July 6, 2018 was a day that some really absurd takes about Daniel Bryan were unleashed on us with functioning brains. In two different articles that I will not link to because I’m not here to serve up clicks for stuff I think is nonsense, it’s been suggested that Daniel Bryan may be on his way out, that the WWE should be nervous about it, and that he’s been treated unfairly by the company both prior to the time he missed from injuries and since he came back. To which I say……
That is one of the most ludicrous assertions that I have ever seen, and I’m going to tell you why right here and right now:
Daniel Bryan wasn’t mistreated before
Daniel Bryan fans have zero reason to feel like he’s been mistreated by the WWE – ever. You disagree, here’s some stuff to chew on. Less than a month after becoming a permanent member of the main roster he was U.S. Champion. Less than a year after that he won Money in the Bank, then cashed it in successfully six months after and became World Champion. The following year he won the tag team titles with Kane. And the year after that he beat John Cena clean to become WWE Champion. That’s a three year opening run that guys like the Undertaker, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, HHH, Mr. Perfect, and Edge didn’t get. Daniel Bryan won more singles titles in his first year and a half there than Roddy Piper, Ted DiBiase and Jake Roberts won combined in their entire WWF careers. He won the US title in less than a month while Cena spent a year jobbing on TV and then another year working his way up the ladder before winning that same title.
So please, spare me any talk about the WWE mistreating him. I’m sorry, I’m supposed to be upset that a man who was awarded that much was booked that way by Vince? Really? I’m supposed to buy the ridiculous take that he was wasted for a year in Team Hell No with Kane, when that’s the storyline that showed he could portray an actual character outside of ‘that indie guy who had great matches somewhere else and reminds me of me’? Do you realize that without doing Team Hell No that he wouldn’t have gotten over enough to challenge Cena for the title at Summerslam in 2013? You think Great Indie Wrestler Who Reminds Me of Me would have stayed relevant after he jobbed to Sheamus in 18 seconds at WrestleMania 28 without some major storyline help? And who chose to give him that storyline and character help when they could have made him the next Tito Santana? (Tito was great but he spent five straight years making stiffs look good after some early success) Who made that call?
Vincent Kennedy McMahon, that’s who. Even though I believe all that ‘B-plus player’ stuff that Hunter and Stephanie were saying in 2013 and 2014 was a shoot, that’s a hell of an investment that was made for a B-plus player. And then Vince went back on the deal he’d made with Batista to come back and win the title to give Bryan a WrestleMania main event where he would defeat HHH, Batista, and Randy Orton all in one night to win the title again. Can you imagine if say, Jeff Hardy were to get booked at WrestleMania 35 to beat all three members of the Shield and walk away with the World and Universal Titles? That’s exactly what happened at WrestleMania 30 when Bryan beat all three former members of Evolution in one night. Now imagine someone having the audacity to say four years later that Hardy had been mistreated. You’d laugh out loud right after you blocked them on all your social media accounts.
He’s not being mistreated now
Since getting cleared to return Bryan has worked every pay per view, winning three matches and lasting an hour in the Greatest Royal Rumble. He made Big Cass, a man twice his size, tap out twice before Cass was ultimately released. And he’s been in the main event slot on Smackdown Live almost every week. He and Kane were awarded a Tag Team Title match simply because Kane saved him from a two on one beatdown. They didn’t win any matches or anything. He’s worked with AJ Styles on TV, with Jeff Hardy, and lasted the longest amount of time in a gauntlet match a few weeks ago. And yet some people are upset because he’s not getting main events and title matches. Never mind that he’s still proving he can work a regular schedule without getting more brain damage or some other injury, or that he has yet to commit to the WWE beyond September 1.
If you honestly think that any wrestling promoter would hitch their wagon to an almost 40 year old guy with tons of mileage, lots of injuries, documented concussion problems (which means there were even more that weren’t documented) who previously lied to the in house doctor about his condition and has yet to sign a new contract, you’re nuts. Ring of Honor wouldn’t do it, New Japan wouldn’t do it, Impact wouldn……ok, maybe they would. But no one with half a brain would do that. Imagine Bryan winning the title from Styles at Summerslam, not re-signing, then showing up in the audience at All In with the belt in his lap. You think the same man who orchestrated the Montreal Screwjob is going to even think about taking that risk? If you do, then that’s reason number one why you’re firing of takes about wrestling on social media and not working for an actual wrestling company. You do not give big spots to people who are not under contract. Period.
If Daniel Bryan wants pay per view main events, world title shots, etc then he needs to sign the paper and commit to the WWE. If he wants to play around and see what’s out there then it’s midcard city until he makes a choice. And if he decides to go then it’s job city for however many weeks he’s a lame duck in the company. That’s the way the business has always worked and he’s no exception. Just like Bret Hart didn’t get to leave on his own terms and surrender the title like he wanted to, Daniel Bryan will not get a farewell title victory on his way out the door should he choose to head elsewhere. He’ll go out on his back putting someone over like anyone else has. And if you think differently you are extremely naïve as to how things work in the world of professional wrestling.
In conclusion it’s pretty simple to me. Sign and stick around or get the hell out. Wrestling companies lose big names all the time and live to tell about it. WCW was in dire straits in 1991, then they lost Ric Flair. And yet they stuck around long enough to bring Flair back, bring in Hulk Hogan, and surpass the WWE for a while. New Japan lost AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson all at the same time in 2016 and is doing better now than they were then. The WWE lost CM Punk in 2014 and got over it just like they lost Brock Lesnar 10 years before that and got over it. Will there be a short term hit? Sure. If it happens I do not look forward to the deluge of bad takes on Twitter, bad podcast episodes, and bad YouTube commentaries about how this is the beginning of the end and how could they have so badly botched things with ‘the most over guy in the company’? But I’ll get over it, especially once his biggest fans find out that no one else is going to just throw him in main events and gift wrap him world titles either. But no matter what happens he damn sure didn’t get a RAW deal in WWE. Disagree all you want, get mad, stay mad, I don’t care.