WWE Friday Night SmackDown: Is This the End of Daniel Bryan and AJ Lee?
All of us could feel it coming and had no idea how to stop it.
The conversation leading into WrestleMania 28 did not seem to be if Sheamus would go over, but why he was going over.
I made the prediction that Daniel Bryan losing the world title would mean the end of Daniel Bryan and AJ Lee. It had to. The Daniel Bryan character is such that he could not drop the heavyweight title and take the blame for himself.
WWE set it up accordingly with the kiss at WrestleMania. The kiss that Daniel Bryan has now called "the kiss of death."
It has been strange to watch the fallout since that 18-second match last Sunday. On Monday Night Raw the following night, the fans chanted "Daniel Bryan" in the face of Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio, and even jeered at the once popular Brogue Kick that gained Sheamus the victory over Bryan.
Yet, on SmackDown, the show went on according to plan.
The plan I saw coming months ago: Daniel Bryan dumped AJ Lee.
If you witnessed the segment on SmackDown, however, you know that it was compelling, more so than any man-woman couple I've seen in years.
Daniel Bryan showed once more why fans are enamored by him, and AJ Lee did a better job on the mic than had been previously witnessed. And while the fans played along—changing cheers to jeers as Daniel Bryan progressed in blaming AJ Lee—as AJ left the ring, the fans chanted against her for the second time since WrestleMania 28.
This begs a simple question: What is the best move going forward?
Is it to go along with the plan, as if the fans never broke out for Daniel Bryan? Is it to keep AJ Lee away from Daniel Bryan, so as to keep these odd reactions from happening?
I think the answer to those questions should be no.
Which makes me wonder if we will see Daniel Bryan and AJ Lee reunite down the line.
There are two possibilities for this.
AJ Lee could turn heel and help Daniel Bryan get his championship back. The only problem with this is, if the reactions continue, would the fans boo her for helping Daniel Bryan become champion again?
The other situation is that the time away from AJ Lee will eventually turn Daniel Bryan.
This would be risky business, as WWE would be putting a lot of stock in this relationship. It would mean a huge break in character for Daniel Bryan, who has happily been about himself since he really began to succeed in WWE.
Should this be the end of Daniel Bryan and AJ Lee?
One thing is for sure—I hope this is not the end of Daniel Bryan and AJ Lee. It amazes me that an on-screen couple could elicit more emotion than I ever felt from real-life couples such as Matt Hardy and Lita.
AJ Lee is part of the Daniel Bryan story, and the Daniel Bryan story has been the most successful and groundbreaking story of 2012.
I predict that ignoring what is happening around Daniel Bryan will be a mistake for WWE. Embracing it, embracing him, embracing what is going on around him—that is just good business.
The Yes Shirt is a part of that.
AJ Lee is a part of that, too.
To forever ignore this relationship would be, in part, to ignore what made Daniel Bryan the most compelling man on WWE TV.
Maybe that is the easiest way, but that doesn't mean it's the best way.
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