I’ve been listening to a slew of podcasts since the Royal Rumble, covering the Rumble pay-per-view and Raw the night after with varying opinions. As I get ready to tape the podcast later tonight I ask myself the question above.
From the Dave Meltzers to the Don Tonys to the Brian Fritzs to the John Pollocks (picture me cutting a promo like Shane Douglas when he threw down the NWA Championship belt), I feel like a Stretch Armstrong doll being pulled in different directions trying to make out why the Pittsburgh audience reacted Sunday night, just because Daniel Bryan didn’t make it into the Rumble match.
From as far back as Summerslam, I have talked about how Daniel Bryan has been over since WrestleMania 28. Even as he was pulled out of the singles title picture, he was able to thrive in a year-long “Team Hell No” story line.
I have said that Bryan deserves to stay high on the match card looking in or be involved in main event matches or even be a title contender.
The problem is WWE Creative has failed to book Bryan properly to make him a credible championship contender. It all falls back to when John Cena hand-picked Bryan as his Summerslam opponent. He never earned the right to challenge for the belt. Cena chose the popular opinion of the WWE Universe, and the WWE Universe learned that if they just kept chanting “YES!” Daniel Bryan would get what the fans wanted for him.
Cena’s injury post-Summerslam made Bryan the defacto top babyface, and of course the crowd was ecstatic about it, but he never wrestled in any matches to declare him #1 contender.
That’s why I haven’t had any issues with Daniel Bryan not being the champion or why WWE chose to not to let him keep the belt. I believe you can make him a champion and there are precedents like Rey Mysterio, CM Punk and even Shawn Michaels to support that the WWE Champion does not need to be big and musclebound.
For Bryan to be taken seriously as a champion, they needed to have him win a viable contender’s match and then give him a long title run so that he can EARN his foothold in the main event, just like they did with CM Punk.
Instead, having he Authority put him down and screwing him out of title victories has not benefited anyone. It has weakened the belt for three straight PPVs. The title matches at Night of Champions and Battleground were a total wash. If you wanna know why the TV ratings and the PPV buy rates dropped, there’s your proof.
Fast forward to TLC 2013, Daniel Bryan has been moved out of the title picture and into a feud with the Wyatt family. John Cena had to talk about giving Daniel Bryan a title shot if he beat Orton for the newly formed WWE World Heavyweight Championship to win the crowd’s approval. Well it would not come to be because Orton won the match in an overbooked no-DQ match and then won a rematch with a diversion at the Royal Rumble. (Tell me again how anyone should care about the title picture, or care about Randy Orton for that matter).
The WWE Universe wants Daniel Bryan to be rewarded for his great matches and his in-ring ability, okay that’s fine. But WWE Creative has yet to give us a reason why he really deserves it.
Did you guys forget how you booked Bryan for his run as World Heavyweight Champion in 2011. Winning the Money in the Bank briefcase, cashing in on Big Show, winning multiple title matches over Big Show and Mark Henry or both.
Now, Monday night, Triple H planted the seeds to let Daniel Bryan have another title shot, because what the spoiled and entitled WWE Universe wants… they now will get.
In an age where our President of the United States is picked out of popularity (without earning it in my opinion), we want to do the same thing in the WWE.
Time to bring the sports back in sports entertainment. Like a UFC fighter or a NASCAR Driver or a boxer can beat all comers before they can contend for a championship, Daniel Bryan is good enough to be in the main event and be a champion, but the writers and the bookers need to build the story so that he becomes once and for all, a contender. -KOP