Angle Analysis - Team Hell No!
Following Raw 1000, where Daniel Bryan was left at the altar by AJ, Rock Bottomed by The Rock and insulted via Skype by Charlie Sheen, nobody could have guessed that those incidents would be the inception of one of the WWE’s most consistently entertaining series of segments. I certainly didn’t, but was pleasantly surprised when what was supposed to be the shameless shilling of Charlie Sheen’s new show “Anger Management” turned into Daniel Bryan and Kane forming a comedic powerhouse of a tag team, now known as “Team Hell No”.
This team has overcome any expectations that anyone had for them, and should be commended for doing so. Their aligning has reinvigorated Kane’s character and career, and Daniel Bryan is again turning something that could have been a major setback in his career into a huge positive, something that I think no one has done more consistently and to better effect than him.
This week’s Angle Analysis will analyze the “Team Hell No” Angle, detailing what I like and don’t like about the pairing and the implications its success will have on both Superstars’ careers and the Tag Team Division going forward.
~ The Anger Management Segments/Use of Pre-Tape Segments in General
When these “Anger Management” segments were first announced, I was dreading having to watch them play out. I thought the whole thing was going to lead up to some kind of confrontation between Bryan and Sheen so I honestly didn’t see any merit in the segments. Boy was I wrong. Between Daniel Bryan and Kane’s chemistry and ability to play off one another, and Harold and Dr. Shelby delivering in supporting roles, by and large these segments were a huge success, especially the one where Kane detailed his life story in group therapy.
If there’s one thing that this angle has showed us, it’s that well planned and coordinated backstage segments and pre-tapes can go a long way in getting the viewer to buy into a relationship or establish the importance of an angle. WWE rarely gets these kinds of segments this right, and now that they’ve seen what works, I hope that they use these kinds of segments going forward to conjure up interest in other angles, like the Survivor Series Elimination Matches for instance. These kinds of segments would really convey the relationships, good or bad on each team going into Survivor Series and create intrigue for the match.
~ The Concept
Looking back on this angle, I find the entire concept pretty awesome as far as WWE Creative is concerned (I’d like to believe they had this whole thing planned out, which granted is a bit naïve of me). Kane and Daniel Bryan are two selfish and destructive individuals, and the entire draw of their team is that they shouldn’t fit together. The concept of these two enemies forced together because of their Anger Issues and destructive tendencies borrows heavily from the classic “Buddy Cop” film formula.
Two cops, one a straight-laced stickler and the other a bad ass that plays by his own rules, are forced to be partners (Kane and Daniel Bryan) but don’t want to be. During their police exploits (matches in the case of the WWE, and Anger Management Sessions specifically in the case of Bryan and Kane) they create havoc and chaos, are constantly yelled at by the African American Police Chief (in this case Dr. Shelby) for not doing things the right way, and come to understand one another better, slowly but surely becoming friends. I’ve always said that I believe that any classic movie trope or concept could be adapted to make sense in the WWE, and whether intentionally or not, Kane and Daniel Bryan, much like Booker T and Goldust and The Rock N’ Sock Connection are “Buddy Cops” WWE style.
~ Where in the World is Dr. Shelby
Where has this man been? He is the architect of this tag team (at least as it relates to the storyline) and should be a more permanent fixture in the pair’s run as a Tag Team. As I said above, he is the Police Chief to Kane and Daniel Bryan’s buddy cops and should at least be around on a bi-weekly basis to check up on them and ream them out for “not following protocol/not controlling their anger”. Hell he could even accompany them to the ring in some kind of managerial role so that he is there to help them calm down when they are about to lose control of their anger. The actor they got was pretty great considering some of the performers the WWE has gotten to play these kinds of roles before, and could still be utilized, so get it together WWE and re-inject Dr. Shelby into Team Hell No.
I spoke about this two weeks ago, but one of my longstanding complaints about the WWE’s Tag Team division is Longevity. The fact of the matter is that they rarely push Career Tag Team Superstars to the top of the division. Every team that held the Tag Titles in 2011, no longer compete as a Tag Team. Right now, The Rhodes Scholars and Team Hell No are facing off for the Tag Titles and I’m willing to bet that neither team will still be together come this time next year, nor should they be. As great as Team Hell No has been, their Tag Team has an expiry date. Daniel Bryan should be a singles competitor at or near the top of the card. I’d say the same about Rhodes and Sandow, both of whom are extremely talented Superstars that I’m very high on.
So at the end of the day, did Kane and Daniel Bryan garner attention and make a name for themselves with this ongoing angle? The answer is a resounding yes, but they have done nothing to help build a strong and sustainable Tag Team Division for when they inevitably go their separate ways in the near future. As the narrative winds to a close, Daniel Bryan and Kane needs to pass the attention they’ve garnered through incredibly entertaining skits and segments on to a team like The Usos, The Colons, 3MB, or The Ascension (this is the direction I’d probably go). And while its fine if the WWE wants to put the Tag Titles on two established guys every now and again, they needs to make a more concerted effort to push Tag Teams that are in it for the long haul.
FINAL GRADE: A-
There is still time for Kane and Daniel Bryan to help build the Tag Team Division on their way out. If they do so the grade will be higher, but if they fail to do so, the grade will obviously take a hit. That being said for the entertainment they’ve brought week in week out since the angle began, I’m giving them an A-, and hoping that by the end I can give it an A+.
There you have it, but what do you think? Are Kane and Daniel Bryan the best thing going in the WWE? How long do you think they’ll last as a Tag Team? On an unrelated note, why was Vickie chosen to be the Managing Supervisor in lieu of AJ’s resignation because of fraternization with a WWE Superstar? Isn’t Vickie’s entire shtick that she’s “fraternizing” with Dolph Ziggler, if you know what I mean? Sorry, I didn’t mean to get logical.
Until next time folks, I’m Matty J. Douglas hoping that the WWE’s Board of Directors doesn’t come after me for pointing out their rampant ineptitude. Have a great week everybody!