At WWE’s Extreme Rules pay-per-view on Sunday, a number of titles changed hands, including the SmackDown Tag Team Championships, which The New Day won in a three-way match that also featured Heavy Machinery and erstwhile champions Daniel Bryan and Rowan. While WWE’s immediate plans for The New Day are still unclear, it appears that Bryan might be teasing a character change — and/or returning to singles competition for the first time since he lost his WWE Championship to New Day member Kofi Kingston at WrestleMania 35.
As shown in a new video courtesy of WWE’s Twitter account, Bryan spoke to backstage interviewer Sarah Schreiber after he and Rowan lost their titles, cutting a promo where he blasted SmackDown Live’s entire tag team division. He ranted about how he tried to “elevate” the rest of the division and “take them to the main event,” only for his attempts to end up in failure. He then accused the blue brand’s tag team wrestlers of bringing him down, repeatedly calling them “un-elevatable.”
Toward the end of the interview, the now-former champion made a few references to his environmentally-conscious heel gimmick, then promised that he will “go where Daniel Bryan has not gone before.” He wrapped up by teasing that he “[knows] exactly what [he] has to do,” but did not go into detail about what fans should expect from him on the next episode of SmackDown Live.
As noted by Wrestling Inc., it was “interesting” that Rowan wasn’t present during Bryan’s post-match interview with Schreiber.
While Cageside Seats’ Geno Mrosko admitted that he doesn’t have an idea of what Bryan was hinting at in his promo, WrestlingNews.co speculated that he might be alluding to an imminent return to the singles division. The outlet added that executive producer Eric Bischoff will be debuting in his new backstage role on Tuesday’s episode of SmackDown Live, which could mean a number of “big changes” are in store in the weeks to come.
“It wouldn’t be such a bad thing if Bryan becomes the top heel of the blue brand,” WrestlingNews.co wrote. “We’ll see if that is what the plans are for him.”
Despite achieving his greatest success in WWE as the plucky babyface underdog who led the “Yes! Movement,” Bryan underwent a significant character change late last year, several months after he returned from a two-year retirement. As recalled by Bleacher Report, Bryan transformed into a villainous, preachy character who often lectured audiences about their disregard for the environment, shedding the traits that had previously made him a fan favorite while also elevating a number of wrestlers as he spent the first few months of 2019 as SmackDown Live’s lead heel.