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WrestleMania 36 preview: Sami Zayn vs. Daniel Bryan

Sami Zayn (c) vs. Daniel Bryan

Intercontinental championship match

WrestleMania is going to be hard for the performers.

Instead of wrestling in front of 60 thousand plus at the Raymond James Stadium, they’re wrestling in front of no one in the WWE Performance Center.

That really sucks for them. Their big moment of the year has become a forced contingency plan. Wrestlers look forward to this moment and it must be tough to have it taken away. We’re all sacrificing right now and in the grand scheme of things, wrestlers not getting to work their big show is not the biggest sacrifice. But with athletes only having so many years in the business, losing one still stings.

Then there’s the fact that it’s just hard to put on a good match without an audience.

We’ve undoubted learned how crucial crowds are for wrestling matches the last few weeks. Sure, we knew before every time Raw was in front of a crowd who was sitting on their hands. But hearing zero crowd noise during matches really drives the point home.

Wrestlers use the crowd to dictate the pace and sometimes spots of their matches. The live audience gives the performers feedback, they act on it, and the audience reacts. In the best circumstances, that crowd responds the way the wrestlers are hoping and it elevates the match into an entire different level.

Without that constant feedback, the wrestlers can’t know what’s working for the audience. What’s worse is that the at home audience is trained to hear dead silence and think “This match is failing.”

Wrestlers who have been doing this for awhile and who are very good at putting together a match are going to be at an advantage. Because they have done it for a long time and know how crowds generally respond to certain things and can build the matches accordingly.

Luckily the Intercontinental title match between Sami Zayn and Daniel Bryan have two such talents.

Both men have been wrestling almost two decades. They’ve worked in front of a variety of crowds and both have put on their fair share of incredible matches. Not to mention this story has included other men who have been doing this for a long time and are also very good at this. Let’s quickly review how we got here.

Daniel Bryan defeated Drew Gulak at Elimination Chamber. But since then, he’s been working with Gulak to sharpen his game. Meanwhile, at that same show, Sami Zayn won the Intercontinental championship from Braun Strowman in a 3 on 1 handicap match. In fact, it was Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura who did all the work, but Sami got the pin to walk out with the gold.

After some backstage jawing, these groups started feuding and most recently, Drew Gulak defeated Shinsuke Nakamura to earn Bryan this weekend’s title match.

No doubt, all the men involved will be ringside and likely all will be involved putting together this title match. That’s three other wresters all working almost 20 years. (Drew Gulak started in 2005 and that was the latest of all these men.) If any group of guys can figure out how to put on a superb empty arena match, it’s these five men.

Plus, with Gulak, Cesaro, and Nakamura at ringside, they can make enough noise to help act as the crowd that isn’t there.

Would this match be better in front of 60 thousand fans, even if those fans were starting to get tired? Absolutely. But that’s not an option right now. Will it still be good when you have a group of men who are very good at this putting the match together? It’s a very good possibility it will.

Sami Zayn defends his Intercontinental championship against Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania 36. The show starts tonight at 7 PM ET, though it hasn’t been announced what night this match will be. You can follow along to for all your WrestleMania coverage.


Who will win this match?

This poll is closed

  • 54%
    Daniel Bryan
    (78 votes)
  • 45%
    Sami Zayn
    (64 votes)
142 votes total Vote Now

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