Powell's Blog: Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania 30 - HBK, paranoia, two match approach
By Jason Powell
The fans spoke and WWE finally listened. Daniel Bryan has a chance to be in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania 30. Feel free to take a moment to pat yourselves on the back. After all, it was your passionate "Yes!" chants and crapping all over Batista that forced WWE shake up the WrestleMania 30 card.
There are a number scenarios that WWE could go with now that Bryan's path to the championship has been mapped out. Sure, it could end before it even starts with a Pedigree finish. Yes, he could be beaten down so badly after beating Triple H that he can't work up enough strength to do anything when Randy Orton takes a Batista Bomb and Batista captures the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
WWE has given Bryan fans plenty of reasons to be paranoid. Stop. I've heard/read a lot of scenarios from some of of these fans that result in Bryan not capturing the championship on April 6. I've even been told that it would be better to have him win the title the next night on Raw in front of a bigger audience and with a passionate die-hard wrestling crowd in attendance. Let's not overthink this, people. Instead, here's a logical path for Bryan.
Triple H vs. Daniel Bryan: Sure, WWE could have this match on early in the show and then do the bit where Bryan is wounded coming out of the match to the point that there's questions about whether he can actually work the main event. Basically, see the scenario with Davey Richards in the six-man elimination match that closed the Lockdown go-home edition of TNA Impact.
There's a big storyline flaw in this approach. Why in the world would the Triple H and Stephanie McMahon characters give Bryan a chance to rest in between matches? Okay, we can come up with some warped logic such as being fair to Batista and Orton by giving them time to plan strategy, but wouldn't both characters prefer to face a guy who is at the very least winded coming out of another match?
Furthermore, does Triple H's WrestleMania match belong early in the card? Fine, if you're a Triple H conspiracy theorist, then go ahead and believe that Hunter's ego is so big that it won't allow his match to go on early. Taking a realistic approach, this is one of the biggest matches on the WrestleMania card with a storyline that dates back to the summer. Putting this match on early in the card diminishes the match and makes the outcome seem predictable because fans will assume that they are giving Bryan a break in between matches.
And here's the thing, Daniel Bryan doesn't need a break between matches. This is the guy who worked one-hour matches in Ring of Honor. Sure, he's a few years older and his body has taken more punishment since then, but there's no doubt in my mind that he could go a full hour on Raw tonight if they really wanted him to. Plus, the title match is a Triple Threat match, so they can work in times for him to rest if he really needs it.
The booking of the match with Triple H is simple. They go balls to the wall. Triple H dominates the offense. No, not because of his ego but because it's right for the story to tell. Triple H hits Bryan with multiple Pedigrees and yet somehow Bryan kicks out or gets his foot on the ropes.
Hunter looks strong and Bryan looks resilient and wounded, but in the end Bryan forces Hunter to tap out to the Yes! Lock. Hunter silences critics by tapping out to Bryan's finisher while also giving the super fan crowd a reason to chant "You Tapped Out" rather than "asshole" on Monday night. And, yes, Hunter should appear in front of that crowd this year. His character should take his medicine and the atmosphere would be incredible.
By the way, I hope WWE doesn't overthink this by adding Shawn Michaels as special referee tonight. I love HBK and there is a story to be told given the way HBK screwed over Bryan at Hell in a Cell, but I'd prefer the focus be on Bryan vs. Hunter rather than on what the special referee will do. Of course, if they do go with Michaels (and Raw is in San Antonio tonight), then I assume he rights the wrong. I just hope the finish is about Bryan winning, not about issues between Hunter and Michaels.
Randy Orton vs. Batista vs. Daniel Bryan for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship: With Bryan acting completely spent and possibly selling an injury from the previous match, the title match gets underway. Orton and Batista both work him over and prevent the other man from pinning him. Bryan sells throughout the bulk of the match and both Orton and Batista manage to get near falls that have the Bryan fans standing and fearing that their guy is once again going to come up short.
I'll leave the details to the wrestlers and the producers to lay out a match that's a million times better than I can. In the end, Bryan makes the big comeback with 70,000-plus fans hanging on his every move, and he eventually hits the running knee on Orton and pins him clean.
Bryan gets his WrestleMania moment. Batista is unscathed in the sense that he didn't take the pinfall or submit, setting up title matches that paranoid Bryan fans will fear will result in their guy having a Rey Mysterio-like title reign. Orton loses clean, but ideally it gets him away from The Authority so that he can regain the mojo he's lost while with them.
Most importantly, WrestleMania 30 concludes with two matches that make Bryan look like the ultimate underdog until he pulls off the big wins in both matches. It could be one of the most memorable 45 to 60 minutes in WrestleMania history, which would be so much better than having a momentum slowing gap between his two matches.
Join me tonight for the free Prowrestling.net Live audio show on Mondays after Raw at 10:30 CT/11:30 ET at Blogtalkradio.com/prowrestlingdotnet.
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