Daniel Bryan stripped of WWE Championship
One of the enduring images from WrestleMania 30 is that of Daniel Bryan closing out the show with 70,000 plus fans screaming yes in unison. His dream of headlining the biggest show of the year and walking out as champion had been realized.
Bryan was officially stripped of the championship due to complications from recent neck surgery. The announcement was made at the start of Monday Night Raw by Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. To give it further credibility, they played a video clip Bryan’s surgeon Dr. Joseph Maroon discussing the severity of his injury. As a result, the WWE Championship will be up for grabs in the annual Money in the Bank ladder match. The participants include Cesaro, Randy Orton, Sheamus, John Cena, Bray Wyatt, and Alberto Del Rio. There will also be a second ladder match for the traditional MITB briefcase that can be cashed in for a title shot at any time over the next year.
Last week I wrote about how I wished Bryan would not cave into the pressure of making a premature comeback. Thankfully, it looks like he will get the proper time to heal. While his being stripped of the championship does mark an unsatisfying conclusion to his Cinderella story, it’s best for everyone that Bryan returns when he is 100% healthy.
Even without the championship, he should continue to be a hot commodity upon his return. Bryan is naturally better at playing the underdog role and I’m positive that he will be chasing championship gold again in the very near future. They can even do a deal where Bryan considers himself the uncrowned champion since he never lost his title inside the ring.
Best wishes to Bryan on a speedy recovery.
WWE Fires 11 Performers
WWE made waves on yesterday when they came to terms with the release of 11 performers. With the company projecting close to $52 million in losses for the upcoming year, the decision was a pure cost-cutting measure. The following employees saw their WWE careers dashed:
Marc Harris (referee)
While it’s not unusual for WWE to purge its roster every so often, I was stunned by the sheer volume of casualties. I don’t have any specific figures in front of me, but I can never recall this many people being let go in one fell swoop.
These cuts should come as a warning sign to anyone on the low end of the totem pole of the main roster and in developmental. With the company incurring so many financial losses from the WWE Network (which did not meet its initial projections), it is a high likelihood that there will be more cuts to come.
Drew McIntyre’s career is the perfect case study of an individual who was given far too much too soon, yet ended up developing into an overall good performer. Unfortunately, by that point he had established himself a glorified jobber. He had been a member of the 3MB stable with the recently released Jinder Mahal and Heath Slater (who must be terrified right about now). While nothing more than a prelim act, the trio was very entertaining in their role.
Brodus Clay was doomed from the moment WWE decided to cast him as a lovable, dancing goof instead of a killer monster. He later formed a tag team with the returning Lord Tensai, who eventually became known as Sweet T. Clay had a brief program this year with Adrian Neville on NXT. Few may remember, but Clay was used as backup for Alberto Del Rio during his 2011 feud with Edge.
Evan Bourne had essentially been on the roster for the last 2 ½ years without wrestling a single match. It must’ve been nice to earn a nice paycheck without doing any work. Not until reading an article on yesterday did I realize he competed at an NXT show last year. I’m sure his services will be in high demand in Ring of Honor or on the indie scene.
I sincerely wish each of the 11 names the best in their professional endeavors. Now for the biggest question of the week, how is Rosa Mendez still employed?