When traveling down the “Road to Wrestlemania,” we usually have a clear path. However, this year’s journey to WWE’s biggest show of the year has a couple of trails not yet known. Yesterday, we chronicled potential opponents for Asuka. And in this article, we’ give the same treatment for the WWE Champion, the “NEW” Daniel Bryan.
Legendary Longshot: Batista
In looking for a formidable opponent with legendary status in the WWE realm, one name stood out above all the rest, Dave Batista. We were teased with a potential match against Triple H at Smackdown 1000. But with HHH still (technically) recovering, Batista could pivot courses and face off with Daniel Bryan. The two men have a history dating back to Daniel’s first run as WWE Champion from Wrestlemania 30. Thus picking up on that history would be easy.
Following the Fastlane match with a well deserving Kofi Kingston, Bryan can go to the ring and say that there is no one currently in WWE that can challenge him because the planet needs him to be champion. Then he could backtrack and say not just the plant, but the “galaxy” needs him to be champion. This claim would lead to a “Guardian of the Galaxy” Batista to come out to confront Daniel. It could then lead to a match at Wrestlemania.
Vince’s Vote: John Cena
Over the last decade plus the poster boy for the WWE is John Cena. And during that span, Cena has captured 16 World Titles. Add in the fact that it is Wrestlemania, and Vince McMahon is going to want as many recognizable names on the card as possible.
The build for this match would be straightforward to book as well. John Cena is known for his colorful shirts and a plethora of merchandise. The “NEW” Daniel Bryan is against such things as they pollute the earth and harm the environment. Not to mention how that type of consumerism manipulates the future of the planet. Daniel Bryan could easily come out and say the next step in curing the WWE of its problem is to get rid of the name most associated with WWE, John Cena.
Sleeper Selection: Kevin Owens
A WWE Superstar that could quickly jump into the main event on Smackdown Live is Kevin Owens. Owens is currently recovering from injuries. And over the last few weeks, WWE has shown vignettes from Owens about his recovery and impending return. Kevin Owens return should be met with a babyface response. As the last time, the WWE Universe saw Kevin Owens he was being attacked by a heel turning Bobby Lashley. So when Owens makes his return to WWE T.V. he will undoubtedly be met with a huge pop. Another reason to have KO faceoff against this version of Bryan is the interesting dynamic between the two men. Both men have known each other a long time dating back to their time on the Indies scene and Ring of Honor. Adding to that dynamic id the fact that Kevin has usually played the heel role while Bryan the face. So the change in the historical narrative between the men adds an additional layer of nuance to the matchup.
The build to this matchup, unlike the others I’ve mentioned, isn’t as obvious. But ultimately the build comes down to the same principle as the others in the crusading mind of the WWE Champion. Building towards Kevin Owens vs. the “NEW” Daniel Bryan would take a subtle approach. In the return vignettes of Kevin Owens, we’ve seen Kevin in places of mass consumerism. We have seen Owens in a bowling alley and a movie theater. Also during those vignettes, we’ve seen Kevin munching down on some less than vegan food options. And this could incite the ire of the WWE Champion because a man he once called a friend would place the future of his children, the children he claims to love so much, in jeopardy.