Daniel Bryan is WWE's hottest commodity right now, and the company must find a way to maximize his current momentum.
Bryan is no longer just the darling of wrestling purists. He has stirred the WWE Universe into a frenzy with his passion, wrestling acumen and entertaining ways.
In an interview with Wade Keller of PWTorch.com, former WWE star Diamond Dallas Page said of Bryan's work on a recent WWE Raw, "I don't care if he's 5'7" or 6'9", that son-of-a-b---- was as big and bad and electric and more over than anyone out there."
Page is right. Bryan's popularity is feverish. ESPN's Robert Flores is not the only one who claims Bryan as their favorite wrestler right now.
@TriCitiesJordan prob Daniel Bryan— Robert Flores (@RoFloESPN) June 10, 2013
John Cena's hold on the company’s top spot may be in jeopardy. That of course depends on how WWE handles Bryan's recent surge. Should WWE's decision-makers continue to make him a focus of the weekly TV shows, have him work with the biggest names and allow him to produce the magic he does in the ring, then it has a megastar on its hands.
Often, WWE has to try and build a guy up as top star, hoping the fans will grow to love him. For Bryan, it has largely happened organically.
The momentum Bryan gained from the "Yes!" chant phenomenon last year has not died down. Fans have shown their support for him through every angle he's been in since. His run with Kane has been a showcase for his charisma and sense of humor. That, combined with his consistently great performances in the ring, has forced the audience to pay attention.
On last Friday's WWE SmackDown, Bryan went on a rampage against The Shield.
He electrified the crowd with his kicks, flips and exhilarating energy. This has been Bryan's routine as of late, riding his storyline anger about people thinking he's the weak link to captivating performances. WWE can certainly use him a workhorse on Mondays and Fridays, but he is capable of much more.
The company needs to devise ways to capitalize on Bryan’s popularity.
One rumored idea is that Bryan face Cena at Money in the Bank 2013 for the WWE title. Wrestling Observer (via CagesideSeats.com) reported that "the penciled in main event for Money in the Bank on 7/14 in Philadelphia is Cena vs. Bryan, with Bryan not being a heel, as the title match."
A WWE title shot and perhaps a run with the belt is certainly one way to keep Bryan in the spotlight and guarantee a high-quality match at Money in the Bank.
A feud with Randy Orton is an excellent alternative to that. Orton RKO'd Bryan at the end of their match against The Shield on WWE SmackDown, which perhaps signaled the beginning of Orton turning heel. Pairing those two guys is a great move, one that will inevitably lead to a series of classic matches.
WWE's other options include having him take on Paul Heyman and his associates. CM Punk and Bryan have already shown just how fabulous they can be in the ring together, so that part of the feud is a no-brainer. Bryan going up against Brock Lesnar and playing the role of Eddie Guerrero in an underdog match a la No Way Out 2004 would work as well.
Have him go after the World Heavyweight Championship or have him go after Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter. As long as Bryan is in the spotlight, in an intriguing story and challenging a major star, his talent and vigor will make it must-watch TV.
When the WWE creative team sits down to discuss the company's direction for the next few months, Bryan needs to be a priority in those discussions. The company has a supernova in its hands and must find the way to best keep it burning for as long as possible.