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Is New WWE World Champion Daniel Bryan Doomed To Fail?

Daniel Bryan WWE world heavyweight championDaniel Bryan surprised the WWE Universe on Sunday night when he cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase to win the WWE world heavyweight championship. As much as we have all been waiting for this moment, is it a run doomed to fail?

Let me preface this by saying that I am a huge Daniel Bryan fan and have been for a long time. The first time I saw Bryan was sitting with former Ring of Honor owner Rob Feinstein and our late close friend Doug Gentry as they showed me the talent they were planning to bring in to start Ring of Honor. From that moment I was blown away.

I had the opportunity to call some Bryan’s matches on the independents, including in Ring of Honor. I was a big fan. Not only was a real pro and super nice guy, he was just fantastic in the ring. He was exciting, intense, fun, and was arguably the best all around talent on the independents. That is why most of us were all blown away that the WWE released this great talent a year or so earlier.

[adinserter block=”2″]When Bryan reached the WWE for a second time, big things were expected. Most that followed Bryan on the independent scene had the confidence in Bryan to become a big success in the WWE. He certainly had the talent, and it didn’t hurt being trained by the great Shawn Michaels. All he needed was an opportunity, which is a whole lot to ask in the land of the WWE.

He finally got it! On NXT you knew they had the confidence in him when they put him in the ring with then WWE world heavyweight champion Chris Jericho in his first big match. The match was great, Bryan was a hit, and the feud with Michael Cole even gave him something of a dynamic. This was more than could have been expected for a highly touted independent prospect like Bryan in the WWE.

Bryan didn’t win NXT , but looked like he was ready for big things. It was apparent quickly that Bryan was going to be counted on as the workhorse of Nexus the night the group attacked John Cena and CM Punk. Why else would the WWE brass trust such a young group in such a pivotal spot? The reason being was that the company knew they could count on Bryan to hold the young group together. Unfortunately that all came crashing down thanks to one of the most controversial angles in recent years.

Bryan was fired in what still remains one of the biggest mysteries of the last several years of WWE decisions. Bryan was fired for choking Justin Roberts with a tie during the angle or spitting at Cena depending upon which story you believe. Bryan followed in the steps of Eddie Guerrero (fired for much different reasons) and went back to the independents, stayed sharp, and worked his way back to the WWE.

For some reason or another the WWE appeared afraid to pull the trigger on Bryan when he came back. Instead of coming back with a monster push and reaching his potential, he was stuck in low card feuds, and was an afterthought on most weeks of television. That all changed following WrestleMania 27.

I wrote up a WrestleMania 28 predictions blog in April for fun. One of the things I predicted was that Bryan would be in the WWE championship picture at WrestleMania 28. My basis for this was the disappointing main-event between John Cena and The Miz and Vince McMahon knowing that he needs a workhorse he can count on in that spot. It was a big wakeup call. Whether he winds up in WrestleMania 28 in that spot or not is still up in the air, but I had a feeling that the company was going to pencil him in that spot.

Money in the Bank 2011 was the coming out party for Bryan. He tore through the match, had a match that would have stolen the show on any other night. He came out on SmackDown and proclaimed that he was going to cash it in at WrestleMania and appeared primed for a big run through then…or so I thought. The WWE started getting him ready alright…by jobbing him for months on SmackDown. Yep, the WWE booked Bryan on a lengthy losing streak following the proclamation.

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I just cannot even fathom the rationale of taking a guy at his hottest peak nine months before WrestleMania 28 and turning him into the “lovable loser.” Any momentum that Bryan had coming off the win and proclamation was lost in a matter of a weeks. While fans familiar with Bryan’s work pre-WWE were still behind him, the majority of the WWE Universe wasn’t buying it. Especially when the announcers reminded them weekly how boring and one-dimensional Bryan was in the ring.

So now here we are a few months later and Bryan is now the champion. On top of being jobbed for the last few months, he not only defeated an injured babyface, but broke his promise to the fans. To me and you, who cares right? Right, but to the kids and families who outnumber us and dress from head to toe in Cena swag, they see Bryan as a loser, a liar, and a cheat. Heck, John Cena spent all of September telling those same fans what a scumbag and cheater Alberto Del Rio was for doing the same thing. How do you think those same fans will feel about Bryan?

I think Bryan has all of the talent to be a headliner in the WWE for years. Unfortunately the WWE Creative Team has done a bang up job over the last year in setting up all of its new WWE champions for failure. The Miz, Del Rio, and even CM Punk to an extent didn’t and aren’t delivering the numbers and business that they otherwise should be bringing in with their championship pushes. Why? Because these guys never had the strong momentum coming into the WWE championship that just about every past champion had in WWE history. So what happens when they get there? The fans don’t buy it and why should they? In the eyes of the majority of the WWE Universe guys like John Cena, Triple H, and Randy Orton are worlds better than the champion, hurting interest in the champ and the title.

As excited as I am to see Bryan with the title, he has a very rough road ahead of him. It is going to be difficult to get fans behind a guy that has been losing matches weekly over the last several months. It will be even harder when you have the commentator reminding you what a lucky, cheating, boring, loser that Bryan is. Yes Michael Cole is a heel, but when he actually has a point in telling fans what a cheater and liar Bryan is, that will hurt.

[adinserter block=”1″]One thing he has going for him over CM Punk is that he has the opportunity to have some great opponents on the SmackDown roster. With patience, Bryan could get over on SmackDown and become a huge success as champion. As long as the writers continue to play games with the SmackDown guys on RAW, Bryan’s chances of being taken seriously are not very good. If Bryan was kept off RAW and booked against Randy Orton, Sheamus, Mark Henry, and Christian (when he returns) through WrestleMania, he could do great but that isn’t likely to happen.

Rejoice yes, but proceed with caution. Daniel Bryan could be best in the business if given the same opportunities champions of the past were given in his position. Unfortunately I wouldn’t hold my breath on that happening. The immediate reaction of former WWE superstar Batista is likely the same as most of the WWE Universe.

“excuse me! did i hear that right? Daniel Bryan World Heavyweight Champ. ummmmmmm…..ok.”

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  1. Hate to nitpick but wanted to point out that Bryan choked Justin Roberts, not Cena. 🙂

    And it's a damn shame he got fired because that is the one move–along with ripping apart the ring–that made that entire angle seem eerily realistic.

  2. Good read. A few thoughts.

    While Bryan has gotten scattered victories over the likes of Cody Rhodes, Wade Barrett and Del Rio he has also been handedly beat by all of these men on numerous occasions.

    You might say, "oh but didn't you see that his ribs were taped? They gave him an out and were protecting him." Sadly, this would be the case for any other wrestler who actually had a semblance of momentum.

    Unfortunately, Bryan has been booked to lose clean to upper mid-card/main-event wrestlers for the past six months so it's become difficult to wash that bad taste out of my mouth and accept a submission victory over ADR, because now he's champion.

    Ironically, it's the combo platter of Cole labeling him as a farce, as well as Bryan reneging on his promise to cash in at Wrestlemania that has done more harm than the losing streak.

    There is seemingly a Jekyll and Hyde approach between upper management and creative that is torn on whether to push Bryan one week or tear him down the next. I mean, they've at least been consistent with Ryder, who despite only being a secondary champ actually has more momentum going for him right now.

    Despite the rumors of the WWE not wanting Bryan in the Wrestlemania 28 main event I'd like to believe there is a bigger picture here. I feel that this 'tainted' victory (for Bryan's character) is part of a build to his eventual heel turn. And much like it did for Christian, I feel this could be the beginning of something big for Bryan. I really hope so.

  3. WWE always likes to build guys up, break them down to see how they handle and then build them up again. I kind of think it builds character, do you want another Brock Lesnar or Bobby Lashley? Look at what they did with Sheamus, nice monster push on Raw, then cooled him down, and now bringing him back up again.

    Although I don't think they exactly prepared Bryan for this right perfectly, I think it was rushed. Henry was hurt and is probably going to miss some time, so I think they pushed forward ahead of what they wanted to.

    I think this is going to be a short term run, but i dont think we should go crazy over that, he still has a lot of time to go, and I think he will definitely have his opportunities over the years

  4. E, if you were there at the Farg last night and heard the reaction Bryan got for the LeBell Lock on ADR, you might change your tune on the WWE Universe's reaction to him cashing in early. He was a star last night, and everyone bought him.

    • I hope that remains true, but Philly (Baltimore, NY, and Chicago) aren't always indicative of the grand audience. I am a huge fan. Id love for this to culminate with a champion vs champion match at WM between Danielson and Punk.

    • While I agree that more and more fans are buying into the legitimacy of Daniel Bryan, it's tough to measure star power from a crowd who is reacting to a shock value victory. For example, back in '94, the crowd in MSG was off the chain when Diesel jacknifed his way to the WWF title in 8 seconds. Once the dust settled and that new car smell faded, the excitement dissipated. It's all about keeping the momentum going.

      What Bryan has going for him is fantastic ability and an every-man appeal. He's also acceptable on the mic, when he's not crowing about his dreams and his ten years trying to make it. He has a snark and intensity that can be properly honed.


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