Daniel Bryan was forced to retire from professional wrestling back in February and was resigned to living an inconspicuous life with his wife, Brie Bella, in the Great Northwest. But just a few short months later, the WWE offered him two rather pivotal job opportunities. Although he was reluctant to return to his passion, he accepted the roles of color commentator for the Cruiserweight Classic, and of course, the general manager of SmackDown Live.
Once again, Bryan’s life had changed. But instead of giving up submission holds and suicide dives, he had to back out of horticulture design classes in Washington state. Now he’s a decision-maker on Tuesday nights with the blue brand going live in lieu of the brand extension. Bryan told FOX Sports in all the years as a wrestler, he never imagined assuming an authoritative role.
“When I first got to WWE the head of talent relations was John Laurinaitis, who is now my father-in-law, and the first thing I thought when I saw everything that he had to do is I thought ‘I would never, in a million years, ever want that job. You could not pay me enough money to have that job.’ And I don’t do that job now, but yeah management was never something originally that I was interested in.”
Bryan has been very vocal since taking over as a GM, both on WWE programming and in outside media appearances, in regards to the differences between his show and the flagship show on Monday nights. SmackDown was supposed to be a vehicle for the new era, but instead they drafted veterans John Cena and Randy Orton while RAW will soon play exclusive host to the Cruiserweight Division. Bryan told FOX that that was “bullcrap.” Considering Bryan is one of the voices of the highly-acclaimed CWC, it might have made more sense to put it on Tuesdays.
Recently, there have been reports suggesting that some WWE officials weren’t thrilled with some of the roster selections during the draft. Kevin Owens may reportedly be on his way to SmackDown while Randy Orton could be going back to RAW. Interestingly enough, Bryan was asked whether he’d like to pilfer any RAW stars and bring him over to team blue.
“So, if you would have asked me three weeks ago I would have said Cesaro, but he’s actually got some really great opportunities on Raw the last couple weeks, this past Monday he had two matches including being in the main event on Raw, so I hope that leads to him getting a larger role. But, because of that, now I would say Sami Zayn. I mean Sami Zayn just had this incredible match with Kevin Owens that he won at Battleground, and fans really like him and he wasn’t even on Raw on Monday. We could really use somebody like that on SmackDown.”
Both Cesaro and Zayn have also been in the news as of late, with Cesaro the subject of brand trade rumors and Zayn possibly catching some backstage heat and thus not booked for SummerSlam. And speaking of the biggest party of the summer, SmackDown may only have three brand-exclusive matches on the card, but a two-hour kickoff show could offer more opportunities for those on the fringe of an important angle. Not surprisingly, Bryan stuck with SmackDown matches as one he hopes steal the show this coming Sunday.
“The one I want to steal the show is Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler for the WWE Championship. If they went in there and stole the show – Dolph Ziggler’s always claiming that he steals the show, I want him to go out there and live up to it, because that would be great for SmackDown Live…. Also, another thing that I’d really like is for somebody like Apollo Crews to really steal the show. Somebody who, they’re just now been given their first real opportunity. Apollo Crews has really stepped up in the last few weeks on SmackDown, and…imagine people’s shock and dismay if all of a sudden the match that The Miz is in is the absolute best match of the pay-per-view, right? That would be great!”
Bryan has repeatedly stated that the hardest part about being a GM is actually being around wrestling and not being able to compete. Now, fans are simply asking him to help churn out a good product every Tuesday night, and so far, so good.
[Image via WWE]