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    Wednesday, March 21, 2018

    YES! YES! YES!: How Daniel Bryan's In-Ring Return Changes The Game

    While you were sleeping, WWE dropped a major bombshell when they announced that Daniel Bryan has been medically cleared to return to in-ring competition. It's news we never thought we'd see/hear, but pragmatically, it also makes a bit of sense, especially since there have been speculations about Bryan potentially heading to New Japan Pro Wrestling—or some other promotion—once his WWE contract runs up.

    Bryan's return to the ring is absolutely a gamechanger and it couldn't have come at a better time. We still have enough time to figure out what Bryan's WrestleMania plans are going to be, and if the four-time World Champion is cleared to compete, then you can make damn sure he'll be a part of this year's showcase in New Orleans.

    Speaking of New Orleans, the last time 'Mania was there, he headlined the show and walked out as WWE World Heavyweight Champion. And throughout Daniel Bryan's run from 2010-16, all of his matches at WrestleMania have had championship implications. It's highly likely that won't be the case come April. But we here at the Smark Henry Offices will gladly take it because (1) DANIEL BRYAN IS GOING TO WRESTLE AGAIN!!! and (2) it can lead to any of the following scenarios down the road:

    Scenario 1: We can finally get this dream match.

    Photo from 3djuegos.com

    Remember when both Bryan and Nakamura were both Intercontinental Champions in WWE and NJPW respectively? We never got to see that, and the possibility of a Nakamura/Bryan showdown was considered pretty much a fantasy up until today. Now that WWE seems to be in a state of carpe diem-booking, where they've decided to go for the big money matches while they can, who's to say we won't see a match between Shinsuke Nakamura and Daniel Bryan over say... the WWE Championship after WrestleMania???

    On top of that, why don't we throw out all the potential dream matches for Bryan while we're at it? There's AJ Styles vs. Daniel Bryan, a match we all salivated for as soon as AJ debuted in WWE just a month before Bryan announced his retirement. How about Kurt Angle vs. Daniel Bryan? Or Samoa Joe vs. Daniel Bryan... Or an in-ring reunion with KENTA Hideo Itami?

    Hell, Daniel Bryan vs. Finn Bálor seems like a lot of fun, too!

    Scenario 2: We can finally resolve this multi-year storyline in the ring.

    Never mind that The Miz is currently on RAW while Daniel Bryan is part of SmackDown Live. Now that Bryan's going to be an active Superstar again, you know he and the Miz are going to meet in the ring again. Only this time, it'll be for bigger stakes than the U.S. Championship was worth in 2010. Furthermore, you've got all these years of backstory and context to build upon, which should make this matchup hot straight out the gate. 

    Make it happen, Vince. We've literally been waiting years for this.

    Scenario 3: Imagine these WrestleMania options for this year alone

    Since we're talking about storylines that have been brewing for quite a while, we're obviously going to see the story involving Bryan, Shane McMahon, Kevin Owens, and Sami Zayn reach its boiling point at WrestleMania this year. But the question is... how?

    Will Shane and Bryan be forced to team up somehow to take on Kevin and Sami? Will all four of them face each other in a Fatal 4-Way with stakes on the line? Will Shane's leave of absence run through 'Mania, forcing Daniel Bryan to fight in his stead against Kevin and Sami... perhaps against his will? There's so much they can do with this now that Bryan can actively participate in the ring; and it's highly likely that we'll have figured this part out by the time SmackDown Live is over by 11 AM (Manila time).

    Or... what if The Undertaker just decides not to show up? Let's not kid ourselves, guys. While Taker/Cena is going to draw money, that ship sailed five years ago. What if The Undertaker just isn't coming back and Cena still needs a WrestleMania opponent?

    Why can't John Cena and Daniel Bryan just have that dream WrestleMania match? Shit, they can have their respective Bella brides in each other's corner for added gravitas. Sure, that'll make for an awkward WrestleMania afterparty and Thanksgiving and whatever Total Divas/Bellas coverage they'll have to film. But if any of Cena and Bryan's past matches are any indication, that match could damn well steal the show in New Orleans.


    Having Daniel Bryan back as an active Superstar should open more doors for WWE to make a lot of noise, while also earning a lot of good will from fans everywhere. We at the Smark Henry Offices also acknowledge that not everyone is for this in the first place because of the health risks. As fans and as human beings, we recognize that Bryan's health should always be the first and top priority, even moreso now that he and Brie have a baby daughter in Birdie Joe.

    But if WWE's medical team and other doctors and specialists have come to a consensus regarding Bryan's health, then why can't we celebrate the fact that this man can once again have an opportunity to do what he does best and what he loves? Now how about a "YES!" chant to get you over that midweek hump?

    Photos from WWE


    Stan Sy (@_StanSy) is the Editor at Large of Smark Henry, and is also a radio DJ on Wave 89.1, an events host, a freelance writer, and one of the hosts of The Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast. He also used to be one of the hosts and writers of The Wrestling Gods on FOX. He enjoys watching WWE, NXTLucha Underground, and the occasional New Japan match. You can ask him questions about wrestling, Survivor (yes, the reality show), or whatever you like on his CuriousCat account.
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    Item Reviewed: YES! YES! YES!: How Daniel Bryan's In-Ring Return Changes The Game Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Stan Sy
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