On the April 2nd edition of Monday Night Raw, the WWE had scripted a Sheamus/Alberto Del Rio promo in the second half of the show. This promo was meant to solidify Sheamus as a top face and reintroduce Del Rio as Sheamus' No. 1 challenger for the World's Heavyweight Title leading up to Extreme Rules.
Last year, a promo like this would have done a serviceable job of setting up a new storyline, but last night, the crowd in Miami wanted no part of it. What was supposed to start a new feud only fell like a lead balloon.
The crowd had been rebelling against the WWE's planned storylines all night, but their love of Daniel Bryan overshadowed nearly every segment.
The fans at AmericanAirlines Arena greeted Sheamus with boos, giving him some of the biggest heat of the night. Throughout his promo, he was met with a chorus of "Dan-iel Bry-an" that was so loud that the production truck attempted and failed to close the mics picking up the ambient crowd noise. The fans were less hostile to Del Rio, chanting "Si Si Si" a number of times (in reference to Bryan's catchphrase), but still drowning out his work on the mic.
Bryan seems to have found the respect of the WWE Universe, or at least the fans in Miami.
After years of plodding through storylines that went nowhere, Bryan was given the opportunity to turn heel last December, when he became the World Heavyweight Champion and spent the next three-and-a-half months as one of the top heat generators in the company.
At WrestleMania, it was largely expected that Bryan was due to drop his title to Sheamus, but what shocked fans was how quickly Bryan was booked to lose the match. One of the best technical wrestlers in the company was Brogue Kicked and pinned within 18 seconds.
Fan outrage quickly spread across the Internet overnight, as many felt that the WWE's treatment of Bryan was disrespectful of his talent. Somehow, fans, including those who found Bryan annoying in his heel persona, have turned him into the most beloved wrestler in the company right now.
Which leads me to the point of this article: It would behoove the WWE to capitalize on this wave of Bryan love. They must rebook the World's Heavyweight Title feud to include him.
The ship has sailed on removing Del Rio from the picture, because even if the WWE changes their mind thanks to the crowd reaction last night, it would be a disservice to Del Rio's talents as he makes his return from injury.
A Sheamus/Del Rio feud on its own would hold some value, as both men are very entertaining personalities and are both worthy of the second-biggest title in the WWE. But now the only way to give their feud any meaning and get the WWE Universe on board is to include Bryan.
Bryan is due a rematch as per WWE's recent booking practices. While his inclusion won't help Sheamus get over in the way they intended, having Bryan in a three-way feud with a face and a heel protects Sheamus from having to turn heel and keeps the options open for Bryan's future face/heel status.
We should know as soon as SmackDown tapes tonight which way the WWE now intends to follow up on last night's events.
The fans want Bryan to be given a chance to move up the A-list. Booking a triple-threat match between Bryan, Sheamus and Del Rio at Extreme Rules is the best option the WWE has right now.