Thanks to Friday Night SmackDown superstar Daniel Bryan's apparent involvement in the blue brand's creative team, it appears that a number of its less-heralded wrestlers have been getting improved pushes on recent episodes of the show.
As reported on Saturday by WrestlingNews.co, Gran Metalik is one of the wrestlers who seem to have benefited from Bryan's creative influence, given how he had a "great" Intercontinental title match against defending champion AJ Styles. While WWE chairman Vince McMahon doesn't appear to have seen much potential in Metalik or his Lucha House Party stablemates, the Mexican grappler's presence in two consecutive episodes is reportedly a sign that there are plans to make him "more than just an undercard wrestler."
In addition, the outlet wrote that Bryan is a fan of all the four competitors in the previous No. 1 contender match for the Intercontinental Championship, which saw Metalik defeat fellow Lucha House Party member Lince Dorado, as well as Shorty G and Drew Gulak. It was noted that the former WWE Champion has apparently had booking influence for quite some time, as his storyline with Gulak from early this year was done at his request, and he had also lobbied for the former cruiserweight division star to face Styles a few weeks ago.
"Bryan pitches a lot of his own ideas," one of the publication's sources was quoted as saying in February. "Sometimes Vince and [executive director] Bruce [Prichard] will turn down an idea but a lot of the things he has pitched have been used on TV."
Citing another internal source, WrestlingNews.co added that more "underused" performers will likely be featured in the weeks to follow as McMahon continues to explore new ideas and "out-of-the-box" concepts while trying to solve his company's problem of declining ratings. This specifically appears to be the case on SmackDown, as there have been rumors that Shorty G will drop his current gimmick and possibly return to his previous ring name of Chad Gable.
Furthermore, the duo of Metalik and Dorado may remain a featured act on Friday nights as they feud with reigning champs Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships.
The recent report on Bryan comes about a week after Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter reported that he and Edge are now involved in their respective brands' creative process. It remains to be seen when Bryan will wrestle his next match after several weeks away from the ring, but he and his wife -- former WWE superstar Brie Bella -- are currently expecting the birth of their second child.