summer Classic. People hating on the Wyatt story currently ongoing, I beg you to remember that this too may be tied to The Authority due to the elusive “Devil” referred to by Bray during his first beatdown of the American Bandwagon. Moreover, CM Punk, another wrestler some claim has been marginalised, has turned his attention to The Shield, in a thrilling case of “I created you, and I can destroy you.” The storyline continuity would have been staggering if it had happened a year ago, whereas now, it’s gloriously normal, and even better, one can foresee a roadmap to Triple H vs. CM Punk and a whole lot of fourth wall references to the 2011 storyline which was infamously mishandled and ultimately aborted.

    You see, if you’re prepared to look beyond your impatience to see Bryan’s rise to the title and Punk’s ascent to special attraction status happen RIGHT NOW then you should be able to see that The Authority has made the Road to Wrestlemania exciting, unpredictable and potentially thrilling. In yet another example of past stories being brought to light, John Cena and Randy Orton are now poised to face each other in a unification battle that draws on all of their kayfabe history as well as the fourth wall reality of their status as Vince’s picked studs since 2002. It’s tough to predict a winner, but you can see the motivation dripping from the pair of them and I am excited about the kind of main event blockbuster they’ll put together at TLC. If there is a winner, if there isn’t a winner, it throws open all manner of possibilities for Wrestlemania season, whether that be the Rumble and the Chamber, or a Raw main event of the sort we got between Punk and Cena back in February. The chess pieces are beginning to move and I have a feeling that we’re going to have one hell of a game on your hands. And if you’re not excited by the most unpredictable ‘Mania period for years, then I really don’t know what to tell you.

    As I said at the beginning of this piece, there’s a good chance that my reasoning for loving The Authority and their roster encompassing narrative will fall on deaf ears here. I don’t mind that, because after all, this page exists for the purpose of debate. I am also fully aware that the likes of Ziggler and Mizanin did not ultimately benefit, and also that there have been missteps on television from time to time. Taken as a whole though, the storyline has been a roaring success and I hope you’ll see at least some of WWE’s recent work in a kinder light as a result of this column. They’ve embraced storytelling, elevated talent and tried to create a less “safe” product, things we all wanted from them. Give them a break.

    And on that note, this is Maverick, requesting flyby!

  2. #2
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    Well, this would definitely create some discussion on the MP! With a column like this there's always a danger it can turn into a "scolding" piece, but I think you walked that line well and kept it more about what you see as opposed to what others might while still keeping your opinions strongly stated. You made a clear point and pushed it hard but not to the exclusion of other possibilities.

    As for the Authority, it's a bit of a mixed bag for me. Conceptually on a basic level I agree they are the perfect thing for WWE right now, but I find myself going back on forth on the execution depending on the week. On the one hand they do add a great deal of cohesion to the product in a way the WWE hasn't seen for a very long time, and it's quite refreshing to see intersecting storylines in the company again. I think it's done wonders for Triple H, who I found insufferable for much of his face run these last several years but now am for the most part enjoying again, and it's unarguably done great things for the once pathetically directionless Randy Orton. The inclusion of the Shield and the Wyatt Family into the fold raises a few questions which has yet to be satisfactorily addressed, but putting such background details aside they do add a wonderfully imposing sense to the faction in a way that Vince's original Corporation quite frankly never did. Personally I'm not really a fan of Steph's recent delivery, which I find oscillates rather awkwardly between appropriately subtle to joltingly over the top, but her presence alone does add some legitimacy to the faction. So yes indeed, I agree there is much to enjoy about the Authority.

    On the other hand, I think to class them as a roaring success is a bit overly optimistic. One of my main qualms with the group is many of their feuds seem to come to nothing, or to end out of the blue as if Trips & Steph were suddenly struck by amnesia. The Rhodes family defies them only to win both their jobs and the tag team championships, seemingly without a hint of repercussion. The Big Show is tormented for months and finally returns for his revenge, only to abruptly fade into the backround after a single match to make room for the seemingly out-of-nowhere unification storyline. Dolph Ziggler has a problem with the Authority, and... well, nothing ever actually happened with that did it? A few failed attempts at a midcard belt and Ziggler is now scraping along the bottom of the barrel again. I'm worried WWE is having trouble actually following through on these side threads, which start with such promise but then have a tendency to be forgotten when the next feud comes along. Perhaps we'll be coming back to them at some point but it's a bit jarring.

    I also have to say I'm quite opposed to the way Triple H seems to reach for face pops on a seemingly regular basis... only a couple months ago (Night of Champions, I believe) we was him do some DX shtick out of the blue, apropos of nothing to do with the storyline. Why? I have no idea. He picks on other heels, sometimes even the ones explicitly on his side. Why? Couldn't really tell you. If he would cut that out I would be 100% on board with him, but this weird tendency to revert does jolt me out occasionally.

    And as for Daniel Bryan... ah, that's a tricky one isn't it? The idea that he's been buried is, of course, grossly overstated. But is WWE doing the right thing by continuing to delay on a true top level push for the guy? Only time can answer that one for sure. There can be no doubt that he's been prominent for several months now in the main event, so much credit to the WWE for that, but every time he was on the verge of success he seems to be undercut. Will it build anticipation for his eventual true ascension, or will too many bait-and-switch endings eventually cool the crowd off a bit on the guy's prospects? It's a gamble, and it's not hard to see why knowledgeable fans are at least nervous about his chances. We remember all too well a certain storyline 2 and a half years ago that seemed to be an absolute slam dunk, but it ended up as rather a mixed bag in the end. To know the same people are handling the book on Bryan is, well, potentially unsettling at least. I'm not saying one way or another what the end result will because it's impossible to know, but considering how wildly popular Bryan has proved himself to be for almost 2 full years now I don't think it's unreasonable to feel some legitimate frustration when watching Bryan still pressed flush against the glass ceiling but never... quite... completely breaking through. Right now he's getting the reactions of a Steve Austin, but his booking looks morel like a Foley or a Jericho. I'm not saying that's the end result, but WWE has taught us to be a bit cynical over the past several years and I don't think you can blame fans for reflecting a bit of that back. It's very hard to drop years of experience and suddenly have complete faith in WWE booking ability.

    Hope for the best but brace for the worst is honestly my own stance at the moment. I was burned very badly by WWE last year myself so I'm not keen to repeat the experience. I have high hopes for Bryan and I think there is great potential to really complete his ascension arc in the best way at Wrestlemania, but I recognize there is also a very real chance that we will see Bryan delegated to a tier that lands below the many returning legends and stars that are seen with bigger drawing power. Time will tell, eh?

    So yes, as I said great discussion piece. I'll sign off now before I end up writing my own column... (too late!).

  3. #3
    Maker of Rain Sidgwick's Avatar
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    “Roaring success”.

    Those two words put my back up and damaged your credibility because the hyperbole is unwarranted and inaccurate by any measurable standard. Hulk Hogan’s first WWF championship win was a roaring success. Steve Austin vs. Vince McMahon was a roaring success. The 2013 Authority storyline is definitely not a roaring success. I know the key word is “yet”, but still. “On fire” are two other words you used which just aren’t true.

    What has it achieved? The box office and the ratings have been objectively poor. Daniel Bryan, who the storyline was based around, is in a worse position now than before it started. That might change. It might not. You’re putting a lot of faith in WWE and I commend you for that, but until we see otherwise, I’m thinking the worst. That isn’t impatience – that is years’ worth of dashed hopes resulting in extreme and just cynicism. Your personal investment in the storyline, which you’ve publicised a lot ‘round these parts, is probably bordering on bias at this point.

    You know what I loathe about the storyline? Stephanie McMahon’s heel character. It would a damn good one…but there’s nobody in place to give her the comeuppance her snarky face is begging for. Any effectiveness she has is rendered totally moot because there’s nobody waiting in the wings ready to give her what she’s due. Without the potential catharsis – that word is key – her heat becomes the channel-changing variety.

    There’s been hardly any catharsis anywhere outside of the Rhodes Brothers’ title win. We (theoretically) paid to watch three underwhelming PPV main events with cloudy finishes, and one lazy as all hell main event, the result of which made the babyface look like a fool, breaking the first rule of wrestling logic.

    There’s no real continuity either, and that is vital for a story like this to work. WWE spent ages building Big Show as the man fans were to channel their rage at The Authority through. His arc simply ended when he was exposed as an idiot for turning his back on his opponent at Survivor Series. Now that he’s moved on after a pitiful attempt at resolution, Big Show’s involvement has turned out to be a total waste of time. That’s why this storyline became a chore. It exists to fill TV time. There is no evidence to suggest there’s a long-term plan in place. Without that confidence, we are right to doubt.

    I’m waiting until WrestleMania to truly reserve judgement on the whole thing – but it’s not looking good.

    The column was well-written, of course, but I’d have liked it a hell of a lot more if it lived up the title. For what we got, a more apt title would’ve been “Why You’re Wrong To Hate The Authority”. I personally would have preferred it if you gave me more evidence and insight into why you like the storyline so much. There were a few too many wasted words antagonising me into a response. A lot has been said throughout the DBC that the aim of an MP writer should be to create a debate, but that’s always struck me as a really easy thing to do. The formula, which I’ve been guilty of following, is to either come up with a fishing hook of a title and write a thousand words answering a question for which only one hundred, if that, is needed, or adopt a contrarian position and then expound on why the reader is wrong for thinking the opposite.

    I don’t think for a second you’re being contrarian on purpose, though. Your feelings on the storyline are well-documented. I just think elaborating on your feelings rather than trying to change the feelings of others would have resulted in a more pleasant column with far more merit. After all, these desired “debates” never amount to much more than “I think this” “Well, I think the opposite and I’m not going to agree!” “Fuck you then!”. Those MP responses are downright embarrassing at times.

    The formula is easy and you’re better than that.

    One more thing – I’m calling gimmick infringement on your new sign off….

  4. #4
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    I really did not like the first paragraph, mostly because I thought I was going to get some fantasy booking column. Only because I know your writing did I hang around.

    Which is good for me because it's a subject I'm somewhat on your side on. It is the best use of Trips at this point, he's always been a better heel, as some have pointed out though, he needs to truly be a heel. He is still trending towards his snarky DX persona at times, it's like he's afraid to go full heel. All that is a perfect analogy for the whole angle, it's a great idea and should work but everyone seems afraid to truly commit.

    Most of your argument is based on what you think can happen. While I applaud your positivity it isn't evidence of a success, it's evidence of potential. I want it to work out but they keep slipping at the last moment.

    I'm hopeful that the unification thing will clarify things. Either with The Authority siding solidly with Orton and making it clear that they are, in fact, full blown heels or, my preference, the throw their lot in with Cena who becomes a reluctant accomplice - doing what he needs to keep his company alive.

    It needs to end with Bryan kneeing HHH in the face to end it all though. Anything else would be a failure. A new star absolutely HAS TO be cemented by this and as much as Bryan is over he still needs cementing, the Cena victory should have done that but it was overshadowed by this angle.
    You're probably wondering what i think about the Rumble, huh;

    http://www.lordsofpain.tv/showthread...5894#post25894

  5. #5
    Senior Member Oliver's Avatar
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    Hey Mav - first off, before I forget about it, there was a little typo in your opening paragraph as you missed a 'the'. Very unlike you, but it struck me. Other than that, excellent writing as ever.

    My only issue is that this felt like a column that could have been written after Hell in a Cell and not now, but maybe that's just the way I view how they've gone with this whole thing as detailed in my column! I suppose I've really expanded on your last paragraph in there, but I think this angle has missed the mark when it comes to really establishing new stars. I hesitate to fantasy book things, but Cody coming back pissed off with Orton and challenging him for the title seems a better story to me, and now he's been shifted out of the story with The Authority.

    What I will say, though, is that I love The Authority as a heel superpower, regardless of whether they've dropped the ball or not. And I'd absolutely love Bryan getting his revenge at Mania, either with a title win or kneeing HHH in the face. But I still think they've missed a couple of opportunities and leapt too quickly to the big money draw of Orton vs Cena and title unification

    I guess Mania will be the point in time when of can reallo look back and say whether this worked or not, though! Good debate promoting stuff, Mav - well done.

  6. #6
    Main Pager Maverick's Avatar
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    Sorry Oli, just read that first paragraph again. No typo there. No missing 'the' as far as I could see mate! Proper feedback later, but couldn't let that go. First para grammatically perfect.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Oliver's Avatar
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    I think it's the fourth sentence -you've put 'this is not man you used to know'? If it's right or my phone's playing up and not showing something, my bad for flagging what isn't a mistake, but I'd have stuck a 'the' between 'not' and 'man'.

  8. #8
    Main Pager Maverick's Avatar
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    Ha ha, my bad, you were right there. Were it not a competition I'd edit it. Such is life! Serves me right for being smug.

  9. #9
    The Doctor's Orders
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    1900 words of discussion-inducing reminders to keep our collective cools until the end game of this storyline has finally been revealed. It does all hinge on Bryan. If the Authority ends up facing someone else in the most prominent Wrestlemania role - even CM Punk - then I think that the wrestling world would be up in arms and ready to throw their remotes through the TV. To a lot of really passionate fans, I get the impression that Daniel Bryan is the final chance that they're willing to give the WWE. Anything short of a major match at Mania will turn them off for years to come. These same people bombarded my inbox a year ago when he was depushed and appeared headed nowhere for Mania (and they were right, back then). They complained and they saw nothing but bad things.

    Very good work, Mav.
    LOP Writer since 2004. Former Smackdown, ECW, Raw, and WWE PPV Reviewer. Current LOP Columnist since 2010.

    The Doc's first book: "The Wrestlemania Era: The Book of Sports Entertainment" on sale for LOP readers. Click here

  10. #10
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    Love the dichotomy that your column and Oli's column ended up presenting. I tend toward your stance a lot more, as I've been really enjoying the last third of the year that the Authority has encompassed. Like you, I find the entire concept and the execution of the Authority (or Administration, as I had dubbed them before Michael Cole had incessantly instructed us that they were "the Authority") wonderful - the Shield almost as mercenaries for Hunter and Steph, HHH's willingness to put his personal feelings for Orton aside for the business, etc. That makes perfect sense to me - when he was feuding with Orton for, well, most of the last half of the 2000s decade to be honest, but mostly 2009, he was in wrestler mode. Now that he's been given a much more responsible position in terms of the company's well-being, he has to realize that personal feelings for the guy who needs to be the face need to take a backseat.

    In fact, I see a lot of Hunter's actions as motivated by exactly what his mantra says - best for business. He's not a black-and-white heel because he does whatever is BAD, but he's a character who does what he believes is best for business - if only 90% of that happens to be out-and-out heel actions, so be it. It's what best for business, and I think in 2013, we can handle a character who blurs the lines a tad in terms of heel/face/tweener. Pretty sure plenty of characters have blurred the lines a tad here and there (see files named Stone Cold Steve Austin).

    Brilliantly written (bar a somewhat irksome pattern I felt in your fifth paragraph, where I found a bit of overkill with the question-answer-question-answer-question-answer, even with the reference to Daniel Bryan) with plenty of great points, and I completely agree with your positivity. Good stuff, Mav! Best of luck with the judges; I think you definitely deserve to write in the finals.

    EDIT: Forgot to include this, but I'm in complete disagreement with Chop on the opening paragraph. Loved it. Really set the scene, painted a picture.
    Last edited by Skulduggery; 12-08-2013 at 03:25 PM.

  11. #11
    The Devil's Advocate Shinobi's Avatar
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    Loved this, Mav. It pretty much sums up my own feelings on the Authority angle. Has it been perfect? Of course not, but try and pick out a five month stretch of an angle in history that has. It has done, and continues to do, more good than it has harm.

    In what I guess is a response to Mizfan's point about Triple H; the face promo at Night of Champions was a puzzler, but I think he has toned it down now. I truly believe people need to stop categorising people as heels and faces in such black and white terms; Triple H is a heel who thinks he is a face. The whole best for business thing is about doing what he thinks is best for the fans, so he naturally thinks what he is doing is best for the fans and that he will therefore be popular for it. Of course he'd come out each night and pander to the crowd as any good guy authority figure would do. Night of Champions was a bit over the top, but he's learnt from it and has pulled it back. I love the character and the way it is evolving, and knowing Triple H as we do, it won't be too long before his ego gets the better of him.

    It's interesting that neither you or Olli have directly addressed what it is that separates the likes of you and I from the likes of he and, say, Xanman. I guess it comes down to trust; you and I have this crazy idea in our heads that Daniel Bryan will get his sweet, sweet revenge on The Authority at Wrestlemania, and from where we're sat the pieces are well set for his coup and checkmate. Survivor Series did sort of see us lose our bishops, but we can still win. Those on the other side of the fence don't have any faith that WWE will give Bryan lift-off, in the same way that Punk wasn't given it two years ago.

    Personally, I've seen enough in the handling of Bryan's rise to the brink, in the development of Triple H and Randy Orton and the Authority, and the consistent booking of The Shield over the last 12 months to think that they can get this one right. I imagine I'll be upset if it doesn't go the way I want it to, which I guess makes me the same as everyone else. At that point, everyone else will point and laugh and say 'we told you so'. But I like having the optimism. It's much better than what I felt in the first quarter of the year, when my old favourite The Rock was knocking around.

    This would have been huge on the main page. It would have gotten a really big reaction, and you'd have been fielding some pretty angry commenters. This is exactly the kind of thing I want to see up there. Your history stuff is great, but this is the stuff that will go over the best, because everyone will have something to say about it. Top work.

  12. #12
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    To Shinobi's point up there, I agree that on the whole Trips has walked the line pretty well. But then we get situations like a couple weeks ago where the Authority suddenly decided to pick on Vickie and Brad, heels directly in their service. Just weird hiccups that seem to disrupt the natural flow, I'm all for a shades of gray wrestling world but sometimes it seems to push the bounds of the character a little. Still think it's his best work since his last heel run though.

  13. #13
    The Devil's Advocate Shinobi's Avatar
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    I disagree; Maddox and Vickie were punished for abusing their power - a completely ridiculous and hypocritical accusation, of course, but it evoked a little sympathy for the two rather than a positive reaction for Trips and Steph. I didn't feel that was out of step; in kayfabe terms, their week away was a mess, someone was going to pay. It made sense to me.

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    This is what Olly is referring to, "This is not man you used to know."

    I've said it before and I'll say it again, "The only person on the babyface side of the ledger that needed building up and that has gotten built up by this angle is Cody Rhodes." Who's at the top of the company right now? Triple H, Randy Orton, and John Cena. Wow, big fucking change. Do I believe Daniel Bryan should never have dropped the title to Orton at SummerSlam and still be the champion now? Yes. Have I at any time used the phrase "buried" to describe his condition? No. But what I continue to say is that when the biggest benefactors (other than The Shield and Rhodes) are the three aforementioned people and The Big Show--all guys who have been in the company between 10 and 17 years--that's a major flaw to this angle. I'm amazed that you and your ilk can't see that. As you know, I've been critical of the "Authority" angle since day one, but the day I decided for good that it isn't for me is when they announced Cena was returning. Everybody said he'd be kept far away from the angle and obviously he hasn't been. As far as I can see, I haven't been wrong about this whole thing yet. Anybody who says Bryan is hotter now than he was 4 to 5 months ago is wrong. Will he be after Wrestlemania? If you're right, possibly, but you have way more faith in WWE than a) I have and b) they've earned. The status quo of the company is now the way WWE have seen their roster for years--Orton and Cena as their top two guys--and it's disgusting.
    Last edited by XanMan; 12-10-2013 at 07:21 PM.

  15. #15
    @TRSOTP @MazzaLOP Mazza's Avatar
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    Wait, the Big Show has benefited from it but Bryan hasn't? Excuse me while I pick up the the pieces of my exploded head from over the floor.

  16. #16
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    Xan...have you not seen the last angle on Raw this week?! I am honestly, literally humanly incapable of fathoming how you can say he isn't at the top of the company or isn't hotter than he was at Summerslam when the entire arena was bellowing for him for around ten minutes straight, in a segment for a feud he wasn't involved in at the centre of which he quickly became, and when every reaction to every wrestler in every segment is becoming almost universally dominated by Bryan's Yes! chant.

    I assume you take issue with his status because he isn't wrestling for the title or in main events or isn't in the main event storyline? I surely can't understand how any other definition, beyond meaningless rhetoric, could lead you to conclude he is suffering for the creative restraint he's being treated with. He is now and will for a long time be as big, if not bigger than Cena now is, and what's more they pretty much telegraphed a Cena/Bryan rematch too which I'm convinced he'll win. Again.

    Sure, he's not MORE over now, but he didn't fucking need to be! He's certainly no less popular and simply listening to his reactions tells you that, and tells you that beyond ANY possible denial. They are comfortably the most enthusiastic and as loud as any the likes of Austin or Rock got when they'd just made their names too, if not more so when comparing the stage of his career Bryan is actually at right now. So he isn't champion, who cares! He's being clearly positioned as THE man for the next decade. The closing segment of Raw felt like a farewell to the last ten years and a hello to the next, which is how they've built this feud between Cena and Orton - they're wrestling the very last match of their era of WWE history on Sunday. Come a few months, Bryan will take the lead.

    Just because you're not champion or you're not feuding for the title or in the main event of every show from here to forever doesn't mean you're not one of, if not THE top dog. Bryan is a made man. End of. What else is there to moan about? His epic title reign? You'll get it. Epic matches? You'll get them. His being as over-exposed as Cena is? It'll come. The whole freakin' universe revolving around him? Be careful what you wish for. If anything, this restraint is working wonders for him anyway and maybe his work will become more emotionally substantive than it is now, based very much solely on impressive content as his matches are.

    Just because not all of us are blinded by our utter contempt of the emotional frustration of Summerslam doesn't mean we're wrong. It means Mav and, ahem, "his ilk" are simply patient.

  17. #17
    Fuck Forest Green PEN15's Avatar
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    Mav, isn't it nice to write something like this, and then for Monday's Raw roll by and completely back up every one of your points?

    And yes, Daniel Bryan is more over now than he was before SummerSlam. The path here hasn't been golden, but people are definitely salivating to see him win. At worst, he's just as over, which is still important when you consider how quickly people move on to the next fad/guy. CM Punk is mega over now, but is this the hottest they've ever been for him? No. Daniel Bryan is at the very worst plateaued at the peak. And judging by Monday, he's going to get either the WWE title or revenge on the Authority (or both) very soon.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by 'Plan
    Xan...have you not seen the last angle on Raw this week?! I am honestly, literally humanly incapable of fathoming how you can say he isn't at the top of the company or isn't hotter than he was at Summerslam when the entire arena was bellowing for him for around ten minutes straight, in a segment for a feud he wasn't involved in at the centre of which he quickly became, and when every reaction to every wrestler in every segment is becoming almost universally dominated by Bryan's Yes! chant.
    No. I haven't watched any WWE programming other than NxT for weeks; and I've barely watched that. As I've said before, they disgusted me with the Cena return and subsequent burial of both Alberto Del Rio and Damien Sandow by him. That's not something I want to watch and it's certainly I'm not going to pay money for. I hope to have a reason to buy the Royal Rumble, because it's the one event I get every year.
    Last edited by XanMan; 12-11-2013 at 01:00 PM.

  19. #19
    Fuck Forest Green PEN15's Avatar
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    lol


    Your loss.

    EDIT

    Check this out, and tell me that Bryan hasn't benefit from this angle.



    Even while WWE is obviously kayfabe pushing Cena and Orton, with HHH and Steph highlighting the King of Kings as the single best wrestler of all time, it was Daniel Bryan who stole the show. Even if the mic work with Cena was ad-libbed, the booking was obviously set for Punk and Bryan to get physical along with HBK, HHH, Orton and Cena. Yes, Daniel Bryan and CM Punk were in the "most important match in the history of the WWE"'s promo getting physical and looking equal to the champs and the COO.

    This is why I say it is your loss.

  20. #20
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    Maybe, but if I'm not enjoying it why should I keep watching?

    Although, I do have to say after reading the results of this week's RAW, I am interested in what they're doing with Punk/Shield and the possibility that they're doing a slow build to a Michaels/Bryan match, so I'll probably watch it on Hulu tonight.

  21. #21
    Fuck Forest Green PEN15's Avatar
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    Sorry I didn't edit the last post in time. Check out the video when you can.

  22. #22
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    I will, but if it tempts me to buy TLC, I'm sending you the bill, LOL.

  23. #23
    King of the Machina
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    We can still buy PPVs?

    I, too, haven't watched WWE in weeks. Not their fault though, more of a "MNF and GTA are taking my Monday nights" kind of thing. Need to check out the Ascension stuff later tonight.

  24. #24
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    Yes and FR hasn't worked the last couple of times I've tried.

    EDIT: Sorry for hijacking your thread, Mav.
    Last edited by XanMan; 12-11-2013 at 02:02 PM.

  25. #25
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    FR has been working fine for me, UFC, WWE, TV or PPV. No problems. I do have a backup though,m if you ever need it. PM.

  26. #26
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    Right, sorry to be so late in feeding all of you lovely commenters back! Have had the most nightmarish week. Busy doesn't begin to describe the nightmare of having the government visit your school specifically to discuss English, followed by a parents evening for our older students, followed by Ofsted (the school inspectorate body here in the UK) descending on us.

    Anyway, thank you all for your feedback. This may be the most conversation provoking piece I've ever written, so it certainly seems well suited to the main page in that sense!

    Mizfan- Yes, I think I saw the danger of this turning into me calling the doubters fools, and I wisely avoided that temptation. I'll save that for the radio show! Agreed on how bad a face Triple H was prior to the turn, agreed also on the direction The Authority have given Raw and thrice agreed on Ranny Ahtan and his directionless nature before the heel turn. I think you're overthinking the involvement of the Shield and Wyatts. The Shield were always dangerous, combustible and hypocritical; it was their justice, not actual justice. Without their place as the enforcers, they'd have drifted dangerously close to being just another stable. As it is, they've stayed the BEST stable and all three look well placed to be legitimate stars. The Wyatts going all Corporate Ministry is probably their end game; we speculated on TRSOTP that Kane perhaps brainwashed Wyatt rather than the other way around as some thought would happen post Summerslam. We'll see!

    On the story arcs: I have no problem with Big Show's arc at all; what he wanted was his job back and a title shot. He got both of those things. Why would he pursue the Authority all over again and endanger his job all over again? That would have made even less sense to me. I think maybe that the Punt should have been the way he was written out of the angle rather than what actually occurred (tagging with Rey, woo) but other than that I see little issue with it. Dolph and Miz were both dropped balls, no doubt about it, but it's rare to see a wrestling company manage to elevate EVERYBODY involved and at the very least it was great TV while it lasted, and I'd rather have that in the moment feeling than bitch about outcomes down the line. See Joey's comment below yours for an explanation for Triple H's behaviout; the NOC opening promo was a misstep, but was it really bad enough to still be talking about months later when he's not done it since? Bear in mind that Heyman is a total douche and even most other heels should actively dislike him. So face pops or not, based on their history together, Hunter HAD to talk down to him.

    Now, D-Bry...I think I was proved right by him kneeing Michaels in the face in the middle of the ring on Monday Night Raw. Bryan's big moment is coming. He's in the main event, wrestling classics, being praised by Cena in every segment and is still as over as ever. He is going to be fine, and I really don't understand the short termism. What if Bryan had won the belt at HIAC? It would have been your usual run of humdrum title defences. I'd rather see confetti rain down on him at Mania, but maybe that's just me. And anyone who thinks the last two years were a waste of Bryan's time is just insane if you ask me. It was some of the most entertaining wrestling TV you'll see, so no problem there.

    Anyway Mizzie, thanks for your thoughts. I guess I can't convince you to be optimistic quite yet, but maybe Sunday will change your mind, who knows?

    Sidg- It's an opinion piece first and foremost and to me, the angle has been a roaring success in these ways: storytelling, booking, wrestling and cliffhangers. Now, ratings are really not a big deal in a climate where everybody has access to Raw any time they want to see it and when there's no direct competition, and pay-per-view buys are being destroyed by illegal streaming and downloading, so I think we can take that argument and put it to one side also.

    I'm assuming that you watched on Monday night? Do you still think Daniel Bryan is in a worse place than he was? I'm genuinely intrigued. And yes, I do love this storyline, but my reasons are, I think, outlined objectively enough to justify that love, and the fact that wrestling minds like Mazza, 'Plan and Shinobi agree with me assures me that I'm not ready for the loony bin just yet. I have felt disillusioned with WWE in the past- I was a Bret Hart mark who had to watch 'Mania IX FFS- but whenever they get it right, it cancels out the bad immediately, to me. Honestly, I've never lost my optimism...I learnt the power of positive thinking the day CM Punk blew that kiss to Vince McMahon and I don't think I'll ever lose that.

    As for Steph...well, I'll admit I'm a big mark for her. You're probably right that she needs some comeuppance, but if Punk is going to feud with H, I dare say it's in the post...

    I thought personally that I provided plenty of evidence for my position, and it's because we're at opposite ends of the opinion spectrum on this that the column maybe felt a little bit trolly. It isn't something I did consciously, and yes, a more nuanced title might have been better, but I was short on time and the fishing hook thing is important to get those readers to click.

    Thanks for your thoughts mate, always appreciated.

    Chop- I like to use a bit of creative writing to kick off a column like this sometimes...gives it a little bit more oomph than just saying "hey, I'm here to talk about X!" Agreed on Trips and agreed on Sunday...it's a massive moment in the company's history and the outcome will tell us a lot about what's coming. D Bry will eventually knee Orton, H, Michaels and everybody else to oblivion. I'm convinced that they wouldn't have spent this much time on him if that wasn't going to be the case. Everyone is free to laugh at me and say "I told you so" if I'm wrong! Cheers for the read mate!

    Oli- Cody got his catharsis in getting his job back, and saving the job of his father. That was an incredible moment. Then they won the tag belts through Show's interference- also amazing! Cody will be main event material before the end of 2014 I would say. He's not quite there yet though, not now the WHC is being removed as a stepping stone. Personally, I have no problem with Orton/Cena matches and never have...and imagine how much people would moan if they'd gone with that match at Mania and a Big Show rematch for Orton at TLC? Anyway, funny how we wrote about similar topics from different perspectives. About to feed your finals column in a sec. Cheers for the read mate.

    Doc- Thanks coach! I agree on Bryan; he does need that major 'Mania match to truly ascend into the stratosphere. As with Punk before him, a whole chunk of the fanbase are heavily invested in Bryan...but this time, even the casual fans want it. I can't see WWE ignoring that. Can't wait for Mania now!

    Skul- Couldn't have put it better myself, and if I'd have had room, I might have written something very similar about Hunter's role. He sees himself as a face, but nobody else does. I love the nuance of it all! And that 5th paragraph, well, might have been a bit indulgent, but who can resist some DB chants?! Thanks as ever for the read. As it turns out, I came first in the semis in dominant fashion, so your prediction was correct

    Joey- Yes mate, this very much came out of our round table discussions on TRSOTP, and putting it all in written form does, I think, show how strong our position is, stronger than people realise. That last segment of Raw on Monday perhaps got us our bishops back...and yes, our optimism has grounds in fact too, as The Shield have been a massive indicator that WWE often knows what they're doing. I'm glad you thought this was MP worthy stuff, and if/when I get up there, there'll be a healthy mix of this and the historical stuff. Can't wait for the angry commenters and the ones who try to boom Wrestlemania a year before it happens...

    Mizfan (2)- Brad and Vickie were given the chance to run things and they messed up; simple!

    Joey (2)- Exactly.

    Xan- In order for there to be change, the previous generation need to be there to facilitate that change; Michaels put over Austin at 'Mania XIV, Triple H put over Cena at 'Mania 22. So whoever out of Cena and Orton wins on Sunday, Bryan has a decorated champ to take down. Either the biggest star of the era or the biggest heel of the era. Either way, it's a win. And if you've watched that last segment of Raw the other day yet, I'd love to hear your thoughts on Bryan's position now...

    Maz- Yes, exactly. Big Show's push was always meant to be a holder feud for Orton and it was very well done. But now it's over, Bryan is back in place as the next guy. He just couldn't wrestle in the main event forever.

    'Plan- Couldn't have put it better myself partner! Being champion is not the be and end all in wrestling.

    Pen- Yes, it was very nice to be proved right! Hopefully this may happen to me up on the MP also!

    Xan (2)- I have no idea how anyone could call that Sandow match a burial. He looked great in it and almost beat the top dog; but he didn't, which is ok, because Sandow's a midcarder, and shouldn't, in kayfabe terms, be ready to beat Cena yet.

    Pen (2)- Yes, Bryan was definitely the star of the segment.

    Xan (3)- A Michaels/Bryan match would be epic, I dare say. Have you had a watch yet?

    T.O- I had to rush through to the Punk/Ambrose and Ascension ceremony this week as I just had no time to watch the rest. Slammys always suck anyway though!

    Xan (5)- No worries!

    Pen (4)- That sounded like Greek or something.

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