On the Work of Wrestling and Kyle & Oliver’s Daniel Bryan Parody

Tim Kail reads from my piece On Mankind vs. the Undertaker on the Work of Wrestling podcast this week! When Tim reads my words, I hear ideas in them I hadn’t noticed before. Have a listen to this truly stellar podcast:

Also on the podcast is Kyle & Oliver’s latest parody, a song about Daniel Bryan which is incomplete without a viewing of their video:

I really think Kyle and Oliver have outdone themselves here. The amazing thing about this parody is that they’re both speaking for the Daniel Bryan hordes and taking the brutal piss out of them at the same time. Aren’t they? Part of how I know they’re making fun is their friend in the red shirt, Alexander MacDonald Smith. Dude is just way over the top as an earnest Daniel Bryan guy, don’t you think? But their words also take take a turn from solid wrestling fan sensibility to outlandish Daniel-Bryan-as-Christ-Our-Savior territory. At first they make strong accusations about the state of the company:

Yes! We all chant Yes! Raise up your voice until it breaks!

We will show no mercy on all these stupid mistakes!

Right, YES! I’m with you. There has been so much lost opportunity this past year it’s enough to drive a person into passionate song. They talk about the WWE management as “self-appointed prophets” with their “doomsday charade” and “all your beliefs are still stuck in the past” and YES! It’s so infuriating. Good wrestling isn’t about cartoon superheroes anymore. Times have changed, NXT is the future, and quit mining us for heat just because we like somebody you don’t want us to like!

But then Alexander gets really worked up and things start to veer into delusional territory:

His passion still burns! He’ll take on them all!

Give him a chance and he’ll prove you all wrong!

Okay. Lowercase yes this time, because I know, I know, Daniel Bryan is good and all, but remember Alexander, wrestling is scripted. It’s not really about Daniel Bryan proving himself anymore, it’s about where and when he fits into the storyline. You must admit it’s a really weird thing when we’re complaining about somebody winning or losing because they did or didn’t deserve to win or lose. On some level, there is still an athletic competition being portrayed here, in which a man wins or loses not on his merits but on the literal physical actions that lead to a win or loss. Our admiration for a wrestler must include how he takes a loss, and also how well he sells a loss to put his opponent over. So then things veer into the realm of farce:

Light! Let there be light! Without a shadow of doubt

He will fight tooth and nail until salvation is found!

Let there be light! Salvation! Alexander is beside himself. This must be a friendly jab at the YES! movement, right? Or is Daniel Bryan the second coming and I’m just too witchy to see it?

Toward the end, Alexander looks like he’s worn himself out with his passion for Daniel Bryan. Maybe he’s finally gotten jaded about the state of affairs in the WWE. The song too returns to more of a disenchanted sensibility: corruption, lies, cracking the whip on the wrestler proletariat’s back. And then Alexander’s intensity returns for the final line:

Open your eyes or your empire falls!

It’s true, the WWE grew to its monolithic state as a near monopoly in a bubble economy. Things have changed, and if they don’t remember how to evolve and adapt they may be overtaken eventually by their numerous small but mighty competitors in the global market. And yet, does it all really hinge on Daniel Bryan? Really people?

Maybe I’m reading into it what I want to see in it. I’ve been a Daniel Bryan refusenik this whole time. Cripes people, he had his fifteen minutes and now life goes on. Or is that maybe Kyle, Oliver, and Alexander’s point, too? Daniel Bryan is good, but you people have completely lost your sense of proportion. CM Punk empowered us to speak our minds to a whole new degree, but in the process many have revealed themselves to be useful idiots. WWE will never bow to the demands of the YES! movement because the heat they generate by holding him down is far too valuable. That shit sells T-shirts, don’t you see? Your dogged support for Daniel Bryan is the very reason he will never get to be what you want him to be.

But this still is a fantastic song parody: it made me think and made me laugh. It cuts to the crux of the tension between the company and the audience: we know what we want and we can see their idiot corporate mistakes very clearly, but ultimately, even though it’s a hard pill to swallow, it is silly for us to think it is our role to decide what’s best for business. I’m not as hip as I used to be so I don’t know “Viking Death March” but the title is a perfect match for the blind devotion of the Daniel Bryan fanbase. Bless these people, but they are determined to go down with the ship as Daniel Bryan continues on his inevitable slide into the midcard.

Now. Everybody has to stop being so damn interesting for a week or two so I can get my act together and write about the art of Punkrockbigmouth. Because, people, she might be the most interesting one of all of us. Just look at the sort of thing she comes up with:

ChiseledFebruary 15, 2015

This was her response to the Seth Rollins dick pic. Seth Rollins as Michelangelo’s David! What does it all mean?! Go check out her Tumblr while I collect my thoughts.

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