Ever since the announcement on March 20th, 2018, that Daniel Bryan had been finally and medically cleared to return to in-ring competition, wrestling fans have been on a “YES” high. Not only has the announcement brought a boost of positivity, but a plethora of fantasy booking possibility for possible matchups.
Being that I didn’t have the opportunity to catch Bryan’s first memorable run in the WWE and have some knowledge of his independent catalogue, I thought that I would jump on the bearded bandwagon and give my thoughts on just some of the people who I’d love to see D-Bry get in the ring with.
In 2016, Miz had cut one of the best and most memorable promos that the run of post-SDLive show “Talking Smack” had ever seen. When Daniel had confronted Miz, comparing his wrestling style of something “cowardly”, he brought something out that would carry on after for two years. With the adaptation of the “IT kick”, and repeated jabs at Daniel.
All would come to an intense point during “RAW’s 25th anniversary” where while honoring past GM’s, Daniel would also be given a nod to stand beside the likes of Eric Bischoff, John Laurinaitis & William Regal. The ever so familiar “Flight of Valkyries” theme would then be cut short by the Miz, which led to a hopeful stare down between the two.
There are things unclear about the terms under which Daniel will wrestle, but in all positivity I’d love to see some follow up leading into Summerslam. The value in the triple threat between Balor and Rollins at Mania is just too good for this rivalry to intervene, and with the hint of another roster shakeup? Anything would be possible.
EC3 (aka Derrick Bateman) is no stranger to Daniel Bryan. In the early competition days of NXT, Daniel had taken him under his wing. Not only leading to some great and fun chemistry but an opportunity for a young EC3 to prove himself.
Fast forward five years after Ethan was let go from developmental and three years since Daniel had to retire. They’ve both had the time to grow and regroup from those days. Ec3 becoming the top talent within Impact Wrestling and Daniel getting healthy and strong to return to action.
Being a huge fan of EC3 and the news of him returning back to NXT after years of growth not only of himself but of NXT in general, this match-up would be the biggest that I would love to see. Not to mention, I wouldn’t mind a brief throwback to the “Chicks and America” days as well.
At WWE’s 2010 “Bragging Rights” PPV, these two stole the show in a champion vs champion match, with Ziggler as Intercontinental Champ and Bryan as U.S Champ. The match not only put both of them on another level at the time, but the crowd reaction almost deafening.
At the news of Bryan’s retirement, Dolph had said, “I’ve probably never had more exciting, more fun, more chemistry, in the ring with anyone” and then also mentioning that he’d wished that Daniel and himself would have had one more to settle the score.
After Daniel had given his gratuitous return speech, the first to welcome him back was none other than Ziggler with some confident words of “Let me be the first to say, I can’t wait to beat you.” To which Daniel replied; “Well you can certainly try.”
There couldn’t have been any more perfect illusion to their previous history. With the fact of Ziggler returning after relinquishing the US Title, and albeit failing to grab my attention since? I feel like this would be the chance as a fan to really become invested with Dolph’s cocky and confident character.
Let’s get straight to the point. It’s no mystery that both Luke and Daniel are “former” members of the Wyatt family. Daniel was with them for only a year before revealing his true motive of joining the Buzzards: “To take down a guy with a messiah complex, it’s not enough to take him down physically, you have to take him down mentally.”
Harper being a completely different story. With the addition of Randy Orton, Harper knew and tried to warn Bray that something wasn’t right. Which led to a wedge being driving between the two founder members, leading to his ex-communication.
Since then, the underrated Harper has been left to the wayside until recently with the formation of the “Bludgeon Brothers” (Harper & Rowan).
There are so many options within this. Does Harper still have a grudge against Daniel for what he did? Does Harper still have a sort of resentment over Bray for not listening? Regardless, in some way there’s still some unfinished business to be taken care of.
Also, Daniel and Luke could make a pretty strong tag team if opportunity were presented.
What do these two have in common? First of all, they have past history within companies like ROH, PWG and many others. Secondly, they both have a type of “redeeming underdog” story behind them. Roderick, chasing his dream despite coming from a broken family and many missed opportunity of NXT gold. Daniel, overcoming the Authority and creating his own “movement”, overcoming being told that he’d never be able to do what he loved again.
There would be nothing but respect between the two and to see a rematch from ROH’s 2005 “Vendetta” event on a bigger WWE stage would be incredible.
To my own knowledge, the pairing would be a first time matchup. Drew and Daniel both have very technical backgrounds, and have very similar paths through companies like PWG and Dragon Gate USA. Both of their submissions and grounded mat style would make for explosive chemistry.
From technical standpoint alone, this would bring something physical and special as a match within WWE or the Cruiserweight division.
From the early ROH days of “Tyler Black” and “Bryan Danielson”, these two would know each other like the backs of their own hands. A decade later, both have become WWE staples within the world of wrestling and have grown in terms of not only physicality but also fast paced “in ring” style.
Both hold similar if not exact paths of title reign, not to mention the name value of “The American Dragon vs The Kingslayer” as a WWE main event.
When considering another cross with Samoa Joe, two things come to mind. The obvious size difference and yet another previously seen matchup in Ring Of Honor. They both have made their way throughout the states and Japan as well, in Pro Wrestling Noah.
In NXT and since coming up to the main roster, Joe has been a near to impossible force to stop in his destructive and coquina clutching path.
Since Joe had been brought up to the main roster thanks to HHH’s dirty work to take down Seth following his break-up with “The Authority” Could this hold a similar fate for Daniel as well? Being that Daniel is seen as the underdog, this would make for a compelling let alone athletic, rollercoaster like storyline for WWE to sink its teeth into.
This certainly would not be the first time that we’ve seen these two mix it up together. Granted since 2011, things have changed for both of them. Regal now overseeing as the GM of NXT, and Daniel having to retire but with payoff of a triumphant and warm return to the WWE universe.
Would this be a second round case of “teacher vs student”? Regal having almost four decades of experience not only shows in his wisdom but his technical abilities and then some. Daniel Bryan, being born two years before Regal’s start within the world of wrestling doesn’t define how much skill and knowledge he has despite his age.
I’d love to see Regal lace up his boots for a match with Daniel one more time to show if the mentor or student comes out victorious.
These two go all the way back to the glory days of IWA-Mid South. From performing in front of only a handful of people, moving along to ROH, Japan and then WWE. Well-traveled despite the years difference before stepping into the ocean of World Wrestling Entertainment. What’s makes this even more interesting is the fact of them both winding up on Smackdown and crossing paths once again.
From their moments on “Talking Smack” to them butting heads when it came to Shane McMahon and James Ellsworth? The chemistry speaks for itself. When you consider the fact that there’s a chance of them battling it out in a ring again? The outcome will be phenomenal and undeniable.
There are so many possibilities, it was incredibly difficult to choose and sort through ten options. Only time will tell if these will become reality or only stay as fantasy.