BIG BEN’S BIGGER OPINION By Ben Roberts Wildfire or The King?
So the biggest party of the summer is in the bag and according to the majority of the Internet Wrestling Community, Triple H turned up at SummerSlam with his favourite foriegn object…no not the sledgehammer……the shovel. According to the reactionary masses Mr. Helmsley has buried the career of one Daniel Bryan in favour of his backstage buddy Randy Orton. Really? And mind you this opinion is coming from apparent smart marks. Give me a bloody break, have you lot become so synical you have forgotten why you were fans of Pro Wrestling in the first place? Do you not realise that the whole point is to paint Daniel Bryan as the victim, the underdog, the man who despite all his skill, talent, effort and support that even when he wins it is snatched away? What happened on Sunday night was old school booking genius. Why? I will tell you why………………
Why was Jerry “The King” Lawler the biggest star in the history of Memphis Wrestling? Because his audience believed he was no matter what. He could sell out the Mid-South Colliseum on a monthly basis against almost anyone, he did all this without ever being NWA World Heavyweight Champion. Harley Race, Dusty Rhodes and Ric Flair had the advantage of being Jim Crockett’s boys and to be fair could draw anywhere in the world. But when any of the aformentioned three defended against Lawler at the Mid-South Colliseum, Jerry was the man, he beat all three by D.Q., by countout, by reverse decision, battled them to time limit draws but never walked away with with the gold belt. The memphis faithful protested in unison that “The King” had been screwed yet again, and all it did was make him even more popular. He was their uncrowned champion. The Memphis fans didn’t care that Flair called himself champion in Mid-Atlantic or that Hulk Hogan sold out Madison Square Garden in New York, there was only one “real” World Champion in Tennesee in the late 70’s and 80’s and his name was Jerry Lawler. Lets fast forward to 2013 the territories are long dead and even Mid Atlantic’s predocessor WCW is becoming a distant memory but the old school ways and logic still apply to this day. WWE have created their uncrowned champion, it’s as old school as WWE have ventured in quite some time. I’ve seen last Sunday be referred to as “The LA Screw Job” and compared to the very real events in Montreal back in 1997, some claiming that it was a very real burial disguised as a storyline. These same people probably believe The Queen is an alien and that we never landed on The Moon. The only difference is Wrestling is a business and it will prove the conspiracy theorists wrong.
Daniel Bryan was easily the most popular WWE babyface in years going into SummerSlam. We all wanted him to win the Title, he deserved it, the educated wrestling fan knew that despite CM Punk’s claims, Daniel Bryan had a more genuine claim to “The Best In The World” moniker. It was all set up for Bryan to overcome the odds and beat “The Man” just like a modern day “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, They built him up like a PG Stone Cold. The whole corporate Champion storyline is identical to the way it played out involving Austin, Mr. Mcmahon and The Rock in 1998 just without the beer drinking, cursing and well…. Attitude. The difference this time around is there may actually be some truth to it. Austin never had to convince anyone he was the face of the company once the ball was rolling but Bryan as Vince McMahon has constantly pointed out in the storyline does not look like a WWE CHampion or “Face Of The Company”. However the fact that no one has sold more merchandise since Cena than D Bryan tends to counter that last statement. So are WWE fans really ready to accept Bryan as John Cena’s replacement and new “Face Of the Company” ? NO! NO! NO!
In the early 1980’s “Wildfire” Tommy Rich was arguably the most popular wrestler in the NWA’s crown jewel Jim Crockett Promotions. His matches against Harley Race when he challenged for the NWA World Heavyweight Title drew huge box office in many of the biggest wrestling arenas in the United States, the fans had spoken, they wanted Tommy Rich to be The Man. The decision was made by the NWA commitee and Tommy Rich defeated Race for the gold on April 27th 1981 in Augusta, Georgia in front of a packed house. His reign as Champion lasted less than a month, because once he had won the belt interest fell off a cliff. Why? The NWA had given the fans what they wanted right? Maybe, but the chase was the draw. They wanted to see the underdog finally overcome the odds, for months he was cheated out of what was rightfully his in the fans eyes and then he finally captured the gold and the fans lost interest. The goal had been achieved, the chase was over. Tommy Rich was a money drawing challenger but not a money drawing champion. Is Daniel Bryan in the same mold? I do not know the answer to that, but all I know is the “LA Screw Job” as it is being dubbed has made the fans rally behind Daniel Bryan more than ever, he is now the uncrowned champion of the WWE Universe. He is a bigger ticket now than he would have been if he had left SummerSlam as champion.
In closing the once flaming “Wild Fire” burn out, while an uncrowned hero became a “King”. If WWE had given Daniel Bryan the title run now he may have been this generations Tommy Rich but if they play it right he could well become this generations Jerry Lawler.
I’m Big Ben and that was my Bigger Opinion. Thanks for reading guys, and remember be good and if you can’t be good, be careful ~Ben~