The High Spot: Daniel Bryan, PWG, Kurt Angle, and the Top Stories of the Week

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Welcome to the High Spot, Place to Be Nation’s weekly pro wrestling update. Steve Wille (@SteveWille34) will take you through the biggest story of the week in the world of wrestling, adding in a unique view to help put the story in perspective. Glenn Butler (@Glenniebun) then takes a quick look at other important stories of the week. If you have any tips or story ideas, please contact us at info@placetobenation.com!

During this week’s edition of the Main Event podcast, as part of the roundtable discussion of the WWE roster at the midpoint of the year, Steve commented on Daniel Bryan’s meteoric rise and subsequent fall due to a myriad of events. Sadly, more news emerged since the taping of the show, as the recent edition of the Wrestling News Observer reported that doctors uncovered additional shoulder and neck problems that could lead to additional surgery. This is separate from the post-surgery concerns that Bryan himself referred to during the pre-show of the recent Money in the Bank event.

As Steve stated during the podcast, Daniel Bryan is one of the few wrestlers in the world who could easily transition his in-ring style to one that puts his neck at less risk. He has such extensive knowledge from travelling and training in Europe, the United States and within the New Japan Dojo system, plus he is so incredibly over with the WWE audience that any adjustment shouldn’t subtract too much from the fans’ reaction to him. For an example of his ability to modify his offense, find a copy of his match against the great AJ Styles at Ring of Honor’s 2003 show, “Main Event Spectacles,” where the two battled on the mat for a good ten minutes and had the crowd on the edge of their seats the entire time.

Still, there is no timetable on Bryan’s return, and it’s clear that both Bryan and the WWE are taking no risks with rushing him back, nor should they. Bryan’s long-term health is of the utmost importance, and he seems to be the type who would prosper away from the spotlight of wrestling when he retires. Of course, wrestling fans long for his recovery and subsequent return. And long-time friends of the High Spot may be wondering about Daniel Bryan’s health status in an alternate timeline where he fought valiantly to emerge victorious at this year’s Royal Rumble. The answer, of course, is unknowable, as the power to transmit information between universes is thus far unknown to mankind; however, fans of Daniel Bryan can console themselves with the knowledge that somewhere in the multiverse, Daniel Bryan is still the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, and somewhere in the multiverse, that title has a more sensible name.

  • Wrestling’s Mecca: Each year, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla gathers some of the brightest stars on the independent scene and places them in a tournament to crown a champion in the Battle of Los Angeles. The format varies annually, from eight-person, one night sprints to this year’s edition, which will see 24 entrants battle it out over three days (August 29-31) in Reseda, California.The lineup features former WWE and TNA stars, current members of the Ring of Honor and Dragon Gate USA/Evolve roster, and athletes more typically seen overseas. There’s much buzz surrounding the return of Matt Sydal to the independent circuit, as well as Ricochet, who has rapidly ascended from an aerial specialist to one of the most in-demand wrestlers in the world. Personally, this writer is intrigued to see the return of cult superstar Kenny Omega and his first look at the heralded youngster Biff Busick.
     
    This year’s BOLA looks to be one of American independent wrestling’s events of the year, rivaling the ROH/NJPW supercards and the return of Chikara. The complete lineup, adapted from Pro Wrestling Guerrilla’s website, appears below:

    2014 Battle of Los Angeles First Round Matches:
    Brian Cage
    vs. AR Fox
    Cedric Alexander vs. Trevor Lee
    Biff Busick vs. Roderick Strong
    Tommaso Ciampa vs. Michael Elgin
    Brian Myers (formerly Curt Hawkins) vs. AJ Styles
    Drew Gulak vs. Kyle O’Reilly
    Johnny Gargano vs. Chuck Taylor
    Rich Swann vs. Trent? (formerly Trent Baretta)
    Adam Cole vs. Zack Sabre, Jr.
    Ricochet vs. Chris Sabin
    Chris Hero vs. Matt Sydal (formerly Evan Bourne)
    ACH vs. Kenny Omega

    Night one also includes the following non-tournament bouts:

    The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) & Adam Cole vs. Best Friends of Low Moral Fiber (Kenny Omega, Chuck Taylor, & Trent?)
    Inner City Machine Guns (Ricochet & Rich Swann) vs. World’s Cutest Tag Team (Candice LeRae & Joey Ryan) vs. Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian

    Night two also includes the following non-tournament bouts:

    Biff Busick & Drew Gulak vs. Unbreakable F’N Machines (Brian Cage & Michael Elgin)
    Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian vs. The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson)

    Night three will have the concluding rounds of the tournament, as well as additional matches that will be fleshed out as entrants are eliminated.

  • Wrestling’s Alexandria: Word is circulating that Jerry Lawler, long-time mainstay of Memphis wrestling, is trying to assemble as complete a collection as possible of the old tape library. This is quite some task, as tapes have a way of going missing or being reused over time, and there’s always the issue of degraded quality in whatever copies may survive in fans’ hands. These must be major concerns, as they must be a major reason why Lawler hasn’t sold the video library to WWE before now, but with the Network having finally gotten on its feet it makes sense for WWE to make another big push to consolidate whatever corners of wrestling history it doesn’t already own, including Memphis as well as the oft-rumored impending deal for the Carlos Colon’s tape library in Puerto Rico.

 

  • Integrity, Intelligence…Interesting: In a recent appearance on Jim Ross’ podcast, Kurt Angle said that his TNA contract expires toward the end of September, and he’s not signed an extension. Hmm, say fans. He also estimates that he’ll be able to return to the ring in October. Hmmmm, say fans. Moreover, he expects the next contract he signs to be his last — the passage of time being what it is, one presumes. Hmmmmmmmmm, say fans. Speculate as you will, especially about some combinations he hasn’t had the opportunity to be in. I mean, just imagine the match he could have with CM…oh. Angle also recently mentioned on Facebook that he’s been sober for a year; while the “crazy Kurt” goofs have provided much merriment and schadenfreude over the years, it would be just as well for them to be retired for the sake of discontinued relevance.

Author: Glenn Butler

Glenn is not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be. He goes forward, he goes back. The Glenn that you know, he had some second thoughts. Glenn has come back to reclaim some infinitude of silence, the unspeaking of his name. At PTBN he's most often seen walking the web, covering the Star Trek beat, and podcasting about various manifestations of life and popular culture. Find him elsewhere on the Twitter, the Instam and/or the Tumblr. Tamp 'em up solid.