It’s official. The WrestleMania mini-site, which is already up despite being a good five months out from the date, has two matches listed. One obviously is John Cena against The Rock, but the other is the follow-up of a promise the SmackDown Money in the Bank winner, Daniel Bryan, made after winning his briefcase at the seminal titular pay-per-view back in July. For fans of the former Bryan Danielson, this is huge news.
Almost coinciding simultaneously with the placement of the match on the mini-site, Bryan got his first win on Smackdown in a long time, defeating Tyson Kidd in gratuitous product placement for the new Bret Hart/Shawn Michaels rivalry DVD. The announcers made a note to say his losing streak had ended (cementing the fact that Superstars is wholly ignored by the main narrative as he’s gotten at least one win over Heath Slater during that stretch). All the signs point to them really doing what fans like me have wanted them to do. Will they do it though? Will they commit to a big run for Bryan between now and WrestleMania?
[adinserter name=”366 right”]Before we all get our hopes up, I think it bears remembering that we all got our hopes up with CM Punk. Granted, the Straight Edge Savior is still in a position of faith with management. He’s still in the title picture, he’s still positioned as one of the top stars in WWE. However, man, did they drop the ball on him. He was special, and now, he’s just another guy below John Cena on the ladder.
So, while Bryan is still on the way to WrestleMania, that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re going to like the journey he’s going to take. WWE Creative has continually proven that when they’re given the ball to make a special storyline, they not only drop it, but they stab it with a pen knife and giggle as the deflation of the ball makes a fart noise.
However, for as bad as they bungle things, usually, they’re alright at making lasting imprints of guys when it matters. People watch WrestleMania, whether the build to it is good or not. It’s the match that usually matters. Many people feel like Bryan has to win, but I feel like if the match is good, if the match is memorable, then Bryan will have made it.
The best thing about that is that Bryan is probably the best wrestler in the world right now. The man goes out and wrestles good matches all the time. Whether it’s a Superstars tilt against Slater or a big time pay-per-view match like against Wade Barrett at SummerSlam or Dolph Ziggler last year at Bragging Rights, he’s bringing it. He’s got the rare talent to make people stand up and take notice of him for his wrestling ability alone. That’s not trivial in the least.
[adinserter name=”366 left”]As long as he makes it to WrestleMania, Bryan is in good shape. It’s definitely an exciting time to be a fan of his, and even though the event is still so far away, I’ve got butterflies in my stomach thinking about one of my favorites defying all convention and making it in a World Championship match. Could the winds of change really be blowing in WWE? It’s going to take a lot more for me to trust that it’s real, but hey, this is a good start.
Tom Holzerman is a lifelong wrestling fan and connoisseur of all things Chikara Pro, among other feds. When he’s not writing for the Camel Clutch Blog, you can find him on his own blog, The Wrestling Blog.