Monday 28 November 2011

Room For Improvement

When Mark Henry confronted Daniel Bryan a few weeks ago on SmackDown, because he thought he’d been “looked at funny”, it felt like the setup for a typical throwaway main event. But it wasn't. It was the first step in adding SmackDown's resident 'Mr Money in the Bank' into the tiresome Big Show v Mark Henry feud.
It was a move welcomed by fans. Matches between the two behemoths had been an unattractive prospect to begin with, and once they'd had their first battle there was little interest in a repeat performance. Simply put, big man versus big man matches are not as popular as they were two decades ago.

Daniel Bryan, meanwhile, had done nothing of note since winning Money in the Bank in July, vowing to take his guaranteed championship match at WrestleMania XXVIII. Involving him in the World Heavyweight title scene is a good decision for several reasons. Most obviously it ups the match quality of SmackDown's lead feud. It also makes you wonder about Show's motives: does he want to help 'D-Bryan' simply to deprive Henry of the gold or does ‘The World’s Largest Athelete’ want the smaller man to be champ because he thinks it’ll be an easier victory for him?
Of course the biggest reason the move works is a certain blue briefcase. Bryan having access to a title shot whenever he likes allows for some interesting twists to the feud. The SmackDown writing team (who typically produce a more balanced, logical show than their RAW counterparts) have predictably used this fact to good effect. The reaction Bryan's cash-in-that-wasn't received on last week's show was incredible. The decision to reverse the result may have been a frustrating one but it did at least happen for a reason that made sense within the context of the storyline. They couldn't do that every week (or with every MITB winner for that matter) but once in a while it works. 

Will Daniel Bryan be the man to end Mark Henry's reign as World Heavyweight champion?

That "failed" cash-in is part of what has made the story so enjoyable. Nothing about the three man program has conformed to the regular WWE approach to booking. It's refreshing and unpredictable and all the more enjoying for it.
Tomorrow night’s live SmackDown will be headlined by a World Heavyweight championship defence by Mark Henry against Daniel Bryan in a steel cage. Can ‘D-Bryan’ get the job done, toppling 'The World's Strongest Man' for the big gold belt? It could go either way, but I think he may just do it.It’s all too easy to imagine Henry winning only to be clobbered by Big Show immediately afterwards, allowing Bryan to successfully cash-in on the weakened champ.
If we don’t see a new champion crowned it won't be catastrophic. The company can still hold off on a Daniel Bryan title challenge until WrestleMania or add him to the inevitable Show v Henry clash at TLC. But a title switch tomorrow would be a great way to create a new main event star.

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