Following Daniel Bryan's demotion back to the midcard, it would be understandable for fans of the grappler to grow disheartened.
But, look a little closer, and his removal from WWE's main event scene may be a blessing in disguise, and even something that will help his underdog character.
First of all, getting Bryan out of The Authority storyline is best for all concerned. People don't need to sit through yet another Bryan/Orton bout on pay-per-view, even if their previous matches have been good. Their program has more than run its course, and it's time to move on.
Besides, Bryan will no longer have to be on the receiving end of any more demeaning Triple H promos. Triple H (standing in for Vince McMahon?) has gone out of his way over the last few months to reinforce the 32-year-old's weaknesses on Raw and SmackDown.
He's not a star, we're told. He doesn't have the right look. Women don't like him. He can't get over. It goes on and on.
Needless to say, this a truly bewildering way for WWE to book anyone, let alone a rising star.
Shouldn't the writers be focusing on his strengths and telling everyone who will listen how amazing he is? It's not rocket science, just common sense.
Is it really a surprise that SummerSlam and Night of Champions—both events headlined by Bryan—delivered mediocre and disappointing buyrates? The fans were emphatically told, several times, that Bryan wasn't worth watching or buying a show to see. (Numbers via Wrestleview.)
Can you imagine “Stone Cold” Steve Austin in 1998 being treated like this? If he had been, he surely wouldn’t have gone on to be one of the most popular wrestlers in history.
So, let's be honest, this most recent storyline with Orton and his corporate allies have not helped Bryan. If anything, it's set him back considerably. He doesn't seem like the mega-star he was over the summer anymore.
Free of the storyline with Triple H and The Authority, Bryan has a chance to regain his lost momentum and build up his credibility as a babyface again.
Ideally, by the time he returns to the main event scene The Authority storyline—and Triple H and Stephanie McMahon's idiotic, counterproductive promos—will be finished and Bryan will be allowed a proper chance to be a major babyface.
Will Daniel Bryan be WWE champion again?
Of course, all this shouldn't suggest that fans don't have any reason to be concerned with the former ROH wrestler's recent treatment. Vince's ominous comments at last week's conference call declaring the SummerSlam show “a swing and a miss” (via PWTorch) may not bode well for Bryan, either, assuming he was being referred to.
Has he shouldered the blame for the middling pay-per-view numbers? Sadly, it's very possible.
But, come on, even WWE has to know how talented Bryan truly is—it can't keep him on the sidelines forever. It’s not like it has plenty of others guys as popular and talented as he is right now.