3. How Mark Henry Being Banged Up Resulted In Daniel Bryan Getting His Break In WWE
Former WWE Creative Team member Kevin Eck recently wrote down an article on Sporting News and revealed the backstage stories regarding the Money In The Bank winners over the years. One of these stories were how Mark Henry being banged up resulted in Daniel Bryan finally getting his break in WWE. Below is the story described by Kevin on Sporting News:
“I started working for WWE at the end of August 2011, six weeks after Bryan won the “SmackDown” MITB ladder match. Bryan’s victory was surprising at the time because he wasn’t getting much of a push beforehand. He wasn’t getting much of one after winning the blue briefcase, either. In fact, I was informed by some of my colleagues that Vince McMahon was having buyer’s remorse about making Bryan “SmackDown’s” Mr. Money in the Bank. The question was no longer when Bryan would cash in and win the title, it was whether he should be the first MITB winner to cash in and fail.
Since attaining the briefcase, Bryan lost “SmackDown” matches to Sin Cara, Cody Rhodes and Wade Barrett. Some weeks he wasn’t even on “SmackDown,” as he was relegated to performing on “Superstars” against Heath Slater, Trent Barreta and William Regal. After winning the MITB ladder match in July, Bryan lost to Barrett at the following month’s pay-per-view, SummerSlam. Then he worked the dark match on three consecutive pay-per-views against Slater, JTG and Barrett before being left off Survivor Series altogether.
I didn’t know whether Bryan would ever be World Champion, but I figured it could only help his cause if he had a story line, even a minor one. I pitched putting Bryan and another nerdy, undersized underdog — AJ Lee — together as a couple. Head writer Brian Gewirtz liked the idea, and we started writing some backstage segments with Bryan and AJ into the show.
By the way, when I pulled Bryan and AJ aside at TV and told them they were about to become an on-screen couple, AJ was thrilled to be getting any opportunity, but Bryan was something less than thrilled. He said the last time he was involved in a romantic story line (with Gail Kim and The Bella Twins), it did him more harm than good. Despite his misgivings, however, Bryan was a total pro.
Just as this nice, little undercard story line was getting underway, there was a major development regarding the World Heavyweight title program between then-champion Henry and Big Show. Henry was banged up and potentially was going to need some time off, so McMahon made the call to have him drop the title at the TLC pay-per-view, where he was booked to defend against Big Show. The logical solution was simply to have Big Show defeat Henry for the title, but one of the writers suggested in a booking meeting that after Big Show wins, Henry lays him out after the match, and that brings Bryan out to cash in the MITB contract and win the title from Big Show.
McMahon looked up at the ceiling for several seconds as he often did when the wheels in his head were turning. I was surprised he was even considering it, but I was absolutely stunned when he said he liked the idea. Not only did he like it, but he already knew where he wanted to go with the story line. McMahon said that after Bryan wins the title, success will go to his head and he’ll gradually turn heel.”