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By Dave Scherer on 2015-01-26 14:56:21

It would be an understatement to say that the last 14 hours or so haven’t been a great period in the history of WWE.

Right around 9:30 ET, the company had just delivered one of the great WWE Title matches in company history.  After a decent first hour of The Royal Rumble PPV, the Title match elevated the show to a point where a basic, solid, well-booked Rumble match would get WrestleMania season off to a great start for WWE by delivering an excellent, well received PPV.

And then, it all went wrong.

The main problem, which was clearly audible during the show, was that Vince McMahon just didn’t know the pulse of the room he was playing last night and it led to, for the second year in a row, the fans absolutely hating his choice of the man that would get the coveted WWE Title shot at WrestleMania.  The difference this year is that the guy that was picked wasn’t a part timer who was coming back and vaulting to the top.  He was a full-timer that deserved a chance to show what he could show what he could do at the top of the card.

Now, I am sure people in Vince’s bubble (or those that don’t want to feel his wrath) will say, “That’s just the Philly crowd, they are always like that”. And in the past, it may have been a valid assertion. But not anymore.

To cling to that notion ignores what happened last year in Pittsburgh, when a much WWE-friendlier crowd did the same exact thing for the same exact reason.  More importantly, it would ignore the very real fact that not only is #CancelWWENetwork still trending on Twitter more than 14 hours after it started, but so many people actually made the decision to cut their ties with WWE’s Network that it shut down the web page where people go to do so.

This is not a case of one crowd ruining a show or not appreciating what Vince gave them.  It’s a case of hubris and Vince McMahon putting a guy who should have received a much better chance at success in a position where Vince himself knew it would be hard, if not impossible, to succeed.

Roman Reigns deserved better last night.  What happened to him, with the fans booing him out of the building, was not his fault.  He has done all he can to improve and ascend to the top of the card.  He is new blood, which many (including myself) have been demanding for years now, that was being moved to the top of the card.  He should have been given every possible chance to make the jump to the next level and instead Vince McMahon threw a huge roadblock in his path. What makes it so much worse is that he knew he was doing so.

When talking about the room, anyone who has been around the business for any length of time knows that the Philly crowd is discerning, to say the least.  They vocally prefer the more physical, intense and more workrate-oriented wrestlers.  It’s common knowledge.  Vince decided to go with Roman Reigns as the Rumble winner, and despite the preferences of the crowd, it still could have worked, at least to a degree. 

But instead, he announced a few weeks ago that Daniel Bryan would be in the Rumble, and that was his fatal mistake.  And it’s not from just a smart fan perspective either.  Sure, we hardcore fans love Bryan and appreciate his amazing talent, but let’s look at the situation from the casual fan point of view.

Starting in the Summer of 2013, Bryan has been screwed over repeatedly by The Authority.  He would briefly reach the mountain top, only to be pushed off by their heel tactics.  In the mind of the average wrestling fan, that only happens because in the end the guy getting screwed will eventually will triumph.  That is how wrestling storylines have always worked.

The only problem here is that wasn’t Vince McMahon’s actual plan.  When he had HHH call Bryan a B+ player, that is because Vince saw Bryan that way.  Vince was just going to screw Bryan in the storylines and then push him down the card.  It was so bad that Bryan was slated to wrestle fifth or sixth from the top against Sheamus at least year’s WrestleMania until the fans said, loudly, “ENOUGH!”  They hijacked shows until Vince had no choice but to change his plans and Bryan won the WWE Title, giving the company one of its great WrestleMania moments, and it wasn’t even one that Vince had planned.  The fans, following what is supposed to happen in pro wrestling storylines, made it happen.

After he won the Title, in what seemed like an effort to kill his momentum, Bryan was booked in a lame feud with Kane.  Then Bryan got hurt (in hindsight before any real damage was done to his character and standing in the eyes of the fans) and the company stripped him of his Title since he couldn’t defend it in 30 days (and keep in mind a heel champion since then has gone far longer than that without a defense). 

So again, to the common man, if Bryan can come back, he is still the champion in their eyes. He was screwed out of the Title so he should win it back since that is the way that the business is supposed to work.  No matter where they ran the Rumble last night, there would have been a lot of resentment at having Bryan eliminated so early (not to mention nonchalantly).  It was not just a Philly thing.

Clearly, the mistake Vince made, if his plan was to go with Roman Reigns and his mind wasn’t going to be changed, was bringing Bryan back for the Rumble in the first place.  He should have been kept out, like Sheamus and Randy Orton were.  If Bryan came back to Raw with his big announcement of his return to the ring in two weeks on Raw, it would have been met with excitement and it would have been “too late” for him to get into the Title picture.  The fans would have accepted that, especially if Bryan said he wanted the winner after Mania.

Instead, Vince McMahon, in an act that reeks of hubris, brought Bryan back early and thought all he had to do to get you marks to forget about him was have The Rock appear and endorse his blood.  Instead, for the first time in forever, The Rock got booed. 

Again, that is why you need to know the pulse of the room.

So now a guy who deserves a real chance to get over, Roman Reigns, has been placed in a much harder position to do so.  A guy who should have gotten the chance at the top that he earned in the first place, Daniel Bryan, will be there to make that much harder for Reigns.  That isn’t fun for Bryan either, believe me.

Two good guys who deserved better are now in bad positions due to the lack of planning of the boss.  Two guys that have done all they can to grab “the brass ring” have had it stolen from them by Vince.  One would think Vince McMahon would have learned from his mistakes of last year.  Instead, he has repeated them.  Why?  One word.


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