Daniel Bryan is WWE Champion. He's beaten John Cena and Randy Orton, clean and on consecutive pay-per-views.
Daniel Bryan is going to lose the WWE Championship. Again. It's a necessary part of the story that should be told over the next few months. Whether it's on Monday Night Raw tonight, or one of WWE's two pay-per-views in the next seven weeks, he needs to drop the belt.
If wrestling wasn't story-driven, I'd want Daniel Bryan to be WWE Champion forever, stopping only on rare occasions to let CM Punk have a turn. But the reality is that they are playing out a major angle on television every week, and to keep momentum rolling, Bryan has to drop the belt.
This thought occurred to me while trying to find something to compare the most recent WWE corporation story to. The answer is beyond obvious: the original corporation story. Wrestling is cyclical and stories get borrowed, but they can follow this one down to the letter and its an easy recipe for success.
In 1998 they turned The Rock heel and screwed Mankind out of the WWF Championship, as part of a larger ongoing angle with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. Mankind fought back, despite all odds, and won the title the next month. The Corporation screwed him a second time with some fake audio in an "I Quit" match, but Mankind again regained the belt at the halftime of the 1999 NFL Superbowl. And then they screwed him again, using that big blubbering thing that keeps crying on Raw every week – you may know him as the Big Show, but he was Paul Wight back then.
Daniel Bryan has to the lose the title, and then gain it back again. He is the modern day Mankind. Bryan is everything the WWE corporate image is not. He doesn't look, act or wrestle like the corporate champion. Mankind was everything Vince McMahon hated; Bryan is that for Triple H.
Mankind is now a Hall of Famer, and one of the all time greats. He never held the title very long – a fact he made crystal clear in an amazing promo battle with CM Punk last year – but he still went down as one of the best in history. Bryan has a long time left in this business, but he's not the long term focal point of this story. They'll get a great few months out of his heat, and then John Cena will come back.
WWE has a leg up on the WWF Corporation circa 1999 however, and that's a new abundance of main event babyfaces. John Cena doesn't have to be the Steve Austin in this scenario. They have CM Punk, who in a snap of his fingers can be just as hot, or better than Daniel Bryan. Remember that while it took a year, The Rock eventually went back to being a babyface, and "Stone Cold" turned heel to align with Vince. There's a lot of ways this new Corporation can play out, but while they await Cena's return and Punk's schedule to clear up, they need to stay the course with Daniel Bryan. Which means he will win, and then he'll lose. And then he'll win some more, but then he'll be screwed again. Whatever they need to do to keep Triple H and Randy Orton as hot as humanly possible.
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