Daniel Bryan is in the midst of the biggest push of his career as he prepares to face off against John Cena at SummerSlam.
The seemingly insurmountable obstacle of Cena has many fans skeptical. Cena is often referred to as “Super Cena” in a caustic, facetious tone by hardcore wrestling fans. So his chances of dropping the WWE Championship to the undersized Bryan seem highly unlikely.
Cena is coming off of a clean victory over surging monster Mark Henry at Money in the Bank—so on paper, Bryan shouldn't stand a chance.
Based on his white-hot booking, not only does Bryan stand a chance, his role as the lovable underdog has him in a win-win situation.
Many of Bryan’s supporters fall into the same category as the tirelessly oversensitive Internet crow. As a result, they'll be prone to feeling that this is an all-or-nothing opportunity for the former ROH standout.
Bryan is currently the only superstar on the WWE roster whose babyface reaction surpasses that of Cena. The universal “yes” chants create quite a stirring contrast to Cena—this era’s Hulk Hogan—and his signature mixed reaction.
Given the circumstances, it’s understandable why some may think that Bryan’s showdown with Cena could be a changing of the guard. Sure, a win would be career-defining. But a loss would be far from a setback.
Bryan has been on a steady path to the top of the WWE since his debut. First, he was spotlighted on NXT opposite Michael Cole who, at the time, was the WWE’s hottest heel. Next, it was the United States Championship. Then on to a Money in the Bank win which would blossom into a World Championship title run.
Bryan is one of the select few superstars of the WWE’s youth movement whose ascendancy hasn't been followed by a pronounced downward spiral.
The Miz, Wade Barrett and Sheamus all seemed to be on their way to a permanent main event spot. All have fallen off with no signs of returning anytime soon.
But not Daniel Bryan.
Remember Bryan’s summer feud of 2012 against then-WWE champion CM Punk? The two were embroiled in an intriguing storyline where both the WWE Championship and AJ Lee’s affection were at stake. The rivalry featured strong wrestling matches.
In the end, Bryan came up empty-handed, failing to win the WWE Championship.
Dude didn’t miss a beat.
In fact, the argument can be made that Bryan’s momentum began to take off following a loss several months prior. The loss came in an 18-second squash match against Sheamus in Bryan’s WrestleMania debut. Fan sympathy led to the rise of the aforementioned “yes” chants along with the meteoric rise of Bryan himself that continues to this day.
Daniel Bryan is Teflon. He has proved just that over the span of his well-paced WWE career. His unmatched in-ring talents deny him of being defined by wins and losses.
Bryan’s SummerSlam match against Cena may be the biggest moment of his career to this point. But when all is said and done, history will remember a potential loss to Cena as an afterthought.
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