WWE finally did what was "best for business" Monday night.
The Universe has spoken.
Triple H announced - to the delight of thousands of fans on hand for Raw in Memphis and millions more watching on live TV - that Daniel Bryan would get at least a chance at a world title shot in the main event of Wrestlemania.
Surprisingly, that wasn't even close to the plans WWE had for the "King of Beards" a mere month ago, when the underrated star was penciled in for a much less attractive matchup with Sheamus.
Bryan fans will now most likely get two for the price of one - DB going up against Triple H, the leader of the much-despised "Authority" group, and later joining WWE champion Randy Orton and challenger Batista in a three-way match for the crown.
That is, of course, if Bryan gets past Triple H first.
And maybe that's not a foregone conclusion, but unless WWE wants a riot on its hands in New Orleans on April 6, it's the only logical scenario.
A lot of pieces had to come together to arrive at this point, not the least of which was the sudden departure of C.M. Punk, who initially had been scheduled to go up against Triple H in a featured bout at Wrestlemania.
A role that had once been pitched to "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, who summarily rejected it, apparently didn't go over well with Punk, either. The former WWE champ left several months before his contract was up, leaving the company in a bind to fill the spot.
But with Punk bolting the company, coupled with the increasing support for Bryan, there really was no other alternative than for WWE to elevate Bryan in the pecking order.
That's what the WWE Universe wanted all along.
Even Punk had seen the writing on the wall.
"I think this has been Daniel Bryan's year," Punk said just days before leaving the company. "I've sort of been in the position where I thought it was my year, and I watched other people get other opportunities and stuff like that. No slight on Dave (Batista), like I said, he's a friend of mine. I just wish I could see Daniel Bryan main-event a Wrestlemania."
It looks like Punk just might get his wish.
The impressive visual of hundreds of fans (albeit planted) celebrating with Bryan on Monday night at Raw was WWE's way of acknow-ledging those devout followers who have been clamoring for months to see Bryan in that position.
And not a minute too soon.
WWE should have known that putting Batista in the world title match with Orton would create a major backlash among the ever-growing legion of Bryan fans. That backlash apparently was greater than even WWE anticipated.
With the recent launch of the WWE Network, one of the organization's biggest undertakings ever, now wasn't the time to create hard feelings between the company and its fans.
The likely insertion of Bryan into the main event at Wrestlemania also gives a much bigger rub to the match. On paper, the Orton-Batista bout lacked any real substance, other than pitting two former members of Evolution against one another. And with the fans turning on Batista, a matchup of two heels would have made for a confusing and likely unsatisfying finale to WWE's biggest event of the year.
Now Daniel Bryan, the unlikely hero of the masses, finally gets his chance to step into pro wrestling's biggest spotlight and assume the greatest role of his career - an opportunity at WWE immortality, with 70 thousand fans cheering "Yes!" as the show fades to black.
And WWE puts itself in the position of creating a Wrestlemania moment the company - and its fans - can remember for a long, long time.
Sting vs. Taker
One of the few legitimate dream matches left on many wrestling fans' bucket list involves Sting and The Undertaker.
A match between the two superstars is rumored and speculated upon each Wrestlemania season.
With this year's opponent (Brock Lesnar) already penciled in for The Undertaker, could there possibly be one more chance for that dream matchup to occur?
Sting (Steve Borden), hinting that he already has signed with WWE, announced during a Q&A session Friday in London that he's very interested in making that match a reality.
"I don't know. I really don't know. I can say that I would love for that to happen," Sting said when asked about the possibility of a match next year at Wrestlemania 31.
"I can tell you that, really, there's only one more match that I would like to have," he said. "Yes, Undertaker."
The one thing, however, that could put a kink in those plans would be Father Time. Sting would be 56 and The Undertaker (Mark Calaway) 50 going into that bout.
At the very least, though, look for a Sting induction into the WWE Hall of Fame next year (forget about the fact that he never had a match in that company).
Former WWE diva Stacy Keibler, who got married two weeks ago in an intimate beach ceremony in Mexico, reportedly is pregnant.
The New York Post reported that Keibler and husband Jared Pobre are expecting their first child.
Keiber married tech entrepreneur Jared Pobre after just eight months together and less than a year from her split with actor George Clooney.
Keibler, 34, and Pobre, 39, have been friends for five years but didn't start dating until this past fall.
The wedding came as a surprise to many, and not even Keibler and Pobre's families knew what was happening. They joined the couple for what they thought would be a big vacation. "Everyone was screaming and hugging and over the moon," Keibler told People magazine. "We felt we wanted to put our money, energy and time into our intimate family and (share) this really special bond, special moment and special memory just with them. There's just so much love."
Keibler has not commented on the pregnancy rumors.
Brie Bella announced in an interview with E! that her wedding to Daniel Bryan will take place on April 11 - the Friday after Wrestlemania.
"He was in charge of picking out our wedding invitations, which are made out of wood," said Brie. "He's also going to pick out all of our desserts and our cake. He gets to make the ultimate decision because he has such a sweet tooth."
The wedding is expected to be filmed for the second season of their reality show "Total Divas."
Reach Mike Mooneyham at 843-937-5517 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter @ByMike Mooneyham and on Facebook at Facebook.com/MikeMooneyham.
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