No Chance – Daniel Bryan Cashes in…Four Months Early.

Hey everyone, it’s time once again for the No Chance column. For those of you who didn’t notice last week, this column has switched places with The Rager by Mr. Chris Sanders, and from now on will be appearing on Mondays instead of its previous slot on Wednesday. For you guys, that doesn’t really mean much of a change. Hopefully you are frequenting the site and read many, many of the fine columns offered here, and the switch means that you will just be reading No Chance on a different day from now on. But behind the scenes, the time slot switch means that some content changes will have to happen. See a column that goes up on Wednesday, is usually written on the Tuesday before. A new episode of Raw has just happened the night before, and if it’s a PPV week, then you get one of those the night before that. So there’s a lot to talk about on Tuesday. A column that goes up on Monday however, is a different story. By Monday, you’ve read information and commentary about Raw all week. Anything I might have to say about that episode has more than likely been said by someone else on this very site already in a different column. So unless something monumental happens on Raw that I have no choice to talk about, there’s not going to be too much for me to add, a week after the show airs. This causes me to turn to wrestling shows, later in the week, like Smackdown, to see if there are events that need to be talked about. Fortunately this week, Smackdown featured quite an event worth discussing.

Since having won the Money in the Bank briefcase back in July, Daniel Bryan has been saying that he was going to cash the contract in at WrestleMania against whoever was the champion at that point. Only this week, we get what seems to be a change of heart from the guy since he ran down to the ring at the top of the show to cash in and defeat and injured, unconscious Mark Henry.

Of course, it turns out that because Mark Henry wasn’t cleared to compete, the match never officially took place and therefore Mark Henry was still champion and Daniel Bryan still had the briefcase. But that’s not the real story here. WWE has long since changed, made up, or ignored previously established rules to further storyline and disregarding the “anytime, anywhere” aspect of the MiTB contract is just the latest example. The far more interesting part of the events is that Daniel Bryan seems to have completely changed his mind on how he was going to obtain the title. His plan of waiting till WrestleMania and challenging the current titleholder seems to have gone out the window. Instead he’s cashing in on a random weekly episode and not even in a fair fight. What happened to all of the high and mighty talk that Bryan has been spouting for the past several months? Remember that great promo about beards that Daniel Bryan gave on the Internet a little while ago? Well for those who don’t remember, that promo started out with Bryan saying that anyone who cashed in the briefcase on a weakened champion wasn’t a real champion, as they hadn’t rightfully earned the title. That was less than two months ago. So what changed? What was the cause for this dramatic character change? Surly this was something that we all want to know. Clearly the very next segment of the show will be someone with a mic chasing down Bryan trying to find out what his thoughts were. Oh wait no it wasn’t discussed at all. We even get a segment where Daniel Bryan talks to AJ and Bryan’s change of character is never brought up.

It’s not that I wanted Daniel Bryan to wait until WrestleMania. Part of the appeal of a MiTB winner was that their title reign would begin unexpectedly at could happen at any moment ruining any armchair booking you had been doing at the time. The fact that since its creation, only one holder of the briefcase has broadcast his intentions to cash in ahead of time makes the surprise attack on a weakened champion the expectation, not the exception. So there’s no real shame or undermining of character to have them launch a surprise attack. The fact that Bryan was at one point promising to wait to cash in could be turned into a nice little “power corrupts” storyline for the character. Float the idea that Bryan caved into to the desire to be champion and that caused him to do the same low down thing he has been criticizing for the past several months. You could even give the guy some kind of personal quest for redemption in his own eyes as he tries to justify his new championship. In many ways this unexpected cash in could lead to a whole slew of new and interesting storylines, and in the end, isn’t that what the MiTB contract is supposed to do?

At the time that he first started talking about it, Cena was still saying that he was going to have the WWE championship at WrestleMania so that his match against the Rock could be a title match. (Another proclamation that I guess is never getting mentioned again) So there we were, nine months away from WrestleMania, with both title matches already scheduled. Makes you wonder what the winner of the Royal Rumble was going to get. So I’m pleased that creative seems to have written themselves out of that particular corner We haven’t heard about Cena vs. The Rock being a title match for a while now. And at this point nobody is expecting Daniel Bryan to hold off until WrestleMania. The guy is in a full-fledged feud with Mark Henry now. And since Henry has pretty much gone through all the other top faces on Smackdown, his feud with Daniel Bryan needs to go on for a while.

Fortunately, Daniel Bryan’s new “hypocrite” status as Michael Cole calls it, is not being completely ignored by WWE. Yes, they didn’t bring it up on the show (except for Cole’s screaming while he was holding the belt, but who listens to that anyway) but they did throw up a video on the website where Bryan gives a simple explanation of right now he just wants Mark Henry to lose the title more than he wants a match at WrestleMania. So it’s not a grand tale of corruption and redemption like the one I pitched a few paragraphs back, but at least the whole thing isn’t being swept under the massive rug of abandoned storylines that WWE has. There probably isn’t any room left under there anyway.

Unrelated thought: Boy do I feel sheepish. A few weeks ago I complained that we never got matches of any real quality on the weekly TV shows, saying that they were all more or less forgettable. Well on the very next episode of Raw, CM Punk and Dolph Ziggler really proved me wrong by having what was most likely the free match of the year. I guess the lesson we should all take from this is “complain enough and maybe someone will actually do something about it.” On that note, WWE, Thanks for the great match guys, and who else really doesn’t care for the way the commentators never seem to acknowledge there is a match going on and instead just insult each other the whole time?

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