Smarks Court - Daniel Bryan's Road to WrestleMania (CPR Productions)
By Maz & Joe
Nov 23, 2013 - 11:53:10 AM
‘Sup, Lords of Pain. Remember that time about 9 months ago when I promised you a new Smarks Court soon? Well surprise! Last time Uncle Joe and I did one of these (well the time before that actually but never mind), we were talking about the biggest new feud that the WWE could put on. The clear winner that day was John Cena vs Daniel Bryan with CM Punk vs Brock Lesnar on its own in second spot. Maybe the WWE were reading as we got that a few months later as the double main event for SummerSlam and both matches were pretty damn good. It was Randy Orton who stood tall that night however following his cash-in and since then IWC want to know just where it leaves Bryan. The spectrum of ideas range from him being buried because he looks like a hobo all the way up to him being prepped to take the keys to the whole castle. With the WrestleMania XXX storylines likely to be set in motion over the next month or two, there was only going to be one case today...
Mazza vs Uncle Joe vs Glow vs Maverick: What will be Daniel Bryan’s Road to WrestleMania?
There are plenty of rumours doing the rounds over what will actually happen. It’s hard to know for sure what it will be but most of the IWC will be in agreement that Daniel Bryan deserves a main event match following two years of excellent work (well more than that really). There are a few options that would fit the bill and myself, Joe as well as CPR Productions friends Glow and Maverick will each look at one road for Bryan to get what is coming to him at the Grandaddy of them all. My resident co-host will take the reigns first though in discussing…
Daniel Bryan vs The Beast
Joe: In all honesty here, I don’t really have this big compelling case for why Bryan vs Lesnar SHOULD happen at Wrestlemania, other than my own whims and desires...no homo. I mean Lesnar and Bryan could have one of the most brutal matches you’ll ever see because Bryan (like Cena) isn't afraid to get his ass beat for the sake of entertainment but Bryan (unlike Cena) can dish out as well as he receives it...no homo again.
Plus the dichotomy is size between the two men (no ho...you know what, just apply that for the rest of the column) would make for a great David and Goliath, even if it’s not on the same level as Rey v Show. If we’re being real, if you keep the match between them and them alone, there’s no way these two put on a bad match and would definitely put on match of the night.
If you’re one of those who like continuity and sense and all that bullshit, a Bryan-Lesnar match up means that they (Vince, H and whoever) consider him one of the top dogs, so to speak. I mean look who’s fought Lesnar since his return; Punk, Cena, HHH; 3 men with approximately 3,456 title reigns between the two, so Bryan being next in line COULD signal that they have faith in him and see bigger things for him down the road.
And ironically these two share alot; they’re both wildly misunderstood. While Lesnar is described as aloof and somewhat of a crybaby bitch. the guy could probably be seen as something of a tough guy (being raised on a farm) and the dude ****ing KNOWS pro wrestling. He understands the business more than most, its perils and highs, and holds alot more regard for the ring than you’d might think. Bryan on the other spectrum was always touted as “main vanilla midget #1” but he’s proven to have enough charisma to have gotten over naturally, moreso than other WE upper managment darlings (orton, del rio, sheamus).
The point is that Lesnar respects his peers, and I think in Bryan he sees a spiritual version of himself and he’d be more pressed to put on a great show.
Mazza: Bigger things than the Next Big Thing? Anyway, no way this match wouldn’t be excellent and compelling. Heyman driving the feud against Bryan could be excellent too. I’d buy a ticket to it but I just don’t see it happening at WrestleMania. DB has outstanding business to take care of and I honestly see Punk ending in a rematch with Lesnar in New Orleans.
Glow: This would be fun match up. I just don’t see any storyline reason as of right now that would make me think this will happen at WM30. Brock has more plausible matchups with Ryback, Punk, and even Taker that is up in the air. Now Daniel Bryan vs Brock could headline Extreme Rules and it would make sense especially if Bryan is coming off of a huge victory from WM30.
Maverick: Look, it would be a great match, absolutely no doubt about it, and I do believe that it will happen at some point down the line, perhaps at Summerslam. Wrestlemania feels a little early to me, because there’s not the storyline set up for it, and WWE’s fetish for re-matches means that we may well get Punk vs. Lesnar part deux.
Mazza: Next up is Glow stating his case for...
Daniel Bryan vs The Streak
Glow: Now lets talk about the only possibility that makes complete storyline sense. First we have to be clear on what exactly the storyline is. For the people that think it’s about the title or being the “Face of the Company”, I am sorry to inform you that you are wrong. If it was about winning the title, Bryan’s victory at NOC wouldn’t have felt as hollow as it did. If it was about being the new “Face of the Company”, cleanly defeating Cena at Summerslam would have wrapped that up. Instead it’s about the feud HHH created between Daniel Bryan and the accepted ideals of mainstream wrestling. HHH storyline goal was to invalidate Bryan’s image and career judging by the wording of the promos he was delivering weekly. Daniel Bryan has been on a quest for that validation since Summerslam. How does winning a title really solve or tie up that storyline? It can’t. Daniel Bryan has to now accomplish something that is undeniable. Nothing is more undeniable than taking on the Undertaker at WM30 and etching his name in history. Ill show you the storyline logic on both sides of this equation as to why it makes sense and why it would be beneficial to both parties.
Daniel Bryan is looking for that one major moment that will certify him as a star in the industry. Beating Cena at Summerslam cleanly should have been that moment but the WWE decided to pull the rug out from under him. Week in week out he had to stand there and listen to HHH tear down his image and career in front of a live worldwide audience. Even though Bryan is proud of how hard he had to work in the Independents, in the back of his mind he knows that without leaving his mark in the WWE he won't be remembered as he wants to be. To make matters worse, as of right now he looks to be outside of the title picture. This leaves Bryan with a chip on his shoulder and an unresolved feud. His feud circulates around HHH and to a lesser extent HBK which makes winning the feud a little tricky. With the Rumble on the horizon, I see some people saying that it is Bryan’s last chance at getting that “Wrestlemania Moment” by winning the Rumble and taking on the champ. Sounds great but it is in Bryan’s character to go against the grain and push for greater. It wouldn’t make sense for Bryan’s character to go through the trouble of winning the Rumble and then beating the champ just so the aftermath of Summerslam can take place again. Instead he will want to win the Rumble (something HBK & HHH have done) and then pass up on the title shot for a chance to defeat the Undertaker at WM (something HBK & HHH failed at). Bryan would call out Taker with his Rumble win which would still be met with negativity from HHH but after a while Taker will accept by seeing how determined Bryan is. Bryan is perfect at playing the hungry underdog not afraid of anyone and would continually try to get Taker attention until the match is made. Beating HHH or HBK at this point of their careers will always leave the excuse of “if we were in our prime…”which they can use against Bryan to diminish any victory. Bryan don’t have to worry about that excuse going against the seemingly “immortal” Undertaker. It wouldn’t be a “Wrestlemania Moment” because everyone has those. This would be the ultimate “Wrestlemania Moment” that would be forever remembered.
Now on Taker’s side it is a mix of storyline logic and real life issues. Storyline says that Taker takes on people he deems “worthy” or have the audacity to call him out. Taker doesn’t back down from any real challenge. Seeing Daniel Bryan win the rumble and turn down his title shot for a match with Taker would spark the Deadman’s interest. He would also be in the ring with the last person that cleanly beat John Cena and HBK’s student so it would also be a “Can I still hang with the future stars” type of moment for him like his match with Punk was. Now for the important real life issues that surrounding this match. A high standard has been set on the match quality for The Streak matches recently. Taker can’t just go into the ring with anybody. The person standing across from him has to be able to wrestle at a high level and being accustomed to different styles doesn’t hurt. That cuts the list down significantly on what names are eligible to challenge The Streak. Taker is also getting much older and he physically can’t be in a match that demands him to do too much carrying. Daniel Bryan has years of experience working many different styles and can put together a safe but compelling match for the big man. I personally believe that is why the WWE have been putting over Bryan’s Busaiku knee finisher like they have so he can have a credible impact finisher for big matches like this.
Maverick: Yeah, I like Glow’s point that the knee strike (I vote Washington Wizard!) gives Bryan a way to win matches where his opponent is not going to tap (Undertaker and Cena being the prime examples of guys that never lose by submission). Other than that, a shot at the Streak might be better off happening next year, after the American Dragon has had a bit of time with the title. A clean win over ‘Taker would no doubt make Bryan for life, but I don’t see that happening this year.
Joe: Taker strikes me as someone who doesn’t respect Bryan and Bryan won’t take any shit, so I can see this devolving into a shoot and possibly all hell breaking loose, no pun intended. But Taker is super geriatric now and unless they’re going to let Bryan take Takers streak AND life, I just don’t wanna see him struggle against the geriatric zombie, even through his kayfabe Mania Mystique.
Mazza: Not going to lie, I really really like this suggestion. The whole idea of Bryan turning down the title shot to do what HBK and HHH failed to do on five occasions really appeals to me. Going that far to get a shot at the streak would even give me the impression Bryan might actually win. But like Mav, I just don’t see it happening this soon. Talking of Mav he wants to discuss...
Daniel Bryan vs The Champ
Maverick: I’ve been adamant from the moment that Summerslam ended that the pay off to D Bry getting screwed out of the title he’d just taken from Cena so decisively would be a second big title win, this time at the Showcase of the Immortals. The feud with Orton that followed the Money in the Bank cash-in was full of indecisive finishes that emphasised that this was a rivalry that sooner or later will receive a conclusive ending...and Bryan being kicked in the chops by a zebra striped HBK was not it.
It puzzles me how anybody could have watched WWE television between the end of August and the start of November and seen a Bryan burial. In the big PPV matches, he not only hung with The Viper, he clearly had the beating of him. Only the endless interference of corporate goons like The Shield and, latterly, Michaels, stopped the American Bandwagon from achieving his ultimate goal. So I don’t buy that the future Mr Brie Bella looked weak at all. Moreover, I have never understood why fans were clamouring for Bryan to have his title run from Night of Champions or Hell in a Cell, both of which are, frankly, nothing pay-per-views which only exist to boost revenue streams in what is considered by most to be the company’s most fallow quarter of the year. Wouldn’t it be better to give Bryan a Wrestlemania moment to sing of? To see the bearded wonder holding the top belt high above his head as confetti rains down around him, Orton lying flat on his face having had his arm wrenched out of its socket by the Yes! Lock? Isn’t that better than Bryan winning the belt in the Autumn and dropping it before ‘Mania season? Of course it bloody is.
The one potential fly in the ointment is the report that D-Bry is not, as of the time of writing, being considered for the blockbuster Royal Rumble win that I once considered a foregone conclusion. To that I would only say that with these backstage leaks, caution should always be advised, because goodness knows, a report about who’s winning the Rumble published in October is about as much use as chocolate fireguard. Even if Bryan doesn’t throw thirty other men over the top rope and become the most over Rumble winner since Benoit, there’s more than one way to skin a cat...that’s right, Elimination Chamber beckons. If they booked that match as a number one contenders eliminator, the goat could go over there, though my preference, sentimentally, would certainly be the Rumble.
A Wrestlemania victory over Randall Keith Orton would complete Daniel Bryan’s revenge arc, put casual eyes on him and cement his place as a top star for years to come. So that’s what should be booked and what I believe will be booked.
Joe: I would honestly love to see this play out, seriously. This to me is the best scenario for Bryan, the fans and it’s *ahem* good for business. It’s basically what the entire angle SHOULD have been built up to, so hopefully this run in with the Wyatts is just something to tie Milky over til the mean time. And no slight to the Wyatts (who Maz and I have said to have liked, just wish to see more of) but from feuding with the top dogs and beating Cena cleanly for the title then to feud with the 2013 version of the Godwinns is a BIG step down, factually speaking.
Glow: My only issue with this would be that it won’t feel as fulfilling as it should be. Only way this would work is if HHH loses his storyline power with the company. What would stop them from just overturning the match again? Truthfully Punk vs Orton for the title is a bigger marquee for WM. Punk and Orton also have years of tension between them that never really got fully resolved. I think Daniel Bryan and Orton would put on a great match but Bryan already beat him at NOC and we all saw how that played out.
Mazza: Once again, I’d happily take this. There are two things though which make me think there are better options. One, Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan just closed four successive PPVs. Do we really need a fifth on the biggest night of the year. Two, I think Bryan’s issues run deeper than Orton and the WWE Championship. What I think needs to happen is…
Daniel Bryan vs The Boss
Mazza: For me it is a simple equation. Daniel Bryan needs revenge on the guys that screwed him out of the WWE Championship. That’s not to say finally getting the title wouldn’t be sweet. It will. It should be the “happily ever after” of the whole storyline but like in all good movies, the huge battle comes before the end. And make no mistake about it, Triple H is the thorn in Bryan’s side. As SummerSlam, DB beat the real face of the company in the middle of the ring, 1-2-3 to win his first WWE title. Then he got tied up with Randy Orton. The thing is, Bryan has proved that he has the better of Randall at every turn in the road. It wasn’t too long before he went up against Cena that he was tapping Orton out and that trend continued once the title came into play. At SummerSlam it took a Pedigree and stab in the back after a gruelling match to make Orton’s cash-in successful. Then at Night of Champions, after weeks of 87-on-1 beatdowns, Bryan wins the title back clean. Sure, there was a fast count but by design everyone knew Orton wasn’t kicking out no matter how fast or slow the three came down. Of course then came the stripping and the title being held in abeyance. At Battleground it seemed that the title would be Bryan’s once again before The Big Show made his presence felt and at Hell in a Cell another ref, this time Shawn Michaels, screwed him over when he was in control.
Whilst many corners of the IWC creamed themselves over the thought of HBK coming out of retirement to fight Bryan (I am guessing plenty who would criticise Shawn for doing so against someone else), they pretty much let DB get his revenge the next night on Raw. But Michaels’ part in it all was miniscule. The man that has screwed Bryan over pretty much every single night since SummerSlam is Triple H. Sure he gave him a Busaiku knee at Hell in a Cell but that was the prelude to the HBK screwjob. Hunter got the last laugh and his way at the end of it all and that is what needs to be remedied before Bryan gets his hands properly on the title. Some people thing that is an appetiser but I think that is the main meal. A match with Hunter shouldn’t happen at Elimination Chamber, it needs to happen at Mania. Once the meddling of The Game has been dealt with, Bryan should be free to dispose of Orton with relative ease (assuming The Viper is still holding the gold of course).
Glow: I know you are the resident HHH mark around these parts but no one wants to see Bryan stuck with this. Even though I will admit, I have seen “Daniel Bryan vs HHH at WM30 for the WWE Title” float around on rumor sites and blogs. I can’t believe I just wrote the words “HHH”, “WM30”, and “WWE title” in the same sentence. I’m sure a few people shuttered when they read that. HHH can wrestle Bryan on a smaller PPV that may need the extra buys but he should let another wrestler get the WM payday. So what if HHH does what half of us expect and has the match booked in a way that it does nothing for Bryan? I wouldn’t be surprised if HHH found a way to book a victory for himself. It’s better if they don’t even risk it.
Maverick: Well, put it this way, tapping out Hunter in the main event of the Showcase of the Immortals was a fantastic way to put over Benoit and Cena, so it could certainly work for Bryan as well. The only issue, potentially, with this particular bout is that Trips is not as young as he used to be and might struggle to match Goat Face’s workrate. I’m not sure it would be as aesthetically pleasing as some of the other options on the table. All in all, it’s a pity that these two aren’t closer in age, as a 2000-era Game against 2013 D-Bry has got match of the decade written all over it.
Joe: If this match isn’t Daniel Bryan just obliterating HHH then I’m not interested in the slightest. I mean this dude isn’t an active competitor and there’s no way he should keep up with a guy whos CLEARLY better than Orton (your current WWE champion) and who beat your clear face of the company (Cena) and cleanly too. But knowing H he will take everything in D Brys arsenal (no soccer) and Bryan will need Big Show and the Coast Guards help to beat HHH. **** that guy, seriously.
Mazza: So there you have it ladies and gents. Four options for main event matches at WrestleMania for Daniel Bryan. Let us know which one you think will happen. Of course, there is a chance that none of them will happen. Feel free to vote Other if you like but do tell us what you think will happen to D Bry. You can use the comments section below or hit us up on on any of the social media options at the end of the column.
Mazza: So get your votes in. I will keep the polls open for about a week and we shall all return then to check out the results… Until then… check out our social media...
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