Daniel Bryan Retires & Authority Drama Ensues On WWE Raw!
Early on Monday, February 8th 2016, former indie wrestler turned WWE superstar Daniel Bryan announced he was retiring. It sent shockwaves on social media & became a talking point heading into Raw that evening.
But like most weeks, this episode of Raw still opens up with Stephanie McMahon and the political drama that is the Authority vs. seemingly everyone. This time it was a contract signing for the WWE Fastlane main event! Stephanie tries to start her promo but ‘Daniel Bryan’ chants fill the arena. Mrs. McMahon-Hemsley attempts to continue but is cut off by Dean Ambrose! She once again goes to speak but Roman Reigns’ music cuts her off. Without fail, the final member of the Fastlane main event Brock Lesnar arrives with Paul Heyman following him.
Heyman grabs the mic and begins to do his introduction but a rather irritated Stephanie cuts him off saying “everyone already knows what your name is”. The three men start signing the contract one by one. The peacefulness ends as Stephanie leaves the ring. Dean gets in Brock’s face so Brock throws him into Roman. Brock then throws a table at Roman and hits his F5 finisher on Dean Ambrose. He leaves the ring and Triple H joins his wife Stephanie on top of the stage to enjoy the drama.
After the fairly standard Raw intro, we get a highlight reel of some of Daniel Bryan’s early work. This seems to be a theme throughout the night; paying respect to the great performer.
Next we get Kevin Owens making his entrance to face off against Dolph Ziggler. These two have fought quite a bit the last few months but their in-ring chemistry is wonderful so it’s always a delight to see. Their match is the usual delightful slugfest but this time Ziggler picks up the win using a little bit of cheating. Owens throws a bit of a hissy fit after the match…this isn’t the last of their feud by a long shot. Will they face off at Fastlane with a stipulation?
Next up is Alicia Fox vs Charlotte. Foxy comes out by herself this week as Brie Bella will be by her husband Daniel Bryan’s side. Charlotte has her father Ric Flair in her corner. The two have a good match; Charlotte always brings some good matches out of Ms. Alicia Fox. I almost feel this would have been a better pairing for a Fastlane match than Charlotte vs. Brie but alas, this Monday night fight shall suffice for now. Charlotte wins with a spear & her submission finisher ‘The Figure 8’.
Up next we have The Miz & his talk-show segment MizTV! He begins to talk about AJ Styles and his encounter with him last week but before he can finish his rant, Chris Jericho interrupts him. Jericho comes out to berate Miz and make fun of his low budget attempt at a talk-show. Chris Jericho suggest they do an episode of his show ‘The Highlight Reel‘ and suddenly, crew members begin to change the set to make it look like Jericho’s show.
Jericho has hijacked now Miz’s segment. The men bicker at one another and that brings out AJ Styles to shut them up. Miz attacks Jericho but Styles runs in for the save. He then faces off with Jericho. These three men have some issues with one another and what a match they will all have.
Next we get one of two “throwaway” matches in a row as Ryback takes on Bray Wyatt. Standard match between the two as Bray picks up the win quickly. No indication that we might be seeing Wyatt family member Braun Strowman fight Big Show at this month’s Fastlane like previous hinted. What will come of the post match attack that Bray and the Wyatt family did to Ryback?
The second throwaway match of the evening was Titus O’ Neil vs. ‘Social Outcast’ Adam Rose. A quick promo followed by a quick win for Adam Rose didn’t add anything to the show.
The hype to see Daniel Bryan is setting in fast…
But before all that, we get Dean calling out Brock Lesnar. The scrappy Ambrose calls Lesnar soft and picks a fight with the much bigger man. As expected, Brock man-handles Dean but the ‘Lunatic‘ Dean doesn’t let up. He even uses a distraction from Roman Reigns’ music to deliver a lowblow to Brock. This was an effective way to promote the upcoming WWE PPV main event during a night where everyone wants to know what will happen to Daniel Bryan. It also helped make Dean Ambrose look like a worthy adversary for ‘The Beast‘ Brock!
We have The League of Nations member’s Alberto Del Rio & Rusev taking on luchadors Kalisto & the returning Sin Cara! Quite the thrilling but short match; the evil pairing of Del Rio & Rusev proved to be a bit too much for the two masked high-flyers. The feud with Alberto Del Rio & Kalisto for the WWE United States title has been losing steam; will they get the fire going again before their match in a few weeks at Fastlane?
In the second women’s wrestling segment of the night, Sasha Banks comes out for commentary while her former tag-team partner Tamina takes on Becky Lynch. Recently, Banks has been helping Lynch and turning her back on her former teammates.
Tamina picks up the win against Becky Lynch, which I think is one of the first singles wins for Tamina in quite some time! It’s also announced at the upcoming PPV Fastlane; the team of Sasha Banks & Becky Lynch will take on Tamina & ally Naomi. I love seeing two separate and solid women’s segments going on during the show.
After The Dudley Boyz & The Usos came together earlier in the night to take on team of The New Day, we get an 8-man tag match with The Dudley & Usos taking on The New Day & Mark Henry in a tables match. The backstage segment of the New Day trio trying to get Mark to join their team was another laugh-out-loud moment from the team. They will be forever entertaining in my eyes. The Dudley Boyz showed aggression throughout the match; something they have seemingly been lacking since their returned. The match ended with Big E of The New Day getting put through a table by The Dudley’s.
But they were not done yet…they suddenly turned on The Usos and put both brothers through a table. This new heel turn from the veteran team of ECW originals will surely help them out with the rest of their run here in WWE. The Boyz work best when they can be aggressive & take no prisoners. I’m looking forward to seeing how the tag-division contiunes to build heading towards Fastlane & Wrestlemania this year.
And now, the moment we all tuned into Raw to see. Daniel Bryan makes his way down to the ring to finally address the fans about his health and his retirement. Not since the great Edge retired in 2011 has the fans and a wrestler been so emotional. Bryan enters the ring and soaks up all the love the crowd has to give him. It’s heartbreaking to see.
Daniel Bryan spoke from the heart and told everyone that he has had a number of concussions over the years. Those concussions have affected him more so than he’d like to admit, which is why he is now retiring. He holds back tears multiple times during this segment. The man has done so much for pro-wrestling in his 16 years as a performer and everyone seemingly loves Daniel Bryan; it’s sad to write about this now. The segment and the show ends with Daniel Bryan shaking hands of fans and wrestlers who have joined him at ringside. His wife Brie Bella joins him and they do the ‘YES, YES, YES’ chant together.
The episode comes to a close and so does the storied career of Daniel Bryan.