HomeWrestlingWWE: The Booking of Daniel Bryan Post-WrestleMania (2014)

WWE: The Booking of Daniel Bryan Post-WrestleMania (2014)

The one thing we heard as 2013 rolled into 2014 was that the WWE wasn’t booking Daniel Bryan correctly.  Regardless of whether it was the “plan all along” it didn’t turn out too badly did it?  Winning the World Title in the main event of WrestleMania XXX wasn’t exactly a disastrous night for him was it?  

So having that avenue of moaning taken away from us, we fans have now changed tack.  Daniel Bryan, as WWE Champion, is not being booked properly.  The WWE don’t want him to succeed. After all, Steve Austin never ran away from a heel opponent like Kane when he faced them did he?  The Rock didn’t end 95% of shows he was on as the victim of a vicious beat down from his heel opponents did he?

And to be fair, any fans saying this has a point in terms of booking.  It’s inescapable. Daniel Bryan is not being booked as a dominant babyface champion in the style of Austin or Rock.  But its really not anything to do with Daniel Bryan.  It’s nothing personal.  It’s just what the WWE do.

Let’s cast our minds back to CM Punk’s first title reign in 2008. Commentators openly labeled him a fluke champion, he was dominated by the likes of Batista in the ring and he wasn’t even allowed to lose his title in the ring, instead being KO’d in a backstage angle.  Dolph Ziggler in 2013 was hampered by a real-life concussion but even allowing for that he was never pushed as a star.  And like our many Bryan he had already previously had a very short title reign that ended the day he won it.

Jack Swagger is quite an imposing figure, but his size and strength didn’t save him from poor booking when he became Champion in 2010.  The Miz retained his World Title in the main event of WrestleMania against John Cena but even when doing that you could never look at his reign and say he was ever promoted as a proper World Champion. Can you remember anything particularly exciting from Sheamus reigns as World Champion?  I certainly can’t.

Going back even further, Triple H was forced to start his first World Title reign by pinning stop-gap champion Mankind because Stone Cold Steve Austin wouldn’t drop the belt to him.  Oh, sorry.  So that Governor Jesse Ventura could raise the hand of a babyface winner at SummerSlam…or was it so that the workload could be spread away from the injured Austin so he was replaced by an injured Foley?  Remember Chris Jericho’s amazing first WWE World Title reign?  That one where despite defeating The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin in the same night he was soon relegated to cleaning up dog poo left by Stephanie McMahon’s dog?

Do any of the many examples above mean that the WWE’s approach is correct? Of course not.  It’s a self-defeating process that strips young (and not so young) wrestlers of the very reasons why fans wanted them to become champions and be on top of the cards in the first place.  Well, other than The Miz.  I refuse to believe even his own mother wanted him to main event WWE shows as World Champion.

But to fall into the trap that the WWE are doing something new in terms of their treatment of “new” champions by the way they are booking Bryan completely misses the point.  It’s really isn’t anything personal against him.  It’s just the way they do business. Unless you are a chosen one to the level of a John Cena or Batista, whose main event pushes have been meticulously planned by the company and are examples of Vince McMahon and company being able to boast about “knowing what the fans want before they know it themselves”, you simply will not be booked that advantageously when you make that step up to the main events.  Some, such as Punk or Edge make the most of their initial forays into the million dollar spots and make themselves impossible to ignore.  Others, such as Miz or Ziggler, seemingly disappear without a trace back to the mid-card.

Now in a stroke of both incredible bad luck, and the worst of timing, Daniel Bryan has announced that he requires neck surgery. WWE have announced that they will address the state of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship on this week’s RAW. Whether that means they’ll strip him of the titles or not remains to be seen.

I think Daniel Bryan will be alright.  He’s good enough and popular enough to stay up there.  But until the WWE changes the way it does things every “new” champion who has worked their way up to that spot rather than being explicitly groomed for it by the bosses will have to walk that same tightrope.  Some will make it to the other side; some will fall off.  That’s just the way it is.

– By Matthew Roberts | @IWFICON

Do you agree with Matthew? How would you have booked Daniel Bryan’s first feud since winning the title? Do you think he will be stripped of the title? Do you think he should be? Share your thoughts below.

Matthew Roberts
"Who's your daddy, Montreal?" - Shawn Michaels
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