Some things are exactly what they seem. - Dolph Ziggler's theme song
The above quote, like all WWE theme lyrics, is 100% true. Of course, if some things are exactly what they seem, then it stands to reason that other things aren't. Chief among these is the true nature of the events and aftermath of WrestleMania 30.
To the naked eye, good triumphed over evil. Daniel Bryan overcame tremendous odds to fulfill his lifelong goal of headlining WrestleMania and winning the WWE Championship. And the WWE Universe rejoiced. One cannot deny the fact that those things did occur. But didn't it all seem a little too convenient? Just a bit too perfect?
Please indulge me as I posit a theory. For I believe that WrestleMania actually played out exactly as The Authority intended. They wanted Daniel Bryan to enjoy a victory that would lead to his ruin. And while I can't prove it beyond a shadow of a doubt, I can attempt to convince you that it's the only plausible explanation for what we have witnessed.
Don't believe me? The evidence is overwhelming:
Smoking Sledgehammer #1: Triple H challenging for the WWE title
It's often overlooked that Triple H's apparent goal at WrestleMania was two-fold. In addition to defeating Daniel Bryan and personally ending the Yes Movement, he also was in line to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. This doesn't make sense, as he would have had to personally defeat Randy Orton for his title. Why would Hunter want to topple the hand-picked, Authority-approved, Face of WWE?!
Whatever you think of Mr. Helmsley, you can't dispute the density of the man's schedule (or his delts). Spearheading the WWE Performance Center, leading Evolution, being the COO of WWE, the twice daily buzz cuts, and the list goes on. This cavalcade of executive responsibilities doesn't leave any time for defending a world title. Triple H knows the hefty burden that comes with carrying the gold and has no track record of setting himself up to fail. Thus, it's highly unlikely that he ever planned to win the title. So why even bother with the match?
Smoking Sledgehammer #2: Daniel Bryan's Health
Friends, the current dire state of Daniel Bryan's health is no accident. Even the most determined and resilient athletes have their breaking point. In the months leading to WrestleMania, Bryan had to endure the following:
- The breakup of Team Hell No.
- A series of matches with Randy Orton,
- Besting John Cena at SummerSlam.
- Getting screwed out of his championship by The Authority.
- Joining and later defeating the perverted Wyatt Family.
Only then did Bryan get his chance at the title, which involved getting purposely brutalized by Triple H in the opening match of WrestleMania and later getting pushed to his absolute breaking point against Batista and Orton. But why would The Authority let Bryan actually win that title rather than merely beating him up and keeping the belt on Randy Orton? Well how else would you force Bryan to endure the next piece of evidence?
Smoking Sledgehammer #3: The Kane feud
Let me get this straight. Daniel Bryan emerges victorious at WrestleMania, is the hottest wrestler the company has seen in years, and we are to believe that his first title challenger is... the same guy he had been fighting for weeks: Kane. There was absolutely no money in another Kane feud, and The Big Red Monster had done little to earn #1 contender status. The only thing that makes sense is that this was an intentional burial on behalf of The Authority to both cool fan interest in Bryan's WWE Championship reign and to force him to endure even more punishment so shortly after his narrow and damaging victory at WrestleMania. Very suspicious.
Smoking Sledgehammer #4: Randy Orton's rematch clause
The Apex Predator of WWE is technically still the mandatory challenger for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, due to his loss in the WrestleMania 30 main event. The Viper is not one to let opportunity slip though his fangs, and his entire self worth is wrapped up in being world champion and face of WWE. Yet, he continues to hesitate to invoke his rematch clause. More and more curious...
Smoking Sledgehammer #5: The Brock Factor
Triple H harbors a strong dislike for Paul Heyman and all his clients, most notably Brock Lesnar. No amount of time can erase the pain of having his arm broken by Lesnar on multiple occasions. Yet Triple H allowed Brock, fresh off destroying the Undertaker at WrestleMania, straight into a WWE title shot. As WWE Champion, Brock is now the most influential wrestler in WWE despite only fighting a few times per year. Why would Triple H give Heyman and Brock this much power?
This is clearly an attempt to make a Daniel Bryan return as implausible and painful as possible. Both by the will of the fans and a mandatory rematch clause, Bryan will be thrust into the title picture immediately upon his return. Battling Brock Lesnar in your first bout back from injury is not an inviting prospect. All the more incentive to stay on the shelf...
Smoking Sledgehammer #6: CM Punk
Speaking of people that Hunter dislikes, the former New Nexus leader lands near the top of the list. Though Hunter despises CM Punk and everything that he stands for, it's impossible to justify firing one of the best and most popular wrestlers in the world over a personal beef. Shareholders wouldn't stand for it!
The only way for Helmsley to be rid of his nemesis would be for him to leave of his own volition. Hence, Punk was kept away from the WWE title picture, embroiled in meaningless battles with seemingly random opponents, and generally marginalized ever since his defeat at the hands of Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam 2013. This, coupled with perceived mistreatment of Daniel Bryan at Royal Rumble and the promotion of Batista to the main event immediately after his return was enough to send Punk packing, on his own accord. As a result, Hunter didn't have to deal with Punk anymore and Daniel Bryan lost one of the only true allies he had in WWE.
Taken together, the evidence is overwhelming. Ever the company man, Triple H knew that Daniel Bryan's fans would demand that their hero emerge victorious at WrestleMania. But in the meantime, Batista, Orton, and H himself put him through the most most demanding and injurious matches possible to get there. Then the responsibilities of being champion, along with a brutal feud with Kane, would ensure that Bryan would rapidly become unfit for ring duty. Lastly, the WWE Championship was practically handed to Brock Lesnar to ensure that Bryan would not be medically cleared to challenge for it.
The simplest answer is usually the best. And in the crazy world of professional wrestling, this is the simplest answer.
So tell me, dear readers. Though he may have technically lost a match against Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania, what did Triple H really lose? And how much does he stand to gain?
OFFICIAL WRESTLER WRANKINGS FORMULA
ANY WIN = 2 POINTS
US OR INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE BOUT = 1 POINT
WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE BOUT = 3 POINTS
NON "BIG 4" PPV BONUS = 1.5X
SUMMERSLAM, SURVIVOR SERIES, ROYAL RUMBLE = 2X BONUS
WRESTLEMANIA = 3X BONUS
The WWE season begins on the day after WrestleMania 30 and culminates with WrestleMania 31. The wrestler who accumulates the most points over the course of the season, wins the coveted Wrankings Championship!
Monday Night Raw -- 10/20/14
Main Event -- 10/22/14
Smackdown -- 10/24/14
WRESTLER WRANKINGS, WEEK 30 *TOP TEN*
1. RUSEV -- 83 points
2. Sheamus -- 61
3. Seth Rollins -- 57
4. Cesaro -- 56
5. Dolph Ziggler -- 55
6. John Cena -- 51.5
7. Bo Dallas -- 50.5
8. Roman Reigns -- 41
9. Bad News Barrett -- 37
T10. Adam Rose -- 29
T10. Dean Ambrose -- 29
Thanks for reading, Cagesiders. We'll see you back here next week!