Interested to know your thoughts on how you think WWE could have sustained the momentum they had coming out of Wrestlemania 30 (Daniel Bryan's subsequent injury notwithstanding).
I'm not sure what others think, but the period from December 2013 (specifically the Raw where the crowd hijacked the WWE title ascension ceremony) to Wrestlemania 30 was one of the most enjoyable I've seen as a fan. It was the only time since 2001 that I watched Raw every week without fail. Until Elimination Chamber, this was mostly due to the performances by Daniel Bryan and the crowd reactions – it was incredible to see fans outright reject what WWE was trying to sell. But after EC, the booking of the main event was WWE at its best and, in my opinion, on par with the rise of Austin in late 1997/early 1998. The build-up to Bryan-HHH was perfect and WM30 ended up being one of my all-time favourite PPVs. It might not have been the best in terms of match quality (I guess others like Summerslam 2002 and WM21 were better) but in terms of being emotionally invested in the main storylines, nothing else since WM17 touched it.
After Wrestlemania, I initially thought I'd end up switching off WWE again because most of the fun in the previous 5-6 months was seeing the crowd revolt and forcing WWE to change its plans. What was left to do now that Bryan was the champion? But watching the following Raw maintained my interest for another month, mostly because I'd become a fan of the Shield and the Wyatts. But I ended up losing interest after Extreme Rules because the storylines (including Cena-Wyatt and Shield-Evolution) just fell flat.
So my question is, given fans got their ultimate payoff at WM30, do you think it was pretty much impossible for WWE to follow it up with a storyline that was as compelling as the one going in? Was there (or is there) a story for Bryan that can allow him to maintain his popularity? A Lesnar feud is the obvious one but that's not realistic unless Brock is willing to work more dates. Would Cena-Bryan be best? Or can this new spin on the Authority feud (involving Stephanie and Brie) work?
I think I speak for most of the disenfranchised fans who were rebelling against the Orton/Cena push when I say that I didn't want to see any more of Bryan getting screwed over or held down or fighting the Authority. We wanted to see him taking on all comers in great matches as a fighting champion, like Bret Hart did 20 years before him in a similar situation, while John Cena did the storytelling bullshit underneath. Like really, would it have killed them to book something like Bryan v. Cesaro for a show or the oft-cited Bryan v. Sheamus "revenge for 18 seconds" feud for a couple of shows? You're already running Evolution v. Shield on top and Cena v. Wyatt, and that's more than enough to carry a free PPV on the Network. Have Bryan throw down the gauntlet and some of the NXT guys can come out to challenge and try to make a name for themselves. Or a ZAYN for themselves, knowwhatimean? Shit, that's exactly what they're doing with Adrian Neville, so I KNOW they know how to do this sort of thing.