Move over Rodney Dangerfield, this guy “gets no respect.”
On Sunday, WWE aired the one-hour edited version of WrestleMania XXX on the nationally accessible NBC broadcast channel. In a sign of total disrespect to the only person who worked two matches on the show and the guy who closed out the show in the actual main event by finally winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, WWE decided not to air acknowledge that in the space that had allotted.
The main event of Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton vs. Batista was not shown, instead WWE aired the John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt and Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar matches. The latter I can completely understand, however the former I cannot.
I’m aware that to the general public, John Cena is the face of WWE, so showing his match makes sense from that standpoint. However, by not showing Bryan’s championship winning performance, you give him no chance of breaking through to become the new “face of WWE.” Cena remains top priority, while the guy who actually stole the show that evening (outside of the finish of the Taker/Lesnar match, obviously) was excluded from the broadcast, giving the Cena-Wyatt match the perception of being of greater importance.
The only reason I can accept WWE’s decision to do things the way they did is because of the fact that from a promotional standpoint, they made the most out of their rare appearance on broadcast television.
WWE SummerSlam is the company’s next pay-per-view show and the main event will be John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar. The only two matches shown, in addition to the WrestleMania XXX opening with Hulk Hogan, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and The Rock, were the Cena-Wyatt and Undertaker-Lesnar matches, which Cena and Lesnar won, respectively.
The last image we saw as the show went off the air was a quick video highlight recap of Cena and Lesnar winning their matches. Keeping in mind that the WrestleMania XXX special on NBC served as the lead-in for the first pre-season game of this year’s NFL season, that’s just smart business.
Obviously for millions of fans who tuned in not to see WrestleMania XXX, but the NFL game, they likely saw a quick glimpse of Cena and Lesnar looking like WWE’s big deal these days and with SummerSlam coming up and those two headlining the show against each other, the timing is really perfect from a promotional standpoint.
Regardless, Bryan is clearly an emerging WWE Superstar and one that the fans have heavily gravitated towards, so in my opinion, WWE should be doing all that they can to feed that, especially considering the fact that his rise to stardom was organic and not something that WWE cultivated. Basically put, if Bryan got over as big as he did on his own, the sky is limit for him if WWE actually puts the machine behind him and tries to elevate him even further.
Bryan is coming off of a situation where he made national headlines as the WWE wrestler who fought off burglars from his community, looking like a hero in the process. To that same general public that is tuning in to watch the NFL and not the WWE, the same public that only knows the WWE-related stuff that reaches the mainstream, such as the Bryan-burglary story, Daniel Bryan is the star of the moment in that company.
At the end of the day it’s not really a major deal, but it is, however, further evidence that Daniel Bryan’s ascension through the ranks of WWE was not something they had planned, or were looking for and despite the fact that it’s caught on with such intensity, is still something that WWE doesn’t seem thrilled to get behind.
Despite the NBC-snub on Sunday night, Daniel Bryan will undergo an additional surgery following the neck operation he underwent earlier this year, will recover from said-injury and return as good as new in what is reportedly going to be roughly around early 2015. He will “Yes!” chant his way to the ring and the WWE Universe will be fully behind him, having been deprived of him for so long.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder and in the world of professional wrestling with hiatuses and returns, that philosophy has been proven true time and time again. I’m one of the millions of Daniel Bryan fans who can’t wait for him to heal up and return, and continue to establish himself as the next, true “face of WWE,” whether the company helps to make that happen or not.
Can Daniel Bryan be denied? NO! NO! NO! Will he eventually break through and become the next top WWE Superstar? YES! YES! YES!