There’s always been a belief that the WWE likes a certain look. A good looking guy with big muscles, who is tall, and behind the scenes doesn’t challenge the status quo, but shows at times he has the guts too. John Cena is that guy, but Cena’s time is largely over and the WWE refuses to end their love affair with him. The Cena situation and about 100 other things the WWE is currently doing wrong has led to record low ratings. Daniel Bryan is likely the solution to WWE ratings crisis.
Bryan has a scruffy look that is trendy right now, he’s a bit undersized, likes to work an indy style, and pretty much goes with the flow behind the scenes. The only notable time Bryan actually stood up for himself was when a match was stopped on TV when he was clearly injured. He became highly upset with officials in the back. Yet, Bryan didn’t cause a beef when he was not entered in the 2014 Royal Rumble or when he was meekly cast aside for Roman Reigns in 2015. Bryan just isn’t what WWE looks for and their botched push of him from 2013 to 2014 leading into WM30 is proof of that.
Despite WWE tailoring an angle where fans would have to assume the final pay off was this logical underdog succeeding over the rich elitists, they actually planned to not have him win the title at WM30. They did everything they could to marginalize his character so fans would fall behind a star that better suited what they wanted. That star was Batista.
This led to fans booing Batista out of the building at the 2014 Royal Rumble and led to him organically becoming a heel. In the end the WWE came to their senses and booked Bryan to go over and win the belt at WM30. Unfortunately that same injury that caused a match to be stopped on Bryan the previous year reared its ugly head and he was forced to give up the WWE title and take major time off.
One would think the WWE would take his comeback story and use it to set what was largely a flat product on fire again. Bryan was monster over with the fans and all that time off had fans clamoring for his return, but WWE not having learned from their previous years mistake completely ignored that comeback story, even though they were telling it to fans leading up to the 2015 Rumble.
They made the smart decision to include Bryan in the 20015 Rumble, but instead of having him lose it epically or win they, dispatched him from the match like an afterthought. Perhaps it’s better stated that they dispatched him like a guy they were trying to marginalize, again. The fans then became venomous towards Roman Reigns, the eventual winner, and the Rock who was there to support Roman’s push. That’s right fans actually booed the Rock.
The WWE did what they could to continue to marginalize Bryan and make fans accept Roman as the future. They entered Roman and Bryan into a feud where they teased Bryan as sort of being the heel or the guy in the wrong. Roman and Bryan would meet at the Fastlane PPV to determine who would get the title shot at WM31. They played Roman up on the moral high ground. They booked Roman to go over Bryan at Fastlane, which was an opportunity for WWE to again right a wrong. This was yet another attempt to marginalize the guy they didn’t want, for the sake of pushing the guy they did want despite what the fans thought.
What was so funny about the WWE Fastlane PPV was the lengths WWE went to in order to make it seem like fans were excited that Roman won. The entire PPV the crowd seemed dead and the sound quality seemed a bit off that night. The visual reactions didn’t seem to be matching the audio. During the main event after Roman won the WWE strangely did many tight camera angles on Roman and avoided showing the crowd as much as possible, but a huge positive reaction was coming through the audio.
It was clearly apparent that the WWE was trying to trick the home viewing audience into thinking that Roman was more over than Bryan by playing with the audio and camera angles. This obviously didn’t work as Seth Rollins was awarded the title at WM31 instead of Roman Reigns.
At WM31 the WWE gave Bryan the IC title in the opening match. This was a way of appeasing the fans, but Bryan would again suffer an injury and miss time. The latest injury is concussion related and the company that has been willing to put injury stars in the ring on meaningless house shows suddenly decided that there was no way Bryan could be cleared to wrestle, perhaps ever again.
It might be a bit sheepish to think that the WWE is doing that to keep Bryan out of the picture so that John Cena and Roman Reigns can carry the company, but in his absence those 100 problems the WWE has right now the company has had it's biggest ratings failure since 1997. Many say that ratings are different these days and they don’t matter as much, but the WWE knows that the fewer people watching Raw the fewer people will get hooked into their network. So, they are taking this seriously.
It’s become apparent that the WWE can’t get out of its own way, but if they were to get one thing right it would be this Sunday at HIAC. John Cena is slated to defend his U.S. title in another open challenge match. Many have applauded this idea of Cena continually having random matches, but looking back it’s just led to Cena beating and marginalizing a good chunk of the WWE roster. How has that really helped anything?
That being said there are strong reports that Cena is taking the next 6-8 weeks off from the WWE. This is much needed for Cena. He’s never been away from the company long, even when he’s had major injuries and it would allow and force the WWE to move up some guys that have been held down due to Cena engulfing the top spot.
So who should Cena drop the strap to at HIAC? Well of course Daniel Bryan. Bryan should accept this open challenge on Sunday and beat Cena as clean as a sheet. It does a lot of things for WWE that will instantly get fans excited again. First it’s a big happening on a PPV. Whether you liked it or not when the Undertaker came back at Battleground it was a big deal on a PPV. Anytime the WWE can have a big happening on PPV it means that fans will take note and be less inclined to miss PPVs. This means more people will be encouraged to subscribe to the Network and not try to just slide by watching Raw each week.
If every big return or big surprise is blown off on Raw then the WWE loses a selling point for their PPVs. So having Bryan make a surprise return and go over here would be a big thing for them. The other factor is Cena losing to Bryan clean would really put over Bryan and shake off that stigma of him losing to Reigns earlier in the year. It would elevate him to that top spot without question in the eyes of all fans. Cena has been beating everyone including the WWE champion multiple times, for months now. This win would solidify Bryan for sure.
It would appease the hardcore fans that love Bryan and a bulk of the casual audience that love him as well. In doing so that would win WWE some favor back from all those people that have been critical of the WWE and their 100 plus problems they currently have.
The logical step from there would be to position Bryan in an overarching angle against The Authority and in the direction of winning the WWE title at WM32. So the next night on Raw Seth Rollins should appear in a segment with Bryan. Rollins should give off the vibe that he doesn’t fear Bryan and knows that he’s better than him. This should lead to tension between the two, but the Authority would intervene. They would give off the vibe that they want no possibility of Daniel Bryan winning the WWE title. They would in a sense be planting the seed that the chase is on in the fans minds. Being that WM32 would be about five months out the timing would be right on for a long term angle to get people hot for a Rollins Bryan match.
In the interim the WWE needs to do everything it can to position Bryan as strong. The Authority could logically put Roman Reigns in Bryan’s way claiming that Reigns had beaten Bryan earlier in the year. Since Bryan’s never shied away from any challenge that match could happen logically without Roman having to turn heel. Roman should be looking strong after beating Bray Wyatt at HIAC. This match would be like every John Cena match against a face where the WWE pretends Roman is a face, but he gets booed, but fans fear the WWE will put Cena, in this case Reigns, over.
With the outcome in question it further strengthens Bryan when he then goes over Roman in the co-main event at Survivor Series. This loss would do Roman some good. It could either be used to make humble him a little and win him favor with the hardcore part of the crowd that has been so critical of him or push him towards a dark place where he could become heel and eventually return as a face down the road. Roman has been such a flop continuing on this straightforward steamroller push will not work, so losing is the right thing for him.
The next night after Survivor Series on Raw, Bryan could announce his intention to enter the 2016 Royal Rumble and win. Thus sending him to the main event of the biggest WM of all time. It would be smart of the WWE to start stoking the Rumble fire a month early because it would build the intrigue and get them out of this 30 day cycle of only ever putting focus on the next PPV unless it’s WM.
The Authority could take issue with this and say that the Superstars don’t choose to be in the Rumble, but those types of decisions are left up to the Authority. They decide that Bryan will have to win at match at the next PPV in order to be allowed entry. This continues the idea of the Authority not wanting Daniel Bryan near the WWE title. This eventually leads to them announcing Braun Strowman as his opponent, a man that has yet to be knocked off his feet let alone pinned. This again furthers the overarching Authority vs. Bryan angle.
Since the WWE doesn’t have a Hulk Hogan or Undertaker to take down the new evil force in WWE, it will be Bryan that chops down Braun Strowman at that next PPV. Bryan wins his way into the Rumble by beating Strowman like a drum. The next night on Raw the Authority realize they most allow him to enter, but they conspire with the Wyatts over the next few weeks to insure that they will gang up on Bryan during the Rumble. They also make Bryan the #3 entrant in the Rumble. They claim they are being fair wtih him and could have made him first or second entrant.
The Authority plan backfires at the Rumble and Bryan using an alliance with Roman, Dean Ambrose and Dolph Ziggler to fight off the Wyatts and he wins the 2016 Rumble earning that title shot at WM32 against Seth Rollins. The next night on Raw the Authority announce that Bryan will have to defend his shot at the title against an opponent of their choosing, just as Roman had to the year before, but for the first time Daniel Bryan stands up for himself. He refuses to agree to this.
He says that he has earned his title shot at WM32 and if the Authority want to go ahead with him defending that honor than Bryan is going to walk. The Authority would be happy at this prospect, but Bryan would increase the intrigue by saying he’s taking the WWE universe with him. He tells the Authority that instead of setting an attendance record at WM32 they might set the record for lowest fan turn out ever.
This angers the Authority, but they realize they are painted in a corner and can’t risk upsetting Vince and causing WM32 to be a failure so they give in to Bryan, but they decide that he must defend his U.S. title at the next PPV. He will defend it in a fatal four way against Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper, and Eric Rowan.
At the next PPV Bryan is able to cause strife within the Wyatt family causing all three men to temporarily not band together, but be against one and other. Bryan would get Bray in a position where he is beat, but the ref would be knocked out. HHH would run down to the ring pull off his shirt to reveal a ref shirt. He would pedigree Bryan and count him out giving Bray the title.
The next night on Raw it would be announced that HHH is going to be the special guest referee for the main event match at WM32 between Bryan and Seth for the title. It’s then pointed out that the numerous times that HHH has conspired as the special ref, or with a corrupt ref (Shawn Michaels), to beat Daniel Bryan. This would only further stack the odds against Bryan. The WWE could really play up all the times the Authority have screwed over Daniel Bryan during their run, everything from Kane intefering to stripping the title from him.
In the lead up to the PPV on Raw Stone Cold Steve Austin would appear and confront HHH. The WWE needs to find an important role for Austin and he has to be part of WM32. Since Austin is not going to wrestle why not fnid him a role within the Authority Bryan story arc. Austin could tell HHH that he would be a better special guest referee. HHH could politely refuse, to which Austin could suggest that he could be the outside enforcer, to which HHH could refuse. Austin could suggest being the bell ringer, but HHH again would refuse until he relents and allows Austin to be the guest commentator.
Austin says that works for him. HHH then gets a little smart with Austin and insults him which leads to Austin giving him a stunner. HHH then later announces that if Austin interferes or involves himself in the match that he will be barred from any WWE appearances and removed from the WWE Hall of Fame. Basically HHH is going to blackball Austin from the WWE if he gets involved in the match.
At WM32 HHH would largely do things to favor Rollins. This would continually upset Austin on commentary who is reminded over and over again by JBL that he can’t interfere. Austin would continue to stew as Rollins is allowed to dominate the match. Austin would then lose his cool when HHH tries to directly cost Bryan the match by hitting him with a Pedigree. He would enter the ring stun HHH and stun Rollins. He would then force HHH to the outside. A new ref could run down and Bryan could hit the knee for the pin and the win. It’s important to note that Rollins and Bryan would have a solid five minute sequence after HHH and Austin were out of the match so it doesn’t seem like Austin won the match for Bryan directly, but instead evened the odds and gave him a chance.
The next night on Raw a bitter Authority blackball Austin and remove him from all WWE history on the website. This prompts the new Champion Daniel Bryan to confront them and offer HHH a deal. Daniel Bryan would be willing to defend the WWE title against HHH if when he beat HHH he would be forced to reinstate Austin. Bryan would play on the idea that in the end that’s what HHH wants, to be Champion and have vanquished Austin for good, someone that he is jealous of.. Because in the end for HHH it’s really all about HHH.
Bryan could play up how in NXT HHH is trying to hog the spotlight and take the credit for the hardwork of others. How HHH has always viewed himself as the ideal guy for WWE and how he doesn’t feel like his relationship with Stephanie gave him an advantage all those years. Bryan could really dig into HHH’s pride. They could even talk about the Max Landis video that was done on HHH and how HHH ignored how critical it was of his character.
The whole angle would be a culmination of the build started after HIAC, back to the beginning of the Authority, which started when HHH pedigreed Bryan. This would feed in to all the HHH haters. It would be a fresh match fans would be hot for. HHH would of course agree and guarantee victory over Bryan. He would emphasize that guarantee like Vince used too back in the day. He would remind Bryan that while he did beat HHH at WM30 rarely has anyone ever beat HHH twice in a row (ok maybe the Undertaker did). Bryan would then say he has one more thing he wants to add to the deal.
Just as HHH and Steph have prayed on the roster pushing them to agree to things and manipulating them Bryan would then do the same to HHH. Bryan would say that if he wins not only do they have to reinstate Stone Cold, but the Authority has to go away and this time for good. Stephanie would immediately refuse this request and tell Bryan that the WWE is run by McMahons and that’s always going to be the case. She would never risk that again. This would catch HHH off guard because he’s not a McMahon, technically speaking. Bryan sees an opening reminds HHH that he guaranteed victory over him, but he guesses the McMahon’s don’t really have faith in HHH because he’s actually not blood.
This would incense HHH into agreeing to the stipulation. Bryan and HHH would go on to have their match. There would be ridiculous amounts of interference because there’s no way the Authority would really leave this up to chance. Just when they think they have the match under control Stone Cold would pop up and clear the way for Bryan to win. After the match Bryan and Stone Cold would celebrate in the ring having vanquished the Authority.
Finally after almost two and a half years of this dark cloud being over the company the Authority angle would be over. Bryan would be rubbing shoulders with the biggest face in WWE history and would be the reigning champion having beat HHH, John Cena, Seth Rollins, and their hand picked future guy Roman Reigns. In reality the Authority angle has always been about Daniel Bryan versus Hunter and Stephanie. The WWE would look brilliant paying this off the right way.
The next night on Raw the Authority could say their good byes. Stephanie angry with HHH for ever agreeing to put their power on the line could begin emasculating him, but midHHH could finally be the one to shut her down. HHH could give her a good dressing down and send her out of the ring to the back in tears. Fans would go crazy for that. HHH could then say his goodbye to the WWE universe for now and put a positive spin on things for him, the guy that might one day really be running this company.
So what from there? Will Bryan’s health hold up? That’s a tough question to answer, but what would be for sure is the WWE would have a new outlook. It would pave the way for a new heel structure to come into place, for HHH and Steph to stay behind the scenes clearing the space for opportunities for new people and fresh angles. The WWE would be forced to do something different. Ultimately the WWE is going nowhere with John Cena positioned on top and the Authority hanging around. There is a dark cloud over the company, but this is how Daniel Bryan could become the savoir of the WWE and bring some sunny skys.