WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE NUMBER ONE CONTENDER MATCH
Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H
Thanks in part to CM Punk taking his ball and going home, at least according to those so-called "dirt sheets", Bryan is finally getting the chance to get his revenge on the leader of The Authority, "The Game" himself. Except the stakes are much higher than a simple grudge, which would have been fine if that's all it was. But no, the winner will be inserted into the WWE world heavyweight championship title match in the main event of tomorrow night's (Sun., April 6, 2014) WrestleMania 30 pay-per-view (PPV) extravaganza at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. It's on!
The Road to WrestleMania 30
If we're going all the way back, this started at SummerSlam last year when Triple H used a Pedigree to cost Bryan the WWE title he had just won from John Cena. Randy Orton cashed in his Money in the Bank contract and became the new "Face of WWE" because he's the guy The Authority -- Triple H, Stephanie McMahon -- chose to represent the company.
Because he doesn't look like a troll and has a real nice hard body.
What ensued was a four month program that saw Bryan screwed out of the title at every turn while Triple H hammered home that while he's good, he's only a "B+" player unfit to hold the most prestigious title in pro wrestling. They were well on their way to paying off that storyline by proving "The Game" right, pushing Bryan down the card in favor of an Orton vs. Cena retread that headlined TLC with a rematch at Royal Rumble.
During all this, Bryan was off getting brainwashed by The Wyatt Family.
He soon snapped out of it when WWE took note of mainstream media helping get his "YES" chant over during legitimate sporting events. You simply can't buy that kind of P.R.
Then the Royal Rumble happened and fans in Pittsburgh decided enough was enough and it was time for a change. Batista returned after a four year hiatus to win the 30-man battle royal for a title shot at WrestleMania but fans revolted and booed him out of the building. In fact, he was involved in an incident when the PPV went off the air, that's how rowdy it got.
This continued for the next few weeks and it became clear that Batista would have to turn heel. This created a difficult scenario with two heels battling for the top title in the company in the main event of the biggest show in WWE history. CM Punk walking out the night after the Rumble didn't appear to help matters originally, but created quite the opening WWE made sure to exploit.
They did this through a number of awesome segments filled with top notch performances from all the players involved.
First, Occupy Raw:
That led to Triple H accepting a match with Bryan and even caving in to the added stipulation that if Bryan wins, he would be inserted into the main event title match. There's the babyface they were in need of:
If nothing else, this made it seem obvious that Bryan would win, for reasons already mentioned. They needed an extra wrinkle, an added layer of intrigue to a match that seemed to have a predictable conclusion.
So they used Triple H's notorious ego and had him announce if he wins, he'll be joining the main event title match too.
After this, they ran an awesome segment featuring Triple H taking a few shots at CM Punk for walking out while setting up an outstanding swerve on Bryan that had him in handcuffs and taking a beating that went on for an uncomfortable amount of time.
There was Bryan getting his head dunked in a cooler, Stephanie slapping him around, a chair shot to the head (but not really), some voyeurism; this one had it all and gave Triple H that monster heel edge while earning Bryan a ton of sympathy.
Bryan ended up taking an entire week off selling that beating. It would take the entire go home episode of Raw for him to make his way back. This was set up brilliantly, too, first with an awesome troll video from The Authority:
Then with a terrible Batista vs. Randy Orton match with Triple H on commentary. Bryan came in through the crowd unannounced and absolutely tore the house down headed into WrestleMania.
It's almost time.
What's at Stake?
Bryan's future as a top level star. The winner will gain entry into the main event later in the evening, so a shot at the WWE world heavyweight title is at stake, but this is really about showing us how WWE really feels about Bryan's status as a big money draw.
If Vince McMahon and company have decided he's worth making the "face of WWE", he'll win this match and go on to take the title later. There is no better place or time and no bigger event to capitalize on Bryan's popularity than right here right now at this show.
He might be able to lose the title match later and come away okay. But he can't lose this match. It will prove, once and for all, that he is the "B+" player Triple H has been referring to him as for months on end. That's the story they've told, and this is the final chapter.
Here's to hoping for a happy ending.
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