When Daniel Bryan returned to action at the beginning of this year after being out for several months due to a neck and nerve issue, there were reports that he would be forced to change his in-ring style to help protect him from further injury in the ring. Bryan is one of WWE’s most popular stars, and while WWE may not see him as a marketable top guy, he is still a valuable commodity to the company, and WWE wants to ensure his health and safety.
On last week’s SmackDown, the returning Sheamus was heavily criticized for being careless in the ring after he busted Daniel Bryan open during their match. Now it appears that Daniel Bryan himself is facing some heat backstage due to him not changing his in-ring style, thus — in WWE’s mind — putting him in danger. Bryan is one of the best in-ring performers in WWE, and while WWE is encouraging Bryan to maintain his status as one of WWE’s elite wrestlers, they want him to be a bit more cautious when he’s inside the squared-circle.
Nearly two weeks ago, Bryan competed in a seven-man ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship, a match which he won. When the match was announced and it was revealed that Bryan would be one of the participants, a lot of people were concerned that Bryan wouldn’t be able to help himself, and that he would do something stupid that would cause further damage to his already injured neck. But thankfully, Bryan was extra-careful in the match, and avoided injury.
WWE is looking to add prestige to their secondary championships, and with Daniel Bryan holding the Intercontinental Championship, and John Cena holding the United States Championship, they’ve definitely done just that. Some WWE fans are predicting that Cena and Bryan are on a collision course, and that the two of them will eventually face off in a title unification match, possibly at this year’s SummerSlam.
Daniel Bryan’s climb to the top of WWE last year was one of the best stories in WWE history. It represented the ultimate underdog getting to the top of WWE, and while their was a perfect storm of events that took place which enabled Bryan to finally reach the pinnacle of professional wrestling on its grandest stage, it still didn’t take away from the fact that Bryan persevered, the fans stuck with him, and — for at least one night — they got to see their guy get his moment in the sun.
Unfortunately the “YES! movement” didn’t have a happy ending, as Bryan was forced to forfeit his championship due to injury, and there were even some rumors that he was going to be forced into retirement. But, through it all, Bryan kept a positive mindset, and was certain that he would be back in a WWE ring at some point doing what he loves to do.
WWE fans were extremely disappointed when Bryan didn’t win the Royal Rumble back in January, and they have been taking it out on Roman Reigns — the man who won the Royal Rumble— ever since. But even though Bryan isn’t in the World Title picture, his role in the company is still very important. Fans could look at Daniel Bryan holding the Intercontinental Championship and think that he’s relegating his main-event status, and not only accepting, but embracing the idea of WWE considering him a B+ player, who isn’t a marketable World Champion. But, that’s not the case at all. It’s almost a sure thing that Bryan will once again be in WWE’s main-event picture, and that he will finally reclaim the title he never lost — the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
[Images via WWE]