And now that he is the man at the top of the mountain, the fact is that the time has come for Daniel Bryan to transform. His role as WWE‘s biggest underdog must change in order for Bryan to succeed as WWE world champion.
The underdog label became firmly applied to Bryan the night after SummerSlam. It was during that episode of Monday Night Raw that Triple H and the McMahon family publicly endorsed Randy Orton as their WWE champion, the man they wanted to be the new face of the company.
It was at that moment that Bryan officially became WWE‘s biggest underdog. And it was a label that fit perfectly.
Bryan dared to stand up to WWE‘s ruling class. He openly defied the Authority of Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, and he did so fearlessly. Every week, The Authority would try to destroy him, and every week, he came back for more.
The Shield acted as The Authority’s primary weapon, and it consistently held Bryan down. And though Bryan fought valiantly, he could never seem to overcome the incredible odds stacked against him.
Bryan was a lone voice, the rebel that sought to change the status quo. He was never the biggest man in the fight, and he was usually alone in his efforts. Daniel Bryan was the quintessential underdog, and it was a role that served him well.
Fans rallied behind Bryan. They filled arenas all over the country, chanting “yes” in unison and anxiously awaiting the moment that their favorite would finally win the day. Bryan caught fire like no one in recent memory, and he began what WWE referred to as the Yes Movement.
The WWE faithful supported Bryan, they bought his merchandise, and they paid to see him perform. And despite the fact that he was so incredibly outnumbered, fans believed in him and wanted to see him get what they felt he deserved. They cheered on the underdog, and he finally came out on top.
But now that he has, Bryan’s role must change. He is no longer the hungry challenger pursuing the company’s top championship with an army of antagonists standing in his way. He is also no longer fighting the odds of the entire McMahon family opposing him.
Bryan has become the new face of WWE. And now the underdog label must fade away.
The biggest reason for that lies in the fact that at some point, Bryan’s abilities in the ring must take top billing. He is so good, so capable of putting on a five-star match against anyone in the WWE locker room. And while that fact is certainly not lost on fans, the truth is that at times, it has taken a backseat to the character that Bryan been portraying since SummerSlam in 2013.
And that must now change. Bryan does not necessarily have to be presented as a dominant force that has no weakness and cannot be stopped, but he does have to be seen as the very skilled, very talented professional wrestler that he truly is.
In other words, it must be clear that Bryan not only deserved the WWE world title win but that he actually did something to get there.
He must now do something to stay there, as well. Being viewed as the lovable underdog is just not the right move for him at this point. He must be seen as the confident champion, the man who overcame the odds because of his talents and impressive abilities in the ring. Daniel Bryan is not the underdog fighting to reach the top.
He is the man at the top. And though he will likely still have to contend with The Authority’s efforts to stop him, the truth is that Bryan’s approach must now be that of the man hungry to defend his championship and prove why he belongs on WWE‘s top tier.
And if that does not happen, the legitimacy of his championship run will almost certainly be called into question. The time has come for Daniel Bryan to look like the strong champion that he is, not the hopeful underdog that cannot catch a break.
It’s Daniel Bryan’s time to shine. And he must do exactly that.