Daniel Bryan could have had a star-making night a few weeks ago in a match against The Shield. However, WWE dropped the ball on the follow-up, or just didn't care.
Remember the good old days when The Shield could defeat the best teams in the entire WWE?
Remember when, after months of trying, they finally lost, all thanks to Daniel Bryan?
Remember when WWE made a big deal out of it?
You might not have, because that last part didn't happen.
A potential big WWE moment happened that hot summer night on the June 14 SmackDown. Bryan had Seth Rollins trapped in the No Lock with nowhere to go. He tapped. The crowd exploded.
Strangely, it was forgotten by Monday. No one really talked about it.
Daniel Bryan did something that John Cena, Ryback, Sheamus, Randy Orton, Kane and The Big Show couldn't accomplish: he made a member of The Shield submit. That should have immediately been the end of the weakest link storyline and of Bryan's comedy act.
For some reason, they continued.
Yes, Bryan is fantastic at comedy, but comedy isn't what makes money in wrestling. Guys like Steve Austin and The Rock may have had humorous sides to them, but above all they were badasses. Other talent like Bret Hart, The Undertaker and Hulk Hogan displayed very little humor, but they made a ton of money for WWE.
Guys like Santino Marella and Brodus Clay serve their purpose on the card, but they don't convince people to drive 45 minutes and pay $40 to go see a wrestling show in person. Heated feuds with top stars do.
Bryan has the potential to be a money maker, and WWE wasted a big moment that could have helped get him there.
Overall, his push is confusing. The crowds love him, but the company seems reluctant to go all in on him. He's kept in a self-loathing, man-child role that screams midcard.
Try and think of one big-money star whose character is as oblivious and whiny as Daniel Bryan.
Has there also ever been a promoter who insulted an emerging star's physical attributes as much as Vince McMahon has laid out on Bryan?
What more can Bryan do to end the never-ending weakest link story besides defeating The Shield? Make The Undertaker tap out at WrestleMania? Force John Cena to submit on Raw? The company isn't going to let either of those scenarios happen, so it should have taken advantage of the opportunity he was given.
After all, superteam after superteam was thrown at the group, but somehow the heels always came out on top.
And it's not just Bryan who deserved better. After The Shield's loss, the group wasn't even given a promo on Raw to address the situation. The announcers didn't put it over either. It was almost as if management changed their mind over the weekend as to whether the loss actually happened or not.
These were the guys who put The Undertaker out of action! They cost Ryback the WWE title on multiple occasions. They were a menace to the entire company, and they finally got theirs.
Their first loss should have been pushed as a major event. Bryan should have found a new confidence. Cena should have been impressed. The Shield should have sworn revenge, and a rematch should have been planned.
Instead, nothing of consequence happened, and the crack in The Shield became bigger as they lost to The Usos and Christian.
One could argue that The Usos have been elevated, or you could argue that The Shield have been brought down. Right now, it's looking like the second choice is more likely.
Without properly promoting Bryan's tap out victory, the company downgraded four of its talents because we weren't given a reason to care. WWE asked us to care that The Shield was undefeated, but didn't want us to care when they finally lost or who they were beaten by.
Opportunities like that don't come up often. They require time and good booking. Big money drawing stars are a rare sight too, and WWE may have damaged Bryan's chances of becoming one with their lazy booking.