Physical injury is never good. Sometimes it is more tolerable than others. For me personally, as a writer and blogger, if I broke my leg it wouldn’t be nice but at least it wouldn’t hinder my ability to do what I love. But I’m unlikely to break a leg while writing my next novel. Professional athletes on the other hand do what they love in an environment where injury is a constant reality. Almost all athletes are careful not to over exert themselves or take care of their bodies to reduce the risk of damaging their bodies but at times it just can’t be helped. Especially if the athlete or team is on the verge of a big success. In those periods, athletes often push themselves to and beyond their limits for greater achievements.
As much as wrestling is denounced as being fake or not a true sport, it is one of the most physically demanding professions in the world. There have been professional athletes, American football players and the like, who have come into wrestling and quit later because the schedule was too tough. Wrestlers go out into the ring multiple times a week and put their bodies on the line for the audience’s entertainment. Some wrestlers who go out there are already hurting but there is no rest period for them. Their success in the industry lives or dies based on fan opinion and if you spend half a year sitting out that’s half a year where the crowd just might forget about you.
The reason for bringing this up is because on last week’s WWE RAW, Daniel Bryan came out to the ring and announced that he had to get surgery on his neck. After a successful surgery on Thursday, it was revealed that recovery from this procedure is usually 2-3 months. At the moment, I’m sure most of us wrestling fans are relieved to hear that the injury wasn’t worse. One of my favourite wrestlers, Edge, otherwise known as Adam Copeland, was forced to retire because the multiple neck injuries in his career meant that continuing to wrestle would have likely led to neck-down paralysis. Stone Cold Steve Austin is another wrestler who was forced to quit wrestling due to a broken neck he received almost ten years prior. A lot of blame is placed on Daniel Bryan’s wrestling style for causing his injury but this could really happened to any of the wrestlers in that company today.
What happens next is the big question. The WWE are due to address the state of affairs on this Monday’s upcoming RAW. In the current WWE storyline, Vince McMahon’s daughter, Stephanie, and her husband and semi-retired wrestler, Triple H, are part of a villainous group that rules over the WWE called The Authority. For the past year, The Authority constantly sabotaged Daniel Bryan’s WWE world title aspirations and called him a B+ player. Having The Authority strip Daniel Bryan of the title at the first opportunity would fit with the storyline and add major heat to The Authority for once again screwing Daniel Bryan out of his championship reign.
A bigger problem occurs in where do the WWE go from there. Taking the WWE world title off Bryan has its advantages but who gets the belt while Bryan is recuperating for 3 months. The most obvious recipient would be previous WWE world champion, Randy Orton. He’s not likely to be the popular choice but he was the last champion and lost his title in a triple threat match where he wasn’t pinned. Furthermore, he still hasn’t received his rematch. Unfortunately, there’s a major problem here, and it is the same one that would plague Batista.
Batista would be the secondary option, but unlike Orton he was pinned in the triple threat match at Wrestlemania 30 and as a contender he has no rematch cause. On the other hand, rumours abound that Batista is planning on leaving after the Payback event because he is unhappy with the way his storyline turned out. He was scheduled to win the title but the fans turned on him when he won the Royal Rumble and Daniel Bryan was suspiciously absent from the match. Handing him the title would be a great gesture if WWE wanted to motivate him to stay around a bit longer.
However, both Randy Orton and Batista are part of Evolution with Triple H, a stable which is currently feuding with The Shield. They could give the title to either one and it would actually give The Shield more ammo to fight against the injustice of Triple H and The Authority. But the two teams are already due to meet at Payback so you would have a big event without the WWE title on the line. That’s not a major setback though because Fully Loaded 1998 also had a tag match as the main event without the title on the line. The difference is though that then champion Steve Austin was teaming with The Undertaker, his rival and after that event those two went on to have a match at Summerslam 98. Who would Randy Orton or Batista face after Payback? The Shield are not yet at that level and pushing them into world title matches at this point would actually damage them.
The only outcome of putting the title on either Randy Orton or Batista would be for them to face each other. Yet that would mean dismantling Evolution a mere two months after its revival. The infighting would also diminish The Authority while giving a white wash victory to The Shield. Even if The Shield lose the match, if The Authority is so unstable that the members are feuding over a title, then the Shield have won the war regardless. And the only other realistic option is John Cena. But Cena is currently in a feud with Bray Wyatt, a man who already refers to himself as a god regardless of title belts or in-ring victories.
At the end of the day, it probably makes the least sense but let Daniel Bryan remain as WWE world champion and have him appear without competing for 2-3 months. After fighting his way through The Authority over the past year and finally succeeding in winning the title at Wrestlemania, no one wants to see Bryan’s title reign end here. In terms of story it doesn’t make sense that The Authority wouldn’t take the title off him at the first opportunity but sometimes respecting the reality of the situation, the fan’s admiration of Bryan and his hard work means more than kayfabe. To find out which direction the WWE does choose, tune into WWE RAW tomorrow night on the USA Network or international broadcasters.