Do you really think Daniel Bryan got his heat back on Raw? Bryan has been humiliated and beat down for WEEKS. Putting Orton on his back for the broadcast’s last 20 seconds is a tease, no guarantee.
WWE must make it right on Sunday’s PPV, then keep making it right.
Otherwise, how long will it be before Bryan devolves from organic babyface mega-star…to being merely the guy who gets left laying?
The IWC is gaga about the Bryan storyline. But you’re judging the crowd reaction to Bryan, and operating under the premise WWE can never be wrong.
WWE is wrong a lot. Most of the time. But WWE is the only game in town, so there’s no accountability for being wrong. Many of you are too young to really remember when WWE had legit competition, and certainly too young to remember the territories, when there were many successful methods of booking.
You only know the WWE way. The booking of the Bryan angle is definitely the WWE way.
Or maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s the nWo way. When the nWo invaded WCW, the booking put tremendous heat on the nWo. Hall and Nash would hold off the entire WCW roster with baseball bats. The nWo left guys laying, then out came the spray paint. Heat, heat, heat.
The nWo never gave back the heat. There were occasional instances, like when DDMe diamond-cut Hall and Nash. That moment was very comparable to Bryan’s brief comeback last night. But WCW never got its heat back. Not even close.
For an angle like that to work, a babyface has to beat down the heels worse than the heels beat down the babyface. The perseverance has to pay off in definitive, unquestioned fashion, with no trace of it being a fluke.
That’s why the nWo angle stopped working. The nWo split muddied the waters, but the basic flaw was, WCW never got its heat back.
Look at what’s been done to Bryan. Do you really think WWE will let him get back that kind of heat? For that to happen, Bryan must…
*Beat Randy Orton cleanly for the WWE title, then beat him again.
*Beat Triple H clean. That’s non-negotiable. Bryan must beat Triple H. Triple H is his primary tormentor. Bryan vs. Triple H has become the money match.
*Get an ally or allies, and leave people laying, including The Shield.
Bryan has to rally from his oppression and KICK ASS. Not just here and there. Not just as a fluke, or a prelude to another beatdown. Bryan has to prove decisively that he’s the BETTER MAN. I just don’t think that’s going to happen.
Bryan will keep getting small victories between beatdowns. Eventually, he’s going to seem like a dope because he keeps putting himself in vulnerable positions. (See Borden, Steve.) Eventually, his crowd pop will die. That’s when life imitates art: “See? We were right all along about this guy.”
If there was a legit No. 2 company, WWE would do the right thing. (See Austin, Steve.) But there isn’t. WWE will do whatever it wants.Your reaction to a storyline that’s riddled with flaws shows that you will do whatever WWE wants you to do. For WWE, it’s a foolproof business.
Bruce Mitchell wrote a brilliant column in Pro Wrestling Torch about the Bryan situation. His most prescient point: A great babyface never allows hope to die. How many more beatings can Bryan absorb before hope dies?
Night of Champions is HUGE. Bryan needs to win the WWE championship, repel the beatdown (perhaps, finally, with some hands-on help) and leave triumphantly. Bryan needs to keep getting back his heat.
Anything else would be a mistake.
WWE needs to be careful with Big Show. He looks smaller every time he gets emasculated. Every time he cries. It’s one thing for the whole roster to not budge off the stage when Bryan gets beat down. You can be anonymous in a group. But Big Show looks like a wimp. Some things, you can’t un-see.
Follow Mark on Twitter: @MarkMaddenX