Did Michigan State University Change the Course of WWE History?

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COMMENTARY | The WWE loves nothing more than mainstream media coverage of its professional wrestling organization.

Although some people would have you believe that pro wrestling is nothing more than a fake sport for the weak-minded, we constantly see examples of famous athletes and entertainers emulating WWE wrestlers. NFL defenders often use John Cena's "You can't see me" hand motion after sacks. For years, both the Charlotte Hornets and New Orleans Hornets piped in Ric Flair's "Wooo!" during home games. And PBA bowler Pete Weber sometimes does the D-X crotch chop after strikes.

On January 7, 2014, another WWE wrestler earned the honor of having his signature gimmick be emulated in public. Daniel Bryan's "Yes! Yes! Yes!" chant broke out at Michigan State University during an NCAA men's basketball game against Ohio State University. At halftime, the university was honoring the Michigan State Spartans football team for winning the Rose Bowl, when C Travis Jackson led the packed arena in a thunderous version of Bryan's chant. You can click here to see it.

This was such a big moment that Michigan State's "Yes! Yes! Yes!" chant went viral on the internet and social media. It even received heavy coverage on ESPN Sportscenter. Ordinarily, media coverage like this would be a godsend for the WWE. There was just one problem. Just one week earlier, the WWE made the curious decision to have Daniel Bryan, one of its most popular wrestlers, join the heel faction known as The Wyatt Family.

Although the WWE is the first to admit that pro wrestling is sports entertainment, it still has to make its characters believable during its programming. Heels do Make-A-Wish requests too, but we typically only see video footage of the babyfaces granting wishes during WWE Raw and Smackdown. It would do nothing for the WWE's storyline development of Daniel Bryan joining The Wyatts to see Michigan State basketball fans chanting, "Yes! Yes! Yes!"

Clearly, the Michigan State chant put the WWE creative team in a quandary only a week after putting Daniel Bryan with The Wyatts. But as I stated in my opening line, the WWE craves media attention like the Cookie Monster craves Oreos. Although I have no sources within the WWE and I have no idea how the backstage machinations of any pro wrestling organization work, I have to believe the Michigan State incident forced the WWE to take a drastic step.

By now, most wrestling fans know that Daniel Bryan turned on The Wyatt Family on the January 13 edition of Raw. The WWE signed off on the USA Network Monday night with Bryan sitting atop a steel cage leading the Dunkin' Donuts Center crowd in a frenzied rendition of "Yes! Yes! Yes!" that rivaled Michigan State's version of the chant. Fans have to wonder if the WWE turning Daniel Bryan babyface again so quickly was a reaction to Michigan State's chant.

I'm not suggesting the WWE completely tore up its script and went in a brand new direction. I believe the WWE angle between Daniel Bryan and The Wyatt Family would have eventually ended in similar fashion. But it almost defies belief that this wrestling angle was destined to begin and end in two weeks. With Bryan's "Yes! Yes! Yes!" chant becoming a cultural phenomenon, the WWE couldn't risk killing a goose that lays golden eggs. I firmly believe that Michigan State University is at least partially responsible for fast-tracking Daniel Bryan's return from the dark side.

Patrick Michael lives in New Orleans and has always been a big fan of pro wrestling. Patrick's favorite wrestling promotion was Mid-South Wrestling back in the 1980s. Patrick's favorite wrestling angle of all-time was the NWO and his favorite wrestler is Roddy Piper. Follow Patrick Michael on Twitter at patmichael84.

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