It was a little over 450 days ago when the WWE universe stood heartbroken. Daniel Bryan, the internet wrestling darling would make his way to the ring in front of an emotionally charged hometown crowd. At just 34, Bryan was forced to retire from the ring due to a variety of medical issues stemming from concussions. The retirement speech would prove to be as gracious as it was emotional as the man who created the yes movement would ride off into the sunset.
While the WWE universe had felt the effects of emotional retirements before, Daniel Bryan would more so than most fit the mold of gone but not forgotten. His return to WWE programming as the Smackdown Live general manager would wet the appetite of the fans but as always it wouldn’t be quite enough. The fans have wanted and still want an in-ring return from the former world champion.
That desire for a return has only been fueled lately by the beloved Bryan himself. During an episode of Talking Smack back in March, he teased a return when be taunted by the Miz. His words perked the eyebrows of just about every wrestling fan when he said “I can’t? or they won’t let me? We’ll see in a year and a half, we’ll see what happens.”
The intrigue was further escalated during an interview Bryan had on the Inside the Ropes podcast with Kenny McIntosh. You can check out their work by clicking here. The topic of Bryan’s contract had come up and what he might do once it expires. He said in regards to an in-ring return, “It all depends on how I feel my health is and how my wife feels my health is.” He also went on to say “If we feel like my health is good, I love to wrestle, and I’m gonna go wrestle. But if we feel at that point that it’s not good, then we’ll see what happens.”
The top brass within the WWE has to be aware of Bryan’s comments and his desire to return to in-ring competition. While they may currently still stand by their stance to not clear Bryan for ring work, one has to wonder if these comments by Bryan may have WWE looking at his situation with a bit more of an open mind. If doctors opinions begin to lean Bryan’s way of returning then it seems pretty clear that he will pursue a return to the ring over being Smackdown general manager. At that point it is really up to WWE on if Bryan wrestles there or elsewhere.
The WWE is a company they lives off of producing moments that generate emotion and deliver strong financial return. While it’s hard to quantify financial returns, the enormity of staring down a Daniel Bryan return may just be too rich for the WWE to turn down.
So let’s hypothetically say that Daniel Bryan and the WWE play a game of chicken. Bryan gets encouraging news from doctors and he has less than a year left on his contract. Given everything mentioned so far in this piece I would be willing to bet that WWE blinks first and gives Bryan a match. That’s one enormous hurdle out of the way. The next hurdles are when and where.
Imagine if WWE had the ability to tell a story in which the beloved hero to the universe could make his triumphant return where he cemented his legacy, New Orleans. A man that is overcoming all the odds and carrying that emotional momentum on the road to WrestleMania 34. The mother of all emotional homecomings would have the Superdome electrified and ready for a new miracle on Bourbon street.
The Yes movement would be gushing with adrenaline and anticipation. It’s already a WrestleMania moment and we’re just hypothetically talking about it. Does that sound like a cinderella story that might interest Triple H and Vince McMahon? History shows that the answer to that is an emphatic yes.
So we’ve got a venue that will support around 75,000 lunatics screaming ‘Yes’. Now all that is left is finding a dance partner for Bryan. There is no need for legends. No need for them to rekindle the Triple H feud. No need for a part timer either. The most fitting opponent to this cash cow of a program is the most must see superstar in the WWE, the Miz. From April 4th of 2016 till now, no one has had as consistently strong of a run than the Miz. On top of his white hot run, there is no one on the roster who has as deep rooted of a history with Daniel Bryan than the Miz.
With matches like Jericho vs. Owens and Wyatt vs. Orton at WrestleMania 33, it is becoming apparent that WWE is investing in long storylines. If that is their goal, they’ll find no longer running story than the Miz and Daniel Bryan. These two men’s WWE careers have been so intertwined that the storyline would serve as the only matchup not be dwarfed by Bryan’s return.
It is a heated and personal feud that dates back to 2010 when the Miz was Daniel Bryan’s coach on the first season of NXT. It wouldn’t take long for the two to lock horns. They would compete in 3 singles matches, as well as a triple threat match in that same year. All of those matches would see Daniel Bryan come out on top. Those loses never stopped the Miz from continuously antagonizing Bryan. The antagonizing would bleed well into Daniel Bryan’s retirement as the Miz would be drafted to the blue brand. The Miz would go on to steal some of Bryan’s trademark moves and would continue to rattle the cage of the commissioner.
Click here to read our piece (written prior to WrestleMania) on The Miz Revival and the incredible run he has had!
Talking Smack would serve as centerstage as their rivalry would once again blossom. The apex to all those Talking Smack encounters would be on August 23rd of 2016. Daniel Bryan would refer to the Miz as a coward who wrestles like he is “afraid to get hit”. That insult would ignite the single greatest promo since the CM Punk pipebomb as the Miz would completely go nuclear. You can watch that awesome clip by clicking here. The insults and heat between the two wouldn’t stop there. Their heat would continue on through episodes of Smackdown and the WrestleMania 33 program between the Miz and Cena.
For the Miz, a match of this magnitude is a deserving tip of the cap to a superstar that has continuously surpassed expectations. While others may be more talented in the ring there may be no harder worker in that locker room than the Miz.
Now the two men find themselves on separate shows. Normally that would present a problem but with a will there is a way and McMahon could work around that. All you need is a joint pay per view and for these two cross paths at the catering table. The organic heat will naturally flow from there as they could exchange verbal jabs on their shows until one of them issues a challenge. Imagine that moment on WWE programming when Daniel Bryan would answer the challenge with an emphatic yes. The WWE universe would be booking flights to New Orleans like it’s an episode of Supermarket Sweep.
Bottom line, as long as these two collect checks from WWE the bad blood will be there. If Bryan’s health will allow it there may be no better time to do this match than right now. The Miz is performing better than he ever has. The promos on the road to WrestleMania will be scorching and must see TV. It turns into something more than Bryan making a return just because he is physically able. It represents the mother of all payoffs. Finally settling what has been an endless war of words once and for all. It is must see and it is deserving of a main event title on the showcase of immortals. Lord knows that with the Undertaker likely retired the WWE will need some main events that pop off the card. This match does that.