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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

2019 Ongoing MOTY List: Bryan vs. Kofi

2. Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston WWE WrestleMania 35 4/7

ER: Nuts to think that for seemingly years people filled their diapers online about how Bryan needed to be champion at Mania, and now those people are all dying for Bryan to lose the World title at Mania. I wouldn't have guessed ANYone would ever be higher than Bryan in the internet's eyes, but if I did I certainly wouldn't have bet on Kofi Kingston to be that guy. Nobody was clamoring for a Kofi Kingston World Title run 4 months ago. Nobody was demanding a main event singles run from Kofi. These people don't know what they want. I've been a big fan of Rowan's metal band shirt selection, saw him sporting Kreator a week ago. So him crossing over into horror films is a nice move. George A. Romero now has a WrestleMania reference under his belt. And this was good! We expected this to be good. Bryan is a main event megastar. I've seen him in matches where he knew exactly what to do in front of 70 fans, and here he is an absolute master at working in front of 70,000 fans. This had a feeling like it was going to be Kofi's big moment, and you could see what an awesome hand Bryan had in that. Excellent pacing and build, with big moments playing big. Kofi had a couple cool nearfalls off of flash roll ups, Bryan had a couple cool reversals into the Yes Lock, Kofi leaned into all of Bryan's crisp offense, Bryan snapped off some sharp kicks, and fans kept getting more and more into Kofi the longer this went. They really got as much time as they could have possibly wanted to give Kofi a gigantic moment, and Kofi kicking out of the big knee and hitting his best ever Trouble in Paradise (look at how manly Bryan is running face first into that thing) to win the title did it. This was clearly the moment the fans wanted (that they didn't want 4 months ago) and I'm sure giving them the moment will slow down the nitpicking and bitching and use of the phrase "shoved down our throats".

PAS: I thought this was incredible, Bryan is inarguably one of the top 5 wrestlers of the 21st century, and this was his masterpiece. Somehow he was able to get a New York City Wrestlemania crowd, the smarkiest of all smark crowds to invest entirely in a babyface victory over maybe the all time smark darling in wrestling history. There was no dueling chants, no fight forever, no this is awesome, it was just a crowd entirely invested in a babyface getting a win. The pacing of this was perfect, Bryan knew just when to slow it down, speed it up, give Kofi a moment and snatch then it away. I loved all the cut offs by Bryan, multiple different ways of snatching Kofi out of the air and grounding him into the mat. Loved all this little crossfaces, body shots, twisting of limbs, it had a very Regal feel to it, without any of comedy flourishes Regal would do to entertain the audience.  Bryan wasn't here to entertain, he was her to ruin the crowds good time, he was going to kick over the stereo system, piss on the floor and end the party.  I thought Kingston showed some nice fire, and some good fight out of holds, and this only works because of the good will he built up over a decade, but I imagine you could have put any random midcarder in this match and Bryan could have danced this dance.


2019 MOTY MASTER LIST

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