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With CM Punk gone, WWE had to move away from the speculative Punk vs HHH match at Wrestlemania, and they had to find a replacement for Punk. That person ended up being Daniel Bryan. When you originally glance at that, it seems like a very suave decision. After all, like Punk, Bryan is one of the most popular wrestlers in the company, and ever since Summerslam Bryan has had a noticeable beef with Triple H.
However, Bryan is not really in same place as Punk is. Punk is an established star, and he can basically do whatever he wants (well, maybe not everything) and he would still remain just as popular as ever. Bryan's popularity however, is still in its relative infancy, and unless it is capitalized on soon, it could begin to wane. Bryan deserves nothing less than the world title match at Wrestlemania, and although it is still possible that match could still take place, the chances of it happening are slim to none.
A possible scenario being talked about is Triple H vs Daniel Bryan taking place early in the show, with a stipulation being added in that if Bryan wins, he will be added into the world title match. This plan would effectively kill two birds with one stone, it would put Bryan into the main event and it would also give the main event the fan support that it desperately needs at this point. The reason this likely will not happen is because it would involve WWE making a conscious decision to book Daniel Bryan solidly, which over the last few months, has been completely out of the question. In a perfect world, this would be wonderful, but WWE right now is far from the perfect world.
The argument for this match is that if Daniel Bryan were to pin HHH, he would reach a new level in popularity that he currently is not at. To this, I say hooey. A new level of popularity? Bryan is already as close to being 100% over with the fanbase as anyone has been in forever. Not even 2011 CM Punk was as universally beloved as Bryan is. Really, the last person to have this much of the fanbase behind them was Steve Austin in 1998, and that was 16 years ago. 16 years is enough to qualify as a generation, which makes Daniel Bryan a once-and-a-generation like talent.
As big of a plus a win over Triple H at Wrestlemania is perceived to be, it would be nothing compared to a WWE World Heavyweight Championship victory in the main event, over the two biggest heel wrestlers in the company. There was once a time where Wrestlemania was all about a new face becoming the top man in the company. Randy Savage, Ultimate Warrior, Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Chris Benoit, John Cena and others have all reached the top of the moment at Wrestlemania. That tradition has kind of fell by the wayside under recent years, which is pretty disappointing because that was typically the most exciting moment of Wrestlemania.
Daniel Bryan not being in the main event is pretty tragic. The failure to put him into the top position in the company is one of the most disappointing things that has happened in wrestling over the last decade. The blame for this should fall squarely on the shoulders of the head decision makers in WWE, mainly Triple H and the McMahons. If this was another world, and another business, the practices aimed at Daniel Bryan would be completely unacceptable.
Say, there was a young baseball prospect. This guy can run like a deer and is a fantastic hitter, and everybody knows he is going to be a phenomenal talent. The manager of the team however, never plays the guy and sits him on the bench. When he does put him in the game, he pinch-hits for him in the 7th inning when they are down by a run. Everyone can see that this guy is going to be a superstar, yet the manager remains ignorant to the talent he possess despite everyone screaming into his ear that this guy is great. Would that manager be fired? Of course he would. That is essentially what WWE management is doing right now with Daniel Bryan, so in a way, they deserve to be fired.
Now, the argument could be made that WWE knows exactly what they have in Daniel Bryan and they are doing all they can to capitalize on his popularity. Why, he is even getting a match against the boss! The problem with that thinking is that it plays into the idea that Triple H has an enormous ego and an incredibly out-of-proportion evaluation of his own self-worth. Does Triple H really think a match against him is on the same level as a match for the world title? Either WWE thinks that, or they just don't understand what they have in Daniel Bryan and don't want to give him the grandest stage at Wrestlemania. It is either one of those two possibilities, and both of them are wrong.
To make matters worse, there are some rumors floating around that Triple H may actually go over Daniel Bryan at Wrestlemania. Now, a few months ago, when those rumors were first reported, I dismissed them as pure nonsense. Triple H would never bury Bryan at Wrestlemania, that is just a rumor created by people on the internet who want HHH to be this insane egomaniac who buries everybody. But, as time has gone on, I have learned to accept that HHH going over Bryan at Wrestlemania is a realistic possibility. Noted Triple H friend Batista comes back and gets a completely undeserved push. The New Age Outlaws come back from the dead and win the tag titles from the most popular tag team in the company (although I think they were perfect fine during their title reign). Stuff is happening to indicate that Triple H will put his friends (and presumably, himself) over more deserving talent.
Daniel Bryan, over the last six months, as had one of the most exciting, yet disappointing runs in wrestling. Bryan has achieved fabulous levels of popularity and has clearly declared himself as the top babyface in WWE. However, he also been consistently given the short end of the stick when it came to booking, and he has been put in losing situations as a wrestler. WWE is walking a fine line with Bryan, had his popularity could begin to wane if they don't capitalize on it soon, and that wrestling Triple H at Wrestlemania is not going to get the job done.