In what can only be considered a massively surprising claim, it was claimed recently that WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan was supposed to come out as gay back in 2010. Not because he was gay, but because WWE actually wanted him to be a gay character. The report comes from a pretty reliable source, former WWE creative team member/writer Brian Maxwell Mann.
Mann worked for WWE a little while back, and took part in developing some of the main roster storylines. Obviously WWE no longer employs Mann, so he is able to reveal anything he wishes.
Mann noted that the storyline was set up originally just fine on TV. The Bella Twins were supposedly very attracted to Daniel Bryan’s character. Both were vying for his affection and even accompanied him to the ring off and on. He seemingly had no interest in either. This was supposed to lead to Bryan coming out as gay.
The storyline fell apart at the end, as WWE had to rush a re-write and had Daniel Bryan reveal that he was dating Gail Kim for the last 6 months. Of course in real life, he was dating Brie Bella, his now-wife.
It was claimed that WWE was pressured by USA Network at the time, who wanted WWE to have a positive gay character part of programming. This was the time GLAAD and other gay and lesbian organizations first started to rise in a major way. USA was trying to bring in the gay and lesbian audience more by catering to them. Shows like Modern Family and Glee started around this time and had been great successes. So the idea had merit for USA, who had been the #1 cable station for some time and wanted to remain as such.
WWE has always had gay and lesbian fans, but there was never a character for them to look to. The idea to cater to them was a marketing concept that made sense, but in the long run, it would have done nothing for them. WWE would have had to have added gay moments for Bryan; otherwise, it wouldn’t have made sense. At that point, they could have alienated hardcore fans who didn’t watch pro-wrestling for gay situations that were already a bit problematic due to the job already.
WWE Superstar Darren Young came out as gay a while back to TMZ, which shocked the world at the time. Young had been out with an injury for the last number of months, but he is now ready to compete. WWE now has someone to market who is gay, which is helpful. He is present at any and all events WWE is part of, involving gay and lesbian rights groups such as GLAAD.
WWE does not have to make Young into a gay character, because he’s gay in real life. So they could simply make him a strong character and that, alone, would be better. Overdoing his character to make it known he is gay is overdoing it and fans do not want to see that sort of thing.
Regardless, Daniel Bryan escaped a potentially terrible storyline. Thankfully, he turned out just fine after this as Bryan ended up winning Money in the Bank a year later and then cashed in his opportunity to become World Heavyweight Champion. His career has been on the rise ever since.
All that being said, WWE and Bryan not doing the gay angle turned out best for all parties. USA Network may not have gotten the character they wanted, but that was probably a good thing.
[IMG Credit: Entertainment.com, DeviantArt]