One of the biggest talking points in professional wrestling right now is the state of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Since Daniel Bryan announced that he would be forced to take time off due to a neck injury, uncertainty has surrounded his fledgling title reign.
On the May 19 episode of Raw, Stephanie McMahon issued an ultimatum to Bryan. He must appear on the next Raw show and relinquish the belts. This is the right thing for Bryan to do.
He had a true WrestleMania moment this year when he won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. His subsequent reign has been weakened by real-world events, both good and bad, as he has missed time for his honeymoon with wife Brie Bella and the tragic death of his father. A mediocre feud with Kane has resulted in a series of unimpressive Raw segments, albeit involving a solid title match on pay-per-view at Extreme Rules.
Simply put, Bryan cannot afford any more setbacks to this title reign. If he is missing for several months while remaining champion, he will lose a lot of momentum.
However, if he hands the belt over now, he will be free to make a triumphant return once his recovery is complete. Bryan is at his best as an underdog fighting to get to what he deserves as it is held constantly out of reach. He’s all about merit and hard work.
With that in mind, his character would actually be willing to give up his championship in this instance. Bryan knows that the locker room is full of worthy challengers for his title, and he would want to give them the chance for glory in his absence.
The Bryan the WWE Universe has grown to love would want to be a fighting champion. He wouldn’t want the fans to go without a top guy, and he wouldn’t want the talent to go without a target to fight.
If Bryan hands over the WWE World Heavyweight Championship on Monday, it will be seen as a noble gesture. He can sell it as a heartfelt goodbye to the WWE Universe and lay out a rough time frame for his return to the ring. Of course, he would return before then and immediately go after the new champion.
Bryan deserves the spot at the top of the WWE ladder. But it’s best for the WWE Universe and indeed best for business for him to hand over the WWE World Heavyweight Championship until his return.