Chair Shots: Why WWE did the right thing to Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania
By Wayne Carter
Apr 07, 2012 | 8:00 AM
It's been about a week since WrestleMania began with the Brogue kick heard 'round the Internet, sending hardcore fans into a tizzy with the decision to have Sheamus defeat Daniel Bryan and take the World Heavyweight Championship in just 18 seconds. I'm here to say that it was arguably the best decision WWE could make for that match.
Yes, fans an angry.
Yes, fans are marking out in support of Bryan.
Yes, it's exactly what Bryan needed to lift him into the next stratosphere.
Yes, yes, yes! (See what I did there?) Daniel Bryan isn't getting "buried" by WWE management as is the common thought. What's the point of that? Instead, they are likely turning Bryan into a bigger babyface star. Just be patient and follow the story.
To understand, you need to go back and listen to what was said in the early promos of the Sheamus-Daniel Bryan feud. Back on the March 2 edition of Smackdown, Sheamus cut a promo to start the show where he talked about how Daniel Bryan had changed since becoming the World Heavyweight Champion; that he had become conceited and obsessed.
Sheamus said it reminded him of himself when, as a heel, he captured his first WWE Championship, and became a bully. He then went on to say he needed someone to "knock his block off" to realize what he had achieved and what he had become.
(If you recall, following Sheamus' run as champion, he fell off and was buried in the mid-card, losing to John Morrison, being left off WrestleMania and dropping the U.S. title to Kofi Kingston, before moving to Smackdown and getting punted off TV by Randy Orton for a few weeks. When he returned, his attitude was that of a babyface.)
Sheamus concluded the promo by saying he'd be happy to return the favor to Bryan on April 1. You can watch the promo here.
So what did he do? He kicked Bryan's head off and pinned him in record time to take the title.
Now, it's up to how Bryan responds. On Friday night's Smackdown, Bryan keeps his heel schtick going, blaming AJ for all that had gone wrong for him, and sent her packing.
Bryan made clear that he has a rematch with Sheamus. I'd anticipate he gets at least one or two, maybe one at Extreme Rules where he loses, but then blames the stipulation, saying that he's not a brawler, he's a great wrestler, and the environment tilted things in the Celtic Warrior's favor.
At Over the Limit, he challenge Sheamus to a submissions only match and defeats various opponents during the weeks between the two events with a series of victories over other WWE Superstars using a variety of submission holds. On that night, however, he cannot get the "never say die" Great White to give in, and Bryan ultimately submits when Sheamus locks him in a cloverleaf in the center of the ring.
Defeated at his own game, Bryan now realizes the error of his ways, and that he has no one to blame but his own shortcomings. As Sheamus celebrates his victory, Bryan pulls himself to his feet and gets in the Celtic Warrior's face.
With a scowl on his face, Bryan returns to his Ring of Honor roots and extends his hand to Sheamus. They shake hands and he gracefully leaves the ring while Sheamus nods and claps in approval.
The narrative is complete, Daniel Bryan is a babyface again. Bryan cuts a promo the following week, noting that he came up short because he was overconfident and that he became a different person once he got his first taste of WWE championship gold. He vows that he's going to do things the right way from now on, and when the time comes, he's going to be World Heavyweight Champion again.
Unlike his first babyface run, when Bryan was simply a mid-carder who could work a good match that got a lukewarm response, Bryan now has a much larger group of fans on his side.
After making his declaration, he and the fans chant together: Yes. Yes! YES!
Only to be interrupted by a heel for the new babyface Bryan to overcome. And a new narrative begins ...