For months now, Daniel Bryan has been plagued by the “B+ Player” moniker that The Authority has patronizingly bestowed upon him.
And at one point, as condescending as they’ve been about it, Triple H and his entourage may well have had a case.
But in recent months Bryan has established himself as arguably the hottest commodity on WWE programming. His wonderfully simple “Yes!” catchphrase has taken the WWE Universe by storm, and within the squared circle he has well and truly cemented his reputation as one of the finest technical wrestlers on the planet.
And if that wasn’t enough, it has now been confirmed that Bryan’s overwhelming popularity has spilled out of the onscreen realm and is having a significant impact in the world of sales. As the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t WrestlingInc.com) reports:
WWE's current top merchandise sellers at live event are, in order, John Cena, Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, Batista, Sheamus, Hulk Hogan, Randy Orton and Brock Lesnar. Punk is down a spot because he's been away.
On WWE's shop website, the top sellers are Cena, Punk, Bryan, Hogan, The Shield, Steve Austin, Lesnar, The Undertaker and Orton.
Now this news may not necessarily come as a great surprise to many. But what is important is that it finally confirms what many a fan has been insisting for some time now: Daniel Bryan is indeed an A+ player.
Although we don’t have exact numbers, it’s clear that Bryan is one of the top sellers on the company’s books. Which is some feat given that megastars such as Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker, Brock Lesnar and Batista are still some way down that list.
The significance of this is that the WWE can no longer hold him back.
Perhaps this is why we are finally seeing the company give in to the clamours of the Yes! Movement. Although it’s a quote that Triple H often uses in storylines, he genuinely does know what’s best for business; NXT, the performance centre and the employment of Lesnar and Co. are a testament to that.
So my point here is that as long as Bryan sustains such a presence in merchandise sales, we can expect to see a whole lot more from the man who has come to personify the underdog.
That being said, a potentially worrying sign for Bryan and his fans is that CM Punk remains a higher seller on the WWE’s online store.
For Punk it’s an impressive feat, although it opens up a mini debate of sorts: Are fans buying Punk’s merchandise because they’re hoping to see him come back? Or are they buying it in the knowledge that this may be the last chance they get, as something of an homage to the Second City Saint?
Whatever the answer to that question, the fact remains that Bryan needs to usurp Punk if he wants to truly solidify his main event status. That being said, given his involvement in WrestleMania storylines and the plugging that the WWE gave the Yes! Movement on Raw this week, I can’t imagine that being too much of a problem.
While the heady heights of Cena-like sales may still be some way off, this is certainly a positive step for Bryan. His in-ring credentials have rarely been in question—and now he has the pulling power beyond the mat to further bolster his standing.
It’s been a long time coming, but all the signs point to Bryan finally being backed as a main event-calibre Superstar in the WWE.
But what do you guys make of this news?
Will it help elevate Bryan to the next level and stay there?
Or is this information less significant than I am suggesting?
Please feel free to share your views and comment on this matter and the article itself below. And as always, thanks for reading.