Jul 062015
 
Daniel Bryan Blu-ray Packshot
Title: WWE: Daniel Bryan – Just Say Yes! Yes! Yes!
Director: WWE Home Media
Starring: Daniel Bryan, Brie Bella, Seth Rollins,
Genre: Sports
Runtime: 511 mins
Music: WWE
Studio: WWE
Certificate: US: Not Rated
UK: 15
Release Date: US: Now
UK: Now
See If You Like: CM Punk: Best In The World, It’s Good To Be King – The Jerry Lawler Story,

They told him he wasn’t good enough with main event gab and he said No! No! No!

The rise of ‘everyman’ fan powered curiosity professional wrestler Daniel Bryan from the grimey & grubby American independent scene to the main event of the World Wrestling Entertainment’s biggest show of the year is the stuff that dreams are made of and well worth covering on the usually high standard of quality documentaries that is tradition with WWE Home Media releases. What an absolute shame that if you’ve a WWE Network user then you’ve seen most of the documentary part before more than likely. Whilst there is some more fascinating insight as we get new footage in later parts of the documentary, the power of the ‘Yes Movement’ and Bryan’s in-ring resume makes for Just Say Yes! Yes! Yes! to be only an okay DVD set.

On the eve of the biggest two matches of his career for a shot at the WWE‘s World Heavyweight Championship at their premier annual event Wrestlemania, Bryan looks back at his wrestling career from the humble beginnings as a logger’s son, the start of his journey under the tutelage of Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels, his rise to becoming one of the legitimately best wrestlers in the entire world to signing on to a part of the WWE roster. From there we see his rising stock and many roadblock backwards steps placed in front of him before the real life power of the WWE fanbase ‘Yes Movement’ changed the plans so Daniel could compete at the main event of Wrestlemania 30.

I can’t hold any neutrality here – I love Daniel Bryan, and Just Say Yes! encapsulates everything I love about the man. He comes across as genuinely one of the nicest guys you’ll ever want to meet and very humble. I afforded a laugh when his real life wife and WWE diva/female wrestler Brie Bella was once scolded for framing a clipping about him and refused to put it up in his own house. You can tell Bryan clearly loves wrestling as he recalls his inspirations of smaller guys like Rey Mysterio & Dean Malenko giving him the stones to give wrestling a go despite his size and also the time wrestling exposed his sister to her first male bum back in the 1980’s. What makes him so popular with WWE’s audiences, even after missing a whole year due to injuries, is that he is an everyman. For years, the minds behind WWE have had a fascination with big, muscular men with larger than life personas like Hulk Hogan and The Rock. For someone like Bryan to come along and develop a real people power behind him when he’s so against the WWE’s norm with his small and pale physique along with a great big bushy beard (there’s a fun game for you; watching that grow over the five years so far in WWE) and you’ll realise what an achievement it is for him to ascend atop of the wrestling world. He’s the so-called “B+ player” in the eyes of the crew behind the scenes that the fans forced WWE to smash the glass ceiling for him.

Whilst the subject himself excels and is an engrossing watch that will leave you hanging onto every word, the format of the main documentary itself is fairly wobbly. The anonymous documentary makers (as per usual with WWE’s own self-made productions) choose to gloss over the pre-WWE days of his career, despite it being far longer (and more interesting on a different level) to his run with the E. To be fair, they at least went out of their way to procure Ring Of Honor footage and I like the balance with a similar indy turned E star in Seth Rollins and WWE born and bred John Cena who churp in with details. Whilst the contributions of people like Michaels, Bryan’s E mentor William Regal and wrestling icon Stone Cold Steve Austin are welcome, it does not come across that they sort out for parts of this documentary. Instead, it feels like the camera crew saw them backstage at a show and asked “Stone Cold! What do you think of Daniel?!” before scooting off to find someone else.

Daniel Bryan Just Say Yes Yes Yes 02

To further the point that Bryan really did have to work hard to get where he ended up, there are plenty of reminders at bad treatment from the E. A mismatch with reality star turned wrestler The Miz in a jokey first season of the development wrestling show NXT. A three month firing and rehiring after choking a man on live TV when WWE was making an effort to go rated PG in it’s television programming. Being bumped off the main Pay Per View section of the card to a dark (or untelevised) match at Wrestlemania 27 at the last minute. Losing in an embarassing 18 second match against Sheamus the following year. When you look at that, you wonder how he’s managed to survive so many snipes and knockdowns. Well, that loss turned out to be a blessing in disguise as the legit annoyed crowd started to join in with Bryan in his “Yes!” chant and pointing to the sky, making him go from obnoxious wrestling technician to underdog fan favourite overnight. From there, we see the development of the ‘Yes Movement’ – Bryan’s fanbase – to the point where they completely turned at a PPV when they realised Daniel would not be performing. From there, we see how the Yes chant started to appear at football games, high schools and performed by soccer players at matches making Daniel a pop culture icon. Whilst this point is got across, it’s all rather whistle stop as you can imagine with so much skipped in the one hour documentary, with a significant chunk of the post-Summerslam 2013 pre-Wrestlemania 30 build with Bryan winning the World title repeatedly but having false finishes pull the rug from underneath him.

Now, this is the first time I’ve watched a WWE Home Media release since they decided to make their UK distribution switch from Silvervision to Fremantle Media (yeah, them of Britain’s Got Talent and The X-Factor Saturday night telly fame) and I must say I’m far from impressed with the DVD transfer. I should point out that I am watching a Pre-Production set of discs on a Playstation 4 Blu-ray player so it’s not final release (and presumably quality) and I’m using a fairly advanced piece of equipment above the technology. But there’s so many wild errors here. There appears to be a fuzzy glow at times where none of the footage looks clear and focused. Some clips looks pixulated, particularly the interview segments with Bryan, and yet some match and TV show segments look great and broadcast quality level. The archived footage from the Ring of Honor promotion looks even worse than their DVD releases (and ROH aren’t famed for their quality releases either). I’ve seen far better in previous documentaries before so I don’t know if it’s just Fremantle getting used to DVD transfers from WWE but I hope they step up their game technically for the future.

Daniel Bryan Just Say Yes Yes Yes 05

This wouldn’t be too much of an issue in all fairness if we were getting an all new documentary – we’re not. The vast majority of this one hour was available on the WWE Network (pretty much the wrestling version of Netflix) with most of the Wrestlemania 30 build up and ending shoved in later on. Of course, if you don’t have the Network, it’s a fine if albeit gloss over of Daniel Bryan’s career. For the rest of us, it’s not a nice feeling to pay for something which you already have access to. The weighing up the costs between shelling out for this set or pluming for the Network where you can access to so much is a no brainer too. Similarly, the matches and moments picked out are a pretty nice timeline of Daniel’s wrestling “Best of” moments with cracking matches against Chris Jericho & CM Punk and the ridiculously entertaining ‘Team Hell No’ days with Kane but again they’re on the Network. The only new footage is the interspersed interview segments which were filmed this year and whilst they offer fascinating insight at how badly Bryan has been treated it’s hardly new material from Daniel Bryan fans.

Daniel Bryan – Just Say Yes! Yes! Yes! is a odd beast to say the least, which reflects it’s subject matter. It is worth purchasing for even the most casual Bryan fans, although again the fact about if you have the WWE Network makes buying this for naught, since everything relevant is on there. I hope in a few years time we do get a proper full on documentary that this man’s fascinating career deserves because this isn’t it, although it is a nice and easy watch that sums up the man in full.

Terry Lewis@lewisonlife.

Verdict:
Ratings 06 Buy from Amazon.co.uk Buy from Amazon.com
Daniel Bryan Blu-ray Packshot