WWE fans have been curious about Daniel Bryan's future in the business since his recent angle on Fox's SmackDown resulted in banishment from the brand. Now it's not entirely clear where the superstar is headed next though, if I were WWE, I'd say the star should without question head to Monday Night Raw without delay.
Daniel Bryan may be one of the older vets among the pack as of late, but the leader of the "Yes" movement could be a vital asset to Monday Night Raw in the near future. Before we get into why let's first touch on that somewhat controversial decision that may lead to Bryan's return to Monday Night Raw.
Why Daniel Bryan Was Banished From SmackDown
Daniel Bryan's exit from SmackDown was telegraphed from the moment the wild stipulation for his match against Universal champion Roman Reigns was first teased. The two would go 1-on-1 for the title on SmackDown but, if Bryan lost to Reigns, he would be banished from performing on SmackDown forever.
Now, while WWE has shocked viewers in the past, few believed Roman Reigns was going to lose the Universal Title on a random Friday night show. Reigns has held the title for over 300 days, so it's hard to imagine him losing the title outside of a major PPV event. As predicted, Daniel Bryan lost and per the stipulation, is banished from competing on SmackDown "forever."
Why Monday Night Raw Needs Daniel Bryan
Monday Night Raw has hit a weird place story-wise and, whether intentional or unintentional, has shortened its list of main event players to feud with current champion Bobby Lashley. Bray Wyatt's Fiend hasn't been on television since WrestleMania and will likely have some story with Alexa Bliss when he returns. Randy Orton (with Matt Riddle) and AJ Styles (with Omos) have entered the tag-team division, and Sheamus (who admittedly would be a stretch to be called main event talent in 2021) is the United States Champion.
The end result is Bobby Lashley feuding with other big men Drew McIntyre and Braun Strowman at WrestleMania Backlash. This upcoming battle, should Lashley retain, would make the ongoing feud between McIntyre and Lashley well played out for the time being. One of them has to move on to other things, and Daniel Bryan is one of the few on the roster who can make that work.
Daniel Bryan isn't just wildly popular in the WWE, he's also one of the few wrestlers who can consistently put on good matches against much larger wrestlers in the brand. Take his 2018 match against Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series, for example. One doesn't turn what looks like an obvious squash match into a 20-minute epic match without knowing how to work a ring and tell a story of how the smaller wrestler outplays a larger opponent.
Bryan would also be a great matchup for Bray Wyatt's return, especially given the matches the two have had over the years. Hell, it's fair to say Monday Night Raw needs Daniel Bryan to keep its singles division from going stagnant at the major championship level, and his flip would be a welcome change for fans who haven't seen him on the show for some time.
Will Daniel Bryan Join Monday Night Raw?
While there are plenty of reasons why Daniel Bryan should join Monday Night Raw, it's still unclear what his next move will be. It's known that the wrestler's contract is coming up at some point this year and, with so many former WWE talents headed to AEW, there's probably some vested interest on WWE's behalf to keep Bryan in the fold.
It's certainly possible Bryan could be on his way out of WWE, and maybe even headed for retirement, though I'm certainly skeptical. It would be odd for WWE to write off one of its most influential wrestlers of the past decade unceremoniously on a random episode of SmackDown, contract or not. I can't guarantee anything, though I can't say I feel like we've seen the last of Bryan in WWE.
Monday Night Raw airs on USA Mondays at 8:00 p.m. ET. Fans should be sure to also check out the wealth of wrestling content currently on Peacock, as they might learn something cool about superstars like The Miz and others.
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Mick contains multitudes and balances his time reporting on big happenings in the world of Star Trek, the WWE, reality television, and other sci-fi shows.