No other wrestler has been able to capture the attention of both of WWE’s major demographics, children and ‘smart’ fans, for a long time. Not even CM Punk was able to do this during the ‘Summer of Punk’ in 2011. Daniel Bryan, however, has done so. Over the past few months, Bryan has gone from one half of the tag team champions and stuck in a bit of a mid-card purgatory to the hottest performer in the entire industry.
At a recent house show I attended in Melbourne, no superstar had as much of the crowd’s support at Bryan did. While the arena was predictably filled with children in Cena shirts, no one received the ovation that Daniel Bryan did, not even Cena.
As is the case with most WWE events, John Cena received the usual smattering of duelling chants during his match with Ryback, “Let’s go Cena!” from the younger fans, followed by “Cena sucks!” from the older fans. For Bryan, however, every single person in the arena was on their feet, arms in the air, screaming “YES!” at the top of their lungs.
Should WWE capitalise on the popularity of Bryan, as well as his appearances alongside Cena in E!’s new reality show, Total Divas, we could see Cena make his long awaited heel turn and pass the torch to the new generation’s leader.