You know, for playing such a dastardly heel on T.V for most of his career, Triple H has been pretty damn cool as of late. I mean don't get me wrong, his character is still an absolutely petty and heartless individual only worthy of the corporate world but he still does a lot of good. For starters, he is the driving force behind WWE NXT, a show which is being acclaimed by wrestling fans as being the superior show to RAW and SmackDown in essentially every category.
More importantly for the purposes of this article though, Triple H might have saved WrestleMania 31's main event. Maybe. Eight days ago on RAW, Triple H revealed what the big announcement was that he teased on the previous episode of SmackDown. Due to The Rock's interference in the outcome of the Royal Rumble, Roman Reigns's victory was held in question and he must win a match at Fast Lane to retain his spot. A match Reigns could have refused by the way. His opponent at the event? Daniel Bryan.
Yes, that Daniel Bryan. The same Daniel Bryan who was tossed over the top rope by Bray Wyatt after about 10 minutes at the Royal Rumble now has a second chance to win a WrestleMania date with Brock Lesnar to compete for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship that he never lost inside the ring eight months ago.
Is it (in storyline) unfair to Roman Reigns that he must win another match? Maybe, but now the WWE has a tremendous main event for Fast Lane that has the potential to rectify the mistake made they made (again) at the Royal Rumble. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I present my case as to why Daniel Bryan should defeat Roman Reigns and go on to main event WrestleMania 31 versus The Beast Incarnate, Brock Lesnar.
10 Bryan Deserves it More
Imagine this if you will. You dream your whole life of becoming a professional wrestler. You leave your home at a young age to go train with the Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels to realize your dream. From there, you travel the globe to pick up all the skills you could learn before finally the WWE calls you for a full time gig. You climb the ranks of the company, winning the various championships and earning the adoration of fans across the world until it all culminates in a WWE World Heavyweight Championship win at WrestleMania XXX. Then you get injured.
When you return, a man who only started wrestling by the time you were in the WWE is slated to take your spot and rule the company for years despite your decade and a half of hard work. Your dedication and fan support seems unnoticed by the powers that be because they don't think you can be the face of their company.
That scenario is reality for Daniel Bryan. No offense to Roman Reigns, but Bryan has worked his tail off in order to reach the level he is at right now. Until Reigns has paid some more dues, Bryan's body of work trumps anything that Reigns could put out.
9 Reigns Has Potential For A Massive Heel Turn
The response to Roman Reigns from his Rumble victory has been, um, negative to say the least. A large section of the WWE Universe has just about reached their breaking point with WWE's refusal to acknowledge Daniel Bryan's ever rabid fan base and their opinion that Reigns doesn't deserve Bryan's spot. There is a way to turn this potential disaster into a glorious moment... Turn Reigns heel.
Think about it. Once Lesnar leaves, Heyman is going to need another client to manage. In his promo with Lesnar and Reigns on Raw a couple of weeks ago, Heyman hinted that Reigns has massive potential to be a major star. Going by Heyman's past history, he could easily abandon Lesnar after he loses the title and latch on to a guy like Reigns. Pairing Reigns with one of the best managers ever would cover plenty of his issues and turn the hatred of the fans into something meaningful.
It also doesn't help your babyface persona when reports like this come out and you make statements like "I'm just a guy trying to get rich".
8 We Never Saw A Long Bryan Title Reign
Let us take trip into my time machine (yeah, I got one) and travel back about eight months ago.
Daniel Bryan's recovery from a neck injury is slower than expected and as a result, he is forced to vacate his WWE World Heavyweight Championship. The payoff for his lengthy quest to capture the the richest prize in the game was cut short before it got off the ground. Barring another freak injury, Bryan should be good for the next couple of years so there's no reason to say that Bryan can run with the ball for a while. While he got a great WrestleMania moment and the title win fans had been waiting for, the payoff wasn't quite 100% due to his untimely injury.
7 Bryan Doesn't Have Much Time Left
No lengthy explanations here, this is pretty much simple math. Bryan Danielson is now 33 years old and will turn 34 in May. Leati Anoa'i (Roman Reigns) is 29 years old and will turn 30 in May as well. Some would argue that the WWE should give the WrestleMania main event to Reigns in order to build up their golden boy for the future. I on the other hand would argue otherwise.
Aside from Hulk Hogan and John Cena, most "faces of the company" don't last too long. Stone Cold, The Rock, Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart's times at the top averaged about 3-4 years, and all started after they hit 30, with the exception of The Rock. So why the need to rush Reigns? Bryan could easily carry the load for the next couple of years with superstars like Cesaro, Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt and so on. Bryan isn't going to wrestle forever, so let's squeeze every bit of potential we can while he's the hottest star in the business.
6 Reigns/Lesnar Could Hurt Reigns' Career
"If you study history, you know that it is bound to repeat itself." - Nobody in particular.
Historically speaking, John Cena has always been the bane of the IWC's existence. A big reason why such hate exists for the Cenation leader is because he was pushed for too long and too hard, to the point where fans felt like he was shoved down their throats. The result was half the crowd hated Cena while the other half loved him.
I'm certain that WWE doesn't want a repeat of this with their next mega star. The fix to this is easy; let Reigns develop organically. If Reigns defeats Brock Lesnar, the man who decimated John Cena and broke The Undertaker's streak in the past year, after only main-eventing one pay-per-view, it'll cause irreparable damage to Reigns's potentially great career.
5 Daniel Bryan is Adored by Fans
As painful to your eyes and brains as it may be, think back to the Royal Rumble. Hear that reaction when Daniel Bryan comes out? No? Okay watch either his promo announcing his return to action or his Raw entrance after Wrestlemania XXX... you get the point. The people who argue that it is merely the "Yes!" chant that is over and not Daniel Bryan are lying to themselves. Daniel Bryan is currently the most over superstar in the company, and there's not even a close second.
WWE always yabbers on about how they give the fans what they want. By this logic, they should reward the man who the fans have selected as their people's champion. Pockets of fans may like Roman Reigns, but the overwhelming majority of fans LOVE Daniel Bryan. Give the people what want, if not all year round, at least at WrestleMania.
4 Seth Rollins Cash In Would Generate Massive Heat
There is one more player in the WWE World Heavyweight Title picture that I've ignored in this list... Seth Rollins. He didn't win 2014 Superstar of the Year but he damn sure should have. His matches with John Cena, Dean Ambrose and Evolution all helped mold the superstar that we see before us. The Triple Threat match at the Royal Rumble may have been his finest hour yet, but there is nowhere to go but up for Rollins. That up of course would mean the World Title.
A Money in the Bank cash in has yet to occur at WrestleMania, but there has never been a better time to do it than now. Rollins is the most hated heel in the company and just imagine if he were to steal Bryan's moment at WrestleMania 31 by taking his newly won championship from him before he can even enjoy it.
You could argue that Rollins could do the same thing if Reigns were to win, but doing this on Bryan would generate FAR more heat because (see reason no.5).
Boom. I just handed the WWE its top feud from WrestleMania to SummerSlam.
3 Daniel Bryan vs Brock Lesnar Could Be Match of the Year
If rumors are true, then it seems like Brock Lesnar will be leaving the WWE after WrestleMania 31 to either rejoin the UFC or even sign a deal with their rival Bellator. If that's the case, then Lesnar's last match will probably be in Santa Clara on March 29th. Lesnar's last WWE run ended with a whimper, losing to Goldberg in one of the worst WrestleMania matches ever. It's a disservice to WWE's, Paul Heyman's and Brock Lesnar's amazing work in the past year to end Lesnar's career with a paint by numbers powerman vs powerman matchup.
Instead, Bryan could give Lesnar the match of his life on the grandest stage of them all. The match could have it all: brawling, submissions, amateur wrestling, drama and a host of potential finishes. I see this match as being a mix of Lesnar's WrestleMania XIX match with Kurt Angle and his SummerSlam 2013 encounter with CM Punk. Yup, that sounds pretty awesome to me.
2 Reigns Is NOT Ready
I feel as if this entry doesn't even need an explanation, but I'll give one anyway. For all the potential that Roman Reigns seemingly has on paper, he has yet to produce anything that would merit a push to the main event level.
Let's break it down. Reigns began his main roster run as part of the Shield, undoubtedly an awesome trio, but one where Reigns was protected. He would only wrestle in short spurts where he would hit his signature moves and then tag out to the better workers in Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose. Since then, he's been on his own and has looked significantly worse than he did in the Shield. Fast Lane will only be Roman's second, that's right second singles match on a PPV. If he wins, a title match against Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania would be his third. How does that make any sense?
Worse yet have been his promos. Now to be fair, a lot of the blame falls on the shoulders of Vince McMahon, the man who has micromanaged Reigns to a point where he sounds like an even lamer version of John Cena. But to the fans in the audience, they just hear Reigns's voice, not the scribble of McMahon's pencil.
If you disagree with me though, try disagreeing with freaking Stone Cold Steve Austin. On episode 189 of The Steve Austin Show, Austin made his feelings on Reigns known:
"If you’re trying to earn the fans respect, you’re really starting in the hole because people feel like he’s being forced down their throats. He’s not ready. They’re looking at the body of work. With the two other guys — three total in the Shield — he’s doing one-third of the work, come in and shine and get out. Now all the sudden you’ve got all these gaps to fill in the blanks, and he hasn’t been able to fill in those blanks.”
That's the bottom line, because Stone Cold and I said so.
1 Bryan vs Lesnar is a Story That Must Be Told
Last year's WrestleMania had one of the best stories in its entire history. The "B+" player and today's people's champion Daniel Bryan defeated all three members of Evolution across two matches to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, proving to the world that he belongs with the top dogs in the annals of WWE history. How the hell do you follow up with a sequel? With WrestleMania 31: Enter The Beast.
The story of a returning Daniel Bryan to face the conqueror Brock Lesnar could be one of the best WrestleMania builds ever. One man has been given every single genetic gift one could have and has easily reached the pinnacle of Mixed Martial Arts, Amateur and Professional Wrestling. The other is a small bearded warrior who has the finest technique in WWE, had to fight tooth and nail for every opportunity and the will of millions of fans to support him in his quest for the championship. David vs. Goliath is always an intriguing dynamic and this would be the best in wrestling history.
Look at how Bryan's year went. He climbed to the top of the wrestling business, married the love of his life. In a cruel turn of events, he lost his father and suffered a long-term injury, forcing him away from the business he loves. Now, to get it all back he must face seemingly the most unstoppable force in WWE history, the man who dominated John Cena like no other and most impressively, broke the Undertaker's streak the same night Bryan had his moment. They were the two hottest topics last year so a culmination in their showdown is the perfect stage.
We know the match would be fantastic, but imagine the promos as well. If Paul Heyman could sell a Reigns/Lesnar match as well as he did on Raw, visualize what he could do with a Bryan/Lesnar build. That isn't to say that Bryan would be lost on the mic. He showed in his 2013 feud with John Cena that he can handle himself on the stick just fine. If this fine symphony culminates with a masterpiece at Levi's Stadium, all will be right in the WWE again. Or at least it will appear that way, and isn't that all that matters?