If there was something which I didn’t know before Elimination Chamber but know now, it would have to be how beloved Santino Marella is. When Santino first debuted, he was a generic, boring wrestler. He had nothing that was likable about him. That was until he started to turn heel and the WWE started to allow him to talk on the mic. Santino, a once bland wrestler, became one of my favorite characters ever. His delivery and timing were on par with some of the greatest mic talkers of all time. His comedy was on par with some of the greatest comedic geniuses in the business. He even gave Kurt Angle, the funniest man in pro-wrestling ever (in my opinion) a run for his money
Santino transforming from a heel to a babyface really watered down his character, but last night proved that he really is still over when he and Daniel Bryan transformed the live fans from being bored to on the edge of their seats when they were the two last remaining competitors in the SmackDown Elimination Chamber. Santino and Daniel Bryan went back and forth for a while in the match until Santino delivered the Cobra, causing the crowd to jump off their feet and count with the referee ONE-TWO-THRE-NO! Daniel Bryan snapped on the Lebell Lock and the crowd let an even bigger sigh than I did when Wes Welker dropped the pass which would’ve sealed the Super Bowl. However, the crowd realized there was still hope because Santino tried valiantly to fight out of the Lebell Lock. He came within inches of breaking out of it… but he tapped, and the live crowd fell silent in disappointment. When Sheamus hit the ring and attacked Daniel Bryan, indicating that he would face Bryan at WrestleMania, nobody in attendance cared.
The reason nobody cared is because the crowd wanted to see Santino win the title and do not care about Sheamus. Sheamus has a unique look to him (but that’s less of a talking point these days because he’s been overexposed, plus his look suited him better as a heel) and he is also a decent big man in the ring, but to be perfectly honest, someone could buy a copy of WWE 12, create a wrestler and make his skin really pale and that would be Sheamus. In other words, Sheamus is bland; there is nothing that Sheamus has going for him right now that makes him likable. Meanwhile, Santino Marella is very well liked and extremely over with the crowd.
Even though Sheamus is the Royal Rumble winner and that entitles him to a title match at WrestleMania, I believe the WWE should switch the World Heavyweight Championship match and make it Daniel Bryan vs. Santino because of these reasons:
1. Santino and Daniel Bryan already have something to feud over since Santino went toe to toe with Daniel Bryan at Elimination Chamber.
2. The only thing Sheamus and Bryan have any real heat over is that Sheamus got disqualified in a non-title match against Daniel Bryan.
3. Santino is way more over than Sheamus.
4. The Santino and Daniel Bryan exchange at the Elimination Chamber made me want to see more of these two battling in the ring.
5. Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan did nothing to make me want to watch another one of their matches again.
6. If this is the start of Sheamus’ push, wouldn’t it be better to wait for another day where he wouldn’t be overshadowed by three – if not more – matches.
7. It would fit Daniel Bryan’s character better if he were to beat Santino at the PPV via shenanigans and then celebrate with streamers fling into the ring as Bryan cries and screams “yes, yes, yes!”
8. Even though Santino is a comedy wrestler, is it worse to have him in a WrestleMania match competing for the title, or Sheamus, the winner of the supposedly prestigious Royal Rumble winner, in the 4th most important match on the card?
There are simplistic ways the WWE can book around Sheamus winning the Rumble and not receiving a title shot (Daniel Bryan mugging Sheamus backstage and doing enough damage on his sneak attack that Sheamus cannot compete at WrestleMania, for instance). The WWE doesn’t care about tradition anymore and have already destroyed the Rumble match’s merit, so it simply comes down to whether or not the WWE is willing to pull the trigger.
Ultimately, Santino is more over than Sheamus is right now, and it would better befit Daniel Bryan’s cowardly heel character if he were to defeat a lesser threat such as Santino using dirty tactics and the celebrate as though he’s just won the Super Bowl. The heat between Daniel Bryan and Santino is sizzling a lot more than that between Daniel Bryan and Sheamus. Furthermore, if Bryan were to somehow prevent Sheamus from getting his WrestleMania match, it would provide Sheamus with a true reason to hate Daniel Bryan and a definitive reason as to why the fans should give two shits about a match between the two.
So, give us, the fans, what we want: Santino vs. Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania.