There is a fear growing deep inside of me. It is one I cannot ignore, one I cannot avoid. It’s a fear that I cannot put my finger on, cannot pinpoint, but one I can sense regardless. And, with each week that passes, it is a fear that grows stronger.
I fear that Daniel Bryan will be a paper champion.
It was a suspicion that I had going into Monday’s Raw, and one that still grows - Daniel Bryan is already starting to follow a path that we’ve seen before. It scares and concerns me. WWE isn’t feeding the unstoppable machine - they’re appeasing it.
Let’s take a look at the first Raw after Wrestlemania. The story wasn’t about Daniel Bryan successfully defending his title, or fending off his attacker. It was about Triple H trying to take advantage of Daniel Bryan, and The Shield making the save.
The following week, while Bryan was away on his honeymoon, the two rightful Number One contenders made no further mentions of the title. The story wasn’t about Batista or Randy Orton going for the title they lost, or the title they felt they should have won. It was about Batista and Randy Orton teaming up with Triple H to reform Evolution. Are they gunning for Daniel Bryan? No. They’re gunning for The Shield.
This week, Daniel Bryan’s match at Extreme Rules is announced. Who is he facing? Triple H? Batista? How about the former WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Randy Orton? He still has a rematch clause, you know.
Nope. Daniel Bryan is facing Kane.
I’m fully aware that this week was a throwaway. Bryan’s father passed away unexpectedly, and he was written off of TV quickly. I get that, and in fact, I respect it. However, let’s look past Monday.
Daniel Bryan is positioned to be in a match at Extreme Rules that, in all likelihood, will not be the main event, and will not close the show.
When was the last time we saw a title reign like this? Oh, right. That would be CM Punk. During his legendary title reign of 434 days, Punk headlined (i.e. was the LAST match) of 4 out of the 16 pay-per-views that he championed over.
Meanwhile, Triple H, who is a part-time wrestler at best, is teaming up with two of the biggest stars, to feud against three of the hottest up-and-coming wrestlers.
Does anyone else see a problem in this?
WWE needs to start taking Daniel Bryan seriously. It’s not a quality championship reign if Bryan can’t be put in a position to rise (or fall). The history books are being written every day, and they’re already starting to say that Bryan isn’t a draw. This is hardly a fair assessment. How can someone draw if they’re not the headliner?
Maybe it’s too early to tell, but I’m nervous. I’m concerned. I have little faith.
We can only hope that the next pay-per-views will be different.