Wrestling fans are well aware that Vince McMahon is a huge fan of big, muscular men, and over the years, the WWE has often favored lumbering monsters over smaller, more athletic wrestlers. The list of Vince’s favorite big men includes The Undertaker, Kane, Big Show, Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Big Boss Man, King Kong Bundy, Bam Bam Bigelow, One Man Gang, Sid, Big John Studd, and of course, the one and only Andre the Giant. Now, Big Cass must be wondering if he will ever see his name added to that list of all-time-great muscular giants.
Fast forward to Backlash on Sunday, May 6, 2018, and here we go again with another David vs. Goliath confrontation. In one corner, we have one of the most popular and talented in-ring performers in WWE history in the person of Daniel Bryan. In the opposing corner, cast your eyes upon the seven-foot-tall apple of Vince’s eye, Big Cass.
Leaving the world of wrestling promos and hyperbole aside and returning to the thin air of reality, the encounter between Bryan and Big Cass on Sunday could have a major impact on their careers. Daniel and his towering opponent recently returned to the WWE ring after serious injuries, and both men were in the middle of a major push when their injuries occurred.
Big Cass had finally dropped his loud-mouthed, undersized tag team partner, Enzo Amore, and he was on a solid singles run as a heel when he tore his ACL. The injury required surgery, and it kept Cass out of action for eight months. Since his return, Big Cass has dedicated himself to making Daniel Bryan’s life a living hell.
Bryan’s story is certainly well-known, and without diminishing the seriousness of the injury to Big Cass’ knee, Daniel’s career as a WWE Superstar was essentially over when he announced his retirement on February 8, 2016. Bryan’s life as a wrestler came to a crashing halt in April 2016, when WWE Medical Director Dr. Joseph C. Maroon banned Daniel from in-ring competition. Bryan had received multiple concussions and a brain lesion, and it was later revealed, he had also experienced and concealed several seizures.
Although he remained with the WWE as SmackDown’s General Manager, Bryan never gave up on his dream to wrestle again. He spent the two years of his retirement going through regular medical testing, and Bryan underwent several months of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy in order to obtain the medical clearance he needed from the WWE. On March 20, 2018, on SmackDown Live’s regular telecast, Daniel Bryan stunned the WWE universe by announcing that he had been cleared to wrestle again for the WWE.
While wrestling fans celebrated, Big Cass was apparently fuming over the attention Daniel was receiving. While it might be a storyline feud, it is easy to understand that a young up-and-coming star like Big Cass might actually feel some resentment toward the older, smaller wrestler. It is certainly easy to understand that the younger man might harbor the desire to clean Bryan’s clock at Backlash.
Both wrestlers have played their parts to perfection. Bryan remains as humble as ever, and he is still a promo genius. He infuses his words with true emotion, and much to everyone’s delight, his in-ring skills remain undiminished. Daniel is still a master performer, as he demonstrated at The Greatest Royal Rumble when he set an all-time record by entering the 50-man event in the number one position and lasting one hour and 16 minutes before Big Cass tossed him over the top rope to begin their feud.
Not to be outdone, Cass has exceeded expectations. Since his return, the big guy has embraced his heel role, polished his mic skills, and improved as a wrestler. Instead of stomping around the ring flexing his muscles, Cass oozes envy as he demands his rightful place at the top of the WWE. While his physical gifts are still on display in the squared circle, Cass delights in verbally eviscerating Daniel Bryan as an outclassed, undersized obstacle.
Of course, only Vince and a select few of his upper management cohorts know what the WWE has planned for Big Cass and Daniel Bryan. Will Cass receive a major push for AJ Styles’ WWE Championship or will he continue to linger in the mid-card? Will he serve as fodder for a Daniel Bryan push and remain in limbo?
And what is next for Daniel Bryan? He performed brilliantly against the always-amazing AJ Styles in a recent non-title bout that resulted in a no-contest decision after Shinsuke Nakamura interfered in the match. A week later, Bryan and Styles were tag team partners against Rusev and Aiden English when both Big Cass and Nakamura stomped Daniel and AJ into the canvas.
After the events of the past few weeks, the possibilities are endless. The WWE has three outstanding performers in Bryan, Styles, and Nakamura, and they have Big Cass as a towering, arrogant heel. It would certainly be interesting to see Daniel, AJ, and Shinsuke Nakamura contend for the SmackDown Live World Title while Cass interferes in their matches and demands his opportunity. This could lead to any number of interesting confrontations and combinations, all heading to a dramatic conclusion at WrestleMania 35.
However, despite the hopes and dreams of wrestling fans, as long as Vince McMahon is running the WWE, anything is possible. Everyone will just have to wait and see whether the WWE is able to book their top talent properly and bring these interlocking storylines to a satisfying conclusion. Only one thing is obvious – Daniel Bryan and Big Cass are both up to the challenge.