We’re full speed ahead towards the biggest event for the WWE in Wrestlemania 30 and the general consensus is that Daniel Bryan is the hottest wrestler in in the WWE Universe as I type this right now.
Daniel Bryan has developed such an organic connection with the fans that even Rey Mysterio, who has been cheered for and adored by fans since he arrived in WWE, was booed mercilessly when he came out as the final entrant in the last month’s Royal Rumble match since that signaled Daniel Bryan would not be involved in the contest. The winner of the Royal Rumble match gets a title match at Wrestlemania, which in NFL terms would be the equivalent of when a team wins the NFC/AFC title game and goes to the Super Bowl, and that man was not the Daniel Bryan.
Daniel Bryan gets the loudest crowd reaction of any wrestler when he comes out to the ring on a nightly basis and as of this column he does not have an opponent to go against at Wrestlemania 30. What we will do here is examine 5 potential matches for Daniel Bryan at Wrestlemania 30.
Potential Match 1: Daniel Bryan vs Undertaker
The Undertaker and Wrestlemania have became a staple at the Grandest Stage of Them All for WWE. The Undertaker has a 21-0 streak at Wrestlemania that has become in some channels the most important match on the card. It has also became a stamp of approval that you are a top guy if you get a chance to work with most respected man in pro wrestling. If WWE chooses to insert Daniel Bryan into a match with The Undertaker, it would cement Bryan as a top guy in the company just for the honor to go toe to toe with The Undertaker. Every year Undertaker has a match at Wrestlemania and the buildup to that match at its core is that Undertaker’s opponent wants a shot to break “The Streak”. Bryan posing a challenge to Undertaker and getting into the ring with the Michael Jordan, Babe Ruth, or Joe Montana of professional wrestling to see if he can do what no other wrestler in 21 attempts has been able to do would make for great drama.
The only potential drawback for this match is that Daniel Bryan is so universally loved and cheered by the current WWE fans that the crowd reaction would be tough to gauge due to the fact that no other wrestler is as respected by the fans than The Undertaker. Fans would have to make a choice with their emotional investment in who to root for. On one hand, you have the most popular guy in the company RIGHT NOW vs. the most popular guy in the company arguably EVER. Fans could come away from this split which does not give Daniel Bryan the shine he needs at the biggest show of the year.
Potential Match 2: Daniel Bryan vs HHH
This is the match that makes the most sense from a long term storyline sense. HHH is the fictional evil head of WWE at the time and has consistently made the good guy Daniel Bryan’s life very difficult. Whether that be HHH routinely throwing him in gauntlet matches with three WWE Superstars back-to-back-to-back, HHH stacking the deck against Daniel Bryan in different pay-per-view matches, or most importantly when HHH screwed Daniel Bryan out of the World Wrestling Entertainment Championship at SummerSlam earlier this year. HHH, like Undertaker, is usually on the Wrestlemania card because of the value that they bring to any match they are in. It is a simple logic where Daniel Bryan finally can get revenge on HHH for the months of torment and what fan can not get behind the underdog employee getting able to get revenge on the evil boss.
My drawback for this match is that it is the runner-up to the match that all the fans want to see Daniel Bryan in because the fans have told WWE with their support of Daniel Bryan that they want to see Daniel Bryan finally reclaim what is his, which is the WWE Championship. HHH and Bryan could make for a great match that the fans can buy into but with HHH not being an active competitor the question is, from a story telling standpoint, where does this match lead us as fans to three or four months down the road?
Potential Match 3: Daniel Bryan vs Randy Orton
This match could have the most emotion drawn from the raucous fans in attendance at Wrestlemania 30. Randy Orton is currently the WWE Champion and Daniel Bryan has been on his heels in pay-per-view or Monday Night RAW main event matches since the summer of 2013. Randy Orton has done a great job as a heel champion, but I do believe he is only hated by the fans to the degree he is because of the fans’ love for Daniel Bryan. Fans have been clamoring for Daniel Bryan to finally get his just due since it was taken from him by Randy Orton at Summerslam 2013 when Orton cashed in his “Money in the Bank”. The fans are behind Daniel Bryan as “their guy” and they want “their guy” to win the top prize in the company in the biggest show of the year. Wrestlemania is all about building careers with defining moments and it does not get any bigger than Daniel Bryan closing out Wrestlemania 30 as the WWE Champion.
The biggest drawback I see with this match is that Orton right now is penciled in to face Batista in a match that the WWE fans are screaming from their seats that they do not want. I worry that WWE will force Batista and Orton down our throats to the point where they will have the same negative fan reaction that Batista has been receiving by the fans. The fear is that is WWE doesn’t change the course of that match to something fans want to see, we as fans could be robbed of our organic Wrestlemania moment that we have been behind for seven to eight months.
Potential Match 4: Daniel Bryan vs Kane
This is the current feud that Daniel Bryan is in and is based around the fact that Kane, the hired muscle of “The Authority”, is making Daniel Bryan’s life very difficult. This feud doing a good job of building Bryan as a well rounded character who is getting held down by his bosses from a physical standpoint and gaining sympathy from the fans as they watch Bryan consistently struggle. The way this feud is developing is that the pay off will be tremendous when Bryan finally overcomes the odds with Kane and The Authority. Fans are waiting and chomping at the bit for Bryan to achieve that level of revenge and getting through Kane could possibly be the first step up the ladder.
The drawback I have with this match is that having a match with Kane at Wrestlemania in comparison to getting retribution over the head of “The Authority” HHH or even finally overcoming the odds to win the WWE Champion from Randy Orton. I just don’t know if your payoff moment you want to have at Wrestlemania 30 is Daniel Bryan going over in a match against Kane. The match would be solid and enjoyable but there is so much more to get out of a match at the biggest show of the year then a match with Kane.
Potential Match 5: Daniel Bryan vs CM Punk
Like it or not CM Punk is the hottest name in wrestling right now and he currently is not even on TV. CM Punk walked out of the WWE after the events of the Royal Rumble and the buzz has been tremendous with even the most jaded fans wondering if this is legit or just a storyline. No one really knows the reason why CM Punk walked out of the WWE, we can all sit here and speculate as to why, but no one knows. The storyline could be a license to print money as Punk comes back talking about how he left because he was the biggest star in the company and was jealous of Bryan’s success. CM Punk has flourished as a heel as opposed to his face runs that have never really gotten where it could go, he would come back to a insane positive crowd reaction and only to ruin that by blaming the fans for cheering Bryan and not Punk. There is money to be made in that rivalry and from an in ring standpoint this could be something for Punk to really sink his teeth into.
The biggest drawback is that nobody knows if the CM Punk walk out is legit or is a story line so this match could essentially never happen if Punk never decides to come back to WWE. I think there is more money to be made in Bryan finally receiving the crown jewel of the pro wrestling business as opposed to gambling on a match that we do not know if it would ever happen. CM Punk could come back to WWE tomorrow or he could never come back so the wild card is there, but there is a great storyline to be drafted there.