It has been two years, two years, since we’ve seen Daniel Bryan do anything physical within WWE. To be perfectly honest, it was something I had grown okay with never seeing again.
His injury was severe enough that I did not want to see it exasperated. He has a family, and as much as I love watching that man perform, I was perfectly happy with seeing him stay safe for his family. I knew that if WWE didn’t clear him to compete, he would just leave the company when his contract expired at the end of this year, and compete somewhere else.
So, when the news broke yesterday that Daniel had been cleared to compete, I, like the rest of the wrestling world, was shook to my core. Part of me thought it was an early April Fools joke. A very cruel April Fools joke.
But, the more I looked at my phone, the more I realized that it was real. Once I noticed the source, WWE’s very own twitter, I about died of excitement. I had to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.
I wasn’t. It was real. Now all I had to do was wait for SmackDown, and boy it did not disappoint.
The show opened with the second most heartwrenching speech Daniel Bryan has ever cut in his WWE career. I’m sorry, but his retirement speech will always hold that spot in my heart.
Bryan thanked everyone, even the WWE doctors that ended his career two years ago. He thanked his wife Brie, who encouraged him to keep fighting to get back in the ring. And let me take this time to thank Brie as well. Thank You, Brie, for encouraging one of my favorites to keep pushing to keep his dream alive.
Bryan then went on to thank the fans for always believing in him, and for also giving him the desire to keep fighting through their chants every week.
Bryan then said he would handle the Owens and Zayn issues once they arrived at the arena, and the wrestling world collectively held their breaths. Half expecting Daniel to side with Owens and Zayn, the other half not knowing what to expect. Regardless, we knew we were in for a fantastic end to SmackDown Live.
Either we would see Zayn, Owens, and Bryan celebrating in the middle of the ring. Or, we would see what we got, Owens and Zayn beating Daniel Bryan up. And boy did they.
Daniel did get a little offense in during the beat down, and the crowd popped louder than ever. When Daniel hit that German Suplex and then hit his patented running dropkicks, followed by the “Yes! Kicks”, the crowd was going crazy.
And rightfully so, Daniel Bryan was back in a WWE ring, hitting dropkicks, and German Suplexes. As I said before, many of us thought that was something we would never see. At least not in 2018. Everyone thought that if Daniel could go out on the independent scene, and prove he could go again, WWE would have him back, and things would go back to normal.
But we got Daniel’s return in the build to WrestleMania 34, and if you were going to miss Mania 34 this year before, you definitely can’t now. Daniel Bryan has made this year’s Mania can’t miss. The card, as it is now, is already stacked. Even if Daniel’s return match is him and Shane taking on Kevin and Sami for Owens and Zayn’s jobs, then it’s still can’t miss.
SmackDown Live ended with Daniel back in the ring, and he invited Kevin and Sami out to the ring to talk about what they did to Shane McMahon on last weeks episode. Owens and Zayn came out and congratulated Daniel on being cleared, and then tried to defend their actions from last week, admitting that they “probably” went too far.
Daniel said he didn’t understand what Owens and Zayn had done. They had won, and he was right, they had. Shane was leaving and had even given Owens and Zayn a match against each other at WrestleMania. They had gotten everything they wanted, and the most important part was that they had Daniel in their corner, and with Shane gone he was in control of SmackDown.
This was the point where I expected Daniel to side with Owens and Zayn. Daniel was asking Zayn and Owens why they beat up McMahon, and I was expecting him to ask, “What took you so long?” and laugh with the pair. Leading to a six-man tag at Mania. But WWE has other plans, and Daniel Bryan fired Owens and Zayn.
Owens and Zayn made Daniel pay for firing them too. Not only did they beat him up, but they also delivered a Helluva Kick and a Powerbomb on the apron to the SmackDown Live GM.
I thought the powerbomb to the apron was a little too much. He had just been cleared, and I didn’t want to see that taken away right after we got it. I understand the heat it put on Owens and Zayn, and I’m excited to see what is going to happen next. I mean obviously they’re going to get their jobs back because both Shane and Daniel are going to want their revenge, and I see no better stage for that to happen than WrestleMania.
After SmackDown last night everyone is ready for the tag match at Mania. The same can’t be said before the news of Daniel being cleared. Everyone was dreading another Shane McMahon WrestleMania match. Now that Daniel Bryan is his tag partner, wrestling fans could care less. We’re Daniel Bryan back at WrestleMania. His tag partner is going to be an afterthought, no matter who it is.
But this leaves us with a problem. Who wins?
If Sami and Kevin’s jobs are on the line then them losing makes no sense. WWE can’t let two of their best leave the company. Period. Sure, they could pull a CM Punk situation where they leave for a couple weeks then come back. Or, they could even do what they have done so many times in the past, and have them come back in masks, and earn their spots back in a contract on a pole tag match. But them winning is just more straightforward, and it makes more sense.
On the flip side of that though, WWE can’t have Daniel lose his return match. Well, they could, but it wouldn’t make much sense. Not that it would hurt him much, fans would overlook the loss, even if it was at WrestleMania. We’re all more interested in what Daniel is going to do after April 8th anyways. Is he going to stick to being SmackDown GM, and only wrestle on occasion? (That’s my preferred option by the way.) Or, is he going to go back to full-time?
One way, and honestly the only way, I could see Bryan losing is if he turns his back on Shane during the match. Leaving him high-and-dry in the ring. But that would only work if Daniel is going back to full-time. Because if he turns on Shane, the only logical option is for Shane to fire him. Unless, they book a Shane vs. Daniel match at, say SummerSlam for control of SmackDown. Then that would work, but even at that, that would mean Shane is ready to leave an on-screen role, and maybe even WWE altogether.
There are certainly more questions than answers at this point, but that’s part of what is so great about Daniel’s return. None of us are really sure what lies ahead. But we’re all eagerly awaiting the results.