There are only a few times when it was apparent that the Money in the Bank winner was booked to have no momentum after winning the briefcase. Out of these names, one of them is Daniel Bryan. Gaining a bit of popularity during his time of being a foe of the Nexus stable, Bryan was able to use this momentum to gain some credibility in the company. However, there were times when he would have a roller coaster streak, which hurt his status. Somehow, though, he was chosen to win the Money in the Bank ladder match in 2011, subsequently becoming the No. 1 contender.
Interestingly, before Bryan had an opportunity to win the WWE Championship at WrestleMania XXX in New Orleans, Louisiana, he was feuding against The Authority. During this storyline, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon expressed publicly that Bryan was not good enough to main event the biggest WWE show of the year because he was simply a “B-plus player.”
However, the fans thought otherwise, and he ended up hijacking Raw, defeating Triple H at WrestleMania to make it to the main event, and defeating Randy Orton and Batista to win the titles at the end of the show. This was despite originally being slated to compete against Sheamus once again.
The reality is, Vince McMahon really thought that Bryan was a B-plus player. According to former writer Kevin Eck, via his recent column on Sporting News, Vince had “buyer’s remorse” after Bryan won the briefcase. This was obviously shown throughout Bryan’s WWE win-loss record during this time.
Leading up to the Money in the Bank win, Bryan suffered losses against Ted DiBiase Jr., The Miz, Sheamus, Dolph Ziggler, The Corre (Wade Barrett, Ezekiel Jackson, Heath Slater, Justin Gabriel), Sin Cara, and Cody Rhodes. Although one would think that he would gain better momentum after winning the case, losses against Wade Barrett at SummerSlam, as well as Alberto Del Rio, Christian, Sin Cara, and Mark Henry on Raw and SmackDown would prove otherwise.
These losses were to further prove that Bryan was not capable of winning the world championship, and talks soon were brewing that he would be the first person to lose when cashing in his briefcase.
However, Eck was able to save Bryan, as he pitched the storyline with him and AJ being together.
Bryan perhaps received his biggest break when Mark Henry, who was the World Heavyweight Champion, had to lose the title due to injury. As a result, the plan was for Big Show to defeat Henry at TLC for the title.
Bryan’s name was then pitched again to take it from the Big Show after Henry attacked Show following his celebration. This would then allow Bryan to cash in on the wounded giant, which is what unfolded to the public eye.
Thankfully, this would lead to a decent heel run as champ, which would also result into Bryan defeating Big Show and Henry in a triple threat steel cage match at the 2012 Royal Rumble.
The “Yes!” Movement (and a brief “No!” movement) followed, and the rest is history.
[Featured Image by WWE]