Was Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan a Mistake? Pro Wrestling Analyst Criticizes WWE

Published 05/03/2021, 1:46 AM EDT


The stakes were very high on WWE SmackDown this week as Daniel Bryan put his SmackDown career on the line. Sadly, the ‘American Dragon’ passed out to the guillotine choke. This loss led to his banishment from SmackDown.

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Despite the high stakes, SmackDown only managed to draw an average rating of 1.923 million viewers overnight. This number is way down from the show’s usual 2 million and plus viewership range.

Veteran Wrestling Journalist Dave Meltzer was very critical of WWE SmackDown’s poor viewership. On the recent Wrestling Observer Radio, Meltzer expressed his dislike of SmackDown getting a lower rating despite the NFL Draft.

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Dave Meltzer critical of poor WWE SmackDown viewership

Dave Meltzer also noted that WWE knew the ratings would take a hit due to the NFL Draft. They made the right call and set a high-profile, high stakes match between Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan for the Universal Championship.

WWE didn’t just put the brand’s premiere title on the line but added a high-stakes stipulation. They announced Bryan would be banished from SmackDown if he lost. But despite all the work and hype, it did shockingly low numbers as he did not expect them to come below the 2M mark. However, he had expected them to be lower than the previous week.

Meltzer said, “They don’t put championship matches on TV very often. I don’t remember the last time Reigns defended his title on TV. And, Bryan’s a legit challenger. And then you throw in the the stipulation, which obviously nobody gave a sh*t about. The key lesson to this is nobody believed the stipulation, so it was worthless.”

During the show, Meltzer and his co-host also talked about how WWE had very little build for the high stakes match between the two. He also added that nobody would believe Daniel Bryan would be gone for good as these stipulations are somewhat common in WWE.

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“The idea that that leaving the brand, I mean, everyone probably just figured he’s going to raw, or they figured that, or they figured that in three weeks is coming back to SmackDown. And we’re just going to forget about that anything happened?” concluded Meltzer.

Do you agree with Dave Meltzer? Should WWE have invested more for fans to believe before going ahead with this match-up? Let us know in the comments below!

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Ishan Chavan

757 articles

Ishan Chavan is a WWE and AEW author at EssentiallySports. Being a Journalism graduate, Ishan has over six years of experience in the Media Production Industry, having worked with Viacom 18's streaming platform, Voot. A wrestling fan since childhood, Ishan's favorite wrestlers are Daniel Bryan, AJ Styles, and Chris Jericho as he feels these three have the perfect blend of wrestling and promo skills, especially Jericho.

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