Once again WWE has entered Wrestlemania season with a big thorn in their foot. One, Mr. Daniel Bryan. Now, as thorns go, he is a pretty good one to have. One of the best technical wrestlers in the world, who also happens to be one of the most over with the fans, really not too shabby. However, due to a series of booking mistakes, Bryan once again finds himself in a bit of ‘Mania purgatory. One second he is set to face Sheamus, the next it’s Dolph Ziggler and at the moment some people are suggesting he might end up in the main event. All this shifting of plans isn’t helping anyone, least of all the man himself.
This weeks Raw say Bryan continue to bicker with Roman Reigns. It also saw one of the first times a crowd has not seemed a 100% behind him, in a long time. This came when he chose to prance around the ring chanting yes, rather than stand face to face with his opponent. It was a weird moment and one that went against Bryan’s character. WWE appear to be adding a petulant side to said character, that doesn’t vibe with how the audience want to view him or the person Bryan continues to be.
This petulant side stems back to Bryan losing the Royal Rumble. You see, as much as people complained about the match, myself included, there was a really simple way to have it not go the way it did. Don’t involve Bryan at all. If Bryan had turned up on Raw the night after the Royal Rumble and declared himself fit before moving into a non WWE title feud or even into his current program with Reigns, it would have all made so much more sense. The Rumble wouldn’t have bombed and Bryan wouldn’t look weak by losing his chance to get a title shot and then whining about it.
Instead, we find ourselves in a situation where Bryan’s path isn’t clear and worringly, I have an inkling that WWE might be moving him towards a heel turn. On paper such a turn makes no sense. Bryan should be the perfect face foil to Cena. He appeals to the crowd that boo him every single night and with the amount of TV time WWE has every week, it shouldn’t be too hard to have them both at the top of the card. However, it’s no secret WWE doesn’t want Bryan at the top of the card. When HHH and Steph call him a B+ player, there is a certain degree of truth to it, because there are still a lot of people in WWE who don’t get Daniel Bryan. Turning him heel fixes that problem. Turning him heel means they can feed him to Cena and Reigns and so on, much like they have done with every other decent heel they’ve had recently.
Now don’t get me wrong. Bryan can play a heel. It’s arguably a more natural fit for him than a face. His hard-hitting, submission style works for an aggressive and intelligent bad guy and he has done it well in the past. I also believe he could be a top-level heel, if he was booked right, but then again, I don’t trust WWE to do that. If I am right and they are moving him towards a heel turn of some sort, I don’t think they could even pull off the turn right. Can anyone see fans choosing to boo Bryan over Reigns? Can anyone see fans choosing to boo Bryan over anyone on the current roster? If CM Punk walked into the arena at Fastlane and Bryan kicked him in the head and called him a coward, it might get him over as a heel, but even in that situation people would probably pop in excitement.
Now obviously I don’t know whether WWE is turning Bryan heel. It may not happen, but even if it doesn’t, it doesn’t change the fact that WWE currently don’t know what to do with him. Putting him into the title match is an option, but then does he win? Do you derail Reigns for that? Reigns needs that title now, if he goes to Wrestlemania and loses, he also loses all credibility. If he goes there and lets Brock take him through the best match of his career, he can be a star. Bryan muddies that too much. With the way things have been booked I think the only way to go is put him in with Ziggler or Sheamus. Let him go out there and steal the show, like we all know he will. Then in the post Wrestlemania landscape you have a Reigns and Bryan feud already warmed up and ready to go. Whether that will happen, god only knows. If there is one positive to be taken from WWE’s current booking, it’s that I genuinely don’t have a clue what they are going to do next.