All that being said, it caused my mind to drift to another "Internet Darling" in Chris Benoit. Now I don't make this comparison lightly simply because I have no real interest in ever discussing Benoit for whatever reasons. For the sake of this particular discussion, I am going to ignore my self-imposed "No Benoit Rule."
As for why I would even compare the two, here are the similarities I see:
- Both were wildly popular within the IWC.
- Both were viewed as not getting "their due" as quickly as many believe they should have.
- Both were tremendous in-ring workers who worked a style that endeared them to the IWC.
- Both were at one point or another considered "too small" to succeed in WWE.
- Their title wins were considered huge, landmark "HE MADE IT!" type moments that we enjoyed on a very real level (a more personal level than with other WWE SuperStars.)
The difference in how they were treated after winning the title is pretty clear to me. In Benoit's case he was allowed to soak up the great moment and so were his fans. After that is when the wheel's came off as he was never really treated any differently than he was before the title win. There was no elevation for him, he was the same guy who just happened to have a shiny ornament around his waist.
As for Daniel Bryan, he had his shining moment ripped away from him as did his fans. While I completely understand why his fans have reacted this way I think they are being a bit short-sighted. I am on record stating that the Orton cash-in was a brilliant way to generate heat for Orton and the Corporation 2.0 as well as building sympathy for Daniel Bryan. The bigger issue is that Bryan is most certainly being elevated in this process. Ultimately, we don't know where this is all going, but I will be shocked if he doesn't get his legitimate shining moment at some point down the road.
The point of all this is that I understand the frustration with wrenching Bryan's moment away from him. The follow-up, however, is much better than how another IWC favorite was treated even though he got to keep the belt. I guess it's a case of, "Well it could be worse." That isn't terrible reassuring I suppose, but if you think in terms beyond whether your guy is champ or not it might help you realize that Daniel Bryan is being treated pretty dang well.
For the record, I completely understand that Daniel Bryan had a legitimate World Title run and was screwed out of the WWE Title. I also know that Chris Benoit won the World Title and not the WWE Title. In each case I think Daniel Bryan's WWE Title win and Chris Benoit's World Title win are a fair comparison in spite of Bryan's previous World Title win.