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   October 31, 2014



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The Weekly SLAM!: WWE fans saying 'YES!' to Bryan
By MATT BISHOP - SLAM! Wrestling


Daniel Bryan dropkicks Wade Barrett on Sunday at Survivor Series. Photo by Mike Mastrandrea.

Eighteen seconds.

At WrestleMania 28, it took only 18 seconds for Daniel Bryan to lose his World Heavyweight Championship to Sheamus in the opening match of the show. It was doom and gloom at the time, with many thinking that was the end of Bryan in a top spot in the company. The hatred spewed toward WWE for that finish might've been an all-time high.

Well, here we are in late November and I'm happy to report that everyone was wrong.

Thanks in part to his great matches throughout the year plus his tag team with Kane, Bryan is one of the most popular wrestlers on WWE television today.

This has been a topic I've been thinking about for a while now but wanted to wait to write about it until I got a first-hand perspective on it. I had that chance this past week by attending a Smackdown taping in Cleveland and Monday Night Raw in Dayton, Ohio.

Let me tell you this: Daniel Bryan is more popular now than he ever has been.

There's a palpable buzz these days when Bryan enters the arena with the the crowd erupting in "YES!" chants and the indignant Bryan getting angrier and angrier, telling them "NO!" And this is in addition to the multitude of both "YES!" and NO!" shirts in the crowd. Ol' Bryan is probably doing pretty well when his royalty checks arrive each quarter.

And this serves an important lesson: Yes, WWE is wrong a lot, but in this case, they were absolutely right.

Bryan's title loss led him to absolutely fantastic pay-per-view matches with Sheamus and CM Punk the next two months, then eventually into the anger management angle that has helped catapult him into his tag team with Kane, a combination that has gotten increasingly popular each week.

Monday in Dayton was something else. Each kick by Bryan was met by a thunderous "YES!" much like it is at arenas across the country, and the world for that matter (as evident by the Raw crowd in Manchester, England a few weeks back).

Now the big question is this: What happens when this tag team breaks up? They'll inevitably feud, but will Bryan be looked at as a main event talent by WWE as he should be? Only time will tell.

Star of the Week: Titus O'Neil

I've been a big fan of the Prime Time Players for a while now, dating back to their work together on NXT. It's nice to see them getting their due. Titus O'Neil and Darren Young are really starting to shine and a lot of people took notice with O'Neil's terrific performance on commentary on Raw this week during the Team Hell No vs. Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara match.

O'Neil's interplay with Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler was priceless. Talking about wash rags, pay windows and even health care was absolutely hilarious. The duo also appeared on WWE Superstars and O'Neil was great there as well. O'Neil's charisma is off the charts and his chemistry with Young is outstanding. Looking forward to seeing their development going forward.

Around the wrestling world:

Watching Raw back on TV, I really had no idea Alberto Del Rio came to the ring in a car. From where I was sitting, I couldn't see it and there was no horn to let me know. Thankfully, there was a horn present on TV. Funny how that works ... Matt Hardy suffered a pretty serious fall during the Extreme Rising show this past weekend. Hopefully he takes some time off to heal up from that. Head injuries are nothing to mess with ... I was unable to catch Survivor Series, but from all accounts, a fun time was had by all ... Nice to see three talented members from the NXT roster be brought the forefront this week. Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns are the real deal, and the best news is there's plenty more where that came from in NXT.

Tweets of the Week

First off, in Twitter-related business, Alberto Del Rio is now on Twitter and is actually a heck of a follow. He tweets a lot of pictures and does each tweet in English and Spanish. Follow him @VivaDelRio.

CM Punk went on quite the rant this week ...

Yes, I will be on @AMCTalkingDead on Sunday. Shocking how WWE didn't promote it or get AMC the proper materials in time to announce it. I will also be the Grand Marshall in the Chicago turkey day parade. Also not announced or promoted by "my" company. Shocking. This is what happens when you go over everyone's head to hustle and acquire your own outside appearances. #DIY #disrespect Was promoted on Monday. Wasn't Sunday night when it was supposed to be. Ball dropped. S'okay. I'll pick it up and score like I always do.

YouTube of the Week

I present the following with no commentary:

Best. Video. Ever. I always have trouble picking out my favorite verse. I think ol' Nick Bockwinkel really brought the heat. Nobody saw that one coming.

Matt Bishop can be reached at bishop20@gmail.com. Please include your name and hometown. Click here to follow Matt on Twitter. Should be a good one!.