Indeed, the Intercontinental Championship is synonymous with superstars like Ricky Steamboat, Mr. Perfect, the British Bulldog and Owen Hart. It belonged to the work horses; athletes who put on a show each and every night. It was the title that truly exemplified what professional wrestling—not sports entertainment—is all about. WWE sorely needs the Intercontinental Championship to once again be seen as a badge of honor—a symbol of the warriors who are indispensable to the long term success of the company. That being said, there is only one man who can be trusted to bring the title back to relevance: Daniel Bryan.
1. Bryan Deserves the Intercontinental Title (and Vice Versa)
Just as everyone is not cut out to be WWE World Heavyweight champion, not all superstars are good enough to be Intercontinental champion. It's reserved for the best in-ring talent the company has to offer. The upcoming ladder match at WrestleMania is full of such competitors, but none more deserving than Daniel Bryan. Sure, Luke Harper, Dolph Ziggler and Dean Ambrose are excellent performers who leave it all on the mat night in and night out. But, Harper and Ziggler have already held the title and Dean Ambrose will soon enough.
Bryan, on the other hand, has never held the Intercontinental Championship and there is no better time than now. Arguably, no one has put in as much work as Bryan over the past two years. Not only has he cultivated the biggest fan following in recent memory, but he continues to perform at a consistently high level, seemingly with no regard for his well being. The man just came back from seemingly career ending neck surgery, yet still throws himself around with reckless abandon. The fans appreciate his spirit of competition, intensity, and passion. He deserves to hold a title that symbolizes the same qualities.
2. Bryan Can Bring Consistency and Relevancy to the Title
Without a doubt, Daniel Bryan would be a highly respectable Intercontinental champion. Equally as important is his ability to become a long reigning champion. It would be a much needed change of pace. Since 2013, the Intercontinental Title has changed hands thirteen times. Of those title runs, most belong to just three superstars: Dolph Ziggler, The Miz and Bad News Barrett. In all, these men have held the title nine times. Add to that, the talent pool of competitors has been slim pickings. The longest running champions of the past two years have been Curtis Axel (155 days) and Big E Langston (167 days).
Indeed, the Intercontinental division is on life support and Daniel Bryan has the remedy to bring it back to vitality. His status in the company would make it hard for WWE's creative team to poorly book him as liberally as it has with other competitors. Fans are already jaded to the amount of losses they have witnessed the Intercontinental champion suffer as of late. Dolph Ziggler's last two title reigns and the current reign of Bad News Barrett have both been riddled with rampant non-title defeats. It's become pathetic. As a result, the title itself loses value. If Bryan is crowned champion, we won't witness this again.
Bryan is (still) so over with the fans, so they will not stand by and watch him lose continuously. If you thought the outrage expressed by the WWE Universe after his elimination from the Royal Rumble in January was something, think about how they would react to him losing to The Miz in a battle royal or to R-Truth on SmackDown. The fans wouldn't have it and for good reason. A champion only loses to worthy competition of equal or greater standing. If Daniel Bryan were Intercontinental champion, it would require he defend it against only the cream of the wrestling crop. And that is exactly what the title needs—robust competition.
3. Bryan's Reign Would Result in Epic Rivalries
Randy Savage versus Ricky Steamboat. Shawn Michaels versus Razor Ramon. Stone Cold versus Owen Hart. These are some of the matches and rivalries that make up the storied history of the Intercontinental Championship. They have almost become wrestling folklore; tales passed down from generation to generation. Younger fans of today never experienced an intercontinental title competition of such proportions. It's time that they are awarded memories similar to those which we hold so dear. Daniel Bryan is just the man to deliver such iconic moments.
Imagine Daniel Bryan versus Dolph Ziggler in a 2-out-of-3-falls match or a match against Dean Ambrose in a falls count anywhere bout. The possibilities are endless. Luke Harper, Cesaro, and even Bray Wyatt would all pose as credible threats to Bryan's reign. Bryan has faced these men before in great matches. The difference would be that now, fans would be able to see these great wrestlers fiercely compete for the opportunity to become Intercontinental champion. The upcoming ladder match at WrestleMania will serve as the beginning of a new era. The rivalries will naturally form and progress, but it will only happen if Bryan grabs the prize.
4. Bryan is Best for Business
With Bryan as Intercontinental champion, WWE will experience a wrestling rebirth. His work ethic will be infectious and force competitors to bring their "A game". Superstars will have to prove they belong in the same category as the numerous legends who made the Intercontinental Championship the second biggest prize in the company. New and lower tier talent would have someone who they can emulate and learn what it truly means to be a professional wrestler.
This would only strengthen the overall roster and WWE product. WWE would be able to find their next stars from within, rather than often leaning on part-timers like Brock Lesnar or pushing Superstars who have yet to prove themselves, like Roman Reigns. The road to becoming World Heavyweight champion will be an organic process. The front office and fans alike will be able to watch talent evolve the proper way—through performance, grit, and an unbelievable amount of dedication. That's why fans wanted to see Bryan win the Heavyweight title so badly.
Bryan could have turned bitter after his short stint as WWE World Heavyweight champion. He could have raged against the WWE machine for pushing Roman Reigns ahead of him. Instead, he accepted his role and helped elevate Roman Reigns' stock. Bryant was excellent in validating Reign's place as the next top guy. His promos helped calm the anger fans had toward Reigns. Their work together and against each other in the ring helped Reigns come across as a top performer.
Bryan can do the same for a lot of the guys on the main roster. He is currently the heart and soul of the WWE; a ring general. And if given the responsibility and opportunity, Daniel Bryan can bring prosperity, not just to the Intercontinental Title, but to WWE as a whole.
What do you think? Should Daniel Bryan win the Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania? Can he bring the title to the forefront of the company again? Please leave your comments below.