I was like all of you. I wanted to see Daniel Bryan in the main-event at WrestleMania 31. I was also just as frustrated as you were with his 10-minute appearance at the Rumble. All rumors point to Bryan back in the Mania mix yet I have to wonder if that really is the right move.
So I am going to express an unpopular opinion here. Most readers and savvy Internet users tend to be Daniel Bryan fans. Thus, most of you will probably disagree with this thesis. As long as you don’t take it personally, we can remain friends. I think that the WWE are making a mistake by placing Bryan into the match and booking a Triple Threat at Mania. There…I said it.
Why the drastic change? I certainly had my doubts about Bryan after his Rumble comeback was announced. Yet I was proven wrong that night in Philadelphia when Bryan’s fans hijacked the Rumble. It was shortly thereafter the match with Reigns was booked at Fastlane and the idea was set in place to put Bryan back into the top mix. Fans were happy, I am sure Bryan was happy, and the WWE creative team were praised with their audible. I can safely say after watching several weeks of post-Rumble RAWs that they had it right the first time.
I am going to break some ugly news to you Bryan fans. He is just not as over as he was last year at this time. Was he over in Philadelphia? Yes and why wouldn’t he be? It’s a northeast crowd that is always going to be more favorable to Bryan and it was his first match back in months. The fans wanted to see a comeback story not a brief appearance. With all due respect to my hometown, those fans do not represent the majority.
One thing that has been crystal clear in the last three weeks is that Bryan is no more over than Reigns or even Dean Ambrose in some spots. Bryan gets a nice reaction but this is far from the Yes craze we saw last year. Go back and watch RAW a year ago compared to today. The fans were caught up in the hype last year, it was truly a movement. There is no movement in 2015. Casual fans are confused at this point. His reaction in Philadelphia has been misread and as much as I am a fan of the guy, the hysteria is just not there.
Go back two weeks ago on RAW. Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman cut a promo on the Bryan vs. Reigns match. Brock and Heyman had fans chanting “No, no, no!” in regards to Bryan. That was an eye-opener to me. Casual fans don’t believe in Bryan, nor do they have much interest in watching him wrestle Brock. That reaction would not have happened last year.
This isn’t to say that Reigns is the guy. However, Reigns has already had his legs cut off from under him. I think that the WWE should have proceeded with its plans and kept Bryan out of the match. There is no reason that Bryan couldn’t have challenged Reigns at some point in 2015 for the title. In just three weeks the WWE have made Reigns look foolish, sappy, dumb, and like a guy who is not top guy material. This all came as a result of trying to shoehorn Daniel Bryan into Mania. Without Bryan in the mix, Reigns could have been the sole focus of the company with the star power he needed to take the WWE into the future.
Bryan had his time at the top and there is no reason he can’t have it again. However, they are cannibalizing their two top guys all because a rowdy crowd in Philadelphia and a Twitter campaign had the creative team guessing themselves. If Reigns is the future, the company needs to be all in on him and that needs to come at the expense of Daniel Bryan.