Daniel Bryan claims his ascension to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship title was significantly helped by the controversial departure of CM Punk from the company. Bryan was crowned at Wrestlemania 30 in April after first overcoming Triple H, before beating Batista and Randy Orton in a triple-threat match.
This victory by Bryan came only three months after CM Punk had unexpectedly left WWE, with the longest reigning champion of the modern era telling Vince McMahon that he would be on his way after the Royal Rumble. It is still unclear what the future holds for CM Punk, and if he will ever return to WWE.
But Bryan has been able to make hay why the sun was shining somewhat and, speaking to Chris Jericho, admits that he would have been unlikely to earn a title shot at Wrestlemania were Punk still around.
"It wasn’t necessarily that I felt a shift,” Bryan said when asked when he realised he was rising to the top of the company. “It was essentially after Punk quit. It was like, ‘Well, we’ve got John [Cena] and we’ve got eeeeeeeh.'"
Bryan, though, may be forced to relinquish the championship after it was confirmed he would undergo next surgery, resulted in an enforced period away from WWE. If Bryan is sidelined for too long, McMahon could take the decision to prematurely end his reign.