You just summed up A) why Daniel Bryan became so popular, and B) why WWE could never figure out why Daniel Bryan was so popular.Rich Kraetsch wrote:I beat this drum constantly but the over-produced, over-thought, over-the-top characters are such a passe part of major professional wrestling. With social media finally breaking down the barriers, we know who these people are, what they like, what makes them tick, who they are married to, etc. We know they have lives outside of the "UNIVERSE" yet WWE main roster is still stuck in that world and still wants to tell these types of stories and they just don't resonate with a modern audience whatsoever. If people want superheroes, they'll go watch one of the dozen superhero movies/Netflix Originals or whatever that are available to them at a moment's notice. I honestly believe wrestling fans want real people doing pro wrestling. Of course, you always need to turn the volume a little up, of course you need to play up portions of one's character but it's not that hard.BillThompson wrote:Those reaction vids, man, if ever there were a scathing indictment of how awful WWE overproduces their promos, there you have it. Each and every person, with the possible exception of Charlotte and Ziggler, sound natural and like they are real humans. Just step back WWE, let your talent fucking talk for themselves, the results will be much better, those videos show this to be true.
I think Kevin Owens is a great example of a post-social media heel done perfectly. He's a guy who laid out his family, his life right in front of you, you know his motivation, you know what drives him and that's him. On social media, he's pretty crass but that's fine, he's always rooted in his actual self and he maintains that persona on social media and on TV because, again, it's HIM. Sure, is he more surely on social than he is in real life, of course, but that's the art of it. Those promos, like you said Bill, prove once again how powerful humanizing pro wrestling characters can be. The rise of Daniel Bryan and how people attached to him in such a profound way is another one.
There's been a major shift in the past 15 (or more?) years away from celebrities being larger than life personalities to being (presented as) real people, whatever form that may take. That's why the Kardashians are some of the most famous people in the world in spite of not being famous for anything other than being famous. That's a horrible example as I assume just about everyone who reads this hates the Kardashians, but my point stands.
Maybe a better example is of how sports stars present themselves - people like Dwight Howard Jon Jones are despised for being 'fake' while people like Steph Curry or Donald Cerrone are praised for being real people. Daniel Bryan is a real person (I see the contradiction here). Kevin Owens is a real person. Dolph Ziggler is not. Roman Reigns is not. That's why Bryan and Owens are loved (or at least generate strong, genuine emotion) while Ziggler and Reigns are characters on a tv show.
If WWE ever figures that out, and how to properly present a modern product which acknowledges what people want out of wrestlers/characters/etc today, they might actually become fashionable again.