Pro wrestling: Comparing Bryan, Austin eras
By Justin LaBar
Published: Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, 8:43 p.m.
Daniel Bryan is today's version of Stone Cold Steve Austin, but he can't be booked like him.
He's the top babyface with the audience unified behind him. John Cena and CM Punk can't say that as they each have gaps in the audience demographics who cheer and boo them. They're both over, but not in the way Bryan is.
Some fans don't understand why for three weeks in a row Bryan has been left beaten down with the odds stacked against him on Monday Night Raw. Their comparisons and critique is about how Austin battled a similar corporate faction but would get decent amount of offense in on a weekly basis.
The parallels between Austin and Bryan both are something fresh compared to what WWE had been pushing. However, the characters are very different, which is why the booking of Bryan can't be held to the standard of Austin's.
Austin 3:16: The rebel. The common working man. The drinker and foul mouth. The guy who wanted to punch his boss in the face.
YES 3:16: The underdog. The guy who doesn't look like a typical WWE poster boy. The guy who doesn't look dangerous. The guy who doesn't drink or eat meat. The guy who doesn't own a television. The guy who can tap someone out in over 100 different ways.
It's because of this that repetition is key and is why Bryan keeps getting beat down. The bullies continue to take his lunch money week after week. Eventually Bryan gets his revenge on the bullies, but WWE is going to make you pay to see that.
Austin had to come back a week later with a beer truck and raise hell because that was who he was. Bryan walks back into the same ring with the same bullies because that's who he is. He worked 10 years in high school gyms to get to the WWE main event and won't back down.
The other point to not comparing Bryan and Austin's booking to each other is the difference in eras. Austin's era had less programming, better overall talent and fewer agendas to serve. Bryan's era is over-saturated with programming, having three hours of RAW, fewer quality characters from top to bottom of the card, and the company is public with too many outside influences. Be A Star!
One thing the two do have in common is they're easy to understand. It's classic good guy versus bad guy. Austin was rough around the edges, but he was the good guy with attitude. Bryan is the good guy who can be lethal in the ring.
If you think it's any more complicated than that, you're wrong. The booking isn't lazy, the repetition is done for the reasons I already explained. You don't like Randy Orton or Triple H and that's the point. It doesn't matter your reasoning or attempt to analyze why they aren't good heels or how they're burying Bryan in real life. It's all what WWE wants. THEY ARE WORKING YOU!
It's a straightforward easy-to-understand feud with Daniel Bryan, who is the closest thing to Stone Cold. If all of this is going over your head, you need to get taller or stop watching.
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