Following Daniel Bryan's recent demotion from main events to the midcard scene, it's been speculated that the star may be taking some of the heat for this year's disappointing SummerSlam buyrate.
As Wrestleview notes, SummerSlam, headlined by Bryan vs. John Cena and CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar, was down by a whopping 62,000 buys.
Night of Champions the following month, also headlined by Bryan, did a rather mediocre number as well (175,000 buys).
That Vince McMahon bluntly referred to SummerSlam as a "swing and a miss" at last week's quarterly conference call also seemed like a bad sign for Bryan's future.
Turns out, it probably was.
Per PWInsider Elite, via WrestleZone, there is a least a modicum of truth to these theories:
Mike Johnson of PWInsider is reporting that Daniel Bryan's run as a top star and main eventer might be coming to an end as he's taking some of the blame for the low buyrates during his short run in that position.
The feeling in WWE is that Daniel Bryan simply isn't a "larger than life" character fans are ultimately looking for, and that his best position is in the mid-card having great matches.
The report also goes on to discuss the mentality behind Big Show's recent mega-push:
To the contrary, however, The Big Show's recent push is reportedly a result of WWE wanting bigger guys back in the spotlight. It's the reason he has moved into the main event program with Randy Orton and the McMahons and why guys like Luke Harper and Great Khali have been given more TV time as of late.
In fairness to Bryan, it seems harsh to shoulder him with most of the blame for the bad SummerSlam buyrate.
CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar was pushed just as much, if not more, than the WWE Championship match, and that didn't seem to drum up much interest, either.
Is it fair to blame Bryan for the low buyrates?
(You have to wonder if, when his current contract expires, WWE can continue to justify paying Lesnar a fortune when he's clearly not delivering the expected results.)
Besides, can the company truly be surprised that Bryan isn't drawing like Steve Austin in '98 when it had Triple H, Stephanie and Randy Orton cut promo after promo on television for months about how worthless and undeserving he was?