Daniel Bryan's Big Push at CM Punk's Expense? - Wrestle Newz twitter google

Daniel Bryan’s Big Push at CM Punk’s Expense?

Last week, I wrote an article talking about WWE’s risk of main event consolidation and how it would either sink or swim. After Daniel Bryan lost the strap to Randy Orton, you had two major programs going on with Bryan vs. the Establishment and CM Punk vs. Paul Heyman’s stable of wrestlers.

With the crowds cheering loudly for Bryan, management decided to go all-in with his angle while making Punk’s program somewhat secondary and stuck in the background. Despite Punk getting caned and visibly brutalized and him returning the favor to a phone doctor on RAW, it’s clear that uber-babyface Punk is playing second fiddle to Bryan.

I never would have expected it. I’m not sure WWE thought it would happen, either. However, truth can be stranger than fiction and WWE’s risk of putting Bryan at the top with Punk in the secondary slot has clearly worked. And, in one of those “only in WWE” moments, the Toronto fans were chanting “yes! yes! yes!” while Punk was caning the hell out of Heyman’s fake doctor. Not since “what?” chants during dead space in promos has a chant caught on fire with the masses.

I give WWE enormous credit for pushing Bryan’s program to the top while setting themselves up for potential backlash of Punk’s program playing second fiddle. It’s not an easy call. Punk has his fans, Heyman is a genius, but when you’re a booker your heart has to be into something 100% in order to really make it successful. Clearly, Hunter’s heart is in his current program against Daniel Bryan and he made an executive decision.

What’s Best for Business and all that jazz.

For Punk’s sake, I hope that he gets positioned for a Hell in a Cell match against Brock Lesnar in October.

The dynamics of the Bryan/Establishment program have been really simple but also clever. And the carryover of the main program into revitalizing Cody Rhodes’ career is a great step forward. Yes, Cody was one of those originally favored by Hunter… like he favored Randy Orton. However, every fan knows that Cody Rhodes has tons of potential and no one can deny the effort he puts into his work. Cody Rhodes is a babyface. He’s not a heel, try as he might with the plastic face guard of the past.

Watching the Cody Rhodes dynamic play out with Hunter antagonizing the Rhodes wrestling family is a guilty pleasure. Dusty, Cody, and Dustin are all totally different personalities and yet each brings something to the table that is fun to watch. The Randy Orton/Goldust match on RAW was predictably entertaining and had the right finish. Naturally, Goldust lost and couldn’t get Cody back in WWE. On commentary, John Layfield was dumping on the Rhodes family as being ungrateful jerks. Layfield got in a great line, claiming that Vince McMahon made Dusty Rhodes in polka dots way more popular than anything Jim Crockett ever did.

Evil Steph hammed it up backstage after the loss.

“Dustin… you must be so disappointed. I know Cody’s disappointed. His wife-to-be is disappointed. I mean, Cody doesn’t have a job any more. And that’s all because of you. I mean, you let your brother down. You let your father down. You let your whole family down. You let the WWE Universe down. I mean, how does that feel? How does it feel to be a loser? Just like your brother. So you know what? Why don’t you go join him in the unemployment line? Oh, and Dustin… tell your Dad I said hi.”

Last Friday, Hunter had his Smackdown open mic/town hall session. Damien Sandow was great in kissing ass while simultaneously celebrating Cody Rhodes’ demise. Too bad Hunter didn’t actually let Sandow get a win against Cody, but at least he still has his career ahead of him with the Money in the Bank briefcase.

The heel dynamics of the power couple have been amusing to watch. In wrestling, it helps to watch people involved who actually love what they’re doing. Hunter is excellent in his new leading role on camera. As much material as there is to dog him about in terms of who gets pushed and the obsessive need for the McMahon family to always be on camera, at least Hunter is setting the stage for a payoff with Daniel Bryan exacting revenge. The segment involving Bryan & Edge antagonizing Hunter was great. I suspect Edge said a couple of things in the 8 o’clock hour that Vince wasn’t thrilled about, but hey, the guy’s the Rated R Superstar. Hunter mocking him as having a thin stack of dimes for a neck was great, as The Shield threw out a battered Christian to needle Edge to close out the opening segment. The backstage segment was also a nice touch.

More often than not, today’s wrestling product truly misses real, genuine payoffs to angles that stretch over a long period of time. There’s always so much pressure to compress angles into a short time frame. There’s pressure to introduce new characters into the mix every week, such as Big Show entering into the picture as the “will he? won’t he?” guy for and against Daniel Bryan. However, there is an art to keeping programs simple and the go-home finish for Night of Champions on RAW was well-executed. Randy Orton appeared to exact more punishment on Bryan after Bryan beat Dean Ambrose. He even mocked the crowd with his own “yes! yes!” chant. Big Show finally refused to KO Daniel Bryan and Bryan laid out Orton after Orton had laid out Goldust earlier in the show. That’s a winning formula to heat up Sunday’s PPV. It sets the table
for Hell in a Cell and Survivor Series, both events which should deliver in terms of memorable main events. A job well done. I just hope they maintain their patience and stay the course. It’s enjoyable to watch right now.

Too bad the Rob Van Dam/Alberto Del Rio program has been so oddly booked, but nobody’s perfect.

Share This on Facebook
  • Kyle

    It makes sense. Bryan is the hottest commodity in wrestling right now and Punk, although an excellent face, is more effective in a heel role. I fully expect these storylines to play out possibly through Wrestlemania season, after which I can see Punk returning to his top heel role with Orton taking a small step back after a lengthy run. It would allow a nice Punk/Bryan storyline to develop which is something I think we can all enjoy. There’s a ton of ways to bring that about naturally and the nature of this article is a prime example. Punk could eventually turn after feeling disrespected by the company and the people who took to Bryan while he (Punk) faded to a #2 role (possibly #3 once Cena returns).

  • Devon

    Bryan is the best in the world. Punk is a close second. Last year I liked punk better. But Punk has been kinda boring since he returned at payback. And Bryan is the #1 guy now. Bryan is better than punk but barely

    • Macho Man

      First off, Cena is the #1 guy and will stay #1 guy until he retires or semi retires like Taker. Cena gets the biggest pops/reactions positive and/or negative by far. If you want to take Cena out of the picture since he’s not currently wrestling, I would still say Punk is ahead of Bryan. Bryan is just in the main storyline right now. The WWE fan’s love Bryan’s yes/no chants right now so WWE/Vince would have to be blind,deaf and dumb to not push Bryan right now even if they didn’t want to. WWE could of put Punk instead of Bryan in the HHH/Orton Corporation storyline without it missing a beat. Punk is and has been totally over for a long time now. Bryan has just gotten to that point. #1 Cena, #2 Punk, #3 Bryan.

      • Devon

        I guess u r right. I’m a huge Bryan & Punk fan but I also like Cena.

  • Sieg

    You’re talking as if Punk is in danger of becoming irrelevant because he’s not in the main event. Punk isn’t playing second fiddle to anybody imo. His feud with Heyman is self-contained and plays no part in the current overarching angle with Bryan/Hunter which is makes for a nice change of gear when watching Raw and Smackdown. If anything the lack of involvement from those parties means we get to see something which feels like it’s in a continuity of it’s own. The fans know they’re seeing something special and what you have is Punk and Heyman crafting a very unique story.

    Punk would only be playing second fiddle if he was involved in Bryan’s angle as more of a sidekick. And from what it looks like to me Punk and Heyman seem to have the most say in how their feud is being booked. Punk’s feud was never in the “main event” but it often felt like it, the reason why there’s been so little selling of it recently is because they’ve done pretty much everything they have to and they’ve said everything they need to say in their promos. There’s no real need to push it aggressively everyone’s ready for what’s next and that’s Punk getting his hands on Heyman.

  • Trinot Grigio

    Too funny how fickle and easily the memory of today’s fan fad. CM Punk is second fiddle to no one, this is coming from someone who isn’t the “biggest” punk fan, not until I saw his match vs UT. Punk storyline being played out outside of DB angle shows even more punk’s worth. If CM Punk was in DB’s spot the drama and emotion would be off the charts. I think we forget, Triple H neutered Punk on his first run and that’s because CM Punk was getting ready for SCSA success and H couldn’t let it happen, so they took the legs off of a powerful storyline. Daniel Bryan is not on the verge of being anything more than what Ric Flair was to wrestling while Punk was set to blaze pop culture like rock and Austin. Tell me I’m lying.

    • Macho Man

      Though I agree with 99% of what you said I will have to disagree that Punk is second fiddle to no one. I will preface this by saying I am a Punk fan and he is my favorite current WWE wrestler but he IS second fiddle to Cena. As much as it pains me to say he just is and I’ve come to except it. Cena is and will always be just a little bit more over than Punk no matter what. And yes I know Punk is the better in ring wrestler, has just as much charisma and has in my opinion more mic skills than Cena. It reminds of Hogan and Savage as no matter what Savage did he could never get to Hulk’s level with the WWF/WWE fans. Savage like Punk was the better in ring wrestler, had just as much charisma and had better mic skills than Hogan. But for whatever reason Hogan was always just a little bit more over in the fan’s eyes. That pained me as well as Savage was/is my favorite pro wrestler of all time.

      • Trinot Grigio

        I agree with you on that point. Cena is and will always be the FACE of the WWE even over Austin for the simple fact he’s a great company man, while Austin walked out on the company twice and was a handful after his success and that’s why I believe Vince and triple h made a decision to derail Punk’s ’11 momentum. The thing about Punk and Cena is that they are never in the others sight unless they’re in a feud with each other, kinda how Sting and Ric Flair were.

      • jcice13

        man I don’t agree, you’re talking about hogan like that? the man? he sold merch like he was printing money and regardless of how much savage had over him(and he wasn’t the only one back then) hogan was the show. I couldn’t stand, him but even stevie wonder could see that

        • Macho Man

          I don’t really see how you you think I’m dissing Hogan? I’m actually one of few who stick up for Hogan on this site! Yes he sold merch like no other and Wrestlemania was built on his back. He is probably the most famous, iconic pro wrestler of all time. He’s my #2 favorite of all time so don’t think I don’t like him because I do. But objectionally I think anyone being far would agree Savage was just as good and/or better in the 3 main category’s charisma, mic skills, in ring ability. If you want to give Hogan the nod on charisma I can handle that but you have to give the edge to Savage on mic skills and in ring ability. Hogan for whatever reason was just more over with the fans. Savage was the only one close to Hogan back then and even Hogan has said that. I see Cena and Punk the exact same way today. Cena’s sells merch like no other and no matter what Punk does we will never get ahead of Cena in the majority of the fan’s eyes. Even though Punk again like Savage is better than Cena with the mic skills, and in ring ability. If you wanted to give the nod to Cena on charisma I could handle that. They’re all 4 of the best ever in my opinion. Basically to me Hogan=Cena and Savage=Punk. That’s all.

          • jcice13

            because you said he had as much charisma and better mic skills and he didn’t, it’s no argument he was the better athlete by far and they pushed him to the moon but better mic skills and as much charisma, no

          • Macho Man

            If you don’t think Savage was better on the mic than Hogan and the same for Punk being better on the mic than Cena then I don’t know what to tell you bro. I would give Hogan and Cena a tiny edge on charisma. Bottom line to me is I think an unbias wrestling fan would have to give 2 of the 3 main category’s of a pro wrestler (charisma, wrestling ability, mic skills) to Savage and Punk.. Hogan and Cena’s character’s are just a little more over with fans. Also you would have to acknowledge that it doesn’t hurt when WWF/WWE give they’re characters(Hogan&Cena’s) the most air time and push by far as they were/are looked upon as the golden goose. You’re opinion is you’re opinion as my opinion is my opinion to each their own brother.

      • SdotC

        The reason, btw, is because Hogan always beat Savage any time they wrestled. He would beat him clean, and conclusively. I remember one time, I think it was WCW, Hogan was knocked out on the ground, and Savage, his partner, hit him with the big Elbow Drop, which knocked the life INTO Hogan, who then sprang to his feet, Hulked up, and cleaned house. Yup. That actually happened.

        On a similar note, Punk never once conclusively beat Cena. It was always a foot on the rope a ref didn’t see, Cena costing himself the match by being a hero, etc. The WWE never showed the average fan that Punk is Cena’s equal. Of course, Punk is so good that he wouldn’t let himself be buried, and he made his heel turn work to his advantage. I think this next year will be a bit of a slow build for him, but I’m fine with that… if he was always in the title matches, and became a 20x champ, then we’d get tired about him. Now when you look back, sure, more people know Hogan’s name, but 95% of people who know wrestling say that Savage was the better man. And remember how Shawn Michaels finished his career as the guy who’s devastating finisher had become nothing more than a set-up for the Pedigree? Well, show me one person who’s older than 12 that would say Triple H is better than HBK.

        I do think that Punk was mishandled in 2011, and it absolutely played a role in deciding whether he’d become The Man or just a really big deal, but ya know what? WWE could have done much worse, considering how they perceived guys like Punk and Bryan just a week before he dropped that Pipebomb. So I’ll take it. I’m happy he got what he did. And he’s still got a few years left in him. And also, without Punk’s run, we wouldn’t have a WWE roster stacked with Bryan, Ambrose and Rollins at the top and bright futures ahead of guys like Cesaro and Zayn. But I wouldn’t say Bryan stole Punk’s thunder in that I don’t see him being seen as miles ahead of Punk in retrospect 10 years from now, but Triple H certainly stole Punk’s thunder. Though Bryan DID get the squeaky-clean win over Cena that eluded Punk for the entire 18 month feud… though a certain skanky duo may have played a role in that 😉

        • Macho Man

          Hogan always beat Savage because back then an especially before his nWo heel turn Hogan’s character was written as damn near invincible! They couldn’t have the golden goose lose matches. When the golden goose does lose a few matches they’re not so golden anymore, Hogan was the golden goose back then as John Cena is the golden goose now. Don’t get me wrong Hogan and Cena both deserve to be wear they were/are. They sold they’re character’s to the WWF/WWE Universe and both had/have an abundance of charisma and pretty good mic skills. One thing about Savage is he was the ultimate team player. He grew up in the business and knew what was good for business. I seen a shoot interview once with Hogan were he said he asked Vince/WWF to give Savage a few “clean” wins over him at the time and when Vince would say okay Savage would say Hogan needed to be top dog because it was best for the fans. I think Savage grew to regret this in later years but it shows what a team player he was. My point on this whole thing is that no one could get to Hogan’s level back then in the fan’s eyes and only Savage was close. Now it’s that way with Cena and in my opinion CM Punk is the only one close to him. It would not surprise me if Punk like Savage knows it’s best for business that Cena remains top dog and therefore has never gotten the “clean” win on Cena. Daniel Bryan win that you say was “clean” really wasn’t as Cena went into the match hurt. So technically it was a clean win over a hurt wrestler as the story goes. You rarely see Cena lose a match cleanly just as you rarely seen Hogan lose a match cleanly in his prime because they’re the golden geese.

          • SdotC

            True, all very true. As for Punk/Cena, at the end of the day, if Punk only ends up being seen as the Savage to John’s Hogan, I’m happy with that. Like I said about Punk’s run opening up the doors for the locker room now filled with RoH’s best, if you think about the alternative, Punk could have lost to Cena at Summerslam ’11 and never recovered. Do I want more for him? Sure, and I think if he was handled like Cena, and positioned like Cena, particularly by letting that 2011 angle run a few months, and by giving him top bill on more PPVs in 2012, he’d have been a bigger star. Of course I’d love to see Punk face Austin at Mania, or at least headline a few of them, but if he never gets more than what he’s accomplished as of today, it’s good enough for me as a Punk fan, especially knowing the impact it made on the company and it’s direction.

            Oh and as for Hogan/Savage, you made a lot of good points. If anything, they should have just not had as many matches. There was no need for Hogan to beat Savage the day after he won the strap in both 98 and 99. Even if Savage only had one single high-profile clean pin on Hogan, I’d be happier about it. Like, say he beat Hogan in ’95, instead of Hogan dropping the belt to Flair as a transition to Savage, but of course, hindsight is 20/20 and Hogan didn’t know in a year’s time he’d be the biggest heel in the business.

    • jcice13

      can’t disagree more, punk right now is second, not only in the positioning on the card but in fan appeal, look he had 400plus days as champ it’s okay to take the second spot which isn’t like they’re putting him 8th in the batting order because he’s not hitting. there can be only one guy at the top and it’s bryan now, punk will have his time again, christ how long did vince have his cash cow cena 2cd? and he still got lots of air time etc.

  • DolphZigglerFan

    The problem with CM Punk is that his personality isn’t quite PG. If the attitude Era existed today, Punk would definitely be the face of the company with a SCSA-like persona. That’s why I think he is second fiddle, WWE wouldn’t want a #1 guy that would swear at a “fat fan” unscripted because it is Bad For Business

  • KingBack

    CM Punk > Daniel Bryan.
    Both great but overall I think Punk is better.

    • CM Punk lose

      it’s the other way around, and Austin Aries > CM Punk.

      • KingBack

        Austin Aries is freaking overrated.

        • CM Punk lose

          but 10x better than Punk

          • KingBack

            And I should take that statement serious when you have that name?

          • CM Punk lose

            Yes…because I am a wrestling fan, not a stupid mark.

  • Damian Starr

    Surely there can only be one Top start? and surely pushing someone topples off the top dog right?

  • JH

    Your premise is ridiculous, Bryan’s push isn’t at anyone’s expense, and if it was, you could hardly call it at punk’s expense, considering he’s the focal point in the next biggest storyline, which has no bearing at all on the current corporation angle. Punk had his run with the title and established himself as a credible main event draw whenever he steps through the curtain, it’s simply time for Bryan to reach that level so when they cross paths once again down the road it’ll be a huge deal.

    It’s like you’re saying Punk’s push came at Cena’s expense, which would be ridiculous because Cena was already a made man. But when they crossed paths it was always must see television.

  • Jacob’s Verbal Fist

    Seems to me they are deliberately keeping Punk & Bryan apart right now, probably to set up a huge title match down the line. Possibly even at Mania. Punk is already a made man. Bryan is in the process of being made. If Punk wins the Rumble and Bryan leaves the Corporation feud as Champion, we could be in for an amazing WM title match.

  • Chrislis Tei

    So what if Punk has to take a step back? Almost all of the greats had to at some point.

  • Lilreuche ?

    I think that they’re equal. I wonder what’s gonna happen when Cena returns, the fans are solidly behind Punk and Bryan. Cena was getting booed heavily during his last few weeks.

  • jcice13

    look punk is second fiddle because he had a long run and now they can afford to have him sit back do a few different things that are still very relevant, still stay over, and have bryan move to the top and add to the show, look at cena for that year where he said he was all disappointed because he lost to this guy and that guy etc, while punk was champ, and yet he was still all over the show doing things. I don’t know why people get so spun out of shape about this, folks, only one guy can end the show, you don’t think ziggler is going to stay down for much longer do you? bottom line..they have a lot of guys to push and angles to sell, let them do their thing

  • SdotC

    No, not really. I agree that Punk should have went up against a heel “business” HHH in 2011, in a straight blood feud. But Orton wouldn’t have been part of it, the Shield weren’t around, and you can’t have an entire angle built around Punk, HHH and Kevin Nash. This angle has come together very well, on the heel AND face side. Do I think Punk is more suited for the anti-establishment role? Yes. But A) Bryan is doing just fine. Though I do think it’s time he starts phasing out the “Yes” and “No” and cuts more serious promos, which seems to be the path he’s on. But it is a good way to get the crowd involved. And B) Punk could join this feud at any time. Picture this: Punk/Heyman blow-off at Night of Champions. On any Raw, Punk comes out during the typical 20min HHH/Orton promo, drops a pipebomb about how the fans are finally behind someone, that change could finally be here, and the business could start making money again, ice cream bars, etc, but of course, HHH, as delusional, egotistical and out of touch as his father-in-law, is ruining it. Then he could start worked-shooting on how Triple H still insists on making himself the center of attention and how if the future of the company is in his hands, then we’re all doomed……… unless Punk stops him. Or anything similar to that. Maybe it happens the night after the inevitable Bryan jobbing to HHH PPV match, then Bryan gets his title rematch, and Punk faces HHH. They don’t NEED to do that, but if they WANTED to put Punk into this angle, they could do it very easily.

    And besides, I think it’s safe to say that being WWE Champion for 434 days in an era where titles change every month and a guy like Punk isn’t expected to carry it for more than a week is enough to constitute a “big push”… I don’t recall Sheamus wrestling Lesnar and Taker before he got injured.

    You guys are 0 and life when it comes to writing good articles.

Follow Wrestle Newz