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LaBar: Daniel Bryan getting cut from NBC special was smart

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Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Sunday, Aug. 3, 2014, 9:33 p.m.

Daniel Bryan just made history, but not the good kind.

NBC showed a one-hour condensed replay of WrestleMania 30 on Sunday night and not one minute was shown of Bryan. In the six years NBC has done this special, Bryan is the first main event and WWE Champion not to be featured.

Not one minute of the guy who was the leading story going into the show. Not one minute of the guy who won two matches in the night. Not one minute of the guy who closed the show with confetti falling from the sky as he held the two championship belts in the air.

Many on social media are asking why? But if you think about it, it's really a foolish question to ask.

The NBC special isn't for the hardcore WWE fans who already paid WWE to see it. The special is to draw in new viewers or viewers once lost. It makes no sense to showcase a guy who they might get interested in, but then turn on Monday Night RAW and can't see.

It's basically an hour of an infomercial for WWE on prime time television. Time is money. WWE was determined to spend this time on people who are making them money right now.

Bryan doing nothing with his title run was a string of unfortunate events and timing. It started when he left the week after he won the title for his marriage and honeymoon. He then returned and had to deal with the tragic, sudden passing of his father. Then, he got hurt and had to vacate the title.

I'm as big of a Bryan supporter as any, but it makes no sense to show him on the NBC special. You can complain about John Cena, complain about Brock Lesnar being a part-timer and complain about Hulk Hogan not being a wrestler. WWE was still right in this situation, and you're wrong if you're arguing the logic.

Bryan fought two matches because he had to win the first to advance to the second. You can't show one match without showing the other. Any way they edit it, it's going to take up at least half of the hour time slot.

WWE gets the time restrictions and NBC allows it to make the final edit. WWE figures out what it can show in an hour, with commercial breaks, to tell enough of the stories and put the brand over.

Right now, the brand is focusing on WWE Champion Cena defending the title at the second biggest show against Lesnar. So, WWE decided to show Cena winning his WrestleMania match and Lesnar winning his historical match, breaking The Undertaker's streak.

They also showed the opening with Hogan. He was the mainstream media ambassador for WWE. I took part in a conference call with him last week promoting this NBC special. There was no way he was getting edited out.

It was recently revealed Bryan could be out until Royal Rumble in January. He's believed to be undergoing his second surgical procedure this calendar year. He's lost his place in line. I hope he gets another chance to recapture the magic, but I fear otherwise.

Bryan had one of the top three greatest chases for the title. He also had one of the top three most disappointing title runs. It pains me to type, but it's reality.

WWE management fought its original plans when Bryan was made into the star of WrestleMania season. The unfortunate timed events with Bryan is now affording management the opportunity to laugh and say “We knew it wouldn't work out.”

Justin LaBar is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7949 or

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