by Billy Carpenter (@4CR_Billy)
WrestleMania 30 could very well be the crowning, shining moment in the career of Daniel Bryan. Since entering WWE back in 2010 as part of the inaugural NXT series, he’s built himself into the most over wrestler on the planet. Hard work, perseverance and a desire to be the man in the WWE have brought him to destiny’s doorstep. While we are pulling for him and expect Daniel to leave New Orleans with the WWE World Heavyweight championship, I found myself wondering if there was anything working against him. More specifically, how does his chances of fulfilling his dream measure up from a mathematical standpoint? Curiosity got the best of me and I decided to break down a few factors to see what the best way to get Daniel Bryan to the title would be. His record against his opponents at ‘Mania, how he’s fared in triple threat matches and his record in WWE & World title matches were all dissected and analyzed. For the purpose of this, I only used data from televised matches (RAW, SD!, PPv, etc.) since for most fans if it didn’t happen on TV, then it didn’t happen. So, what’s the best possible scenario for Daniel Bryan to strike gold at WrestleMania?
Let’s take a look at Daniel Bryan by the numbers:
Record against Batista
His first encounter with ‘The Animal’ did not go his way, losing to Batista in a ‘Beat the Clock’ match way back in May of 2010 on RAW. It wouldn’t be until the March 3rd, 2014 edition of RAW that they’d lock horns again. The second encounter saw Bryan pick up the win by DQ. Their all-time series is currently tied at 1-1.
Record against Randy Orton
Out of all of his opponents at WM 30, this is who he has the most history with. Bryan and the ‘Viper’ first locked horns during Daniel’s World title run in early 2012. On a February 2012 episode of SD!, Bryan picked up the victory in their first tangle by DQ. They would meet again 3 weeks later, also on SD!, where Daniel Bryan picked up his 2nd victory over Randy Orton—this time by count out. It would be almost 6 full months later before they crossed paths again. On this occasion though, it would be Randy Orton that came out on top as he would defeat Bryan on the go-home edition of SmackDown heading into the 2012 SummerSlam PPV. Orton & Bryan would revisit their rivalry with a series of matches that covered 2 weeks of TV in late-June 2013. Daniel would best Orton in this mini-series, coming out with a record of 2-1-1. Following SummerSlam, where Orton cashed in his MITB briefcase on our hero (4-3-1), the two would embark on a WWE title feud that would last through the first part of the fall. Over the course of the next 3 PPV’s—Night of Champions, Battleground & Hell in a Cell—they would trade wins with a no-contest sandwiched in the middle. The December 6th episode of SD! would see Randy defeat Daniel in a non-title match and tying their all-time series at 5-5-2. Almost 2 full months would pass before they wrestled against one another on TV again, with Bryan defeating the now unified WWE World Heavyweight champion on the February 3rd episode of RAW. March 17th of this year is currently the last time these two have met 1-on-1, with Daniel Bryan winning a No DQ match and bringing the all-time series to 7-5-2 in favor of Daniel Bryan.
Record against Triple H
These 2 have yet to meet in any official match during Daniel Bryan’s WWE career. This is the true wild card for Daniel, as he must first overcome Hunter just to make it to the WWE World Heavyweight title match. Even if he loses the singles match, who’s to say that HHH doesn’t just insert himself in the title match too? Needless to say at this point, but for numbers sake the series is tied 0-0.
Record in Triple Threat matches
Daniel would lose his 1st Triple Threat match in the company, albeit a 3-way tag encounter teaming with Kaval against The Miz & Alex Riley and Michael McGillicutty & Kofi Kingston back in August 2010 on RAW. For this experiment however, we’ll discard it since it wasn’t a singles affair. He came out on the winning end in his first singles outing in such a match environment however, defeating The Miz & John Morrison at the Hell in a Cell PPV to retain his US title. He wouldn’t have another televised triple threat until the 2012 Royal Rumble, where he once again retained a title—the World Heavyweight title. A few months later, Bryan would be involved in his next televised triple threat match. In the midst of a feud with WWE champ CM Punk and a most interesting storyline with AJ Lee, Bryan would be joined by Kane in the title picture and found himself coming up short at No Way Out 2012. He would however, win a three way elimination match against Punk & Kane 8 days later on RAW. Should we count it towards his total? Sure, why not. So that means heading into Sunday, his all-time record in triple threat/3 way matches on TV/PPV is 3-1.
Record in WWE or World Title matches
His first two shots at the World title came against Mark Henry, where he went 1-1. He won the first by count out and dropped the second match inside a steel cage. He would follow this up by cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase on the new champion Big Show at the 2011 TLC event. Bryan was successful in his next 2 title defenses against Show, winning one by DQ and then following that up with a win in a No DQ match on back to back episodes of SmackDown! to kick off 2012. He would battle Mark Henry to a no contest bringing his record in World title matches to 4-1-1 before retaining against both Show & Henry in the aforementioned triple threat match at the Royal Rumble. His next televised title defense came at the 2012 Elimination Chamber PPV, where he was able to retain and head into WrestleMania as champion. Ah yes, WrestleMania 28, where yours truly got to witness live & in person the ’18 second’ debacle. Although it worked out after all was said and done, it did add another blemish to Daniel’s title win/loss record. Things didn’t quite work out for him in his next title match either, an excellent 2 out of 3 falls rematch with Sheamus at Extreme Rules, bringing him to 6-3-1 all time. Bryan would switch his focus to CM Punk & the WWE title at Over the Limit the following month, coming up short in his first attempt to win that title. A storyline with AJ brought Kane into the mix and at No Way Out in June ’12 Punk would retain in a triple threat match against he & Bryan to end Bryan to 6-5-1 in title matches. Continuing to keep the pressure on Punk, Daniel challenged him one more time at the Money in the Bank PPV, coming out on the losing end once again. After feuding with Kane one-on-one he would find himself actually teaming with him and as a part of Team Hell No, Bryan was out of the WWE & World title pictures for almost a full calendar year. However, wanting to prove that he wasn’t the ‘weak link’ of the team after they dropped the belts, he became refocused & reenergized as a singles competitor. During the spring & summer of 2013, Bryan caught fire and was selected by John Cena to be his opponent at the SummerSlam PPV for the WWE title. Daniel, as we all know by now, defeated Cena to win that belt although he’d drop it moments later to his old rival Randy Orton. The SummerSlam angle would bring Bryan to an all-time record of 7-7-1 in title matches as he entered the fall. His next title opportunity would come just about a month later, where he regained the WWE title at the Night of Champions PPV. After being stripped by Triple H the following night on RAW, he & Orton battled again at Battleground where there was no decision following interference by the Big Show. The score was settled (for now) at the Hell in a Cell PPV, where Shawn Michaels helped Randy Orton win the WWE title and bringing Bryan’s televised title match record to 8-8-2. After a feud with Bray Wyatt that saw Bryan come out of it more popular than ever, he once again found himself heading back towards the title scene. His next title shot would come almost 4 months after his last one, as he competed in the Elimination Chamber match for the WWE title. Randy Orton was able to retain however, outlasting Bryan and 4 others. This is, as of this writing, his last shot at the title and this brings his total record in WWE/World title matches to 8-9-2 all-time.
Now, with all of those factors determined, let’s look at some percentages:
*Daniel Bryan has a record of 50% against Batista.
*His record against current champion Randy Orton is also 50%, although he does have more wins in the series overall.
*There is no data to determine how he’ll fare against Triple H. Like I said, this is the true wild card from a mathematic standpoint.
*Bryan has fared extremely well in his televised triple threat matches, winning 75% of those in his WWE career.
*His win percentage in title matches leaves a little to be desired though. Out of the 19 times he has been in a televised title match, he’s been the victor only about 42% of the time.
So looking at the numbers, it seems fairly simple. He’s done extremely well in the triple threat scenario and of the men involved, he has the most wins against Randy Orton. His best chance is to attack Randy and go for the pin or submission on him, right? Well, maybe not. In title matches involving the current champ, Bryan’s record is only 1-3-1. Ouch. Maybe his best bet is in fact against Batista, where he’s won 50% of the matches even though none of them have had title implications. But then again, that means Batista has also beaten him 50% of the time too. So what exactly do all these numbers mean for Daniel Bryan’s chances to walk out of WrestleMania with the title?
Nothing. I know, I know—kind of a cop out after doing all of this percentage stuff. The fact is, while the numbers don’t lie they also aren’t the only determining factor in all of this. We haven’t had a superstar with this level of organic support from WWE fans since the rise of Stone Cold Steve Austin. We’re in the midst of something truly amazing that will (potentially) give us the ‘WrestleMania Moment’ that we’ve all been clamoring for. The grand coronation of this generation’s biggest new star is about to take place on the ‘Showcase of the Immortals’ and all of the numbers, percentages & everything else won’t matter. It’s his time—it’s our time—and now the frenzy of the YES! Movement has brought us to this day—this moment in time. Let’s sit back and enjoy what will be the fruit of our labor & our undying support of one of wrestling’s most gifted and deserving performers—a much deserved chance to bask in the light of his moment on this industry’s biggest stage. To close this out, what do I truly think Bryan’s chances of making history tonight are? 100%.
Yes! Yes! Yes!