QUESTION OF THE DAY: How Would You Best Go About Rehabilitating Daniel Bryan?
I think it’s safe to say that my return struck the right balance of people happy to see me back with people extremely butt hurt by my opinions. I’ll take that to the bank.
I think that this week’s column will largely strike a chord that is more palatable to my audience. Before I get into it, a quick but relevant story:
One of my best friends is involved in the Swinger’s community. For those of you younger and/or more on the naïve side, a Swinger is someone who, along with their significant other, meets other couples for partner swapping. It’s not my thing, but my buddy enjoys it tremendously.
I’ll never forget the story that my buddy told me about an encounter that he had last year. He has a lady friend that he goes to parties of this nature with. He’s an average looking guy. She’s about ten years older than he is. She’s not ugly by any stretch of the imagination, but you can tell that she’s been through the wringer. You wouldn’t throw her out of bed, but you also might not be excited to take her with your first-round pick in the draft either.
At most parties that they attend, my friend and his lady will find another average looking couple to keep them company. However, this particular party was not an average night. Within an hour of being there, they were immediately chatted up by an extremely attractive couple. We’re talking supermodel quality in the looks department. One thing led to another and the four of them end up in a private room to get down to business.
As my buddy recapped the story, I came to find out that it was not nearly as enjoyable of an experience that I would have imagined it to be. The reason? The other guy was hung like a horse! We’re talking 12 or 13 inches here.
Instead of being ecstatic that he was banging a supermodel caliber girl, all he could do is stare and watch as this Mandingo wannabe was absolutely going to work on his lady. Instead of enjoying the fruits of his labor, he spent the entire time thinking that the next time he was doing the deed with his lady, it would be like throwing a hot dog down a hallway.
So how is any of this relevant to wrestling? My friend is the Daniel Bryan of Swinger’s. Like my friend, Daniel Bryan wasn’t born with the physical gifts that would make him a natural for pro-wrestling. Guys like Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar and Braun Strowman were all hit by the genetic lottery, and they had to work far less hard than Bryan to get to the top.
Like my friend, Daniel Bryan should have been ecstatic to have overachieved in his WWE career. A guy that looks and talks like him never gets anywhere near the Wrestlemania Main Event, yet he made it happen.
But just like my buddy, Daniel Bryan hasn’t been able to enjoy the fact that he’s outkicked his coverage by a mile. His return just hasn’t gone as well as he had hoped it would. The booking hasn’t been as favorable as it had been in the past, he hasn’t been given the right wrestlers to work with, his matches have largely disappointed and his promos have lacked any of the passion that he’s traditionally brought to the table.
Alas, there is a beacon of hope. The long-awaited program between Daniel Bryan and The Miz is upon us. The Miz has a penchant for taking guys that are floundering and making them look like a million bucks. He’s done so with wrestlers far less talented than Bryan, so there’s no reason to think that this program can’t be the springboard back to the top for Mr. Goat Face.
However, the WWE and Daniel Bryan have one chance to get this right. You can’t just stick Daniel Bryan out there and expect it to work simply because he’s Daniel Bryan. He’s just not that type of guy. I’ve been wracking my brain for how I think they should proceed, and I’ve come up with a solution that does the trick. Here are FIVE EASY STEPS to fixing Daniel Bryan.
The Eternal Optimist Presents – How To Fix Daniel Bryan.
Step 1: The Miz Should Break Bryan’s Neck At Summerslam.
In a perfect world, I’d like to see this happen via some dastardly pre-match attack by the Miz. However, I recognize that this is not feasible. Bryan v The Miz is likely the match that the diehard fans are showing up to Brooklyn to see. To pull a bait and switch on them would likely lead to a revolt and the entire crowd turning on the second biggest show of the year.
As such, a mid-match injury angle seems like the more prudent way to go. You can still give the fans 20 minutes of what they came to see while accomplishing what is needed. I’d have Daniel Bryan land awkwardly during a Skull Crushing Finale. The Miz could go for the cover when the ref stops him, checks on Bryan and immediately throws up the “X”. A stretcher job later and we’re off the races.
Step 2: Daniel Bryan Gets the HBK Treatment.
I understand that in the age of social media, it’s hard to pull off anything kayfabe related. Nonetheless, I’d like to see the WWE go all-out with this. They should show Brie crying from the hospital. There should be video of Bryan undergoing a fake procedure. Give him his own “Tell Me a Lie” video. BTW – if you don’t know what that means, we can’t be friends anymore.
I want to see fan letters and crying children. Daniel Bryan’s story only works as an underdog and the WWE needs to do everything in their power to sell this and make people believe that he’s going to have to overcome impossible odds. It’s the only way it works.
Step 3: The Miz Defeats A.J. Styles at Survivor Series for the WWE Title.
The Miz has been the best heel on the roster for years. He’s long overdue for a main event push and WWE title run. What better way to put him over the edge than to injure the beloved Daniel Bryan? The promos that come from this will be gold.
A.J. Styles is a great world champion. There’s almost no one that I enjoy watching in the ring more, and he’s beloved by the fans. Unfortunately, he’s not a needle mover and there’s only so much that you can do with him and his limited mic skills from a storyline standpoint. He’s reliable but ultimately a placeholder until he can pass the title off to someone better suited for the role. That man is The Miz and Survivor Series is the perfect time to make it happen.
Step 4: Daniel Bryan Makes a Triumphant Return to Win the Royal Rumble.
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. The WWE can just continue to steal from HBK’s Fall of 1995/Winter of 1996 storyline. It really writes itself. Bryan is determined to make it back to action. The WWE can refuse to clear him. Bryan signs a waiver stating that the WWE isn’t responsible for any additional injury that occurs from his return and enters the 2019 Royal Rumble.
If it were strictly about what I wanted to see, I’d have Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan be the first two entrants in every Royal Rumble until the end of time. The result would be the same – Roman eliminates Bryan immediately in dominant fashion. However, I’m willing to throw the IWC a bone here. Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns can be the final two and Bryan can emerge victorious. Rich Latta believes that this is the only way to get the fans off of Roman’s back, as it would “undo the wrong” that was done in 2015. I don’t really buy it – I think the diehards will find another reason to loath the man. Nonetheless, it comes off as a feel-good moment and the WWE might as well run with it.
Step 5: It’s YessleMania All Over Again.
There’s not much to add here. If the first four steps are executed correctly, the end-result is gravy. Daniel Bryan headlines Wrestlemania 35 against his hated rival, the man that almost ended his career. The underdog story is complete. Daniel Bryan is rehabilitated – at least until everyone realizes that there’s nowhere left to go once he’s climbed the mountain again.
That’s a wrap kids. How would you book Daniel Bryan’s rise to prominence? Sound off below!
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