The Complete History of the WWE Championship - Part 18
Daniel Bryan was not supposed to main event WrestleMania XXX on April 6, 2014. Oh no. That honor was supposed to belong to the returning Batista, who made a comeback to WWE almost four years after departing the sports entertainment powerhouse.
WWE planned to present a battle of the former Evolution stablemates; Batista versus WWE Champion Randy Orton in the main event of 'Mania. However, that attraction was not one that the WWE Universe wished to see.
The WWE Universe had expected to see Bryan as one of the thirty participants in the 30 Man Royal Rumble match. When he failed to appear, loud boos rang out around the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, PA.
Batista, whom fans had surmised was WWE's choice to win the match was crucified with negative chants. He was not a popular winner.
Adding to the controversy, CM Punk, who (among other things) had become dissatisfied with his booking and departed the company, never to return, the following night which meant his scheduled bout at 'Mania with Triple H was canceled.
Therefore, Bryan, who despite his two reigns as WWE Champion the previous Autumn, had become an afterthought was suddenly gifted a major WrestleMania match.
However, fan discord did not end there. The WWE Universe continued to reject Batista and insist Bryan be inserted into the WWE title match instead.
WWE eventually complied and booked Bryan to compete with "The Game" in the card's opener, with the winner to be inserted into the WWE Championship bout.
Bryan defeated Triple H and in one of the most glorious WWE moments ever, captured the WWE crown from Orton in the headline bout, also featuring Batista.
Unfortunately, Bryan's reign would be truncated after he suffered a severe neck injury and he was forced to vacate the title on June 9, 2014.
Fortunately for Bryan, this would not be his last WWE title reign, although he would have to wait four more years to reclaim the belt.