Daniel Bryan has quickly become WWE's biggest underdog.
He is embroiled in a feud with Randy Orton over the company's top championship, which many fans do not expect he will ultimately win. He is constantly being verbally attacked by WWE's chief operating officer Triple H, who uses the three man Shield faction to physically assault Bryan every week. Now, the seven foot 500 pound Big Show is being forced to align himself against Bryan as well.
Daniel Bryan just cannot catch a break. And I for one wouldn't have it any other way.
This is working. Everything about it is working. Every week, we see Bryan decimated in the ring, hopelessly outnumbered and beaten down with the whole world watching. And the very next time we see him, the crowd goes insane.
He is bigger now than he has ever been in his entire career. And it's all because of the role that he is currently in.
The fact is that we have seen the anti-authority Superstar fighting the establishment angle before, as recently as 2011. CM Punk was the man against the odds at that time, daring to speak out on the company that he felt was holding him down.
But this is different. Daniel Bryan is different.
In the Punk storyline, the self-proclaimed Best in the World asked for the fight, he lifted the veil and kicked down the fourth wall like no one had before. Punk wanted the war.
Daniel Bryan however, is the victim. He is a blue collar guy, a hard working professional wrestler who fought and scratched his way from the bottom to get where he is today. He never espoused his abilities, bragged on just how dominant or entertaining he is or demanded respect from the crowd.
All Bryan wanted was a chance. And now he's being punished for it.
He is being physically and verbally attacked week in and week out because Triple H's new administration does not feel he belongs on top. They don't believe that he deserves to be "the guy."
Yet Daniel's pop continues to grow. Bryanmania is running wild.
I have to say that I for one did not see this coming. It's not that I didn't believe he was capable of pulling it off. I have always respected Bryan for what he can do in the ring and feel that he has definitely grown into a very impressive entertainer.
But the fact that WWE decided to go with this angle still amazes me. Quite frankly, I didn't realize that they saw what I and many other fans did with Daniel Bryan. I am pleasantly surprised by this entire storyline, from top to bottom. Why?
It's very simple. Daniel Bryan is getting over like no one ever thought he would.
He fights and he fights, coming back from one beating after another, only to get worse than before. Nearly every time we see him at the end of a WWE program, he is flat on his back.
But yet he will not stay down. He will not quit. No matter how big the odds, Bryan will not stop.
And if he does somehow manage to turn it all around right now, to perhaps gain some allies to fight against the McMahon family, then it will be all over. Daniel's spotlight will instantly weaken and fans will stop responding the way they are right now. The intensity and perhaps even the life, will be sucked out of Bryan's character.
Let's be honest, if it suddenly became apparent that Bryan were going to overcome the odds and win the WWE title at Night of Champions, would fans really care anymore? After witnessing him hoist the belt above his head for a second time and enjoying the moment, would the crowd then still rally behind Bryan as they do right now?
In truth, I believe the answer to that is no. The thrill of this angle is in the chase. And Bryan being left in a heap every week on TV is part of what makes this angle the biggest one we have seen in quite some time.
This is not to suggest that fans just want to see Daniel punished, however. The fact is that he is arguably the most popular Superstar in WWE right now. But what fans want, what they love about this angle, is that Bryan keeps fighting back. He will not surrender.
When fans look at Daniel, they see a man with a lot of heart. They see a man who wants the WWE Championship more than anything else. And they see a man who has nothing to lose, who would rather go back to wrestling in high school gyms than walk away from this fight.
To be fair, if you take all of that away, I believe that you also take away all the interest in his feud with Randy Orton. Orton must be protected. He must be shielded from Bryan by Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins. And he must be fully endorsed by Triple H who will throw every obstacle in Bryan's path to his dreams of becoming WWE champion.
Are Daniel Bryan's struggles making him a stronger candidate to main event in WWE?
Bryan's potential to be a WWE main event Superstar was debated by many fans in the beginning. I believe those same fans are now convinced that he will be a WWE main event Superstar. Will he become WWE champion at some point? Yes. Should it happen now? No. This storyline is much too hot to stop now.
Effectively, Daniel Bryan is in the biggest storyline of his WWE career. He is beaten down by the Shield and mocked by WWE chief operating officer Triple H every week on TV. He is also chasing a WWE champion who is hiding behind a glass ceiling that Daniel Bryan cannot seem to break through.
But Bryan is in the right place, right now, in WWE. I for one would not change a thing.