Before we get to who are the culprits keeping Bryan from being the champ, let me tell you that Bryan is my favorite wrestler. He's been my favorite wrestler for over 8 years now. The way I view Bryan's rise to stardom is like this, is like knowing a baseball player in High School. He's far and away the best player, just worlds of talent. When the MLB draft comes around, he gets drafted in the 12th round. He goes to rookie ball and knocks it out the park. Then to single A, knocks it out of the park. Then to double A, knocks it out of the park. Finally he gets to triple A, and he knocks it out of the park again. You figure, when will the Bigs come calling? But they don't, and everyone in the know, knows he's the best player around. Finally he gets a shot at the Bigs, he pinch hits and knocks it out of the park, but is sent back to triple A. Then he gets brought back, he's placed as the 8th hitter, where he continues to knock it out of the park. Finally he gets to be the 6th hitter, and you wonder, when will he get to bat cleanup? Clearly he's the best, but the team tells you, time and time again, he's just not a cleanup hitter, despite all the work he's done. This is where we find ourselves with Bryan. We all know he should be batting cleanup, but he keeps being held back, but who is responsible?
You want to know who it is? It ain't Vince, nope. Blame Dusty Rhodes, the internet and the WWE roster.
Lets look at each culprit individually, shall we? Like you have a choice.
First off, we have Dusty Rhodes, the American Dream, baby. Dusty is known for the phrase, "the money is in the chase." I don't know if he created the phrase, but his name is synonymous with it. Back in the day, we weren't smart to the fact that Dusty was the booker, and that it was him that was intentionally having himself get cheated out of the NWA title. The fans just saw Dusty get screwed over by Flair and the Horsemen over and over again. We wanted Dusty to win so bad, and we hated the Four Horsemen so much for being such dirty cheats. And guess what? That was great for business. Dusty was right, it was better for us to want to see Dusty gets his due, than to see him defend the belt. Thanks to this master plan, it made Dusty a lot of money, and it made Flair a lot of money for him to squander. This idea is what's been going on with Bryan, they want him to continue chasing the title, cause it's believed, that's where the money is.
Now, some think that Vince hates Bryan, cause he doesn't look like a Vince guy. That means, he's not a six feet plus guy, with muscles on top of muscles. But that's bullshit. Maybe Vince didn't think much of Bryan at first, sure. But Vince is a businessman. He can hear that Bryan is the most over guy. You think he gives a fuck that he was wrong about Bryan's prospects? No, he can make money with him, bottom line. Hell, he gave CM Punk the belt for over a year, and if there was ever a guy that looked nothing like a Vince's guy, it was Punk. Plus, Bryan is a team player, he won't get in some stupid internet twitter fight, he won't insult any of the political parties (like Punk did), he's the perfect guy to represent the company.
Just look at the way Bryan has been booked. He has clean pins over Orton (several times), Cena and Kane. Pretty great list, and his only clean loss was to Bray. That loss didn't do anything to Bryan, but it did a world of wonders for Bray. Bray needed that win badly if he was going to establish himself as a real threat.
Now, remember when I mentioned that the money is in the chase. This was true, back in the 80's. But not anymore, you remembered that Dusty was the booker and was the one booking himself to get screwed out of the title? You could get away with that in the 80's, because we still had kayfade. We weren't wise to the business, we thought, "well the Horsemen are just assholes and just find ways to screw over Dusty, but one day he will get his justice." Today? We know that Bryan could have the title tomorrow if they so wanted, because it's staged, it's choreograph, this is a written show. Thank you internet, now even a six year old can be a smark. So our frustrations have grown, and grown because we can simply say; "creative are assholes for coming up with bullshit way, after bullshit way to keep Bryan from the title." Today is a lot harder to suspend your disbelief when thanks to the internet (culprit number two) we can get breaking news of backstage politics in real time.
Which finally brings us to the final culprit responsible for Bryan not carrying the belt, or belts, the WWE roster. In my eye, this is the biggest reason why Bryan can't be the champ. If you give Bryan the belts you have two things you need to deal with. A) He is now the guy. And if he's the guy, then you need to give him a program worthy of this position, and not just have him turn into a transitional champ. and B) You have to make sure you don't ruin anyone else you have Bryan feud with.
So now, Bryan is your champ. Who can he feud with?
Orton? Done that, and it didn't go over all that great.
Cena? Bryan already has a clean win on him. You aren't gonna have Cena eat another clean pin like that any time soon. And you can't have Cena go over Bryan, cause then you make Bryan into a paper champ, now can you? Oh, you say, "just have Cena and Bryan go for the belts, and Cena gets screwed over by heels, like the Wyatts!" Okay, TNA booking, thanks but no thanks.
Then what about, Bray Wyatt, he already has a clean pin on Bryan. Sure, but Bray is not up to the level of top heel. Going after Bryan means that Bray needs to take the fall, and it could damage his character. He needs more time.
What about Reigns? Sure, the green as fuck guy with four moves? Okay, Bryan can carry him during the match. You aren't going to give Reigns the title, he ain't ready and if you did, it would make Bryan look like a chump. If you think Reigns is the next big thing, then you need to keep him away till he's ready, and from what I seen, is gonna be a while.
Cesaro? Match would be excellent, and Dutch can do the mic work for Cesaro. But just how over is he? He's a guy that needs more time getting over with the fans.
What about ADR? It could work, but once that feud is over with, then who? Dolph turns heel? Maybe.
The perfect guy would had been Punk turning heel and going back with Heyman, but isn't he busy watching MMA fights?
At the end of the day, WWE understands that it makes sense to have Bryan be the new face of the company. But the cards are just not set up right now for him to take the belts. They need the talent around him to rise up. My money is on Bryan and Ambrose headlining Mania as soon as next year. But for the few upcoming months, what's best for business is for Bryan to chase the belts and wait for the guys to get better. And believe me, this pains me, too.