The last week and a half has been one of the most newsworthy periods in recent wrestling history. Just take a look at the following major events:
A. WrestleMania 30 featuring Daniel Bryan’s historic championship victory and the end of the Undertaker’s legendary streak.
B. The shocking death of Ultimate Warrior three days after his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame.
C. Jeff Jarrett’s announcement of his new Global Force Wrestling promotion
D. Eric Young winning the TNA World Heavyweight Championship.
Which one of these is not like the other? If you guessed option D then you get a gold star.
With all due respect to Eric Young as a professional wrestler, he is the least credible world champion the industry has seen since David Arquette held the WCW World Championship in 2000. I say this because Eric has been used as little more than comedic fodder for the past ten years he’s spent in TNA. Remember his stint as Super Eric from a few years ago or the period when he was one half of the TNA Knockouts Tag Team Champions with ODB?
His big win wasn’t the result of some long-term booking decision or a groundswell of fan support that TNA management could no longer ignore. It was the result of kneejerk reactionary booking at its worst. Since WWE just put their championship on Daniel Bryan, TNA felt they needed to put their belt on a small guy with a beard who has never been given a fair shot at being a main event player.
The difference between the two, aside from the fact that Bryan is a tremendous performer, is that Bryan’s quest for the championship was an effective storyline given months to build. There were numerous twists and turns that led to his wining the championship at WrestleMania.
Let’s take a look at Daniel Bryan‘s journey:
1. He wins the championship from John Cena in an awesome match at SummerSlam and is immediately screwed by Triple H and Randy Orton.
2. He is screwed by his mentor Shawn Michaels during a Hell in a Cell championship match against Orton.
3. During the 12/09/13 episode of Raw (where Bryan also won the Slammy Award for Superstar of the Year), the fans completely hijack the final segment causing Triple H to stop his promo for two minutes while the fans wildly cheer for Bryan.
4. He briefly joins the Wyatt Family, then breaks away from them in one of the most memorable moments in Monday Night Raw history.
5. At the Royal Rumble, he loses to Bray Wyatt in the best match on the show. He isn’t booked to appear in the 30-man over the top rope battle royal later that evening, causing fans to revolt for the remainder of the show.
6. On the 03/10/14 episode of Raw, he holds the show hostage along with members of his Yes Movement demanding a match with Triple H as well as a spot in the main event championship match against Orton and Batista.
7. Bryan’s eight month journey culminates at WrestleMania when he defeats Triple H, Randy Orton and Batista in the same night to become the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
Was Eric involved in any of TNA’s classic matches and memorable segments of the last year? Was he voted by TNA fans as the best wrestler in the company?
As a Daniel Bryan fan, I am personally offended by Eric Young’s victory. I invested months of time and energy into watching Bryan get to this point in his career. TNA is basically spoofing Bryan’s big moment by having their resident clown hold its championship at the same time.
Eric’s win is merely the result of a promotion that seems intent on copying every concept WWE has ever created, only to diminishing results. To sum it up, Eric Young as TNA World Heavyweight Champion is a shameful, desperate, and pathetic move.
Congrats TNA, you’ve done it again!