So on Monday we finally got our wish, and Brian Danielson, AKA Daniel Bryan in WWE Speak, is getting his shot at John Cena and the WWE Title in a few weeks at Summerslam, WWE’s second biggest annual PPV. But a lot of fans believe, given Vince’s history of allegedly favouring big muscle jocks over small athletic technical guys, plus the whole “Super Cena” thing, that Danielson will lose, and get shuffled back down the card to chase the intercontinental title.
This is utter nonsense, and I’ll tell you why.
Most WWE titles are ornamental at best, and mean next to nothing. They’re props in feuds. They have no real meaning or significance. The ONLY two titles that the WWE really actually cares about are the IC and WWE championships.
While the ‘E occasionally acknowledges the long rich history of the World Title, AKA “The Big Gold Belt”, they really don’t much care about it. They pass it between guys who they feel consistently perform at the top of their game and to give guys a reason to fight, but they don’t really care about it politically. Having that belt has no real impact on your standing in the company. They’ll put it on anyone they feel is working hard, but not anyone they want to seriously build the company around. There are a LOT of guys who’ve been given World title runs who’ve never been allowed within sniffing distance of the WWE title. Many people still see the Big Gold Belt as the last true remnant of WCW, and Vince wants that belt to feel like the inferior prize.
The WWE Title is the belt the company builds around. That’s the belt they give not necessarily to the hardest workers or best performers, (See The Rock), but the belt they strap on the guy they expect to bring in the money. The WWE Champion is chosen strictly by popularity, by the heat they generate face or heel. By how much profit WWE can make with them as champion.
One might then wonder why they care about the IC belt at all, why it isn’t a prop like the rest. Hell, a lot of fans think Dean Ambrose is being wasted with the US Title and should be chasing bigger things. So why does the ‘E care about the IC belt?
Because the Intercontinental Title is the Proving Ground. With very few exceptions, (See the Miz), the IC belt is put on guys the company thinks is ready to be moved up the card to the main event, to start chasing the WWE belt. The IC title is their litmus test. A guy gets an IC title run to see if he can rise to the challenge, if he’s up to handling the added pressure, if he can keep getting over with the audience. The IC belt is the trial-by-fire that determines whether or not the ‘E will have enough faith in you to trust you to deliver at the top of the card.
Which is exactly why Danielson doesn’t need it. Danielson elevated himself without it. He’s so damned good, and so damned over, the company has really no choice but to push him to the top of the card. He got over almost completely on his own, and never needed any of the WWE’s practice runs. Danielson got over with the fans by himself, and forced Creative to move him up the card. He’s main-eventing because he earned it, not because he was groomed for it. The IC title is to test the stars they’re grooming.
And that’s why Danielson doesn’t need it. If he loses at Summerslam, it would be a huge step backwards for him to get shuffled back down the card and chase a belt he doesn’t need. Instead he should keep chasing the WWE title, until he FINALLY wins it, likely at Survivor Series, and for the fans who’ve eagerly watched the chase, the emotional payoff when he FINALLY gets his prize will be SO much greater than if he just gets it his first try.
So unless the ‘E wants to intentionally destroy the biggest heat magnet they have right now, they’ll keep him in the hunt for the biggest prize, not send him fumbling after a consolation prize.
Because when Daniel Brian Danielson FINALLY wins the WWE championship, those will be the loudest YES chants you’ve ever heard.
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This article was first posted on July 22, 2013