Daniel Bryan’s rise to popularity in 2012 and 2013 wasn’t planned by WWE. In fact, they were hoping the constant “Daniel Bryan!” and “YES!” chants would just go away. But they didn’t. They only got louder every time the company decided to beat Bryan.
Unfortunately, when WWE finally attempted to capitalize on Bryan’s popularity, he suffered two career-altering injuries, one of which forced him into retirement at the age of 34.
Now, it’s being reported by Cageside Seats that Vince McMahon is looking to create a new Daniel Bryan-like underdog character. Some predicted that AJ Styles would eventually be the guy to take on that role, but it appears that Vince has the role in mind for former NXT Champion Sami Zayn.
People have been questioning WWE’s booking of Zayn, because the former NXT Champ always seems to come up short in his big matches. But apparently, Vince’s idea is that the constant losses will get the fans behind Zayn like they got behind Daniel Bryan.
“Sami Zayn is reportedly being booked to lose a lot with the theory being it will lead to fans getting behind him more. Vince McMahon and company think because he has a likable personality and is a good worker they can re-create a Daniel Bryan build to get him over”
Zayn will be in this Sunday’s Money in the Bank ladder match, but he likely won’t walk out of the show with the briefcase, as Kevin Owens and Dean Ambrose are the two favorites to win that match.
It makes more sense for a heel to win the briefcase, so Owens will likely be the new Mr. Money in the Bank, which could lead to a WWE World Heavyweight Championship feud between Owens and Zayn at some point if the two men end up on the same brand following next month’s brand extension.
So far, the fans haven’t gotten behind Zayn the way they got behind Bryan. But, even Daniel Bryan’s rise took a couple of years.
Of course, the major difference between Zayn and Bryan is that, as previously mentioned, Bryan’s rise to popularity wasn’t planned, and it actually forced WWE to change their plans for the WrestleMania 30 main-event, which was originally scheduled to be Randy Orton vs. Batista.
There are a ton of similarities between Bryan and Zayn. They both worked their way up through the independent scene, and nobody ever thought either man would ever end up in WWE, much less find success there.
Last year, WWE tried to get the fans to cheer Roman Reigns by booking him like Daniel Bryan, as Reigns ended up getting screwed out of a lot of big matches. The plan worked for one night in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. But, ever since that night, Reigns has been booed for the most part.
The fans probably won’t end up turning on Zayn, no matter what WWE does with him. But, we have seen that fans do lose interest in guys for periods of time if they’re constantly being booked to lose. So, it’ll be interesting to see if the WWE fans do eventually give up on Zayn at some point, or if the constant losses will turn him into a Daniel Bryan-like superstar.
The brand-extension should help Zayn in terms of booking, as WWE will be more willing to take chances with guys due to the lack of depth on each roster. So Zayn may end up being a top guy on either Raw or SmackDown following the split in mid-July.
[Image via WWE]