The Spotlight On Raw & Daniel Bryan’s Retirement Speech

Well last night’s episode of Monday Night Raw was, at least for me, all about the retirement of Daniel Bryan.  I felt that WWE did such a classy tribute to Bryan throughout the night and I couldn’t have been happier that I was able to watch this as it unfolded.  In many ways, I hate to say this, but it was reminiscent to the tribute episodes of Raw that WWE has done in the past when someone has passed away, it’s just that the subject was living and got to make a speech at the end.  You really got a feel throughout the day and up until the wee hours of the evening just how much Daniel Bryan meant to so many people in the wrestling community, whether it be fellow wrestlers, promoters or fans.  In many ways twitter last night was very therapeutic in that it felt like the whole wrestling community was going through the loss of Daniel Bryan’s wrestling career together.  Bryan meant a lot to me as a fan and I’m going to get into all of that later in the week but for right now I want to focus on last night’s show, some of the highlights of the show as a whole and what I thought about Daniel Bryan’s speech.  Let’s get right into it.

WWE recognizes their A+ Player- Triple H said it best on twitter yesterday when he said that Bryan was always an A+ player and WWE treated Bryan as so with the way they put together Raw last night.  Whether it was Stephanie McMahon allowing the fans to get all of their Daniel Bryan chants in during her promo or the very nice videos throughout the show, WWE did a very classy job handling all of this.  I also loved that they gave Bryan the end of the show to go out and talk for as long as he liked and kudos to USA for letting WWE have all of that extended overrun time as the show didn’t go off the air until close to 11:30.
Gratitude- If you would have told me that when I saw Daniel Bryan win the world title live at Wrestlemania 30 that less than 2 years later I would be watching his retirement speech, I would have never believe it.  It’s a real shame that this poor guy has gotten such bad luck right after he reached the pinnacle of his profession, after working so hard to do so.  That said, last night’s retirement speech one of the most emotional and my favorite segments in the history of Monday Night Raw.  Bryan spoke from the heart for over 30 minutes and took you with him on this emotional journey one last time, like he has throughout his entire career.  He made you laugh when he mentioned the elephant in the room being that he shaved his beard, he made you cry (that tipping point for me being the part about his father), and at the end of the day he made you feel that same sense of gratitude that he spoke about.  It was really a tremendous speech that I cannot recommend enough.  I couldn’t help but think, as I watched Bryan talk that for a guy who gets so much praise for what he’s done inside the ring (and rightfully so), Daniel Bryan is also an unbelievable promo who can evoke emotion and make you believe more than few others.  At the end of the day, while it’s heartbreaking to see Bryan have to give up what he loves to do, you have to take solace in the fact that this guy truly made it.  Other than Daniel Bryan, there are only three other legends that I can remember getting to do this type of speech, Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels and Edge, that’s pretty good company for a guy that so many believed would never make it.  When you think about many of the greats who retired and didn’t get this chance, guys like Christain or even Steve Austin, it’s pretty great that Bryan got his just due.  In the end, it’s also important to realize how important it is that Bryan got out of the ring before he had more damage.  He seems genuinely happy and at peace with the fact that now he can focus on starting a family.  As I said yesterday, as big a fan of I am of Daniel Bryn the performer, I’m a bigger fan of the person.
The Sendoff- WWE was very smart to send everyone to the network for even more Daniel Bryan celebration.  We had our roku disconnected and scrambled to get everything plugged in so that we could see more.  While, I was hoping for the traditional parade of people from Bryan’s past coming out to pay respect, it was very classy for the entire roster to come out on the top of the stage and do a YES chant, lead by Vince McMahon of all people.  It was great to see just how much respect Bryan had by his peers, especially Vince McMahon who seemed genuinely proud of Bryan and embraced him with a warm hug.  It was also very cool of Daniel Bryan to walk around all of ringside being sure to slap fives with all of the fans, hugging many of them.  He was really soaking it all in, as were many of the fans who were seen crying (including one youngster who was inconsolable).
Closing Thoughts:
At the end of the day there were a few more things I really liked on Raw.  I thought Dolph Ziggler and Kevin Owens had another strong match, I thought the Dudleys got a much needed spark when they turned on the Usos and I really enjoyed the advancement of the tension between Dean Ambrose, Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns heading into Fast Lane.  That said, this night was really all about the retirement of Daniel Bryan and if you’re a wrestling fan, to any extent, I urge you to take 30 minutes of your time to watch his speech.
That’s going to do it for now but I’ll be back real soon with coverage of Daniel Bryan’s appearance on Sportscenter as we say goodbye to one of the all time greats.

The Spotlight on Raw 11/09/2015

WWE Monday Night Raw just went off the air emanating live from Machester, Great Britain and I honestly thought it was a pretty strong show.  We found out 2 quarterfinal matches for the WWE World Title Tournament as Roman Reigns will take on Cesaro and Dean Ambrose will take on Dolph Ziggler in two unique, fresh matches.  Aside from that I also really enjoyed some of the other build for the Survivor Series as WWE is really making it feel like one of the big four shows, at least in my opinion.  Let’s get right into some of the highlights on the show.

Highlights:

1) The Brothers Of Destruction Are Back–  This one I’ll probably get a little flack for but I really enjoyed the ending of Raw with the returns of both the Undertaker and Kane.  I also appreciated that, for the second week in a row, they continued to show old school clips of both the Undertaker and Kane to really point out how big of a deal what Bray Wyatt had done was.  Say what you will about the hokeyness of the last segment with the lightning and the special effects but that’s part of what I love about wrestling.  Whoever said wrestling had to be so serious?  Furthermore, the crowd absolutely lost their minds when the Undertaker and Kane came out and they ate up the staredown with the Wyatt Family showering the ring with “This Is Awesome” Chants.  Some of the folks on twitter seem a bit upset that Undertaker and Kane left the Wyatts laying but the Wyatts had done the same over the past few weeks.  Now there is still one last Raw before Survivor Series to see how the Wyatts regroup. I’m hooked into this one, can’t wait to see where they go next.

2) The Tournament–  I really enjoyed the way that they did the first round of the tournament throughout the night while leaving three more of the first round matches for Smackdown.  By spacing out the matches throughout the night, this gave the viewers reason to remain engaged in the show all night and I felt the tournament matches made the show go by pretty fast for a 3 hour show.  As for the tournament matches,  I felt that Dolph Ziggler and The Miz had a good match and especially felt that Dean Ambrose and Tyler Breeze had a good long match. I didn’t feel like Breeze lost anything by losing because he hung in there with Ambrose for so long and simply got caught by a rollup.  The shock of the tournament so far, for me, was seeing Cesaro pick of a win over Sheamus (with a nice little assist from Rooney!).  I assumed that Sheamus would get the win to set up a face-heel match with Roman.  Instead we’re going to get Roman vs. Cesaro in a really intriguing match between two fan favorites.

3) The New Day-  The New Day was in rare form tonight and hysterical by dropping in disses on Harry Potter and talking about how they really outdid themselves.  They remain a highlight on every show they’re apart of and I was glad that they mentioned not being a part of the tournament because that;s the first thing I thought when I saw the bracket as well.  As for the six man featuring the New Day against The Usos and Neville, it was the match of the night as all six of them busted their hides with high flying moves at every turn and Neville even getting a “Holy Shit” chant due to his Red Arrow off the top to the outside.  Go out of your way to watch that match, it was great.

Closing Thoughts

Overall, the crowd deserves some credit here because they were great throughout the night and gave Raw a really unique feel to it.  One of the first things I thought from watching the crowd was “Wow NXT: Takeover is going to be the best!”  I can’t wait for that show.

In closing, we also found out that next week on the WWE Network it will be Undertaker week leading into the Survivor Series and his 25th Anniversary.  Ironically, it will also be Undertake week here on the daily spotlight as I’ll be counting down my top 25 favorite Undertaker moments of all time.  Hopefully, my piece will act as a good companion piece to Undertaker week on the Network.  The WWE Network alwasy does a good job with their themed weeks and I’m sure next week will be no different.

Well that’s going to do it for me tonight but if you haven’t done so I’ve posted the first part of my Survivor Series Retrospective looking at the first 9 years of the Survivor Series from 1987-1995, so be sure to check that out.  Until then, what was some of your favorite moments from Raw?  What did you think of the Brothers of Destruction returning to Raw?