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Is "Money" costing Daniel Bryan?
Since proclaiming he would cash in his Money in the Bank championship opportunity at WrestleMania XXVIII on April 1, 2012 in Miami, Daniel Bryan's win-loss record hasn’t been the best. Has his mouth written a check that he suddenly finds himself unable to cash? WWE.com explores why Bryan's heroic declaration of dedication might be becoming his own worst enemy.
As an honorable Superstar who never wanted to capture a World Title unless he had fully earned it, Bryan took the road less traveled on the July 22 edition of SmackDown, naming The Greatest Stage of Them All as the precise moment he would cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase.
Not only did Bryan's gutsy proclamation leave the WWE Universe in an absolute state of awe, but it paved the way for the dedicated Superstar to defeat his former Nexus comrade Heath Slater on that very same night.
Although he went on to defeat Tyson Kidd on the Aug. 5 edition of SmackDown, Bryan failed to overcome fellow Mr. Money in the Bank winner Alberto Del Rio the following week - as well as Wade Barrett two days later at SummerSlam. It seemed the sheer weight of announcing his plans for WrestleMania was beginning to exert enormous pressure - as if Bryan was suddenly taking on every elite Superstar he could without taking the time to devise a suitable strategy for each individual challenge.
On the Aug. 19 edition of SmackDown, Bryan again lost to The Mexican Aristocrat in an intense rematch. It's reasonable to assume that facing Del Rio - who had successfully used the element of surprise to cash in his own Money in the Bank briefcase at SummerSlam and capture the WWE Title five days earlier - might have made Bryan second-guess his strategy to cash-in at WrestleMania.
On the Aug. 26 edition of SmackDown, Bryan nearly overcame Christian in a hard-fought match, coming up short after risking everything - hurling himself full speed into the turnbuckle just as his crafty opponent ducked out of the way. Though Bryan had always been a go-getter, perhaps the courageous grappler's anxiety was now causing him to become reckless, as he tried to redeem himself by grabbing that one big win.
On the live SuperSmackDown on Aug. 30, Bryan found himself bested in yet another explosive match-up, this time against the high-flying wonder Sin Cara. Seconds after the bell, the masked Superstar attacked the war-torn Bryan without provocation. A cheap shot to be certain. But, regardless of the circumstances involved, it was now becoming clear that the sharks were in the water sensing blood, and Bryan had left himself no safe port to swim to.
Bryan looked poised to turn the tide on his misfortune, scoring an impressive victory over Heath Slater on the Sept. 8 edition of “WWE Superstars.” However, the following night, SmackDown’s Sin Cara made him feel blue all over again. After a verbal confrontation, the masked Superstar launched another aggressive attack on the former United States Champion, forcing him to tap out to his own LeBell Lock. Laying on the canvas, has Bryan finally hit bottom?
Daniel Bryan won the SmackDown Money in the Bank Ladder Match in heroic fashion, using incredible skill, unrelenting heart and sheer will. However, the pressure that he has put on himself since then has clearly shown signs of being more than he can bear. If he doesn't find some way to turn things around soon, Mr. Money in the Bank might indeed find himself bankrupt.