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The Grapevine (1/12/16): Cryin' Bryan


Good morning everyone, and welcome to the Grapevine! This is our daily post rounding up all the interesting rumors from the wild, wild world of pro wrestling that you may have missed over the evening.

We've got a heartbreaking rumor to kick off your morning.



  • WWE could be releasing Daniel Bryan on January 18. A supposed WWE HR staffer reached out with an anonymous email to pioneering wrestling blogger Scott Keith to mention she overheard a fellow worker dismayed over processing the paperwork to grant Daniel Bryan his release from WWE in less than a week. As written:

    Scott,

    Can’t believe I’m doing this – I’m writing from a throwaway account but please keep my details private anyway. Although feel free to paste the whole e-mail or delete it. Sorry just a bit frazzled.

    Okay so I’ve been debating all weekend whether to send this e-mail or not. I’ll be honest—one major reason I’m doing this is because when it all comes out I want to silently smile and say "Yep, I called it." Not out loud or anything but just privately to myself.

    This is going to be hard to believe and you probably get a lot of nutjobs writing every day—but I work in WWE HR. I’m not high up the totem pole by any means though.

    So on Friday one of my co-workers had to process a release—and that release was for Daniel Bryan.

    Monday, January 18th is the date that is listed for when the deal is processed. Not sure exactly why—my coworker was very quiet about the whole thing other than letting a few people know.

    And to be honest she didn’t let me know—I’m not in her inner circle. I just overheard her telling someone else and she was in shock.Not sure why it’s a week away or anything like that as our usual releases are dated that very day. She seemed shocked by it all. Anyway that’s all I know. Going to click send before I chicken out now. (Source: Scott Keith's Blog of Doom)
We say: Let's see. An anonymous letter from an anonymous source who just so happens to claim to be part of the WWE's inner workings but just low enough on the totem pole to claim the right amount of ignorance over the finer details of what he or she is reporting as major news. Sounds sketchy on a million counts—but what if this is true?

This would be a classic case of the unstoppable force meeting the immovable object. Daniel Bryan has been incredibly vocal in the past about his love for wrestling, even claiming that if the WWE won't clear him, he'd gladly seek out such promotions as NJPW or CMLL to ply his craft. The WWE, on the other hand, refuses to bend on its concussion policies for a slew of entirely valid reasons. We get how frustrated Bryan is over being relegated to an ambassadorship role while all around him, big-time talents are dropping like flies with various injuries, but we can't entirely fault the WWE either. As a publicly-held company under tons of pressure from various investors, the play-it-safe card generally wins over everything else.

If anything, we're saddest over a potential dream match between D-Bry and Shinsuke Nakamura not playing out. Bryan has campaigned for that match to happen multiple times, and with Nakamura officially headed to the WWE, we would have been the closest to making it happen. Maybe in an alternate reality, guys. For now, let's hope everyone here plays it smart—and by "everyone," we mean Daniel Bryan. The last thing we want to see is a stubborn wrestler with a lengthy concussion history dishing out flying headbutts and getting dumped on his head in the land of strong style wrestling.


  • Randy Orton could be back sooner than we thought. Over the weekend, Randy Orton made a throwaway comment on his personal Instagram over not needing neck surgery, as had been widely rumored by such sources as Dave Meltzer and even Ric Flair. Latest rumblings are that Orton's physicians decided just last week that surgery would not be in fact necessary, paving the way for a post-WrestleMania return for the Viper some time before May 2016. (Source; F4WOnline)

We say: Finally, some good news in what's been a disastrous run of injuries for the WWE. Orton certainly isn't the impact player he once was, but in a world where we've got such attractions as John Cena and Seth Rollins on the shelf until late-2016, we'll gladly take it. The roster of top-shelf talent is relatively thin right now as all eyes turn to the Roman Reigns vs. Mr. McMahon feud, and someone with the name value of Randy Orton would certainly have a welcome role playing a potential spoiler in either the U.S. or Intercontinental Championship scenes.



We say: We've finally figured out who's jinxed the WWE with its current run of shoulder injuries, and his name is Kalisto. Seriously, has anyone benefited the way he has from his tag partner getting knocked out of action for the next few months while the top U.S. Championship contender similarly gets shoved onto the injured list? We're happy for the dude though. He's an incredible talent that gives all the young 'uns someone to cheer for, and after winning a Slammy for his unbelievable top-of-the-ladder Salida del Sol, we bet he's overflowing with gigil to show what he can do on a big stage.


  • Roman Reigns is favored to win the Royal Rumble, with Triple H and Brock Lesnar as close runners-up. Various sports betting sites in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom are offering varying odds on who will be winning the historic match for Roman Reigns' WWE World Heavyweight Championship, but the general consensus is that the champ will retain. Depending on your sources, Triple H could be a possible winner to keep the Reigns-McMahon feud going until WrestleMania, or Brock Lesnar, to set up a scenario where Reigns has to face him once more in the 'Mania main event. (Source: WWELeaks.org)

We say: You can bet on a fake sport now?

But in all seriousness, it does seem like the WWE is in full Superman booking mode to prop up the legend of Roman Reigns. While some might say it's a weak rehash of the famed Austin-versus-McMahon feud, it's certainly been effective in painting Reigns as a sympathetic face for fans to rally behind. Either way, there's no way he's entering at any other number than #1, right? If we're going all out to build him up, him winning will only mean something if he's in it right from the start, lest he look like he's weak and cherry-picking a depleted field. And if he loses, he'd look mighty stupid drawing something like the lucky #27 spot but still dropping his belt. Either way, count on 60 minutes of the Roman Show at the Rumble.

*****

What do you think of Daniel Bryan's rumored imminent release, Henrinites? Are you glad to be seeing Randy Orton back in action sooner than expected? Do you think Kalisto is going to run with the ball, or is he just a lucky placeholder who happened to be in the right place at the right time? And how would you place your bets for the Royal Rumble? Let us know in the comments below.

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