Well I for one am currently feeling very sorry for myself (in an admittedly very selfish way) because next week, for the first time in over 2 years, I will be attending a live WWE event… And I have now been smacked in the balls with the news that the current World Champion, Daniel Bryan, will not be in attendance due to having to undergo neck surgery.
I’m truly gutted. I’ve been practising my “Yes” chant for weeks in preperation, and pretty much had it perfected!
The last time I saw Daniel Bryan live was at the Smackdown TV tapings in Orlando, Florida (during my honeymoon!) immediately after Wrestlemania 28 when, despite being a heel, the “Yes” chants were just starting to become a “thing”. So I was immensely looking forward to witnessing him again now, sitting at the helm of the company as the most over character in wrestling today. Instead, come Tuesday night, I’ll probably have to see John Cena beat one of the Wyatts in the main event for the 19th time.
But enough about me and my sour mood…
Poor Danny B. He’s really not had an easy ride since the most career-defining moment of his lifetime just a few weeks ago at Wrestlemania XXX. Firstly he was saddled into a feud with Kane (nothing against the veteran Kane… But Bryan deserves better than playing third fiddle to Cena/Wyatt and Shield/Evolution after his prolonged ascension to the top of the mountain); Around the same time as the Kane feud ignited, he was hit with the tragic news that his father had died and was thus granted time off; Now he requires urgent surgery on a neck problem and is facing a 2 month spell on the sidelines. A smooth ride it most certainly has not been.
Consequently, the WWE now finds itself having to deal with the very difficult decision of whether or not they strip Daniel Bryan of the title. And it’s a very difficult decision to make indeed. WWE has revealed that an announcement will be made pertaining to the title situation on next week’s RAW emanating from London, England. In the meantime, all we can do is speculate as to what their decsion might be. And speculate I shall.
There’s arguments to be made for and against taking the belt from Bryan. And here they are:
FOR STRIPPING BRYAN OF THE TITLE
– Firstly, 7-8 weeks is a long, long time for the WWE to not have their champion appear in a live capacity on TV or at house shows. The WWE Champion is supposed to be the figurehead of the company. Sure, the likes of John Cena, The Shield, Bray Wyatt and Evolution will ensure the main event scene has plenty of options… But there’s a key ingredient missing when the company’s most prestigious prize is absent for so long. And it could be longer…
– You see, 7 to 8 week is just a rough guess at this point at how long Daniel Bryan’s recovery will take. What if Daniel Bryan does keep his title then, after 2 months, doctors advise that he requires another 2 months to fully heel? WWE face the prospect of having no champ on their programming for months!
– If Daniel Bryan is not recognised as WWE champion, he perhaps won’t feel as pressurised to return to the ring, thus encouraging him to fully heel before returning to work.
– Daniel Bryan has always been a sympathetic character due to his lack of stature. I guess there’s an argument to be made that having his stripped of the title will only add to that sympathetic aura that ensures he’s such a likeable character.
– In storyline terms, WWE’s “no compete” clause means a champ can be stripped of a title if it’s not defended at least every 28 days. Of course, WWE ignores this sentiment whenever it desires (just ask Dean Ambrose), but it’s still worth pointing out.
AGAINST STRIPPING BRYAN OF THE TITLE
– There’s always the possibility that WWE is playing up the severity of the injury for the sake of a television angle, and Bryan could require a routine operation that will see him back on TV within a month or so.
– It has taken the best part of 9 months for Bryan to finally become the WWE Champion (forgetting his 1 minute reign at Summerslam). It would be a mighty shame to see him lose the belt under such unceremonious circumstances.
– If Bryan is stripped of the belt, presumably he will jump straight into a feud to regain his title as soon as he’s fit enough to return to action. Do fans really want to see another “Daniel Bryan chases the title” storyline just a few weeks after it dominated WWE programming for months?
– If WWE were to strip Daniel Bryan of the title and hold a tournament to crown a new champ, who gets the vacated strap? The three members of Evolution are too busy with The Shield to be involved in a world title program, and Kane (who has surely not been seriously considered as a threat to dethroning Bryan anyway) is set to take time off soon to make a movie. That really only leaves us with Cena and Wyatt as viable title holders. And we all know which of those two Vince is more likely to go with. Zzzzzzz
In an ideal world, I’d like to see Lesnar return and lay claim to the World Title. But such is his penchant for working part-time, I don’t foresee that happening.
Personally, I’m leaning slightly in favour of taking the belt from Daneil Bryan. I think it’s too much of a risk to assume that Bryan will be back in time for the Money In The Bank PPV, and not having the champ on TV for so long (even if it is the minimum of 7 weeks) is just too bad for business. People spend their hard earned bucks to see the best of the best as well as the shiny belts!
Whatever WWE decides, the most important thing is that Daniel Bryan doesn’t return to the ring until he is fully recovered. When you’re in the business of smashing your body onto hard surfaces and regularly being slammed through tables by giant bastards for a living – as Bryan is – it’s essential not to indulge in in-ring escapades unless one’s body is declared 100% physically fit.
We’ve seen wrestling legends such as Steve Austin and Edge have to retire from the grapple game far earlier than they would have wished due to irrepairable neck damage. So let us all collectively send our warmest wishes of well being to Daniel Bryan in a magnificent feat of telepathy, and hope that his neck surgery is a complete success and he has a long career ahead of him yet.
Over and out.