It's WrestleMania week and WWE has created the mega-buzz that would be expected for the 30th incarnation of it's signature event. From Axxess and the Hall of Fame to the big event itself, WrestleMania 30 is the biggest event of the wrestling year, and without a shadow of a doubt Daniel Bryan is the Superstar that fans can't get enough of going into the event.
A year ago it would have been hard to imagine that we would be here writing about Daniel Bryan's popularity being on the same level as that of a Steve Austin or Hulk Hogan, but that's exactly what's happened over the course of the year. The "Yes Movement" has taken over the wrestling world and basically forced Daniel Bryan into the main event picture of WrestleMania.
For months the buildup for WrestleMania seemed to be for a Randy Orton vs. Batista main event with Triple H vs. CM Punk under that, while Daniel Bryan was most likely going to be booked in a lower card match with the likes of Kane or maybe even Sheamus; but the YES movement became a phenomenon that straight told WWE officials that they wouldn't accept anything less than Daniel Bryan in a main event match.
The first big shift in direction happened when CM Punk walked out on WWE; with Triple H's match with Punk in jeopardy and Bryan's rabid crowd responses increasing, the door opened for Bryan to at least step into one of the top Mania matches and take on Triple H with the built-in story being that H has been holding Bryan down. The only problem with this scenario is that Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H still wasn't THE main event and wasn't for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
The WWE Universe still wasn't pleased and it was very apparent that Batista vs. Randy Orton would not be accepted as the WrestleMania main event. Early on it seemed like WWE was going to force the match on us anyway, until it became clear that the match would undoubtedly get booed out of the stadium if they tried putting that match on last at Mania.
So here we are at WrestleMania week, and WWE made the right move in putting the spotlight on Daniel Bryan as the headliner of the show. Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker is a big match as is John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt, but right now no one in wrestling can touch Daniel Bryan's popularity and the story of his quest to become WWE World Heavyweight Champion is rightfully now the top selling point of this year's WrestleMania.
NOW the question is - will WWE give the fans (and themselves) that "WrestleMania moment" so to speak, with 70,000+ people at the Superdome chanting "YES!" in unison after a Daniel Bryan title win? All year WWE has worked around Daniel Bryan winning the championship, even having him drop it at Summerslam to Randy Orton just seconds after defeating John Cena for it. Without question there are still going to be "higher-ups" that say Bryan is 5'8, 175 pounds etc.; I see their point, I came up in the 80s when giant guys ruled the wrestling world. The problem is, the fans have spoken and have chosen Daniel Bryan as "their" guy.
Regardless of size, Daniel Bryan is a legit wrestler that has earned his respect in the ring for many years which undoubtedly qualifies him skill-wise. If anything, it's been Daniel Bryan's size that has held him back in the past, but now WWE has to realize what they have on their hands; a wildly popular star that has the opportunity to create a WrestleMania moment that will live on for years IF he does walk out with the title.
Beyond WrestleMania, would Daniel Bryan's possible title run be treated the same as Rey Mysterio's from years ago? An underdog that never wins and looks weak until ultimately dropping the title back to a bigger guy....we hope not. If Bryan does NOT win the title, the ending will undoubtedly be flat with Orton or Batista walking out with it and the crowd being deflated.
All of this assumes Bryan does indeed beat Triple H to advance to the title match, which we definitely think will happen or else we're back to a flat match no one cares about. H proved Monday night that he is the perfect guy to solidify Bryan as a main eventer (his selling of Bryan's offense last Monday made for the rabid crowd reaction.) Our prediction is Bryan will beat H, but H will leave him laying/injured to add even more suspense to the final match.
So will it be the WrestleMania moment? Or will it be the beginning of yet another title chase for Daniel Bryan. If it's the latter, one has to question how long it will be before fans lose interest due to never seeing their favorite achieve the ultimate win? Hopefully the right moves are made Sunday, because the fans have spoken and Daniel Bryan is poised to head up a new red hot era in wrestling.