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MR. TITO STRIKES BACK - Daniel Bryan = Randy Orton's "Something to Do" until John Cena Returns
By Mr. Tito
Aug 20, 2013 - 10:28:27 PM
For months now, I've argued that WWE Management should research their vast video library to possibly lift great pro wrestling ideas from the past. In addition to owning their own video library, the WWE owns World Championship Wrestling (WCW), Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW), American Wrestling Association (AWA), and World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW) video libraries as purchased throughout the years. The McMahons and their Creative Team could simply research the thousands (if not millions) of hours of footage and recycle great ideas on storylines or character build ups. After all, many fans didn't see what happened in WCW, ECW, AWA, or World Class and those lifted ideas could seem brand new to them...
Maybe the WWE listened to my advise a bit closely based on recent SummerSlam finishes with Money in the Bank cash-ins...
I've seen the obvious parallels to 2011 as it relates to the ending of SummerSlam 2013. Don't get me wrong... I LOVED SummerSlam 2013 as seen by my recent review column and I'm intrigued by the SummerSlam 2013 ending with Triple H turning heel to assist Randy Orton in winning the WWE title. Do not misunderstand me and please read the ENTIRE column to get my points...
But the parallel exists in the fan favorite heading into SummerSlam getting screwed out of the WWE Title. In 2011, CM Punk was the fan favorite but yet WWE Management thought that Alberto Del Rio should walk out of the event with the WWE Title. For 2013, Daniel Bryan was the fan favorite yet WWE Management thought that Randy Orton should walk out of the event with the WWE Title. Triple H was the "special guest referee" for both 2011 and 2013 SummerSlam WWE Title matches and both Del Rio in 2011 and Orton in 2013 cashed in their Money in the Bank briefcase to steal a WWE Title victory. By the way, both Del Rio and Randy Orton were chasing the Smackdown branded World Heavyweight Title earlier in the year before being "promoted" to the RAW roster. Parallels everywhere, except Kevin Nash stayed at home during 2013. Poor guy...
But this is NOT a column complaining about the ending to SummerSlam. In fact, I kind of like Corporation 2k13. FINALLY, the WWE is actually pushing a Main Event level HEEL in Randy Orton after years of booking both John Cena and Randy Orton as its top babyfaces. CM Punk during 2011 and during the latter half of 2012 was allowed to act like a true Main Event HEEL, but they turned him back to a babyface after a while. The WWE even turned Alberto Del Rio babyface as well as switching Sheamus to a face. It was almost as if the PG era WWE was afraid to have a strong heel at the top. Thanks to the lack of strong Main Event heels, the WWE Pay Per Views for the past few years have been sluggish. Strong heels, particularly surrounded by a stable of wrestlers, have a history of being strong draws for wrestling companies. Four Horsemen, Heenan Family, Dangerous Alliance, New World Order, Degeneration X, and even Evolution have proven that. We'll see what the McMahons surround Randy Orton with in the upcoming weeks...
Getting back to history repeating itself... Many are drawing comparisons of Daniel Bryan portraying the infamous "Stone Cold" Steve Austin as he challenged Vince McMahon's corporation during 1998-1999. As you'll recall with Austin during 1998, Vince McMahon didn't want Austin as champion and wanted to hand pick his own wrestler (the Rock) to be his Corporate Champion. Austin drew crazy money challenging Vince McMahon and his Corporation, and some are suggesting that Daniel Bryan can do the same against the Vince/Triple H/Stephanie machine that has selected Randy Orton as its Corporate Champion. One would suggest that the McMahons have studied 1998 to lift storylines for Daniel Bryan to challenge the WWE/McMahon establishment.
Close, but no cigar... As a big fan of Daniel Bryan, I personally wish he'd resemble Steve Austin as he challenged the McMahons during 1998-1999... But he's really Mick Foley during (late) 1998 - (early) 1999, the time filler wrestler for the Corporation before it moves on to a bigger babyface: John Cena.
Go back to late 1998... The Rock became the WWE Champion at Survivor Series 1998 thanks to major McMahon assistance that royally screwed Mick Foley out of the WWE Title. The long-term plans were to have Rock vs. Steve Austin at Wrestlemania 15... However, between Survivor Series and Wrestlemania, there was time to kill... The WWE knew it had big money with Rock vs. Steve Austin if only they waited... Thus, Mick Foley was thrown at the Rock. Foley became a big fan favorite after fans were in awe of his King of the Ring 1998 dangerous Hell in a Cell performance and were sympathetic towards his chase for his first WWE Title. After getting burned by the McMahons at Survivor Series 1998, Foley aggressively went after the Rock and the Corporation and the two had a tremendous program that saw the WWE Title traded multiple times between them. Then, when it came to Wrestlemania 15, the Rock moved onto Steve Austin to make history.
Do you see those parallels, folks? Daniel Bryan was screwed by the McMahons over the WWE Title and is a fan favorite challenging the WWE Champion, Randy Orton, while a certain someone (Cena) recovers from a triceps injury. While John Cena gets to recover from his injury, Daniel Bryan gets to portray Mick Foley from late 1998/early 1999 and there is nothing wrong with that. Chances are, Bryan might win another WWE Title or so from Randy Orton and have several matches, like Rock vs. Foley, that will be considered epic and/or "Match of the Year" contenders. Then, when John Cena probably makes a surprise return at Royal Rumble 2014, Daniel Bryan will be done with his program against Randy Orton and the WWE will then begin preparing for Randy Orton (c) vs. John Cena WWE Title match at Wrestlemania 30. Book it! It's very much happening, folks. WWE's top 2 full-time (Lesnar is part-time) stars from the Ohio Valley Wrestling "Class of 2002" will get to headline Wrestlemania together.
Many fans love Daniel Bryan... But McMahons love Randy Orton and John Cena and see never ending drawing abilities from those 2 guys. They believe that all 5'10" (maybe slightly shorter) and 200 pounds of Daniel Bryan is a "flash in the pan" draw with fans while established stars like Cena and Orton are the ones to continually push and headline Wrestlemanias. Timing is perfect for Bryan because John Cena is out of the way and Bryan can be Mick Foley to have a brief period of success headlining shows. Long-term, however, WWE management sees dollar signs with established stars or their handpicked favorites (Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio, for example).
Right now, the WWE actually needs Daniel Bryan. The John Cena injury puts the WWE's financials at jeopardy because Cena remains a strong houseshow draw and merchandise mover. I am of the belief that the WWE management decided to give Bryan a 100% clean win against John Cena and to now put him in an extended program with Randy Orton to satisfy the Internet Wrestling Community (IWC). After all, they need your eyeballs on the television screens and your butts in seats to offset the losses from John Cena being out with injury. Don't believe me? WWE offers refunds for events where John Cena is promised to wrestle... I wouldn't doubt that we'll also see CM Punk challenging Randy Orton and the McMahon Corporation along with Daniel Bryan. Bryan and Punk teaming up against the WWE establishment is an IWC wet dream! WWE will give that to you because they NEED YOU with John Cena out.
Then, when Royal Rumble 2014 hits... Surprise surprise, John Cena quickly recovers from injury, wins the Rumble, and can challenge Randy Orton for the WWE Title. I'm very convinced that the WWE management wants John Cena vs. Randy Orton to headline at least one Wrestlemania together in a one on one match before both wrestlers retire. Orton as a heel again and John Cena returning from injury before Wrestlemania 30 sets it up perfectly.
Daniel Bryan fans should NOT feel slighted, whatsoever, with a comparison to Mick Foley. Foley was GREAT. His program with the Rock, especially the battles with the Rock during January 1999 specifically, was awesome. Foley's WWE Title victory versus the Rock on the first RAW of 1999 helped put the final nail in the Monday Night Wars battle against World Championship Wrestling (WCW). Rock vs. Foley from Royal Rumble 1999 was intense and rated high on the "Match of the Year" rankings for 1999. Then, who could forget their empty arena battle during the Superbowl that year? The Rock and Foley drew extremely well with their program and prepared Rock well for his huge Wrestlemania 15 program with Austin. For Foley, WWE Management remembered his work against the Rock during early 1999 that they gave Foley a program with Triple H for early 2000. As awesome as 2000 was for the WWE, Mick Foley vs. Triple H at Royal Rumble 2000 was considered "Match of the Year" by many publications. Though Foley wasn't Steve Austin, he had a role in the WWE and can argue that he made both Rock and Triple H become better wrestlers and bigger stars.
So what if Daniel Bryan is just "something to do" for Orton between now and Wrestlemania 30? Bryan just has to make the most of it, as he has with every other program and given opponents throughout his career. Bryan has made the most out of the worst situations given to him. It took the WWE forever to sign Daniel Bryan and then on his first night on the WWE roster, the WWE fires him after the Nexus attack because his tie choking wasn't align with the new PG era WWE. Don't forget that joke of a World Heavyweight Title win, the reign, and then the crushing Wrestlemania 28 defeat at the hands (or foot) of Sheamus. Stuck with a goofy girlfriend angle, he got AJ Lee over. Stuck tagging with an older Kane and a goofy anger management angle, he got everything over. He jobbed repeatedly to the newcomers from the Shield. Bryan got over despite all of the booking adversity handed to him. I would argue that he's over enough to be the next guy, but WWE Management loves Randy Orton instead and probably sees bigger dollars in John Cena vs. Randy Orton instead.
But who cares? Lower your expectations... Whatever Bryan has done in his WWE career, he's entertained. After his Randy Orton program, he could feud anyone on the roster and get them over. There is some value in that... Then, when the WWE is in need of a someone to step into the Main Event for a brief period of time, they can count on Daniel Bryan.
Long-term, is a 5'10", 200 pound guy a Main Eventer in the WWE? Could Daniel Bryan, in addition to headlining WWE shows, handle the company appearances of the top guy? In today's corporate WWE, it's expected... Can the WWE market someone who refuses to cut his hair and shave for a given year? I see Bryan's in-ring work and I'm drawn to it... But image does play an important part for other fans. The top guy in the WWE, such as Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, Rock, and now John Cena are seen as larger than life superstars who can cross sell merchandise to all types of fans, particularly new and younger ones. Can Bryan do that as the top guy? I honestly don't know...
No doubt that Bryan can wrestle... But it's the other stuff expected of the top WWE star that has taken down other World Title holders that the WWE has tried.
And it's not like Randy Orton is "that guy" either. He brags about this being his 10th Title reign... How did those other 9 title reigns go again? How have those other Pay Per View Main Events gone again? How many "Match of the Year" candidates has Randy Orton been in again?
However, Randy Orton will certainly not be pushed like Mick Foley... WWE expects Orton to be the Rock against John Cena portraying John Cena.
Wrestlemania 30 = John Cena vs. Randy Orton, book it!
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