There is no hotter wrestler on the planet right now than Daniel Bryan.
That may seem like a bold statement, but no other wrestler is garnering the type of reactions he is, which is a testament to the performer. He has remained as over as he is despite booking decisions that can best be described as mind-numbing and stupid.
On Sunday, February 23, he will be one of five challengers to Randy Orton's WWE World Heavyweight Championship inside the unforgiving Elimination Chamber. Joining him will be (no longer Antonio) Cesaro, John Cena, Sheamus and Christian.
With that much talent in one ring, the expectations for the quality of the bout will be high.
As will expectations for sports-entertainment's most popular performer.
Bryan will be, arguably, the most carefully watched Superstar in the Elimination Chamber. What he does, and does not do, in the WWE title match will be dissected and commented on in the hours and days following the event.
So how can Bryan best be booked in the main event of the last pay-per-view before WrestleMania XXX?
Let's take a look.
The iron man of the cell
Bryan is one of the best wrestlers on the planet, with a move set rivaled by few. As such, he has the rare ability to start a match like the Elimination Chamber, which will last longer than a half-hour, and last all the way to the finish without his endurance really being tested or his move set becoming stale.
With so many talented individuals in the match, he will not be heavily relied upon to carry the match. What he can be is the glue that holds the bout together, the iron man who is the centerpiece of the action.
And the longer Bryan sticks around the match, the less likely the crowd is to try to hijack the match with chants of anger resulting from the early elimination of its favorite wrestler.
He does not have to win
One of the misconceptions among fans is that if Bryan does not win a certain match, he is being buried by management.
That is absolutely incorrect.
Bryan does not have to win every match he is in to maintain a main event push. Just competing for the title for the fifth time in the last eight pay-per-view events is enough to cement him as a legitimate main event star.
That he has recently returned to interacting with The Authority indicates that big things are on the horizon for the Aberdeen, Washington, native.
Bryan is essentially bulletproof at this point in his career. No loss is going to negatively affect his career. The crowd is so solidly in support of him that another loss in a match with as many former champions as there are inside the Chamber will not hurt.
No matter how much critics across the internet suggest otherwise.
Strength of booking is key
Bryan does not have to win, but he should be booked strongly to capitalize on the momentum he has built thus far in 2014.
Eliminating fellow Superstars and fending off elimination himself will help accomplish that. Interference from Kane, leading to his dismissal from the match, would only fuel support from the audience and support its belief that Bryan would have won the title without the involvement of the Big Red Monster.
The Kane scenario would fuel a nice television program for Bryan before the former WWE champion turns his attention to Triple H in time for WrestleMania, if that is the direction the company decides to head in.
Even if that is not the case, tearing through the competition, eliminating several of his fellow Superstars and then eating a fluke RKO from Randy Orton does absolutely no damage. Again, Bryan looks strong coming out of the match, and most fans agree that he was the most deserving champion of all the stars he competed against.
One thing that cannot happen is for Bryan to be one of the first wrestlers eliminated from the match. If that happens, the crowd will turn on the match, and the company will have a repeat of last month's embarrassing Orton-John Cena title bout.
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