WWE has not exactly carved out the best feuds over the last few years, and unfortunately, it has been no different for CM Punk and Daniel Bryan as they head into act three of their summer feud for the WWE Title at Money In The Bank.
On paper, Punk vs. Bryan should have, far and away, been the best feud of 2012 but sadly limped through the summer with only the inclusion of AJ as part of the storyline to give it bursts of life.
Don't mistake me for being negative. Wrestling-wise, the matches could not have been better, and in terms of WWE Title matches, they have been near five-star (if not five-star) quality.
But overall, the feud has stagnated and relied on love triangles and quadrilaterals to make it interesting. (Kane has come away with a slightly comical face turn in the process. Way to go Kane!)
If Bryan was going to win the WWE Title, it would have been last month during the Triple Threat Match with Punk and Kane at No Way Out.
You have Bryan pin Kane to win the belt without pinning Punk and escalating the feud. Or in a classic wrestling booking sort of way, Bryan would have beaten Punk outright (of course by some unclean means) to balance the feud going into the third and decisive act.
But instead, the fact remains that SummerSlam is on the horizon, and with the effort being put into the Triple H-Brock Lesnar feud, WWE wants to try and match the anticipation that was felt for WrestleMania this year.
Now, of course, that's not going to happen. But it does mean (and I will be elaborating on this in an upcoming piece about John Cena and Money in the Bank) that WWE is going to need Punk as champion going into the event to take on you know who.
Let's also look at it from the standpoint that the last time Bryan was a World Champion heading into a major pay-per-view, he jobbed in 18 seconds to Sheamus.
That's no strike against Bryan, but it goes to show what the higher-ups thought of Bryan with the World Heavyweight Championship. Of course, things have changed drastically since then with one emphatic "Yes!" after another from the crowd, which has made Bryan as hot as anyone in the company.
Bottom line, though, is it's purely business.
Money in the Bank just creates more money to be made from SummerSlam, and that favors Punk more than Bryan in the role of champion.
WWE needs Punk for what they're ultimately shooting for to be the return match against Cena with a whole year of buildup behind them since their encounter last summer.