With about two months remaining before his contract expires, Daniel Bryan has yet to re-sign with the WWE. That appears to be the reason why WWE is rushing marquee matches and storylines for the SmackDown Live superstar, as the company reportedly wants to maximize his time under contract by fast-tracking plans that were originally scheduled later on in the year.
Since his big return match at WrestleMania 34 after a two-year retirement, Bryan has had matches against some of SmackDown Live‘s biggest stars, including current WWE Champion AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, and United States Champion Jeff Hardy. Last week on SmackDown, Bryan reunited with former Team Hell No partner Kane, with the pair getting a tag team title match against the Bludgeon Brothers at Extreme Rules on July 15. Rumors are also pointing to a feud against The Miz that could culminate at SummerSlam next month. According to Wrestling Standard, these matches might be part of Daniel Bryan’s “farewell tour,” as WWE tries to “make the most out of having him on contract” by rushing matches that were planned out in the long term.
Wrestling Standard added that per its sources, Bryan and Kane are expected to lose at Extreme Rules, with The Miz interfering against Team Hell No and helping the Bludgeon Brothers retain the SmackDown Tag Team Championships. This will supposedly lead to Bryan and Miz facing off at SummerSlam, and at the moment, it appears that The Miz will be booked to win the match. These plans, however, could change if Bryan re-signs with WWE, in which case he will be booked to win the match at SummerSlam and continue the rivalry with Miz until Hell in a Cell in September.
In another additional note about Daniel Bryan’s still-unresolved contract situation, Wrestling Standard wrote that Bryan recently hired the same agency as John Cena, which could be his way of ensuring that he gets “the best deal possible.”
Although it remains unsure whether Bryan will re-up with WWE before his contract expires in September and stick with the company for another few years, a recent interview suggested that Bryan might not be too happy with his current creative situation with the company. Citing his appearance on the Gorilla Position podcast, WrestlingNews.co wrote that Daniel Bryan does indeed want to feud with The Miz and have their rivalry showcased next year at WrestleMania 35, but strongly doubts WWE will allow the rivalry to stretch out for that long, suggesting that such a “slow burn” has not been executed in the “last several years.”