Batista's WWE Return Was Bad Timing for Daniel Bryan

Tom Clark@tomclarkbrFeatured ColumnistJanuary 29, 2014

Batista was the winner of WWE's Royal Rumble pay-per-view on Sunday, January 26.  

The Animal had returned to the company just one week earlier and was one of 30 men competing for the opportunity to headline WrestleMania 30. That opportunity included a match for the WWE World Championship, currently held by Randy Orton.  

And while Batista's fans were surely glad to see him not only return but also win at the Rumble, there was one guy that probably could have done without it.  

That guy is Daniel Bryan, who is an unfortunate victim of bad timing.

On any other day, in any other kind of scenario, Batista would likely have been welcomed back with open arms.  After all, he was one of the most popular Superstars that WWE had during his time there and had become a guy that Vince McMahon had trusted with the World Championship.

Batista's evolution from the group of the same name took place for all of the fans to see.

After his popularity as part of Triple H's next level faction began to grow, so too did his character.  Eventually, Batista was seen as more of a singles Superstar, as someone that fans believed should be on his own.

The Animal's feud with his former mentor made him look better than he ever had before.

The Game played the role of the champion that was running scared, afraid of the man that he had brought into Evolution.  Triple H's part of the rivalry was played to perfection, and by the time their World title match happened at WrestleMania 21, WWE fans wanted nothing more than to see their new favorite, Batista, emerge with the big gold belt.

And that is exactly what they got; Batista left with the championship and an exciting new direction for his career.

Batista became a top Superstar after that, a man that the company apparently believed in to hold his own and carry the load of being a WWE main event player.  

Over the next three years, Batista was a Superstar routinely seen in high profile matches on TV and pay-per-view.  There was no doubt about it; The Animal's WWE career had reached new heights.

So when the announcement was made that he would be returning to WWE, fans were likely more than ready to see him come back.  But when it became obvious he would be pursing Randy Orton and the aforementioned WWE World Championship, that opinion perhaps changed pretty quickly.

The reason for that is, of course, Daniel Bryan.  

The WWE faithful had been watching him and supporting him since the night after SummerSlam in 2013 when Triple H had decided to use The Authority against him.

Thanks to a Pedigree delivered by Triple H, Randy Orton was crowned the new WWE champion as well as the new face of the company.  He became Hunter's go-to guy, the man that stood head and shoulders above everyone else in terms of stature and corporate approval.

Essentially, Randy morphed into Triple H's old role as the dominant World Champion, while The Game assumed the part of Vince McMahon.  

And much like Vince, Hunter believed in company first and company last.  Everything he did was done to not only show off his WWE champion but also to supposedly preserve the integrity of WWE's main event level.

And Daniel Bryan evidently did not fit into that main event equation.

WWE fans sat back and watched as all summer long, Bryan kept fighting against The Authority as well as The Shield.  

The goat-faced underdog just would not give up. He kept pushing and pushing to attain the industry's top prize, and he would not stop despite how bad the deck was stacked against him.

This did nothing but build his character and his reputation in the company.  It also made him the hottest commodity WWE has seen since CM Punk and the pipe-bomb of 2011.

Fans wanted Daniel to defeat Randy.  

They wanted to see him overcome The Authority and take his place as the new WWE champion.  They believed in him and respected him as a talent. Daniel had the full support of the audience, and all he needed was the title belt to go along with it.

But of course that never happened.  

Daniel ultimately lost the feud with Orton and then found himself back at mid-card level, this time as a member of Bray Wyatt's family.  Even though Bray is a very charismatic Superstar with his whole career ahead of him, the truth is that putting him next to Daniel did not put Daniel any closer to Orton.

However, when Daniel left The Wyatt Family a few weeks ago, everything changed. 

Now, Daniel Bryan is once again seen as the sentimental favorite to become WWE world champion. Some believe that his slight downturn was just temporary and that he should now finally be elevated back to the title.  They feel that he deserves it, that he's earned it. And they may very well be right.

But the fact is that Batista's return has thrown a huge obstacle into Daniel Bryan's path to the top. Again, if Batista's timing had been better then perhaps it would not have adversely affected Daniel the way it has.  

As it stands right now, Batista will be headlining WrestleMania 30 against Randy Orton for the WWE World Championship.  

This one has the potential to draw not only fan interest but money, and it's understandable why the company would want to go with that match.

But Daniel is not in the mix, and unless WWE changes things up, he could be once again passed up for the title.  

Even if WWE were to pull a surprise at the Elimination Chamber event in February and actually book Daniel to win the belt, the truth is that Batista is likely not going away anytime soon.  

Would Bryan's supporters be satisfied with a championship win in February only to see it end at Batista's hands in April at WrestleMania?

The fact is that while Batista has been gone from WWE pursuing his acting career, Daniel has been working hard week in and week out.  

He has entertained on a very high level and has done everything it takes to be a top star in the company.  He is the man that fans want; he is the one that they cheer for even when he's not in the ring.

But instead of rising up to claim his spot at the top of WWE, Daniel has been somewhat knocked back down the ladder.  And now Batista has been given the opportunity that could have belonged to Bryan.

Timing is everything in WWE, and in the case of Batista's return, it's more bad than good for Daniel Bryan.



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