G5: Daniel Bryan, Global Cruiserweight Series, AJ Styles, more

Following Daniel Bryan’s emotional retirement announcement in Seattle, the Gimme Five team reflects on Bryan’s storied career. Which moments rank as Bryan’s greatest?

The Global Cruiserweight Series will be the talk of the WWE Network later this year. Which competitors are we hoping to see involved in the 32-man tournament?

AJ Styles continues to get significant coverage from WWE.com, and multiple merchandise options from WWE Shop. With all the interest in Styles, will he headline a WWE event in 2016—or even hold the WWE World Heavyweight Championship?

Join us as we discuss these, and more, questions in this week’s Gimme Five.

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1. It’s been a week since Daniel Bryan’s emotional retirement on WWE Raw. What are your fondest memories of Bryan’s (and Bryan Danielson’s) 16-year career?

Clint:
My fondest memory of Bryan in WWE is an easy pick, WrestleMania 30. The match with Triple H, then the triple threat for the world title, Bryan standing tall at the end on wrestling’s biggest night… magic stuff. Out of WWE it’s a bit harder, because American Dragon had a lot of great matches before making his way to the big dance. I have fond memories of the first Danielson match I ever saw—the main event at the first ROH show (The Era of Honor Begins) against Low Ki and Christopher Daniels, but I’d have to choose his 2007 ROH epic against Kenta. It was hella stiff, with some great highspots and Danielson picked up the win despite wrestling with a separated shoulder.

Blake:
I think my fondest memory wasn’t one as such, but more a collection of moments. His time teaming with Kane as half of Team Hell No was essentially what boosted him beyond just another technical master and turned him into (as much as I hate to say it) a Superstar. That was some of the most entertaining content—both in and out of the ring—I’d seen on WWE TV in a long, long time.

Corey:
The lead up to WrestleMania 30 was a great time to be a fan but my favourite Bryan moment was SummerSlam 2013 where Bryan defeated John Cena in a great match to win his first WWE Championship.

Richard:
I was a bit late on the Daniel Bryan train as I really hadn’t heard too much about him before the hype surrounding his NXT debut, and the controversy around his “pro”, The Miz. The first memory I think of was the Nexus debut on Raw that led to his release and the subsequent surprise return at SummerSlam later that year. I also enjoyed the comedic duo of Team Hell No showing us that he was way more than just an amazing in-ring technician. His feud with The Wyatt Family was also one of the more interesting that I can remember from recent history. All in all, I don’t think this ring general ever had a bad match and was always a pleasure to watch. Such a loss to the industry. I only hope that he finds a new way to express his passion.

Grady:
I didn’t follow Bryan outside WWE, and I wasn’t his biggest fan while he was in WWE, but you cannot deny the reaction when he won at WrestleMania 30. He was a guy who wasn’t meant to have that spot but took it, made gold out of it and beat three of the best wrestlers in one night.

 

2. NJPW Honor Rising took place this weekend in Tokyo, Japan. Are you a fan of one-off supercards like this, pitting the stars of NJPW and ROH against one another, or do they hinder the storyline progression you’d otherwise get on an exclusively NJPW or ROH event?

Clint:
These types of shows can be very hit and miss, but I always give them a chance, if for nothing else than the opportunity to see wrestlers compete against each other who we don’t usually get to see in the same ring.

Blake:
Truthfully, I don’t get to see a lot of New Japan or ROH, so I can’t give too much of an opinion on this. However, if these guys get a chance at showing off in front of a wider audience in a purely in-ring capacity, then there’s a good chance people will begin buying into who they are beyond the ring. As entertainers, that’s all they can hope for.

Corey:
I like to see match ups that don’t happen often. I’m really excited to see how the likes of Moose and Dalton Castle fair in front of the Japanese crowd.

Richard:
I love these supercard events. I agree to an extent that they can somewhat slow storylines however if two or more feuds are combined in a tag match I feel it adds another dimension to the match as well as potentially introducing the audience to a storyline and promotion. The cards with ROH and NJPW in the United States have been excellent for the past few years and I see no reason why this would be any different. The only drawback seems to be that we very rarely see a singles title change hands.

Grady:
I see no problem with supercards, they provide you with a lot of different match-ups that you won’t normally get and answer a bunch of “what if”s or dream matches people come up with. I don’t mind the storylines being halted, but a good supercard can put on matches and still keep the momentum of feuds going via segments or other means.

 

3. Triple H has announced the Global Cruiserweight Series, a 10-week tournament of cruiserweight wrestlers to be held on WWE Network this July. With 32 participants, who are you hoping to see involved?

Clint:
The one name that I really, really hope is involved is Austin Aries. I’ve been a big fan of Aries for a long time, through his work in ROH and TNA, and he’s contracted to WWE but hasn’t shown up on-screen yet. This tournament seems to me to be the perfect way to introduce A Double to the non-initiated fans.

Blake:
I’m a little bit naive when it comes to the current crop of indie wrestlers. In fact, all of the ones I can think of that I would like to see there (The Young Bucks, Trevor Lee, Ricochet) are signed to various other promotions. All I’ll say is we haven’t seen El Generico in a while…

Corey:
In recent months I’ve become a fan of the British scene with the likes of Progress and Rev Pro so I would love to see guys like Will Ospreay, Marty Scurll and Zack Sabre Jr. I would also love to see one of my favourites at the moment, “The Anti Hero” Tommy End.

Richard:
I think this is an amazing idea and could really launch the careers of several relatively unknown talents to new heights and maybe even bring back the cruiserweight division to weekly television. As to who I think should be included, names that spring to mind are Will Ospreay and Zach Sabre Jr. If they weren’t under contract to Lucha Undergound, ROH or NJPW I would also love to see Prince Puma/Ricochet, Matt Sydal, Kushida or Rocky Romero.

Grady:
I hope it is good, but most people I would like to see in it are contracted to other companies. Everyone’s wishlists seem to be of non-WWE wrestlers, so I am going to go the other direction, I want to see Kalisto, Neville or Austin Aries make appearances. if I had to pool from outside WWE my top pick would be Prince Puma from Lucha Underground and definitely not Ricochet, I just don’t like him.

 

4. WWE Shop continues to produce all manner of merchandise for AJ Styles, while WWE.com polls fans on their expectations for the Phenomenal One. With this level of interest, do you foresee Styles headlining a WWE special/pay-per-view this year, or possibly holding the WWE World Heavyweight Championship?

Clint:
I’m not sure about this year. My instinct is to say no, but I’ve been wrong before (I totally expected CM Punk to be under-utilised in WWE). The one thing that holds Styles back is his lack of mic skills, which is important in WWE. But then, Roman Reigns cuts terrible promos and he keeps getting pushed, so maybe Styles can thrive.

Blake:
He will definitely hold the title. With this level of interest in him, it wouldn’t surprise me if we see him as the top man before year’s end.

Corey:
Trying not to sound like a hipster here, but I’ve been a fan of AJ for years so I would love to see him reach the pinnacle of pro-wrestling and hold the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. I think he could do it.

Richard:
Do I see AJ headling a pay-per-view? Absolutely. This year? Probably. At a guess it won’t be before SummerSlam though. I don’t think it will be a matter of if AJ wins the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, but when he will win it. However, again, I don’t think it will happen before SummerSlam, if it happens this year.

Grady:
No. I see AJ Styles being a solid upper mid-carder or main eventer if they need him, but right now the main event, even with all the injuries, is still pretty full storyline-wise. I would like to see him get up there, and he might be in a multi-man match for the title at SummerSlam, but I don’t see him running with the belt this year.

 

5. WWE Best PPV Matches of 2015 is due out on DVD in New Zealand next month. Assuming the entries were ranked, which would be your number one?

Clint:
An easy pick (since this is pay-per-view matches, which keeps NXT out of the mix): Lesnar vs. Cena vs. Rollins from Royal Rumble 2015. Easily the best match in WWE (excluding NXT) last year. Lesnar was an absolute beast, Rollins showed what he was capable of away from Shield team matches and, I hate to say it, Cena had another excellent match (he had a few in 2015). It had drama, big spots, everything you could ask for.

Blake:
I really hate to give this title to a match that Cena won, but his match against Kevin Owens at Money in the Bank was truly enjoyable. In saying that, if this also includes NXT TakeOver specials, then everybody knows it’s Bayley vs. Banks at Brooklyn; holy of holys, that was an incredible match.

Corey:
John Cena vs. Seth Rollins vs. Brock Lesnar at Royal Rumble is a standout for me for sure.

Richard:
The champion vs. champion match with Cena and Rollins from SummerSlam was very good. So were the Cena vs. Owens matches. For non-Cena fans, I would look at Brock vs. Reigns vs. Rollins from WrestleMania 31.

Grady:
My favourite match was the WrestleMania 31 main event, not just for the twist ending, but it was a match I enjoyed from start to finish and was invested in. As a close second I would take the John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins match at Royal Rumble.