The path to greatness must come with time.
I love Daniel Bryan.
When he debuted on WWE NXT in early 2010, I felt as if the WWE really hit the jackpot with this guy.
Admittedly, I’m not a huge fan of the Indies, so my opinion could’ve been categorized as “rush to judgment” due to my lack of knowledge when it comes to Indy promotions. However, any wrestling fan could see that Daniel Bryan is a once-in-a-lifetime performer.
When I looked at Daniel Bryan, I saw this guy that could provide a perfect contrast/alternative to the Randy Ortons and the John Cenas of the WWE. Simply put, Daniel Bryan isn't anything like the stereotypical WWE Superstar.
He doesn’t have the bodybuilder physique, he isn't the best talker and he certainly wasn't someone you’d expect to become a main-eventer in the WWE anytime in the not-so-distant future.
Thing is, he is different.
If history has taught us anything, it’s that when the WWE places a unique individual in with the normal talent, they thrive.
For example, Bret Hart wasn't the most charismatic nor greatest talker by any means. But Bret was different than everyone else. He was one of the best wrestlers of his time, and his excellence of execution propelled him to the top of the WWE.
When Bret left the WWE, Vince McMahon and Stone Cold Steve Austin ushered in the Attitude Era. This era was infamous for its antiheroes and the replacement of the family-friendly, heroic faces like Hulk Hogan. The product reeked of the “Trash TV” genre that had become so popular in the 90s.
With guys like The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin at the height of their popularity, the WWE decided to debut a different type of superstar.
This superstar didn't have an edge and possessed a number of qualities that would've fit better in the WWE’s Golden Age. In an era where the quality of matches wasn't as high of a priority as shock value, the WWE introduced one of the best wrestlers in history.
It was Kurt Angle.
The primary reason for Angle’s popularity is the fact that his character set him apart from everyone else.
He was different, and I see the same quality in Daniel Bryan every time he performs.
Because of this, you’d think I would be rejoicing at the site of him winning the World Heavyweight Championship on SmackDown. Even though Bryan’s title win was short lived, I still felt something was wrong with this picture.
Daniel Bryan isn't ready to be World Champion.
Was it the fact that Bryan has lost almost every matchup his has partaken in this year?
Simply put, the WWE has done a terrible job in building Bryan up as a legitimate threat to the World Championship.
If I’m not mistaken, Daniel Bryan has been featured on three WWE pay-per-views this year. Aside from that, he has been used to progress other programs instead of being built up as a superstar that fans actually believe can win the World Championship at WrestleMania.
Whatever happened to the times when the WWE took its precious time in building up its superstars? For example, Shawn Michaels spent almost eight years in the WWE before he won his first World Championship. A better example would be the two-year buildup of Stone Cold Steve Austin.
They gave him the proper exposure with his win at KOTR 1996 over Jake Roberts while he introduced one of the most iconic catchphrases in WWE history when Austin 3:16 says "I just whipped your ass."
They followed that up with feuds with the likes of Bret and Owen Hart while orchestrating classic moments like the double-turn from WrestleMania 13.
Even the mishap from SummerSlam 1997 that saw Owen Hart botching a piledriver and legitimately breaking Austin’s neck assisted his character in getting over with fans. These moments established Austin as the Toughest SOB on this planet—and it worked.
Finally, at the height of Austin’s popularity, he won the WWE Championship from Shawn Michaels and ushered in one of the most successful periods in WWE history.
As a fan that has preferred the logical superstar buildup that saw the WWE take its time building these guys up through pay-per-view wins and meaningful feuds, it’s saddening to see the WWE’s handling of Bryan’s MITB run, as I know how it’ll end.
He’ll probably have a reign similar to that of CM Punk’s first reign. After he drops the World Title to someone like Wade Barrett, the WWE will drop him back down to the mid-card and have him job to others like they did Sheamus in late 2010/early 2011.
Honestly, the WWE has been insinuating this for quite some time now, and the failed MITB cash-in solidified it to me.
In closing, let me reiterate the fact that I am a fan of Daniel Bryan.
However, I would be lying if I said he’s ready to become World Champion anytime soon. And it’s sad, because they have this guy who can provide a great contrast to the WWE prototype.
Instead, they’re going to pull the rug from under him, and Bryan is just too good of a performer for that to transpire.
This is my take—what’s yours?
If you disagree/agree or have anything to add, I gladly welcome you to comment.