WWE TLC 2011: Could Bryan vs. Big Show Be in the Cards for WrestleMania 28?

Marc MattalianoCorrespondent IIIDecember 14, 2011


When Daniel Bryan claimed he was going to cash in his Money in the Bank contract for a title match at WrestleMania, many of us clamored to see it happen, as Bryan's comeuppance would finally have arrived.  When we saw him attempt to cash in early, many let his promise/hypocriticism go and were simply happy to see him go for it and win the belt, despite it getting snatched away seconds later.

There are so many detractors that can't stand the idea of Big Show vs. Mark Henry for a third straight PPV, however Daniel Bryan factors in to why a different outcome could yield an even bigger WrestleMania 28.

Since the Draft from back in late April, Mark Henry's been transformed into a vicious, violent monster heel.  He rose up the ranks on SmackDown fairly quickly, and after Randy Orton sneaked into the World Heavyweight Title scene and took the belt from Christian after his own draft move, Mark Henry earned a shot of his own and defeated Randy decisively at Night of Champions.

Randy vs. Bryan was an interesting prospect at WrestleMania, as both are seasoned wrestlers that are well-versed in putting on spectacular performances.  Not only that, but Randy's established star power would easily elevate Bryan to a more main event level position.  The idea of Mark Henry being champion and holding onto the belt for an extended period seemed terrible on paper, but the increased ratings on SmackDown seemed to tell a different story about its value.

Slowly but surely, the idea of Bryan cashing in the briefcase on Mark Henry at WrestleMania became an idea that got more attention.  The old David vs. Goliath formula was in effect big time, and with Bryan on a major losing streak, Mark Henry on the tear of his career, the underdog pulling out the amazing upset victory against a wall of a man like Mark would undeniably be a special WrestleMania Moment for the young Bryan.

Problem is, as great as that moment would be for Bryan, that's basically all it would be.  An underdog victory with no real drama behind it.

At TLC, we're looking at Big Show vs. Mark Henry for the World Heavyweight Championship in a Chairs match.  While I'm not huge on the idea of Big Show being the World Champion, as the man has squashed as many young careers as John Cena if not more, imagine for a moment the prospect of Bryan and Mark Henry on the marquis at WrestleMania.

I love both wrestlers, but let's be honest, not a lot of drawing power, is it?  Who are these guys?  Daniel Bryan?  Most people not interested in wrestling haven't heard of him.  Mark Henry?  Sounds familiar, but hard to place.

Big Show has star power, though.  He's been in movies, in sketch comedy shows, he's made talk show appearances.  People know Big Show, and they know him well.  He gets his name on the marquis for WrestleMania, people would at least ask what for.

As we saw recently on SmackDown, Bryan competed with all his heart against Mark Henry in a steel cage.  And one thing we learned?  If Bryan takes more care and scouts Henry over the course of a few weeks or months, he could probably beat the big man in a fair contest.

Thus, pitting Bryan against Henry at WrestleMania may not be the best idea after all.  What about Bryan against Big Show?

Let's do the math here:  Bryan doesn't have the strength to adequately counter Big Show's size, and Big Show adds the star power needed for people to take notice.  You think for one second if Big Show wins the World Heavyweight Championship and Bryan challenges him at WrestleMania, WWE won't plaster that size difference on posters everywhere?

I have all the respect in the world for Bryan's skill, heart and dedication to a sport he loves.  But he's a bit little, isn't he?

Exactly.  Mark Henry vs. Big Show is a clash of big men that I've loved watching, because there's been a significant evolution in both men.  I purchased Vengeance to watch with my fiancee, and while I saw a very different Mark Henry compete in that match, for the first time in a while, I saw a Big Show that really looked like he needed to try hard to counter Henry's strength to win.

Against Bryan, would he still look like he had to try as hard?

Big Show, right now, is a babyface of babyfaces, who has shown an interest in keeping his little buddy, Bryan, safe from bullies like Mark Henry who just want to throw their power around.  If Show wins the World Heavyweight Championship at TLC, keeping the belt through another two PPVs should be next to no problem.  Mark could get his rematch at Royal Rumble, throw in a bunch of possibilities over the new few weeks and Big Show holds onto the strap at Elimination Chamber.  Chaotic match like that, should make it easy for him.

Thing is, Bryan seems to be waiting for the right time to cash in his briefcase on Mark Henry, but time may be running out for that.  If Big Show wins the title, will Bryan really want to pull a sneaky run-in on his friend?

Even if the friendship between Big Show and Daniel Bryan isn't a storied one dating back 10-15 years, WWE has still been instrumental in showing fans that there is a bond, an understanding and an appreciation there.

A face pulling a sneaky run-in on a downed heel who's known for hurting people?  That's just the bad guy getting his karma card pulled.  It's easy to forgive.  Bryan went back on his promise to cash in at WrestleMania on a bully like Henry, that's all good, but if his big friend, Show, wins the belt, Bryan may not feel so compelled to cash in against him after Big Show gets knocked down for the count.

Not to mention...who could really knock out Big Show to the point where he's near unconscious long enough for Bryan to run in with a referee?  Mark Henry, maybe, but there's no love lost between Henry and Bryan.  Would Henry really help Bryan knock out Big Show just to see Bryan win the belt?

Maybe to win it back himself, but you know Big Show will just be there to keep watch.  No.  This is a three-point triangle that needs to be morphed into a two point line.  Mark Henry should lose at TLC and get shooed away with the rematch clause to enter some other drama.

That would leave Big Show with the World Heavyweight Championship, and Bryan questioning if he's lost his opportunity, further procrastinating until WrestleMania rolls around, when his perfect opportunity will arrive.  If he's going down, he'll go down in a blaze of glory on the biggest stage WWE has to offer.

And that's exactly the outlook he should have.  "I'm going to give everything I've got against an absolutely immovable force.  I may not win, but I'll show everyone what I can do."  When he wins?  It'll be a shock to everyone in the room, including Bryan himself. 

One of the easy-to-piece-together reasons that Mark Henry was given such a monster push was to change the predictable sway guys like Randy Orton have over the rosters on TV.  Randy was drafted to SmackDown in a predictable move, and even though it wasn't predictable that Orton would enter the title hunt so quick, his win was fairly easy to see coming at some point or another.

Mark Henry's wasn't.  While Mark Henry may not be a big money drawing star himself, he played his role better than most could.  If a guy like Mark Henry could beat an established pro like Randy Orton that decisively, then Mark Henry means something as a credible champion.

If Big Show defeats that credible champion after a series of struggles, then that makes Big Show just as credible.  And so on and so on until a more reasonable champion can be crowned for the best reason possible.

Big Show and Mark Henry are not long term choices to carry the World Heavyweight Championship.  Many of us know this.  But Bryan is, and to me, the cards are all in place to make it happen in even grander a way than Henry vs. Bryan would have provided.

As surprised as I am to say it, my hope is that Big Show defeats Mark Henry at TLC, holds onto the belt until WrestleMania where the ultimate David vs. Goliath confrontation can occur.

Because honestly, some critical jerks might look at a poster of Bryan vs. Big Show and say, "wow, that's a really one-sided contest."  But keep in mind, this isn't UFC or boxing.  This is WWE.

What seems like a one-sided contest, to the most casual observer, never is.  WWE would NEVER pit two guys together like that for a World Title on their biggest stage of the year only to watch Big Show grab Bryan by the throat at the opening bell, deliver a choke-slam and pin Bryan within the first 30 seconds.

Never happen.  Fans know that.  Fans would pay to see even the possibility of a little guy like Bryan beat Big Show, because they know WWE would never put a match on that would disappoint on that massive a level.

Think about it.