Daniel Bryan’s return to the WWE would have been even more memorable if not for the WWE themselves. Shortly after last week’s episode of RAW ended with Vince McMahon telling his children that they were to appoint new General Managers the following week, the company accidentally sent out an alert via their app claiming that the “Yes! Movement” was about to take over SmackDown.
They may have let the cat out of the bag and partially ruined what could have been a major surprise. But fortunately, Daniel Bryan is one of the most popular WWE superstars in recent memory and the reaction from the live crowd this past Monday was electric. It’s only fitting that Bryan join up with SmackDown Live Commissioner Shane McMahon, as those two have generated some of the best live responses from the WWE Universe in 2016.
So, Bryan is the new GM of the blue brand, while Mick Foley was chosen as Stephanie McMahon’s underling to help run RAW. But that isn’t how it was originally drawn up. As is often the case in WWE, many plans changed to get to the point we’re at now. Pro Wrestling Sheet is reporting that Daniel Bryan accepted the offer to become the General Manager back in May, and that Vince McMahon originally wanted to announce the brand split and WWE Draft the night after the Money In The Bank pay-per-view.
In the original blueprints, Bryan would have returned to WWE programming on June 20 as the future GM of SmackDown when the brand extension was to go into effect. Meanwhile, Shane and Stephanie would have continued to run RAW together, as Vince initially called for at Payback. Instead of squabbling with each other, the McMahon siblings would have been booked as adversaries to Daniel Bryan, with an authoritative feud leading all the way up to the draft.
Chances are, WWE felt that Shane would take some of the negative heat off of his sister, or Stephanie would have detracted from Shane’s positive momentum, and thus, the sibling rivalry ensued. Bryan verbally feuding with Shane might not have made sense, but instead they planted some seeds to a similar idea between Daniel and Mick Foley. On Monday’s RAW, Foley told Bryan that even though they never fought in a ring, this is a fight for brand supremacy and ratings.
WWE pitched the GM idea to Bryan, but after deciding to hold off on his return until this week, likely amended their offer to include the role as color commentator for the Cruiserweight Classic. A natural storyline would have had Bryan also there to recruit talent to his show, but Stephanie announced that the Cruiserweight Division will compete exclusively on RAW. It seems more and more like an odd choice considering SmackDown is being viewed as the show of the new era and Bryan’s obvious connection to the competitors.
Also, at some point since Daniel Bryan announced his retirement in February, he changed his mind about wrestling considerably. His career was cut short just as it was hitting heights once thought unimaginable. He said on numerous occasions that it would be extremely difficult to come back in a non-physical role, which is understandable considering the circumstances in which he was forced to walk away.
Wrestling was the only thing Daniel Bryan was ever great at, and it was taken from him long before he was ready to give it up. But either due to a change of heart, or because he was technically still under contract to the WWE, he decided to return, and what better way to serve his adoring fans than as the new General Manager of a brand new show on Tuesday nights alongside Shane McMahon.
[Image via WWE]