American Dragon takes flight...now that the Heavyweight Strap is not weighing him down...
Hello out in the Bleachers!
Daniel Bryan is not your prototypical WWE Heavyweight Champion.
Indeed, he is not really a heavyweight. He tips the scales at an unimpressive 210 pounds. He is not even six feet tall, being a mere 5' 10".
Your average heavyweight is at least a good 250 pounds and stands a good six feet and taller.
Most scratched their heads when WWE Creative gave him the Heavyweight Championship.
He certainly obtained it in an odd enough way.
He pinned Big Show after cashing in his money in the Bank Briefcase following a nine-year dry spell for Big Show.
Many had to wonder, whose toes did poor Big Show step on to have a title reign of some 45 seconds, dropping the Heavyweight Championship to someone literally half your size.
Few, if anyone, gave him any chance to hold the title for more than a few days.
WWE has a poor history with "small'" champions.
Take Christian for example.
He is a wrestler of a similar mold to Daniel Bryan (with nearly identical height and weight), who held the belt for only five days. It was his first World Heavyweight Championship as well. Christian had been in the business for years.
Daniel Bryan had been in the indies for many years, but had been in the big leagues of the WWE for only a short time. What chance did he have?
What chance indeed.
Daniel Bryan defended his Heavyweight Championship against the Big Show and won. It was no wrestling clinic and the win was less than "clean," but he won.
And he kept on winning.
Until of course, he lost the belt in a squash match at WrestleMania. He lost to Sheamus, who at 6' 4" and 267 pounds, is every inch and pound a prototypical heavyweight.
No disrespect to Sheamus, but this was a mistake on many levels.
First off, Daniel Bryan made such an interesting Heavyweight Champion because he went against the grain of what a Heavyweight Champion traditionally is.
This might be painting too broad of a brush, but your average heavyweight is big, sculpted from granite with a chin that could cut paper.
Not many of them are known to be especially skilled technically (Ever watch Hulk Hogan try to sell anything other than a clothesline?).
Daniel Bryan is clearly not the above.
He is (relatively) short, light and even though he is a vegetarian, he is hardly shredded.
He doesn't have stubble on his chin, he has an all-out beard. But there are two things that Daniel Bryan did have that made him a viable and entertaining champion.
First off, the guy can really wrestle. While it is all make-believe, it was nice to see a champion in a wrestling promotion that was an actual wrestler and not just a brawler.
Daniel Bryan used his wrestling skills and supremely educated feet to do just enough damage (or to keep just far enough out of reach of his larger opponents).
This alone was not enough. Though, it was not Daniel Bryan's only asset.
To seal the deal, Daniel Bryan also used his brain. Using intelligence and guile, he would capitalize on or create circumstances that allowed him to win against much more powerful opponents.
I normally hate cowardly heel champions, but Daniel Bryan did it in a fresh way.
Few were "small," some were skilled and some were intelligent.
There have not been many who were all of these things in the same wrestler.
Over time he became interesting and a heel that I loved to hate. He was charismatic in his role as an imperious vegetarian narcissist. You hated the guy and yet, were entertained by him at the same time.
Stripping Daniel Bryan of the Heavyweight Championship knocked a great character—who made a unique champion—down a peg.
This is bad enough, but WWE also lost the opportunity to highlight some super talent.
As a Cruiserweight-playing-Heavyweight Champion, WWE could have pit Daniel Bryan in championship matches against some of the better talents on the roster.
Cody Rhodes against Sheamus? Mildly ridiculous.
Cody Rhodes against Daniel Bryan? Awesome!
Kofi Kingston against Big Show? Squash match in the making.
Kofi Kingston against Daniel Bryan? High-Flyer against Ring Master!
Get the picture?
The championships in WWE have become stale and the main events have become predictable. In Daniel Bryan they had a breath of fresh air who could have been used to make the Heavyweight Championship interesting again.
The main event could have someone in it not named Orton or Cena. I see not continuing Daniel Bryan's Championship reign as an opportunity lost.
What do you think?