WWE Over the Limit 2012: 5 Reasons Why Daniel Bryan Should Win the WWE Title
To start, let me say this: I enjoy both CM Punk and Daniel Bryan equally as performers. I have no personal preference for Bryan over CM Punk when I suggest that he should beat CM Punk at Over the Limit for the WWE title this Sunday.
Rather, taking the broad view, I believe it would be best for Punk to drop the title to Bryan for a litany of reasons, none of which, include my personal preference.
I simply believe that overall, there is an opportunity here for the WWE to capitalize on something that would benefit Bryan, Punk and the fans, should they decide to favor Bryan over Punk this Sunday.
In this article, I will explain exactly why, in the short and long term, it would be best for CM Punk to lose this Sunday and start an on-going feud with Daniel Bryan, as opposed to simply steamrolling over him on his way to, well, probably being steamrolled himself by Brock Lesnar.
So follow me on this stream of consciousness as I explain why Daniel should walk out victorious over CM Punk as the WWE Champion at Over the Limit.
Expect the Unexpected
If there is one complaint that is common amongst disgruntled WWE fans today, it is that the WWE has become far too predictable and bland.
I myself find that I am able to predict what will happen at the end of a show, based solely upon the beginning of it, or how the storyline has been playing out.
Most times, it is by-the-numbers, typically safe booking that allows this to happen.
The WWE has become a business that sustains such a high level of profitability that it rarely wants to make any drastic maneuvers with the product for fear it would negatively affect the bottom line.
And while that approach makes clear business sense, it is really the problem with the WWE at a fundamental level.
The safe approach to booking does maintain a certain level of fans and income, however, it is that same predictable booking that is leading to the slow deterioration of the WWE fanbase. (If you hadn't heard, the last Raw Supershow did a 2.9).
I have stated in past articles that with the current trend of the WWE's ratings, a 2.0 is an inevitability for Raw in the future.
I also predict that if nothing is done, by 2015 the flagship show of Raw will more than likely be in the 1.0s and Smackdown will be off of television completely. Smackdown will possibly be just a web show much like NXT and Superstars has become.
If the WWE doesn't begin to really push the envelope and give fans more surprises and intriguing story lines, its future is tremendously bleak. You simply can't expect to turn a profit if the profit generators, the fans, are removing themselves from the equation.
Now, I'm not suggesting that Daniel Bryan winning the WWE title from CM Punk would suddenly get millions of old fans to come back and millions of new fans to tune in.
What I am suggesting, is that because many people see Daniel Bryan as a mere pit stop for CM Punk as the WWE preps a confrontation with a larger star, the WWE should prove them wrong and have Bryan win the title.
Because people see Daniel Bryan as a mere pit stop. They don't expect him to win. So, him winning the title from Punk would be surprising.
This action should be a start of a new mindset to surprise and shock the masses.
To get them to stop thinking: "Well, because A happened, B will be next, followed by C." and then watch in humdrum boredom as that very same event plays itself out. (I wonder how many fans will be proven right when Big Show interferes in Cena and Laurinaitis' match?)
Daniel Bryan winning the title will surprise many, and people like to be surprised. Surprises are something the WWE rarely does for its fans, anymore.
But, going beyond just this surprise factor, let's look at the missteps the WWE has made that would make it a surprise for Bryan to win in the first place, as erasing those miscues is synonymous with why Bryan should win the WWE Title this Sunday.
Erasing the 18-Second Stain
The WWE made a massive blunder at WrestleMania 28 when they had Daniel Bryan lose to Sheamus in 18 seconds.
They took a wrestler who had worked himself into one of the best heels on either brand—a wrestler the WWE themselves, booked to come out on top in the Elimination Chamber and cage matches with men three times his size—and destroyed it in 18 seconds.
It didn't matter that it was a "sucker-kick." On the biggest stage of them all, instead of being able to show his best qualities, his ability to wrestle, he was squashed faster than a Ry-Berg (You'll get that in a second) jobber from parts unknown.
The WWE, as clumsily and blunder-prone as a slapstick comedian, fell into a phenomenon created from fan frustration at the event.
It watched, befuddled, as Miami and several cities afterward began showing Bryan love at unprecedented levels with the "Yes!" phenomenon.
The sad thing is that when the WWF was operated by wrestling minds who knew what they were doing, this would've been used to turn Daniel Bryan into the next megastar.
Much like when Stone Cold Steve Austin refused to tap out to Bret Hart at WrestleMania 13, and the fans took him as their own anti-hero and created one of the three greatest superstars in wrestling history.
Unfortunately, this is the WWE now: run by soap opera writers, simpletons with no wrestling history, an aging Vince McMahon, his idiot daughter and doofus son-in-law.
So, instead of recognizing the opportunity placed in front of them, they made him a (crummy) t-shirt, let half the roster jump on his "Yes!" chants from Big Show to John Cena, and then fed him to Sheamus...again.
And again...and again.
Even when he had already switched over to being the No. 1 contender for the WWE title, they still had him lose to Sheamus twice on the same Smackdown.
I personally cannot remember the last time I saw a No. 1 contender lose a match to a wrestler who was not the champion of the belt for which he was contending...twice in the same show.
As a result of the 18-second loss and subsequent losses after that, Daniel Bryan looks weak. And wins over mid-carders like Zack Ryder and Kofi Kingston won't change that.
It is this weakness that makes most think that CM Punk will run straight through Daniel Bryan on his way to someone else like Brock Lesnar or Randy Orton.
However, with a win over CM Punk, you can erase the horrific blunders made with Bryan in the past several months and make him look strong and credible again.
But why is making Bryan a credible main-eventer even important?...
Creating a Credible Main-Eventer
When one looks at the WWE main-event scene, to say that it is depleted is an understatement.
(Which is why, personally, I don't understand why Raw is moving to three hours, when they don't have enough top draws to keep people tuned in for two.)
The top draws in the company are as follows: John Cena, Randy Orton, CM Punk, Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio and Chris Jericho.
Men like Triple H, Brock Lesnar, The Rock and The Undertaker only show up once in a blue moon, don't wrestle on Raw or Smackdown and usually have a one-off at the big pay-per-views.
They aren't a weekly attraction on Raw or Smackdown.
Other wrestlers like Christian, Kane, Big Show and Daniel Bryan aren't really top guys. They are guys who are near the top, and are even allowed to hold the world title, but ultimately, are elevated simply to make the WWE's preferred stars look good.
Christian will job to Orton. Kane will job to Cena. Daniel Bryan will job to Sheamus.
The big six in the WWE are the ones I mentioned above.
Now, here's the problem with that:
A. Alberto Del Rio is boring and is being forced down people's throats. He's not so much a top draw as it is the WWE wanting him to be, regardless of what the fans think. (Fact: More people seem to like Ricardo Rodriguez than ADR. Okay, maybe not a "fact," but it's at least probably true.)
B. Due to a lack of top faces, both Orton and Sheamus are being forced to perform as good guys. Both of them are far better as heels. Especially Orton. (Fortunately, it looks like Orton is going back to his roots as a heel after this past Smackdown.)
C. Chris Jericho is constantly doing the job for the Punk and the next generation. While that's admirable, it hurts his own standing as a truly top-tier man. Though I doubt he cares at this point in his career.
Overall, these situations make the main event scene tragically weak.
By letting Bryan win the title, you instantly inject new blood into the main event. By giving him a win over Punk for the title after a tremendous match at Over the Limit, you're establishing him as a top guy in the company for a while.
And that is something the WWE desperately needs right now and will need even more as time goes on.
Because there will come a point when you simply can't go to the Rock, HHH, Taker or Y2J and say: "Hey, come work WrestleMania for us." They'll be retired.
At some point, you're going to have to truly build the next generation of mega-stars out of the current generation of wanna-be mega-stars.
And you can start with having Bryan show he's no pushover by becoming the next WWE champion, thus helping him to increase his credibility and erase his apparent weakness.
Re-Igniting the CM Punk of Old
While this article would seem to only accentuate the benefits of a title win for Daniel Bryan, there are also benefits for CM Punk.
In my personal opinion, CM Punk has hit a wall, as evidenced by his apparent need to come out and verbally pester John Laurinaitis with tepid promos, even though John Laurinaitis is involved in a program with John Cena.
(You would think they would have him come out and have a verbal altercation with Daniel Bryan, seeing how they've barely even talked to each other since their "feud" began...but, I guess that makes too much sense.)
The CM Punk with a purpose has long since vanished.
That fact has been glossed over by an entertaining feud with Y2J, but now that the feud is done, Punk is just...there.
Up until this past Smackdown, you would barely even know he had a feud with Daniel Bryan. The two haven't had one microphone joust, and physical contact between them has been minimal at best.
The CM Punk who wanted to create change disappeared in the same sea of sameness that Wade Barrett's "Winds of Change" did.
The Punk who hunted the WWE title, because he wanted to effect change in the WWE has been replaced with a guy who is trying to drop pipe bombs, but is dropping more M-80s than he is thermonuclear warheads of late.
It would seem that like other greats before him, CM Punk is just not the same character when he has the title.
He's much more tepid and watered down since becoming the champion. Much like Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock and even John Cena, he's a better performer when he doesn't have the belt and is instead chasing it.
Putting Punk in a challenger role for a while could be just the thing to get his edge going again, especially if it comes against someone who can match him in in-ring performances and has worked his heel mic skills to a level where he won't be totally torched by Punk in a verbal duel.
Aligning Bryan with Laurinaitis after winning the title could get Punk to become the voice of the voiceless again, aiming for change, fighting against a giant corporate scheme.
In fact, I would say that heel WWE champion Daniel Bryan would be the perfect man to get CM Punk's juices flowing and get him to raise his level. There are certain wrestlers that do that for one another and Bryan is probably that catalyst for CM Punk.
Which is why Bryan should win the title for another reason...
Prolonging the Punk/Bryan Rivalry
For Bret Hart, the opponents were his brother, Owen, HBK and Stone Cold.
For The Rock, the opponents were Triple H and Stone Cold.
For Hulk Hogan, it was Rowdy Roddy Piper, Randy Savage and Andre the Giant.
For Ric Flair, it was Dusty Rhodes, Randy Savage and Ricky Steamboat.
For every great wrestler, there is another wrestler, or set of wrestlers, that bring out the absolute best in a performer.
For CM Punk, one of those wrestlers is Bryan Danielson. There aren't many men in the WWE who can match Punk move for move and still have moves to spare.
And while the WWE has made the move to bring in more indie talent like Claudio Castagnoli, Chris Hero and Tyler Black, on the main stage of the WWE probably only Daniel Bryan and Chris Jericho can match Punk in the ring.
That is why it is critically important for the WWE not to blow this rivalry with a one-off loss for Daniel Bryan.
Should Daniel lift the title from Punk and start a feud that is more than just Bryan tricking Kane with a chair-shot or depending on Lord Tensai to do the work for him, it would be fantastic for fans of the WWE and for both wrestlers.
Because Punk and Bryan have similar backgrounds in ROH and the independent scene, they will be willing to go to lengths in the ring with each other that other stars like Orton or Kane would not be willing or simply be incapable to go to.
The WWE historically has been built on three things: classic characters, classic stories and classic matches. And when you examine the match aspect of it, the greatest rivalries in history were very rarely one-and-done affairs.
By not reducing this budding rivalry to a simple one-and-done at a smaller PPV, you could be giving birth to the next PWI Feud of the Year. Perhaps match of the year.
Certainly, if any two men could be given 30 minutes to work and create a classic, or six months to feud and not drive the fans to the brink of suicidal boredom, it is CM Punk and Daniel Bryan.
If Bryan takes the title, it could be the start of an epic battle between the two men. But if he is booked to fall short, he will just look even weaker, and even more worth will be siphoned out of any feud he could have with Punk going forward.
The WWE cheated the fans out of a WrestleMania match that could have stolen the show at WrestleMania 28.
Here's hoping they won't rob the fans of what could possibly be the feud of the year for 2012.
It is for this reason, and the ones previously provided, that I believe CM Punk should drop the title to Daniel Bryan this Sunday. Hopefully, the WWE will see the same opportunities here and not blow it.
I suppose we'll know the answer to that shortly.
I hope you enjoyed the stream of consciousness.