As soon as the shocking news was announced by WWE, it didn’t take fans long to take to Twitter and reveal not only their happiness at seeing Daniel Bryan back inside of a WWE ring, but also listing several dream matches they want to see him involved in.
Bryan has been working hard ever since he retired in 2016 to get medically cleared. However, the company has prioritised his safety ever since but now, he’s officially ready to return and the expectation is that he’s going to make his comeback at WrestleMania 34 to team up with Shane McMahon to battle the team of Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn.
Fittingly enough, his comeback could occur inside of the same arena where he reached the pinnacle of WWE back at WrestleMania XXX, where he defeated both Randy Orton and Batista inside of the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana to become the WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
Now, fans are looking beyond WrestleMania and the plans WWE could have in store for the SmackDown LIVE general manager following the Grandest Stage of Them All. So, here are four potential dream matches Bryan could compete in now that he’s back.
While AJ Styles might be the best in-ring performer right now, the same could be said for Bryan throughout the majority of his career. Thankfully, WWE has booked The Phenomenal One brilliantly ever since he signed, meaning he’s in a strong enough position to warrant a position as a potential opponent for Bryan. We know how much fans love to see past independent stars compete on the biggest platform in WWE, and it doesn’t get much bigger than seeing Ring of Honor’s Bryan take on the biggest TNA star in Styles at a marquee WWE event.
No story really needs to be told here either, especially since fans are going to be cheering both men regardless of who plays the face and heel in any potential feud they have. They might not have had a lot of interaction on SmackDown or throughout their careers, but it’s a proven fact that they can tear the house down as they have done on the independent scene in the past. Now, WWE would be missing out on a massive opportunity by not giving the fans a guaranteed instant classic.
Much like AJ Styles, Finn Balor’s time in the ring with Bryan has been limited. However, many WWE fans are now thinking that the Irishman could be on his way to becoming the next Bryan based on how he’s being booked, along with how relatable and likeable he is. The trend with all of Bryan’s dream opponents - regardless of which list you read - is that both Bryan and any opponent he faces promises to be a match the fans will love. Considering Balor rarely puts in poor performances, this could be a brilliant contest.
Technically, they’re both fantastic inside of the ring and know how to tell an engaging story from start to finish. There’s also a unique story with them both which only draws further interest, this includes Bryan’s comeback after looking like his career had ended along with the Demon that Balor channels to gauge further interest. The fans love them, they’ve never faced off inside of a WWE ring and if their previous contest on the indie scene is anything to go by, then this could be an unmissable match if WWE ever books it.
As soon as Bryan’s return was announced, Shinsuke Nakamura was one of the first names fans started to mention as potential dream opponents for Bryan in WWE. In fact, The King of Strong Style fuelled the fire himself on Twitter which already has fans excited about a potential match down the line. The two have done a lot together in the past such as being roommates and introducing Nakamura to certain American foods - but they’ve never wrestled against each other.
The history is there, and it’s no secret that both Bryan and Nakamura have been vocal in the past about wanting to compete against each other. So much so, that Bryan admitted back in 2015 that he wants Nakamura in Japan - before the latter even signed with WWE. Obviously, the crossover never happened and fans were left wondering ‘what if.’ When Nakamura did arrive, Bryan wasn’t in a condition to compete and this left their match agonisingly close to happening, but not close enough. That was until the news broke, so perhaps this match will no longer be a dream many fans - as well as Bryan - have.
If we’re talking about having Bryan come full circle in WWE, then The Miz is an opponent he simply needs to face now that he’s back. Sadly, not many are going to place The Miz in the same bracket as Styles or Nakamura when it comes to in-ring work because of how superior they are - although, that doesn’t mean The Miz isn’t good. His track record in WWE speaks for itself. However, in terms of storytelling, a clash against The Miz is not only possible, but it’s inevitable.
You can stretch this back to the first incarnation of NXT when Bryan was the rookie and Miz was the pro; the tension was visible to see. That then shifted over to the main roster where The Miz continued to remind Bryan that he will always be better than him. This followed them both to SmackDown LIVE during the incredible Talking Smack promo where the lines between kayfabe and reality were blurred more than ever. When you combine their long history together, that promo and the fact that The Miz still uses the ‘YES!’ Kicks regularly, surely WWE will make the wise decision to have this come full circle and have a genuine conclusion.
Obviously, there are going to be other huge opponents out there ranging from Seth Rollins, right through to Kurt Angle and even Samoa Joe. However, the four stars above are surely going to be the most popular choices among fans right now.
Which dream matches would you like to see Daniel Bryan involved in now that he’s able to compete again? Have YOUR say in the comments section below.
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