Let’s get one thing straight: At SummerSlam, John Cena absolutely must drop the WWE Championship to Daniel Bryan.
You see, it's the booking team's only real option. Not only would it be a boon for Daniel Bryan's career, it would also boost and reinvigorate the Raw product.
Make no mistake about it: Bryan is the best wrestler in WWE right now (maybe even in the world).
Indeed, he is so far and above everyone else on the roster, it's rather astonishing.
His phenomenal bout with Antonio Cesaro two weeks ago on Raw will undoubtedly go down as one of the best matches on WWE programming ever.
He's over too. Fans are lapping up his neurotic underdog character in droves. It helps that Bryan has an endearing everyman sort of charisma that makes him easy to get behind.
His unconventional look and trademark beard can also be seen as bonuses. The guy stands out. (Let’s hope he doesn’t lose the beard in tonight’s McMahon-instituted “Corporate Makeover” since it truly is a vital part of the act).
In addition, he's become well-known outside of wrestling, thanks to his involvement with E! reality show Total Divas. Yes, former ROH star Bryan arguably has more mainstream appeal than most on the roster.
Ideally, all these factors combined will mean that Bryan will emerge this year as the wrestler who can equal—and maybe even surpass—Cena as a babyface.
As Cena gets older—he turned 36 in April—and becomes hindered by injuries and general wear and tear, WWE has attempted to find a new babyface in recent times, with limited success.
CM Punk is clearly over with the hardcore base, but doesn't have anything close to Cena's appeal to kids/women. Ratings for his title run also tanked badly, as I discussed last year.
Ryback could have been a major star, but the bookers squandered his potential by having him sustaining loss after loss. Does anyone even care about him anymore?
Could Bryan be the guy WWE is looking for? Maybe. Maybe not. We’ll have to wait and see.
But one thing is for sure: If he's to even have a chance, he must win the belt at SummerSlam. Defeating Cena and becoming champion will cement his credibility to the fans and ensure he—at last—reaches the main event plateau.
And if Bryan fails to take the title off of Cena at the pay-per-view?
Well, the results could be disastrous. As noted, Ryback's potential was foolishly wasted by WWE's reluctance to give him a run with the World Championship.
It's frighteningly easy to see Bryan's momentum and popularity evaporating following a loss at the pay-per-view.
A title switch would also help Raw and stop it from getting stagnant and formulaic. Cena's been champion for almost five months now, isn't it about time for a change? Besides, it's not like Cena needs the title to be over.
Come on, WWE: Why not give Bryan a shot? He’s your best prospect in ages.