I'm gonna piggy-back off of the last post on the subject...
"Austin was kind of a long-term project, but when he started to get hot in mid-97, he got HOT. Ratings would spike for his appearances in particular. The MSG RAW where he stunned Vince McMahon would probably be the point where he went from midcard sensation into undisputed #1 guy in the making, and clearly the Tyson RAW put him over the top. That angle led to Wrestlemania 14 going up a crazy huge amount of buys, plus the momentum from it propelled RAW to the first ratings win over Nitro in 82 weeks. If I recall, Rumble 98 (built around Austin winning) did extraordinarily well too and seemed to be a strong sign of his drawing power.
With Cena, the writing was on the wall almost as soon as he won the US title from Big Show. He was driving ratings on Smackdown on a weekly basis, and the Cena/JBL + HHH/Batista Wrestlemania did an ungodly huge buyrate. Everyone knew Cena was the next guy as soon as he dumped Bull Buchanan and started going over dudes with the FU clean in the middle."
So basically how could any conclusion regarding Daniel Bryan's drawing power be determined one way or the other? He got pushed into the main event scene kinda abruptly when Cena picked him for Summer Slam, then feuded with Orton/The Authority for Sept & Oct; now in November he's not a draw? How can they jump to that conclusion so quickly. In your own words Austin was "The Guy" after the MSG Raw in 97, but didn't really have to carry a ppv by himself until the ppv after WM14 (by himself meaning without Michaels also being on the card). And Cena got to play big fish on SD, then got very protected on Raw until they were ready to put him against HHH. Why were they expecting Bryan to capture hearts and minds instantaneously? Why give up now, rather than cool him off for a month & push him hard going into the new year?
Because it's 2013 and the WWE is a public company that no longer takes risks or does long-term development of top guys, apparently. It's just kind of the way it is.