WWE Rumors: Could Daniel Bryan Replace CM Punk as Steve Austin's Ideal Opponent?

Shane CombsCorrespondent IIApril 20, 2012

FORT WORTH, TX - APRIL 15: Honorary Starter, WWE wrestler 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin, gives the command for drivers to start their engines prior to the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 15, 2007 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Daniel Bryan is in the midst of his Summer of Punk moment, and even Steve Austin is paying attention.

In an interview with the U.K.'s Sun, Steve Austin says that he really wanted to see Daniel Bryan get the chance to shine and that he hopes WWE uses Daniel Bryan better. Steve Austin also says that he felt bad for Bryan and that there are few who can work like Daniel Bryan.

These comments come at the same time as watching WWE television suggests the Yes! chants are not going away. Even this week, WWE did a Twitter poll that put Steve Austin one-on-one against Daniel Bryan.

Well, sort of.

WWE put the Yes! chant against the What!? chant and guess what? Daniel Bryan’s Yes! chant won the day.

This is not hype.

There is just that much momentum behind Daniel Bryan right now. I’m going to repeat my first sentence again in case you thought it was a typo: Daniel Bryan is having his Summer of Punk moment right now.

And what about CM Punk?

He has been considered the obvious opponent for Steve Austin for some time. It is difficult to argue, however, that CM Punk is as hot as he was last summer. Partly because his push initially ran into the unfortunate sledgehammer of a Triple H return.

Afterwards, however, CM Punk rebounded to become WWE champion. He’s had a good and steady run.

Yet, lately, CM Punk has seemed drained. Yes, it is partly due to the program he is in. Week in and week out he has to wear a sad frown as Chris Jericho thrashes his family.

But it’s not doing him any favors.

It has taken away something I enjoyed in watching CM Punk, and Steve Austin seems to agree. Steve Austin suggests CM Punk needs to pick up his intensity. More direct: He says CM Punk may not be the guy for him to go against (via The Sun).

That brings the conversation to what I think this piece reveals: If Steve Austin wrestles again, it will be against the man he thinks is the hottest when he returns. Wrestlers ebb and flow under the booking of WWE, and very few maintain the level of hotness that Steve Austin did when he was in his original run. Steve Austin is not the actor that the Rock is, but he is an actor regardless. He stays busy and does not have to come back.

I don’t think Steve Austin will come back to face anyone who cannot and is not bringing a Summer of Punk level momentum to the table.

Steve Austin suggests Daniel Bryan needs to work on his promos and that CM Punk needs to up his intensity. My suggestion? Both men break their backs to prove to Steve Austin they are doing exactly what he suggests.

There are few men who have the brutal honesty and accuracy about wrestling as Steve Austin. If he suggests it, it’s worth listening to. Just to listen and learn would make either man better at the craft of wrestling.

But, if either can do it, prove to Steve Austin they are doing it and stay hot or get hotter because of it, I think it would lend credence to making them an opponent Steve Austin would consider.

And, to me, Stone Cold is the last great catch when it comes to landing a legend. He is the father of the Attitude Era, the man who moved more merchandise than Hulk Hogan, and the guy who we all wait patiently to see again.

If Steve Austin does it, he will do it right.

And while CM Punk may be the obvious favorite right now, I think we have learned that it is not set in stone. Steve Austin has long said that when it comes to wrestling he never says never.

Stone Cold said he wanted to see Daniel Bryan get the chance to shine. I have a suggestion for how Daniel Bryan could shine under the brightest spotlight and get his 18-seconds of shame redeemed at the very same time. Put Daniel Bryan in the conversation for WrestleMania 29 opponents against Stone Cold Steve Austin, and let CM Punk and Daniel Bryan prove themselves—not as the best in the world, but as the best in the eyes of Steve Austin.

And let the winner have his reward: The biggest match of his wrestling career.