Since losing the tag team titles to Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns of The Shield at Extreme Rules, something has been amiss with former champs, Team Hell No.
Last night on Smackdown, Daniel Bryan earned a submission victory over Jack Swagger. But he was just getting warmed up.
A second no-lock applied after the fact forced his partner Kane to have to physically separate the goatface killah from his prey.
The story continued on Backstage Fallout with a strong promo from the recently deposed tag team champion:
Very aggressive? What do you want me...he was fighting for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania. You want me to baby him? Is that what you want me to do? You want me to baby guys? You want me to go out there and treat 'em all light and treat 'em gentle and be real kind to 'em. Is that what you want from me? NO! Cause doing it that way gave me the reputation amongst everybody as being the weak link in Team Hell No! You think Kane...you think Kane thinks I'm the weak link after that? You know what? Now that I think about it, he still might. He still might think I'm the weak link. I gotta do more. I have to do more. That. WAS NOT ENOUGH. Okay? I AM GONNA BE MORE INTENSE THAN ANYBODY YOU'VE EVER SEEN...Because I have to prove to everybody in the WWE that I AM NOT THE WEAK LINK!
For those of us clamoring for the return of Daniel Bryan, submission machine, this fire is music to our ears. No more comedic edge to it, either. This is D-Bry unleashed.
Of course, it's also D-Bry unhinged, as the powers that be seem to like "crazy" Bryan as much as they like to keep the mental illness question in play for his ex-fiancé, AJ Lee. I would have preferred that they skip that part myself - can't he just want to be taken seriously because he's a professional who's damn good at his chosen career?
Booking 101 would indicate that this puts him on a collision course with his tag team partner. Kane has been relegated to exasperated voice of reason so far, which also means that the basic version of this story will keep him as the babyface while Bryan goes heel.
Again, I'm not 100% on board with going that route - even last night, the former independent star received some of the biggest pops of the night while acting in a non-fan favorite manner. Why WWE would want to corrupt a relatable star who is over with a wide cross-section of their fan base is beyond me.
But as much as I have enjoyed laughing along with petulant goofball tag team champion Bryan, I'm excited for the return of legitimate singles threat DB. And if rudo with a persecution complex is the way that we get that right now, I'll take it.
And, like every other role they've handed him, the post-show promo seems to indicate that he can knock this version of his character out of the park, too. He's channeling a lot of internet wrestling community (IWC) complaints before he snaps - that being cuddly and cute wasn't getting him anywhere and that it's time to prove to everyone that he's one of the best wrestlers in the world again.
What do you think, Cagesiders? Ready for the return of D-Bry, kick-ass grappling god?
How do you feel about a Kane feud? Will WWE do the right thing and put a heel Yes-man over the veteran? And where does Bryan go from there?