Look how far we've come in such a short period of time, huh?
It wasn't that long ago that a company like WWE wouldn't think twice about signing a wrestler like Daniel Bryan, admittedly one of the best in the world for years but one who suffered from a lack of size and didn't have the kind of look Chairman of the Board Vince McMahon typically goes in for with his biggest stars.
They even did a backstage skit between the two where McMahon quite literally called him out for as much.
Things change, though, and despite WWE's best efforts to make Bryan look like shit at times -- such as an 18 second loss to Sheamus at the second biggest WrestleMania show of all time -- he's done nothing but succeed and build his name to the point that the powers that be can no longer ignore it.
That's why this report from the latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter (subscription required but recommended) should come as no big surprise:
For those who think the company doesn't see Bryan as a main eventer, right now the penciled in main event for Money in the Bank on 7/14 in Philadelphia is Cena vs. Bryan, with Bryan not being a heel, as the title match. As you should be aware, everything is subject to change. It's pretty much a sure thing Bryan will be cheered in that match, given the city, and they are fully aware of that. The impression is they won't try and make him a heel but that's certainly something that can change. I sense the goal for the next two months is try to make Cena a "legend" by beating Rock, surviving Ryback and then having a match of the year with Bryan.
Meltzer is likely spot on with his speculation that WWE is trying to make Cena one of its biggest stars ever with the way he's been booked not just of late but for the past six or seven years or so.
Still, what's important to note here is the fact that McMahon and company are feeling good enough about Bryan and the creative direction they've gone with him to allow him to main event the biggest "B" show pay-per-view (PPV), Money in the Bank, in a WWE championship match against the promotion's top star.
That's a big deal.
No, he probably won't win but if we put our fantasy booking hats on for a second, it makes the most sense to have him lose to continue his run of futility while searching for the fire that brought him a world heavyweight championship at one time over on the SmackDown brand. He can lose here but continue building his heat so that maybe he takes a short break before coming back big with a win in next year's Royal Rumble to set up a WrestleMania main event level match in New Orleans.
Or something like that.
The possibilities are endless, and it's all subject to change, but the signs are pointing in the right direction. Are you Cagesiders as encouraged by all this as I am?