Is it time?
Time to play the game?
Daniel Bryan thinks so. Triple H thinks it is a lost cause. The build for this went from confusingly lackluster into possibly one of the best built feuds for WrestleMania. No one was certain where Bryan would fall in on the Mania card. After all, for months fans were pissed off their chosen champion was constantly given the raw deal, and hell, even WWE trolled the fans on numerous occasions, teasing championship wins, only to have it ripped away. To top that, they brought reality to their fiction with the notions of WWE controlling who they want has champion and how fans just look for the “pick of the week” or “trend of the month” hero to follow.
They even had Wade Barrett troll the live crowd at Elimination Chamber. Should have stuck with that for his gimmick.
The build, while long and complex, can be broken down into a simple equation. Daniel Bryan is the little guy. Triple H is the big corporate villain. He sees Daniel Bryan as a mid-carder for life. The fans see Bryan as the future of the company. Every time Bryan wins, he ultimately losses by having the title stripped or victory denied due to interference.
It is the Austin/McMahon equation. It was Eddie/Benoit/Jericho in WCW. The big guys never saw the talented smaller guys as main event champions. Triple H is now the corporate overlord flexing his power through words by reminding fans how he owns everything. He controls everything. Evidenced by the video montage shown on RAW, the likes of Goldberg, Jeff Hardy, RVD, and others who all attempted to succeed, and maybe did see brief success, but ultimately failed.
This is the real David vs. Goliath. Except David could also represent WWE fans. The evidence was clear, Bryan not appearing in the Royal Rumble ticked everyone off. Bryan losing the WWE Title just moments after winning it at SummerSlam ticked everyone off. Bryan defeating Randy Orton clean, only to be stripped of the strap a night later ticked everyone off. I believe WWE knew what they were doing, and I am sure there were some rewrites along the way. Was it always the plan to insert Bryan into the main event title match at WrestleMania 30? Probably not. Based on the crowd turning on Batista, they realized a WWE World Heavyweight Championship match between Batista and Orton would be despised.
The stipulation is simple. If Bryan defeats Triple H, he goes into the title match. If Triple H wins, then he gets the title match. The past week full of promos have left fans wondering if it possible Triple H would be the one to go ahead into the main event. What is to stop WWE from pulling a double-pin or double-count-out and turn it into a Fatal Four Way main event? Nothing.
It was clear from the start, Randy Orton vs. Batista had a chance to draw. It was only due to the overwhelming popularity of Daniel Bryan which saw the sudden changes in plan. Had Batista found another way into the title picture, would fans not have turned on him? Who knows. The major problem is the notion of Batista being some big-time guy making a huge return to WWE. He was a major star for a while, and it seemed people forgot he only vanished three years ago. That is nothing. Batista is not Brock Lesnar. That would have been a better match anyway. Batista is not The Undertaker. He is not the novelty act to bring back for the big show. He came back as a late entry in the Royal Rumble, and easily won it. The puzzle pieces were not fitting quite right, and it became trying to hammer a square peg into a round hole.
Randy Orton did not help matters either. Coming off as the spoiled brat, ass-kissing champion, I have never felt a world title to be in weaker hands. Except for the Great Khali. There were moments where it seemed Orton was back on track, hell, before he turned heel and won the title he had put on some of the best matches in his career. Once the belt was on him, the whole personality shift just did not work. You cannot have a champion who doubts himself. You cannot have a champion who changes his personality from week-to-week. Wrong gimmick, wrong time.
In the end, it looks like changing the stipulation to make the WWE Championship match saved the main event. To be honest, Triple H in there would not be half bad either. Would certainly throw a monkey wrench into the works and cause the Internet Wrestling Community to collectively spasm from not knowing what to even say on Reddit or Twitter.
I said it before, and I have said it again, this looks like a modern-day version of WrestleMania XX. Ten years ago it was Triple H and Shawn Michaels as the big names, and Chris Benoit in the role Daniel Bryan has today.
Keep in mind one thing. Even if Daniel Bryan wins the match against Triple H, it does not mean he will win the WWE Champion. He should. I do not believe WWE would want to end the 30th anniversary of WrestleMania with an arena full of booing fans. This is the WWE, and anything could happen. Batista may very well walk away with the championship, and so could Randy Orton… and even Triple H.