G5: WWE Network, Daniel Bryan, Batista, more

There’s much to discuss in the first Gimme Five of the year, like the announcement of the WWE Network, which will make its way to New Zealand in “late 2014/early 2015”.

While it’s still a way off, how are we feeling about its arrival, and do we even have time in our lives for a 24/7 streaming network?

Daniel Bryan joined, and left, the Wyatt Family in the space of a fortnight. Batista’s back in WWE for the first time in almost four years. The G5 Panel offer their thoughts on these big developments for Raw.

Plus, with the Royal Rumble on Monday, we take a punt on some potential WrestleMania XXX main events.


1) We’re not even a month into 2014, but already the biggest story of the year has broken in the launch of the WWE Network – which New Zealand will get in “late 2014/early 2015”. Will you be subscribing on launch day? Or is it too much of a good thing – do you have time for a 24/7 streaming wrestling channel?

Dion:
I most definitely will be. The service sounds amazing! This really seems to be as good as it gets for wrestling fans.

Stevie:
It’s an amazing idea for a service. Cheap too. It’ll be interesting to see if they cut down on constant replays to fill time, given that people can rewind live TV and see all the content on the app/network. Also, this opens up all of their continuity to be judged with greater detail, so I hope it leads them to be more consistent with their characters.

Blake:
I most certainly will be subscribing to the WWE Network on launch day. The amount of history in there alone is enough to make me want it, from WWE to WCW to ECW to – hopefully – AWA, this is every wrestling fan’s dream.

David:
I’m signing up to this for as long as it’s available. Gone are the days of scouring eBay or other international auction websites to try and find some rare ECW pay-per-views, or watching grainy WCW footage on YouTube. I am mildly concerned about finding enough time in the day to see everything, but I’m sure I’ll find a way. “Late 2014/early 2015” can’t come soon enough.

2) Daniel Bryan joined the Wyatt Family and, before we had much chance to talk about it, left again in the space of a few weeks, leading to a match against Bray Wyatt at Monday’s Royal Rumble event. What did you make of Bryan’s temporary allegiance to the Wyatts?

Dion:
It was interesting, but in a “where are they going with this?” kind of way. I’m glad it didn’t go on for too long, but in the same breath, I’m confused as to why it didn’t. It’s not a big deal, but I think it’s going to be looked upon as an oddball creative move for years to come.

Stevie:
Terrible idea to have him join, especially as it confused the audience as to whether they should still cheer him – and do you chant “Yes!” to free him or “No!” because of his actions? A confused crowd is not a good thing. Plus people love watching him perform, so taking part of that away is shooting yourself in the foot. At least he’s freed himself quickly. Such a weird idea and then too quick a resolution.

Blake:
Bryan leaving the Wyatt Family was one of the best moments in recent history. However, this does seem to be a common problem WWE has: building a storyline up and then turning the tide to keep fans contented. We saw it with the John Cena ‘fired’ storyline, we saw it with the CM Punk ‘gone from WWE’ storyline, and we’ve seen it with numerous stars getting a brief push only to fall into obscurity (Ted DiBiase, Kofi Kingston, Drew McIntyre, etc). I feel Bryan’s allegiance could have been extended further into WrestleMania season, but I’m alright with the way that they ended it.

David:
It’s confusing and mildly annoying now, but in a couple of months it will have been largely forgotten about, so I guess that’s something.

3) For the first time in almost four years, Batista is back in a WWE ring. Are you excited to have The Animal back on your screen? What are you hoping to see from Batista?

Dion:
I am! He has a real star quality about him and he’ll slot back in very nicely. I am hoping that it’s not a return, Rumble win, WrestleMania main event deal.

Stevie:
I was excited until I saw him, then I remembered I don’t care for Batista. Heel Batista back in the day was fun though.

Blake:
Am I’m excited? In a nervous kind of way. We all know what he is capable of, but part-time acts have proven to be somewhat lackadaisical in WWE. If he is at his best, willing to put his all into it, and willing to let others get over at his expense, then I am absolutely excited.

David:
Batista’s a big name, and his return is going to generate interest which in turn generates interest in the rest of the WWE roster, hopefully. I was pleased to see him take care of Alberto Del Rio so quickly, he doesn’t need to be involved in a feud like that. I’m fine with him getting involved in the title scene, or winding up in a co-main event spot on the card; he seems to be back for good, rather than making Brock or Rock level sporadic appearances.

4) Kaitlyn and WWE amicably parted ways earlier this month, with the Hybrid Diva taking time off to get married and pursue interests outside of wrestling. Is this a big blow to the Divas division, or will Kaitlyn’s departure mean little in the long term?

Dion:
With respect, I’m not at all fazed.

Stevie:
I’ll miss her. She had the potential to be looked back on like Trish was. We saw her from her first match until she had the best WWE women’s match of last year. It’s a shame to see her go.

Blake:
This isn’t a big blow right now. Frankly, it probably won’t be a big loss in the long run either. However, what is disappointing is that there was great potential there for Kaitlyn and AJ to be the new generation Trish and Lita. I am sad that she is gone, but I’m glad that she managed to have a championship reign and one of the best Divas matches on WWE television in years.

David:
The fact it was an amicable split bodes very well for Kaitlyn should she decide to come back in future. For now, with all the focus on Total Divas, I don’t think she’ll be missed – which could very well be part of the reason she decided to leave in the first place.

5) With Royal Rumble this Monday, the road to WrestleMania is well and truly underway. Go out on a limb and predict who’ll be taking part in the main event of the show of shows. Who would you like to see headline WrestleMania XXX?

Dion:
This year seems to have so many more possibilities than years gone by. And although I believe it should and will be a one on one encounter, I’m going to pull out the wildcard entry of Orton vs. Cena vs. Bryan vs. CM Punk. Let me reiterate, this match will not happen.

Stevie:
As far as I’m concerned, they should go with their hottest ticket – which means Daniel Bryan takes the title or beats the streak in the main event. My choice of champion for Bryan to defeat would be Brock. But I fear the title match will be between Batista and Orton. Here’s hoping that’s not the case though and Bryan gets to hold his head high, with a giant crowd all chanting with him.

Blake:
Maybe wish is father of thought, but CM Punk is being built up really nicely. It wouldn’t shock me too much if Punk were to become the next Superstar to start and finish the Rumble, going on to defeat Orton on WWE’s biggest night.

David:
There was a time when I thought things might wind up echoing WrestleMania XX, with John Cena and Randy Orton feuding over the WWE World Heavyweight Championship like Shawn Michaels and Triple H feuded over the World Heavyweight Championship in 2004. Then you add in Daniel Bryan who, like Chris Benoit, has come so close to the title but was pushed away each time and you wind up with an epic triple threat scenario, leading to Bryan besting the company’s two biggest names to definitively win the title.