Big Show's sudden interest in either the World Title situation or supporting Bryan aside, Bryan is showing incredible integrity in sticking to his word. He said he wants to cash in for a shot at WrestleMania, and so far, he's making good on that promise.
Heels in WWE have never been good at keeping promises, this is a well-known fact. But even faces like Christian have made promises they've been unable to keep.
All of us were excited for Christian when he won the World Heavyweight Championship by taking Edge's place in the ladder match at Extreme Rules, and many of us were infuriated that Randy Orton could just stroll in and Teddy Long would poll the "Universe" to justify handing Orton an immediate title shot.
Truth is, for Christian to lose that night was entirely human, too. We shouldn't have gotten so angry over it. Then again, instead of working harder to ultimately keep his promise that he would regain the title, Christian simply became bitter, frustrated and pissed off, took the easy route with a bunch of lawyers and turned into a heel.
And what did it gain him? A short second run with the World Heavyweight Title (albeit longer than the first run), and some notoriety as a co-instigator of the no-confidence vote against Triple H, but aside from that, nothing of note.
My sessions in examining this case suggest to me that neither Bryan nor WWE would stand to gain much from Bryan going back on his word and turning bad. With all the talk he's put out there about waiting until WrestleMania, if he were to not only cash in after a match, but do it before WrestleMania, that's exactly what would happen.
Even if it didn't happen right in the moment, the next time we saw Bryan, he'd be a heel by default.
WWE has nice idealistic guys like Cena, this is true, but at least Bryan has shown some emotion with plenty of motivation to do so.
Cena is a pure ideal on the outside, but on the inside, has very little wiggle room for emotion to sneak in. Lately, his feuds with CM Punk, The Rock and Awesome Truth seem to have brought out a more passionate side to him, but all in all, Cena doesn't have much to be mad at himself for.
He constantly wins, he always looks strong. He may even be involved in the conspiracy. But if the John Cena we see on TV were a real human being that any of us could work with, there would be very few times when he would have reason to look at himself in the mirror and say, "so where are my areas to improve?"
Recently, I had to fill out an annual self-assessment/review at my office job. Had Cena been told by his superiors that he needed to fill out a similar form, what would he cite as his areas of improvement?
On the other hand, Bryan has shown plenty of flaw, but most of that flaw can be captured in his lack of focus as a result of winning Money in the Bank. Seems like a cop-out, but I guarantee there are countless examples in sports like baseball and basketball where a huge championship victory has led to a team going down the tubes the following season.
Only a handful of people in WWE have been able to accomplish such a task as winning a briefcase, so for Bryan's head to grow over such an accomplishment is entirely understandable. For us to look at Bryan's progress this year and merely see it from a booking perspective completely eliminates the human aspect that I've been trying to drive home for so long.
Many of these competitors are being booked lately from very human states of mind.
When people like Bryan, Morrison, Rhodes and the Divas of Doom go on losing streaks or sustain crucial losses, said losses are usually accompanied by either an article or an interview video on WWE.com to get more insight into why it's happening, and what the character is thinking in regard to what has happened to their vigor.
Most of the time, the interview videos come off naturally delivered and although they keep the characters in-character, they still seem more real than most promos cut on the shows. Meaning, even if some of these "impromptu" interviews backstage for the website display a microscopic bit of shooting, it's still helping to keep these characters' senses of urgency at the forefront.
And in order to keep them looking like real people, this is incredibly important.
When CM Punk cut his infamous promo over the summer, people were ready to dub this the "Reality Era." Due to the subtle nuances in various characters' moods and attitudes, I'm still extremely willing to wave the flag of the Reality Era.
After all, one reason the Attitude Era was so popular is that it had the most points of proof that people could show others and say "look, see? Wrestling IS real!" Since those days, stories of blading, overproducing and overscripting have all come out, along with countless FOX specials on the secrets of professional wrestling to completely discredit the sport.
TNA has even tried to capture the "realness" of shoot promos to only limited appeal. WWE takes advantage of it, even in small doses on their website, it can make all the difference.
But in making these guys look more "real," we need to accept that the days when a guy could debut in the company and be an unbelievably invincible wrecking machine, a la Goldberg and Lesnar, are over and done with.