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Let Daniel Bryan Stand on His Own Two Feet

Why does WWE lack confidence in letting Daniel Bryan be a strong main eventer without gimmicks?

Two months after Bryan beat John Cena at Summerslam, the big question coming out of the match was whether or not WWE would go all-in with Bryan or if they would lack the confidence to let him stand on his own two feet and be a man. Since when did being “on the chase” equate to getting consistently screwed over and over? Remember when champions were actually portrayed as strong and accomplished? Why is management so allergic in letting a legitimate babyface superstar look smart and strong on a consistent basis?

Is Daniel Bryan going to become John Cena’s version of Brutus Beefcake?

When Hulk Hogan & Randy Savage had their famous split apart in Milwaukee on Saturday Night’s Main Event, it was Beefcake who stupidly yelled “What are you doing?!” right at Randy Savage before getting clocked. It went down as one of the funniest moments in a major heel turn that I can recall. Beefcake looked so stupid. And yet Beefcake got the last laugh because his friendship with Hulk Hogan made its way on camera and the two buds would soon go over on the bad guys. Hell, this friendship lasted for over three years on WWE TV. From Zeus and Randy Savage to Money Inc, Beefcake was kept somewhat high on the cards but Hogan always got the top billing.

In 2013, Daniel Bryan is supposed to be on the top of the cards as the lead babyface. And, yet, he’s been overshadowed the last couple of months since his big win… kind of like how Ultimate Warrior got overshadowed by Hulk Hogan when Hogan took a break after the Wrestlemania match in Toronto. Despite putting over Warrior at Wrestlemania, Hulkamania came back shortly thereafter and got top billing once again. The Ultimate Warrior was an awful wrestler but Vince gave him every chance possible to try to stay on top. Daniel Bryan is the complete opposite of the Warrior, thankfully, and yet WWE management has decided that they just can’t put him over in top matches in clean fashion. God bless the WWE fans for sticking by Bryan despite the crappy booking.

Just like when Hogan came back at Summerslam ’90, John Cena is now returning to action only two months after a torn triceps injury.

“That is an amazing human being,” echoed Jerry Lawler on RAW after a Cena recovery video package aired.

WWE’s addiction to Cena is only rivaled to their past addiction to Hogan. The ratings, the merchandising, and the booking. His return to action against Alberto Del Rio is on par with the Randy Orton/Daniel Bryan Hell in a Cell match. Oh, did you know that Shawn Michaels is going to be the guest referee for that match? Just checking. It seems like WWE can’t get out of Bryan’s way and let him be his own man.

Bryan is being set up as Cena’s little buddy. A perfect example happened on Monday night when Bryan wrestled Cena’s HIAC opponent, Del Rio. Randy Orton waited for a while before interrupting Bryan on the video screen and teased attacking the Bella Twins. Bryan ignorantly ran to the trainer’s room only to get laid out by Orton. The Twins, who have no real talent for the wrestling business, barely put on much of an act when Orton laid out their man. Seriously, this was beyond awful. If it’s not John Cena or Big Show or Shawn Michaels, then it’s the Bella Twins who are inserted into Daniel Bryan’s on-camera business. The Bella Twins left WWE, tried the autograph circuit, and found out that WWE wasn’t so bad after all. They return to WWE, get hitched up with Bryan & Cena, get their own reality TV show, and now get constant exposure on weekly television. And they still can’t work a lick. Bryan is Cena’s buddy and basically second fiddle when his talent says he’s anything but a secondary player. Any wrestling fan worth their salt respects the hell out of Bryan and his accomplishments. The guy’s smart, tough, and dedicated. Put him over strong on television! WWE had no problem letting him do his thing against the Shield during their Spring 2013 program, which is why he caught fire with the fans. And now WWE management is prohibiting him from doing the things that made him so successful in the first place.

Think about how WWE has booked Bryan since the Summerslam win over Cena. Orton beat him right after the Cena match to win the WWE title. Bryan won the title for a second time when Scott Armstrong screwed everyone over with a fast count, resulting in the title getting vacated. Then came the horrendous Battleground finish where paying customers were flipped the middle finger by having Big Show KO both Bryan & Orton, which made no sense. Bryan, once again, isn’t champion. Orton decides that messing with Bryan’s babe will give him a mental edge. Show then KO’s Hunter on RAW and Bryan, instead of attacking Show (who got “fired”) for costing him the title at Battleground, decides to celebrate and do a “Yes!” chant over Hunter’s body in the ring. It was a fun television moment but where was the outrage by Bryan against Show for costing him the title at Battleground?

On Monday night, Show interfered in the main event match between the Rhodes clan and The Shield in order to dish out some vigilante justice. That finish is part of the pending Hunter/Big Show match that probably will happen at Survivor Series. We’re a couple of weeks away from Hell in a Cell and Big Show vs. The Authority gets the focus in the main event slot on RAW. The same guy who spent over a month crying his eyes out on television for punching poor Dusty Rhodes is suddenly is the one outsmarting the heels so that Dusty’s kids can win the tag titles. The show closed out with him doing the “Yes!” chant with the fans. Meanwhile, the guy who started that “Yes!” chant, the supposed number one babyface, continues to get screwed over and treated as the underdog after beating Cena at Summerslam. Who do you think is the one getting the blame for RAW’s recent rating woes? Hunter’s not going to be blaming himself.

Silly me, I forgot, John Cena is still really the number one babyface who is a super hero for returning on such short notice. What was I thinking? He’s back to save the day.

Fans don’t lack confidence in Daniel Bryan but WWE management does, both in real life and in storyline. They always feel the need to surround him with others who they think can help draw more eye balls. Why?

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  • mrlaw

    You can have all the natural and pure wrestling abilities in the world but if you can’t get over with the fans, you’re nothing. WWE could had slapped the Yes and No chances on ANYONE in WWE and still get the crowd reaction Daniel Bryan gets… To me, he’s more of a World Title kind of guy. He should had gotten more runs as World Champion than that 3 month joke only to lose it in 18 seconds.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Danny.Rocks.Mountain.Tops Daniel Vollmer

      did you just say they could have slapped the Yes chants on anyone? they didn’t give him that gimmick silly, he invented…..He started it himself without permission…now everyone uses it because they can’t get themselves over. They need to piggy back off his popularity which is what Show did.

  • JH

    A simple answer, babyfaces as champions are bad for business, it’s not the 60’s 70’s and 80’s anymore, there’s no drama in a top babyface champ mowing down all challengers, it’s what everyone hates about Cena. It’s about the chase now, watching your favorite guy with the odds stacked against him finally overcome the obstacles. If they just gave D-Bry the title and let him become the face of the wwe people would get sick of him as well. And I disagree with your premise, just because he’s not the champ doesn’t mean they haven’t given him the ball because I’ve seen them pushing him to the moon ever since Cena named him the number 1 contender.

    Also I think you’re reading to much in to how Raw ended. The main event was the Rhodes/Shield match because it was the high point of the show, that moment would have been totally lost had they broke for commercial then come right back with Michael Cole teaching us how to download the app, or a Cena promo, or a replay. For good tv especially in WWE you need a good lasting image, and the best one Monday night was the Rhodes winning the titles, and big show sticking it to HHH, I don’t see him as outsmarting the brass, so much as snapping from being pushed too far by them, I hated having him cry every night a few weeks back, but I’m loving him being a thorn in their sides. But I do think it would have been better for him to start a night earlier than it did at battleground.

  • gta4801 .

    did i miss something im trying figure out how any of this has to do with john cena.

    • YoungAngryMan

      Oh no, a Cena fan. RUN!!!

      • gta4801 .

        say what you want to be an asshole but that doesn’t answer me

  • Sieg

    I think Bryan is fine and the problem isn’t on his end. The problem is that their long term booking is shoddy and the constant last minute rewrites don’t help things. This story has felt dragged out and now they’re having to play catch up. They’re also worried that the story is losing steam and interest with the fans hence why they’re putting Michael’s into the match and why the Bellas are a part of the story, it’s not that they don’t have confidence in Bryan it’s that they don’t have any confidence in the story they’re putting together themselves.

    • gta4801 .

      brie is just used for heel heat for randy orton it’s orton’s typical tactics he’s done this to john cena’s dad to Stephine not to mention what he said about eddie during his feud with rey mysterio

  • http://www.facebook.com/Danny.Rocks.Mountain.Tops Daniel Vollmer

    he has been winning all of his main events clean besides Night of Champions. he’s been main eventing all the Raws and Smackdowns except this past Raw, and he’s been winning, and the only two losses he’s had is the count out loss this past Monday and the RKO from behind by Orton the Raw before that, that’s about it.

  • Nick Turner

    So what I am gathering is they dont want Bryan in any storylines? Jesus I mean he is in the main event title picture. Sure booking is kind of jacked up but that happens. If Bryan loses at HIAC and then goes back to tag teams then there is an issue. John Cena is back but I dont think that will hurt Bryan. Especially if he wins the WHC. When he comes back is Orton just going to change his mind and go after the other title and the WWE championship will get bumped to middle of the road? I highly doubt it. The whole story thats going on here has alot of moving parts with a lot of characters and Bryan is one. You can apply your logic to every person involved from Orton to Hunter to the Shield. Bryan is coming out on top more often than not and Cena has nothing to do with anything. If they really didnt believe in Bryan he wouldnt be the good guy in this scenario. He will come out as the triumphant hero in the end. But you need to build him to it.

  • Tyler Drummond

    How has D-Bryan been booked as Cena’s little buddy? Because he wrestled Del Rio? Thats insignificant. He wrestled Del Rio because Cena isnt back yet and Del Rio is the World Champion who is supposed to be ruthless and dominant. The Authority wanted to hurt Daniel Bryan so they put him in a match with the ruthless World Heavyweight Champion. Irrelevant to Cena. And yeah D-Bry the finishes of the last two PPVs sucked, but thats because they were delaying it to this HIAC match and chose a poor way of continuing the storyline. Daniel Bryan has won all of his other matches clean and has made a point to say that Orton probably would have lost at NOC anyway because he was knocked out by ‘The Move that Beat John Cena’. The Bellas are in there because they wanted to add a personal element to Bryan vs Orton besides being the face of the WWE. Big Show is there to feud with Triple H and possibly be part of a Triple Threat. Cena is coming back to face the World Heavyweight Champion. His return isnt the main event of HIAC, and that speaks volumes because they could have EASILY made it the main event. Has the been booking been perfect? No. But its not over yet, Cena isnt back just yet so we dont know how itll turn out. Bryan is definately NOT just Cenas little buddy. He told the guy (who loves wrestling btw) that he is just a parody of wrestling and is just an entertainer, than he knocked him out with a brutal knee and took his championship. Yeah, they shook hands after because they have respect for each other, but that doesnt scream little buddy to me.

  • Trey Doss

    just to put it short and simple wwe (vince) doesn’t want anyone to over due cena

  • Jordan

    Im sure its already been said but…. Cena beats del rio, Bryan beats orton, Bryan vs Cena to merge championships. Put Bryan over, Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

    • Reverend Scurvy

      That would be ideal, but Vince won’t pass on the opportunity to have Cena unify the titles. I’m still a proponent of starting over with the brand extensions. Separate rosters with separate but (mostly) equal titles.

      • Jordan

        I could see that. For some reason, in my head, I like the idea, of making some of the lower tier titles mean something again. Make the IC title worth something, european title etc. Put a storyline to each belt so its not just 3 promos a night about the heavy champ belt. Like what if something was at stake for CM Punk and ryback? just for a bit of an added edge. In my brain that works, however seperate rosters I see where your coming from, gives you a reason to watch each show to get your fav wrestlers. I think the one caveat would be that Raw will always be felt as the “A” list show. *shrug*

  • Jonny

    Powerful article. Hit multiple nails on their heads as they say .

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