After Losing To Roman Reigns, What Is Next For Daniel Bryan?
Following his loss to Universal Champion Roman Reigns on last week’s episode of SmackDown, there are several questions regarding Daniel Bryan’s future with WWE.
Per the match stipulation, Bryan was banished from SmackDown after losing to Reigns. The obvious assumption is that he’ll move over to Monday Night Raw, although NXT sounds like a possibility in NXT.
Bryan recently revealed that his WWE contract is on the verge of expiring (it’s unclear when exactly), and he expressed a wish to wrestle in other promotions.
But it’s safe to assume that we haven’t seen the last of Bryan in WWE. It’s hard to envision him leaving the company entirely, but that’s all for another day.
For now, we can only guess what lies ahead for in the very near future.
Bryan Is Exactly What Raw Needs
For starters, we should assume that NXT won’t be Bryan’s next landing spot.
In the latest edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer noted that superstars with contracts as huge as Bryan’s “have always in the past been limited to pushed guys on Raw or Smackdown.”
On top of that, the decline of Monday Night Raw ratings over the past few years have been well-documented. The show has only reached over million viewers twice in 2021.
A simple solution? Bring Bryan over to the Monday Night Raw brand.
Shortly after Bryan retired from in-ring competition in 2016, he was hired for the GM role of SmackDown. He kept that position until he was cleared to return to wrestling ahead of WrestleMania 34, and Bryan has competed on the SmackDown brand ever since.
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In short, it’s time to give Bryan a run on the Monday Night Raw brand. There are so many exciting superstars there for him to work with. And with a giant fanbase, Bryan alone could help increase the ratings on Raw.
Bryan had nothing more to accomplish on SmackDown. He enjoyed several major babyfaces runs plus a successful heel tenure as the WWE Champion. Before he lost to Reigns last Friday, Bryan also did his job in putting other talents over on the show.
So let’s rule out NXT. And let’s assume that WWE avoids a storyline that would see Bryan return to SmackDown in the short-term future. Raw is the best and the most likely landing spot for the future Hall of Famer.
Lots Of Options On Raw
Daniel Bryan as WWE GM
If Bryan were to move to Raw, the easy and obvious choice would be to place him right in the main event scene.
Currently, it’s occupied by WWE Champion Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre. Those two superstars and Braun Strowman will face off in a triple threat match for the title at WrestleMania Backlash.
Bryan could enter a feud with the winner of that match. He would be an excellent candidate to face Lashley if the latter retains his Universal Championship, especially if WWE decides to end his program with McIntyre.
If McIntyre or Strowman win the title at WrestleMania Backlash? It doesn’t hurt to run a babyface vs. babyface program.
McIntyre’s main event push saw him defeat Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 36 and even Hall of Famer Goldberg at the Royal Rumble. If WWE puts the title back on him, a program with McIntyre could further enhance McIntyre’s push.
If Strowman were to win, Bryan would be an excellent candidate to challenge for his WWE Championship.
The Monster Among Men mostly feuded with Bray Wyatt during his Universal Championship run last year. If WWE wants to give Strowman a title run, they need to give him more challengers. Bryan would be a great starting point.
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Even if Bryan moves to Raw, it doesn’t mean he has to join the main event scene.
WWE could look to pair him with another superstar and thus place Bryan in the Tag Team Division. There is already plenty of talent there with Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin, AJ Styles and Omos, The New Day (seemingly) Randy Orton and Riddle. Why not add another group here?
Keith Lee (when he returns), Jeff Hardy and Ricochet, for example, would be fun partners for Bryan to work with.
And of course, there’s also the United States Championship scene. Sheamus, the title holder, is in need of a new feud now that Riddle is working with Orton. And Bryan would be a top-notch opponent for Sheamus to work with.
Add it all up, and Monday Night Raw is the most likely as well as the best destination for Daniel Bryan.
With so many other potential programs for Reigns on SmackDown, it made sense to move Bryan off the show. Now it’s time for WWE to give the perennial fan favorite a run on Monday Night Raw.
The guess here is that he enters the WWE Championship scene very soon. It could be as early as this week, or maybe even after WrestleMania Backlash. The bottom line is that we most likely haven’t seen the end of Daniel Bryan as a main event star.