At the end of the summer, WWE tried to build up their Authority faction by putting the world title on Randy Orton. The fans didn't care. They chanted "Daniel Bryan".
In December WWE tried to play off their shotgunned Cena-Orton feud as the "biggest match of all time." They put a dozen legends in the ring, held both of the world titles, and the fans didn't care. They chanted "Daniel Bryan".
At the Royal Rumble, Cena and Orton were absolutely buried in a tidal wave of hate. Fans chanted "we want Divas". Then they chanted "Daniel Bryan."
Fans hated Batista's Rumble match win so much, Roman Reigns almost became a babyface just because he was the last guy left in the ring with him. Fans chanted "Daniel Bryan", and WWE physically turned down the crowd, and boosted Big Dave's music to drown them out.
At WrestleMania XXX, an event I'm sure WWE will market as the biggest pay-per-view of all time, fans will completely ignore Orton-Batista and chant "Daniel Bryan".
It's not John Cena's fault. It's not Randy Orton's fault, or Batista's fault. None of them said "hey, put me in the main event and bury Daniel Bryan, or I'm going to quit." But those guys are going to get the bulk of the heat because there's no way to actually boo the backstage creative writers. I'm sure Dave won't be happy that his big return was crushed. Cena won't care because he's a company guy, and he'll do anything they ask him – that's why he is where he is. Randy Orton is the champion, and he played off the fan's apathy like a world class talent.
Daniel Bryan was fed to Bray Wyatt at the Royal Rumble to beef up the Family for an oncoming feud with John Cena. The message is pretty clear: Bryan doesn't matter. He's an afterthought. Fans love him, but what do we know? That has never been more evident than the rumors that Bryan will face Sheamus at WrestleMania. Don't get me wrong – Bryan and Sheamus have put on amazing matches in the past, but it's a rematch nobody cares about, or wants.
So what can we do? We can go online and complain about it. I got a ridiculous amount of support for just two tweets I sent out on Sunday night:
The honest answer is that there's nothing you can do, that you're actually willing to do. Keep chanting; it probably won't matter. WWE was willing to go the distance with CM Punk when the fans got behind him, but they took 100% credit for that reaction. WWE will take credit for the Bryan reaction by citing their booking as the reason behind it. Somehow, in their mind, fans chanted for Bryan at the Royal Rumble because their decision-making is good.
You can stop watching Raw. Stop ordering PPVs. Don't order the WWE Network. Watch Impact Wrestling, who got the best rating in two years this past week. But even the most diehard Bryan fans won't stop consuming. We're wrestling fans; you can't NOT watch WWE every week. They know that. They've built a monopoly on that fact.
Find an alternative. For most of you, it won't be TNA. Watch Pro Wrestling Guerrilla. They have the most fun in-ring product in the world today. Watch Ring of Honor, whose roster is coming into its own with the return of Chris Hero and AJ Styles. Keep watching WWE, and keep chanting for Daniel Bryan. But realize it's not going to matter.
If and when WWE decides to do something with Daniel Bryan it will be on their terms, once the fans have calmed down. They'll break him, and then build him back up because everyone on top has to be there because WWE put him there. There's no room for new Rock or Austin level stars to be born naturally, the way there used to be.
WWE owns you.
As Batista said, "deal with it."
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