For the best part of 20 years, Daniel Bryan has been regarded as one of the finest pro-wrestlers on the planet.
From his days kicking heads in on the Indies as The American Dragon Bryan Danielson, through his meteoric rise to the pinnacle of WWE, and triumphant return from career-ending injury, Bryan will rightly be regarded as one of the greatest of all time when he hangs up his boots for good.
However, Bryan currently finds himself at a crossroads in his career. He has won everything there is to win in WWE, he’s headlined WrestleMania on two occasions, and built a super loyal fanbase. But Bryan’s also on the precipice of his 40th birthday, his contract status is up in the air with his WWE deal having expired, and he’s been written off of TV after losing a WWE Universal Title match to Roman Reigns and subsequently being banished from SmackDown.
So what does Bryan do next? Well for our money there are four options, all with varying degrees of likeliness.
So here, we present to you ‘Fantasy. Logical. Dubious. Wildcard: Daniel Bryan’s Next Career Move.’
Fantasy - The King of the Indies Returns
COVID-19 or not, we have to accept the fact that Bryan Danielson resuming his reign over the indies is wishful thinking at this juncture. But still, just imagine if he did?
Imagine Danielson returning to Ring of Honor, calling everyone a prick, and kicking Pure Champion Jonathan Gresham’s head in whilst telling the ref he has until five.
Imagine a stint in New Japan. You could totally see Dragon in Suzuki-gun, or going it solo and having legit dream matches against Kazuchika Okada, and Tetsuya Naito, and a dream rematch with Hiroshi Tanahashi.
Imagine Daniel Bryanson turning up in the IMPACT Zone, putting on clinics with the likes of Moose, Eddie Edwards, and Rich Swann.
Imagine The American Dragon turning up to GCW to go toe-to-toe with Nick Gage… actually, better not, that’d be an uncomfortable watch.
My point is, there are a ton of money matches on the table for any promotion that could afford Danielson. There are tons of bouts us fans would kill to see. And from what we know about Bryan himself, there are a ton of opportunities for him to work with the people he’d genuinely want to work with.
And let’s not avoid the ultimate fantasy return match; Danielson. Samoa Joe. CM Punk. If PCO is sincere in his wish to sell out a stadium with ROH, then this could be the match to put butts in seats.
But like we said, coronavirus or not, this one is unlikely to happen. Whilst an indie match here or there isn’t outside the realms of possibility, Bryan is just too broken to re-commit to the indie style in a way that he’d probably want to.
The last thing we need is to see him throw himself wholly into matches like Katsuyori Shibata and not come out the other side intact.