WWE has stumbled all over itself since August 2013, trying to book Daniel Bryan as a main-eventer to capitalize on his huge popularity while keeping the attention on pretty much anybody else around him. From playing second banana to Randy Orton and Triple H to being leapfrogged by Batista, WWE is only now “getting it right” in the eyes of the fans, who have latched onto the concept of “the face of WWE” in a way decision-makers never intended.
It seems to me that Daniel Bryan was not originally slotted to be a part of this chapter of the “face of WWE” angle. The likely plan was for Bryan to be pissed enough at CEO and part-timer Triple H to wrestle and beat him at WrestleMania 30 in a really good match…and that’s about it. At the other end of the card, Randy Orton would have heelishly attempted to “save face,” if you will, against the returning hero, Batista (although who in the hell would have believed in either of them as the face of the company?). When WWE fans shit all over Batista’s return and jeopardized plans for the main event of the biggest show of the year, WWE had to call an audible and add the popular Bryan back into the angle.
Elements of what I assume were the original plans are still there; Triple H screws Bryan time and time again until the Goat Face challenged the King of Kings to a match. Triple H finally said yes. (“YES!”) But now, with Batista going over like a fart in church and Bryan’s popularity at a fever pitch (WWE Extreme Rules: The Fever vs. the Fart!), they had to add the obvious stipulation: If Daniel Bryan beats Triple H at WrestleMania 30, Bryan will be added to the show’s headline match versus Orton and Batista for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
That’s very white of them, except that there’s no drama whatsoever. If Triple H wins the match, absolutely nothing happens. Worse, nothing changes – Hunter is still the big mean CEO, Bryan is still the underdog with the beard, and we still get the Orton-Batista match we don’t want.
WWE needs to change the stipulation of the Hunter-Bryan match so that if Hunter wins, he’s added to the title match. And there are a million ways to get there:
- “Orton, you’re a whiner! Batista, no one likes you! I’ve universally beloved! I would make a better champ!”
- “If this company is going to have a face, it oughta be the COO and the 1,800-time champion!”
- “I gotta regain control of this circus, and the best way to have control is to have the title!”
- “Bryan, you are so undeserving of a title shot, that I’m making myself eligible to motivate me to kick your ass even worse.”
And 9,999,996 more.
What this does is literally scare fans into thinking Triple H is so egotistical that he would really add himself to the title match at the expense of not just Daniel Bryan but the entire (ahem) WWE Universe. Hunter has a history of doing such things. It shouldn’t be enough for someone with Hunter’s background to simply keep Bryan out of the match. He should crave his own chance at the title, an outcome that would smash Bryan’s spirits like a hairy bug.
WWE needs to create the threat of this big, bad bully pulling the rug out from under the underdog. So again, keep things the same so it’s as plain as the noses on our faces that Bryan will win, or change the stipulation so that, nearfall after nearfall after nearfall, we’re on the edges of our seats.