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WWE’s Patience Pays Off With Daniel Bryan

WWE Creative has had its up and downs the last few years but right now they are writing its biggest hit in ages. The booking of Daniel Bryan is the best effort to get a new guy over in many years and for once the patience of creative has paid off.

Injuries can be a funny thing in pro wrestling, especially when they happen to a top guy. That’s why you hear countless stories of wrestlers working hurt. John Cena’s injury left the WWE without its top star indefinitely and forced creative to think out of the box. The result has been some of the most fun WWE television in years.

I took a lot of heat early on when I asked simply if Bryan was over. I looked simply at the ratings and unfortunately they weren’t good if you were a Bryan supporter. The numbers didn’t lie and while the “Yes” chants were taking over arenas, he wasn’t putting the butts in front of the television screen. I wasn’t wrong but I am ready to say that Daniel Bryan is over!

I give the WWE and Vince McMahon a ton of credit. It would have been easy to pull the plug on Bryan after some of those early numbers. Whether it was patience or necessity Vince stuck by his new star. I can’t say the numbers are mind blowing but they have gotten better and Bryan is the first true top babyface the company has had in years.

Now wait a minute what about CM Punk and John Cena? They were fantastic top babyfaces right? They are big stars but neither was able to connect as a babyface to the entire audience. Bryan is the first top babyface who has everyone in the house repeating his chant and backing him. It truly is remarkable in an environment where it’s cool to boo heels and sympathetic heroes are often rejected.

Let’s give credit where credit is due. The entire Bryan storyline has been fantastic and credit must go to everyone. Triple H and Stephanie have been tremendous as heels and their objections to Bryan gave this storyline something mostly everyone can relate to. Randy Orton has not been this good of a heel in years. The chemistry between Orton and Bryan is phenomenal. I can do without The Big Show crying but The Shield as hired henchmen are the icing on the cake.

Adding The Shield to the program may have been the most brilliant move of all. Rather than having a program between your top heel and top babyface, now you open up several possibilities for television matches allowing you to save the payoff bouts for pay per view. At some point The Shield will turn or be turned on and that will open up even more options for creative to continue the story.

Another added element which we could be seeing in a few weeks was hinted at on RAW. Shawn Michaels. Michaels is Hunter’s best friend and also Bryan’s trainer. Hunter dropped his name in the promo last night and I am sure it wasn’t by accident. Michaels will be coming to RAW at some point, opening up another chapter to this compelling story.

Let’s not forget about John Cena. Cena is the real wild card here. I would presume that the plan when Cena comes back is to build towards a WrestleMania showdown with Orton or Triple H. The WWE need to tread lightly because if fans see Bryan pushed aside for Cena it could get ugly. How the WWE utilizes Cena when he comes back into this storyline will be fascinating.

The Daniel Bryan freight train is full steam ahead. This storyline and specifically his rise have made the WWE more fun to watch than it’s been in years. I hope that the WWE can learn from this the next time they elevate a new star and remain patient in the early stages. It will pay off for the right guy and the right guy in this case is Daniel Bryan.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an M.B.A. from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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