Daniel Bryan was a recent guest on Edge & Christian's Pod of Awesomeness, and he talked about how hard it can be to get over in WWE as a smaller guy. Spectacular high-flying moves can help, but that can't be the only thing you have to offer.
Bryan touched on two popular cruiserweights who have spent their entire careers outside of the WWE--Will Ospreay and Ricochet, and how he thinks their styles might hypothetically translate. He also related all of this to the struggles that the 205 Live crew has been having in winning over the casual fans of WWE.
“So this is what I think: I think at first (in-ring ability can get a guy over), but I also think that WWE is very character-driven. I was able to stand out, like, ‘this guy does things a little bit differently because he does things like this.’ And that helped me get over because I was different, right? If you’re hoping to come (to WWE) and stand out on your style alone as acrobatics, I think it’s going to be very hard to stand out if that’s just your thing. One of the things I’m really impressed with both is as I watch Ospreay develop, and like Ricochet, is that they’ve become also more personality-driven, and Ricochet is now more character-driven than anybody's ever given him credit for. And you can see that in Will Ospreay. He’s more character-driven than anybody's given him credit for and he keeps developing that. And I think that’s kind of the genesis, where those guys will get over. It’s not because it’s not a guy with no personality coming in and doing a ton of awesome spots. It’s, ‘these guys are doing awesome spots, but also personality-driven and story-driven as opposed to just being like, ‘hey, look at the cool flips I can do!'
“I think one of the things that they have a hard time with with 205 Live and the cruiserweights, is they do some incredible stuff, but do you know who else is doing incredible stuff? AJ Styles doing springboard 450º splashes, right? So to somebody who really knows, okay, the degree of difficulty, they may see Mustafa Ali do this incredible, I don’t even know what you call it, an inverted 450º splash or something, I don’t know, [but] it’s incredible. But to the casual fan, is that any more impressive than AJ Styles doing a springboard 450º splash? And he’s a main event guy who gets promo time and all this kind of stuff.”
You can listen to the full podcast at this link.