A few months back, word on the street (or on the Internet forums) was that the probable Daniel Bryan-John Cena feud would revolve around their relationships with the Bellas. Thankfully, WWE did not go that route, deciding on a more intense feud appropriate for the main event of their second-biggest pay-per-view.
We are now on the brink of something magical. This is not the first time we've been led to such a destination—John Cena feuds tend to bring that relevancy along with them. A lot of that has to do with the invincibility he is granted by the WWE creative team and the power that he consequently harbors in being able to create future superstars.
If a star can beat John Cena, then the foregone conclusion is that WWE will invest in making him a top star. If WWE was a multi-layered game, then John Cena would be the final boss you'd need to beat to win. If you lost, though, you'd fall right back down to level one.
Superstars like Ryback and Mark Henry rode a wave of surging momentum—so much so that they could've established themselves as top stars if they had won their matches against Cena. But they didn't, and now they're back to where they started, with all the labored momentum oozing away with every show.
What makes Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena a really compelling feud is the realism. John Cena knows quite well he is the demolisher of all wrestlers. He knows that he can and will defeat anyone who steps up to him, be it The Rock, Brock Lesnar or even CM Punk. He knows he is invincible, and doubts a small wrestler like Daniel Bryan could shatter that sphere of immortality.
Daniel Bryan on the other hand, has been established as the (goat) face of the future. He represents everything that's not preferred in WWE's top echelon, with his small physique and comical looks. His quest to be the face of the company isn't unlike like the Battle of Middle-earth, with Daniel Bryan symbolizing the outnumbered and flailing army of Gondor and John Cena symbolizing the domineering, all-seeing and seemingly unconquerable army of Mordor.
Bryan knows quite well that if he were to lose, he would flounder in the mid-card division for a long while again while John Cena would resume his monotonous reign. This is a golden opportunity for him to change his future and, in turn, change WWE's as well.
How has the feud been so far?
This is what the feud has been built on, and this kind of realism was last seen during the Summer of Punk. John Cena becomes a highly compelling character (who churns incredible promos) once he starts admitting how much of an unstoppable force he is. All those smiles and jokes make sense once you realize the magnanimity of his kayfabe position and his confidence in it.
He knows he's not the best wrestler in the world, and he's fine with it. He attacked the core of this industry by building a character centered around entertainment. Doing that was relatively easy, and if this tradition were to continue it would remain easy.
Daniel Bryan—the vicarious projection of real wrestling—is here to change that mindset and bring the focus back to where it should be. Doing so in the era of sports entertainment would be excruciatingly hard (although some of the seeds were sown by Punk), but also undeniably right.
This is a much bigger feud than any of the Punk-Cena ones in terms of kayfabe relevancy, because Punk's main argument was always about how he should be in the spotlight for being the best wrestler. Bryan however is standing up for wrestling in general, not just for himself.
This has been a great feud, and while I wait for its climax at Summerslam all I can do is thank whatever it was that drove the proposition of a feud revolving around the Bellas out of the WWE creative team's minds.
Thanks for the read all.
Shalaj Lawania is known for his disappearing acts, because being there all the time is too mainstream. Do show him love, he needs it. For more love, you can follow him on Twitter, if you have a good annoying tweets threshold. For the rest, use Wikipedia.