For roughly a year now, Daniel Bryan has been the most over wrestler on the WWE roster within arenas across the world which is to say, he consistently gets the strongest reactions from the crowd. That includes John Cena, the face of the company for the past decade or so.
That's a big reason he was pushed to the top of the card and put over Cena clean to win the WWE championship at SummerSlam this past August. He lost it to Randy Orton immediately after before embarking on a three month main event run of matches headlining each PPV show.
Well, the returns are in on a couple of those and the powers that be are disappointed.
WWE held its earnings call recently for the past quarter of business and that meant PPV buy numbers were released for each show within said quarter. They were:
Money in the Bank: 199,000 buys
SummerSlam: 296,000 buys
Night of Champions: 175,000 buys
The SummerSlam number is particularly rough considering Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H drew a strong 358,000 buys in 2012. This year's show featured Bryan's big shot at Cena and the WWE title, and Orton cashing in his Money in the Bank contract right after. Considering how hot the angle appeared to be within arenas, it's a huge disappointment that the buyrate didn't match that.
About the number, Vince McMahon had this to say:
"SummerSlam was not the right attraction. You don't knock them all out of the park. That one was a swing and a miss."
Damning words from the boss.
As for Night of Champions, this year's show, with Bryan vs. Orton headlining, was down from 189,000 buys for last year's show headlined by CM Punk vs. John Cena for the WWE championship.
There's no word yet on the buyrate for Battleground or Hell in a Cell, the other two events headlined by Bryan vs. Orton, but there's no reason to believe the numbers will be up considering how poorly the prior two shows performed. And if that's the case, it won't have done any favors for the "B+" player who simply doesn't have what it takes to be the face of the company.
But will "The Authority" have anyone to blame but themselves? Is this a case of a self-fulfilling prophecy?
We'll wait on the numbers for the last two shows but Bryan has been shot down the card to feud with the Wyatt Family while Orton is still the WWE champion acting as a proxy for Triple H in the main event. That might just say it all right there.