COMMENTARY | After promoting the final WWE Raw of 2013 with the Big Show dressed as the New Year's Baby, most professional wrestling fans probably thought Monday's episode would be nothing more than a light-hearted evening of fun.
However, there was only one very brief comedic segment related to New Year's on the entire Raw show. CM Punk began Raw with a great wrestling match against Seth Rollins, which led to more dissension within The Shield. Also, Stephanie McMahon announced that John Cena would get his rematch for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Randy Orton at The Royal Rumble. And Brock Lesnar returned, dismantling Mark Henry.
But the most shocking development of Raw came at the conclusion of the main event. Daniel Bryan demanded a match with Bray Wyatt, who had been pummeling him and demanding he join The Wyatt Family. Instead, Bryan had to defeat Wyatt members Luke Harper and Erick Rowan in succession, which he did, to get his WWE match with Bray Wyatt. However, that wrestling match never materialized as the Wyatts beat up Daniel Bryan from the outset.
This wasn't the shocker, as heel stables such as The Wyatt Family and The Shield routinely gang up on their adversaries when things aren't going their way. But after getting beaten within an inch of his life, Daniel Bryan managed to utter a few surprising words. Bryan told Bray Wyatt, "You were right." After spurning several offers he couldn't refuse, the WWE Superstar of the Year had apparently decided to turn to the dark side and join The Wyatts.
The way the WWE is spinning Daniel Bryan's apparent heel turn actually makes sense. Bryan went on to tell Bray Wyatt no matter how loud the WWE wrestling fans chanted his name, he could never overcome the machine. His popularity has done nothing to motivate The Authority to make him the face of the WWE. The symbolism of this happening on the final WWE Raw episode of 2013 is unmistakable. 2014 will mark a new beginning for Daniel Bryan.
Although he didn't mention this, I also found it interesting that no other WWE wrestlers came out to help Bryan while The Wyatt Family was dismembering him on Raw. Sometimes, wrestling promotions use this as a vehicle for a heel turn because the former babyface will get angry that none of his so-called friends in the back came out to help him. As Daniel Bryan explains himself in the coming weeks in the WWE, look for him to perhaps use this angle.
Kayfabe aside, I can't help but wonder if his heel turn is a result of the infamous Raw segment when Daniel Bryan's hometown crowd sabotaged the build to the TLC main event. If the WWE feels that Daniel Bryan's "Yes" chant is out of control and his status doesn't warrant him appearing in main events, then a heel turn may get wrestling fans to settle down. I realize that logic is counterintuitive, but I can't think of any other reason for Bryan to join The Wyatts.
For years, the WWE has resisted the urge to turn John Cena heel because he's just too popular with wrestling fans. In my opinion, Daniel Bryan was well on his way to reaching similar heights. However, the WWE feels that a Daniel Bryan heel turn at this time is what's "best for business." With the Royal Rumble on the horizon and the Road to WrestleMania about to get underway, I certainly hope the WWE knows what it's doing with respect to Daniel Bryan.
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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