WWE Royal Rumble: WWE Championship - AJ Styles (c) VS Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn
In the closing moments of last night's episode of SmackDown Live, Daniel Bryan, after Styles frustratingly said that they might as well put him in a handicap match at the Royal Rumble, did indeed make a handicap match. As a result, AJ Styles defends the WWE Championship against Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn.
Now, this was the most overtly heel action we've seen Daniel Bryan take, though I'm sure his explanation will be that he's doing it all for the WWE Universe. If the plan is to turn Bryan heel, then it just seems backwards because fans love to cheer for Bryan and Shane more easily fits into the mold of a heel. As a McMahon, Shane spent most of his time in WWE as a heel and while it's a novel idea for Bryan and Shane to be cast in opposite roles, it just doesn't really work all that well for me.
In the coming weeks, don't be at all surprised to see them go the route of having dual referees in the same sense that we saw at Clash of Champions. Unfortunately, this shows an aspect of Vince's creative vision that LOTS of fans are sick and tired of: making non-wrestlers the focus of the top storylines. I'm a big fan of Daniel Bryan, always have been, but if WWE's not going to let him wrestle, then both he and Shane need to be kept as characters we only see for a few minutes each week.
There's little chance Styles drops the title here but the story isn't on the WWE Championship, which is where it should be. Instead, it's on a part time wrestler who hasn't won a match in years and a former wrestler who's dying to wrestle but the company won't clear him.
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I, Who Was Born In A Naked Land And Bred In The Open Sky.
The Subtle Tongue, The Sophist Guile, They Fail When The Broadswords Sing.
Rush In And Die Dogs - I Was A Man Before I Was King."
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