The biggest news backstage at WWE Monday Night Raw was how to handle Daniel Bryan after the debacle at Sunday's Royal Rumble pay-per-view. Because of the magnitude of the story, I'm separating it from my weekly Backstage Raw News (that will run later on Tuesday) and running this on its own.
We're told the company was "caught very off guard" by the Daniel Bryan reaction at the pay-per-view. As a result, Vince McMahon considered handling the situation of the utmost importance, even more important than anything related to Wrestlemania XXX. According to a source, Vince was concerned about the negative PR [from Royal Rumble] making it look like WWE doesn't know what it's doing at a time when they're in the middle of domestic TV negotiations and on the verge of launching the WWE Network.
Vince McMahon put an edict out on Monday morning that the goal on this week's television was to get the crowd under control in terms of Bryan and work the reactions into the story to give the appearance to the media and investors that fans demanding more Bryan was by design and WWE is in control over the situation.
There were several versions of the Raw script, with Vince continuously calling for more tweaks. The biggest thing he wanted was for the show to open and close with Daniel Bryan. He knew the crowd would be chanting for Bryan the loudest at those points whether he was out there or not. This is why Vince had all plans for this week's Raw thrown out and told creative to build around the reactions.
Where this leaves plans for Wrestlemania is a bit more complicated. While the original plan was for Bryan to work Sheamus one source told me the match was "off" and another said it was "up in the air." As for Bryan winning the Elimination Chamber and defending the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Batista, we're told Vince was "having none of it" in creative meetings on Monday.
I'm still sorting through my notes about Wrestlemania plans and will have more later in the week.