It’s been a week since two pieces of bad news hit, and frankly, I still feel a bit sour about both, albeit one more than the other. Normally these things come in threes, but the way they played out, it was almost like there were three.
Looking at the second one first, there was the announcement that GameTrailers was shutting its doors after 13 long years.
Today is the last day of GameTrailers. I wish it wasn’t so. I love all of our fans like family. Thank you for letting me do this job.
— Brandon Jones (@TrailerJones) February 9, 2016
That came right from the founder and chief voiceover man for the site, Brandon Jones, and the staff found out about it mere hours before they would go on to broadcast what would be their final livestream on Twitch. Even if the writing has seemingly been on the wall for a while, with the constant office moves to the “new and improved” site only delivering half of what it promised (hint: it wasn’t the “improved” part), this was still blindsiding — if only because they just moved offices and had a bunch of work done to their new studios — studios that will never be used as they were intended (unless Defy Media are just that evil).
It’s bad enough to be put out of a job, but for it to come in such an abrupt manner? That is just completely lacking in class and compassion, if not professionalism as well (funny how the “two weeks notice” thing only seems to ever go one way, huh?). So to that, I say “fuck you, Defy Media.”
I’m really pulling for the folks from GT, who have been quite entertaining on YouTube, to land on their feet. In fact, I’d love to see them pull together and “keep on keeping on” by rallying and uniting under a new banner — sort of like Giant Bomb did. Maybe they won’t have the same backing, but I believe they could still bring the same heart and credibility to whatever they do.
I enjoyed their professional reviews and shows such as “The Final Bosman” and “Huber Hype“, to say nothing of “Pop Fiction” and GT Retrospectives” (go check them out on YouTube while you still can; there’s no telling how long they may last), and while their core draw (video game trailers) may have diminished by the rise of YouTube, their content was top notch.
As an aside: I remember several years ago when the lot of us at The Mega Man Network were putting together a series of retrospective videos for the series, one comment on one video mentioned that I sounded like the guy from GameTrailers (Brandon Jones). While I don’t think it was meant as a compliment, I certainly took it as one, as that was exactly the kind of tone I was trying to invoke.
Here’s a memorable bit from their coverage of Sony’s 2015 Electronic Entertainment Expo press conference for you:
Such passion will be missed.
Speaking of passion, the other thing that occurred earlier in the day was this:
Due to medical reasons, effective immediately, I am announcing my retirement. Tonight on Raw, I'll have a chance to elaborate. #gratitude
— Daniel Bryan (@WWEDanielBryan) February 8, 2016
The retirement speech would be the closing segment on that night’s WWE Raw, starting just around 11pm:
This news was bad, as it meant we were losing a fantastic performer in the ring, but also good, as it meant that Daniel Bryan was able to walk away from it while he still could. It took a lot of convincing, as WWE’s doctors were not ready to clear him, yet other outside authorities said he’d be fine. It wasn’t until Bryan visited a doctor who specialized in Mixed Martial Arts injuries that the full — or at least a much better look — at the severity of his history of concussions finally made him throw in the towel.
I’m happy that he gets to walk away, rather than be carried away due to injury, death, or anything else that’s claimed numerous careers. I’m happy I got to witness everything from his WWE debut to this moment. And yet, I’m sad. I’m sad because I lived vicariously through Daniel Bryan.
Once upon a time, I was in training to do that for a living. Fate intervened, and I instead got married and moved to Canada, where I would end up learning that it was probably a very good thing I didn’t get into wrestling, for health reasons that extend beyond the norm (I’d rather not get into it any more than that). I’ve always wondered what things would be like for the me in another parallel universe, the one who went forward with that path — ideally a healthier version of me.
But then came Daniel Bryan. He had my height. He had moves like those I’d hoped to incorporate (though never that damned diving headbutt). He started at around the same time. He even trained at the Shawn Michaels Wrestling Academy, which was the same place I had hoped to go (I think I still have the literature around here somewhere). Heck, he both even had dragon gimmicks (though his was a nickname; mine was intended to be more dramatic, like Drago from Lucha Underground).
So yeah, watching his rise was of a personal interest to me. Even though he hailed from the other side of the continent, even though there were differences in who we were, watching Daniel Bryan always felt like I was watching that other me. His triumphs felt like my triumphs; if he was able to make it, then maybe — just maybe, in another time and place, so could I.
Fortunately, he not only ended up capturing the hearts and minds of the fans, aka the “WWE Universe,” but also went on to capture the greatest prize in the business in perhaps the most epic fashion possible. At WrestleMania 30, he first defeated Triple H for the right to fight in the main event, then went on to join Randy Orton and Batista in a fight for the unified WWE title:
While his career ended way too soon, at least he was able to do what so many others have only dreamed of by capturing every active title on the WWE roster and main eventing WrestleMania in a most momentous fashion.
So for all he’s done and all the joy he’s brought to myself and others: Thank you, Daniel Bryan.
David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you’re interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at) nyteworks.net.