Daniel Bryan's energy, popularity and unique mishmash of skills will lead to him having WWE's next five-star match.
As much as Dave Meltzer's match ratings are debated and scrutinized, folks pay attention when he gives a match five stars, especially one from WWE. Sean Hathaway compiled a list of every bout Meltzer has deemed worthy of a five-star rating. Only five WWE clashes appear on the list.
The next time a WWE battle achieves perfection and stirs the heart and the gut enough to have Meltzer award it the elusive five-star rating, Bryan will likely be involved.
The World's Toughest Vegan has helped compose some of the company's best matches in the last two years.
Among those that had an extremely high rating include Bryan's battle at Extreme Rules 2012 against Sheamus, the match against The Shield at TLC 2012 and his two classics opposite CM Punk at last year's Money in the Bank and Over the Limit.
Considering how good these matches were, it feels inevitable that a future Bryan match will be just a touch better in Meltzer's eyes and join the exclusive WWE five-star club. Looking back at Punk vs. Bryan at Over the Limit shows off what Bryan is capable of against a top-level performer.
Great chemistry led to the two men being in sync, with smooth, gorgeous transitions from move to move and the ability to maintain momentum from bell to bell.
As with all of Bryan's work, he combined high-flying, submission and striking in a symphony of violence. Beyond the moves, though, there was a sense of drama in Punk vs. Bryan that made the match seem momentous, that winning or losing had great magnitude.
Bryan's surging popularity is going to give multiple opportunities in the spotlight against WWE's best. In that situation, magic is bound to happen.
Meltzer's five previous WWE five-star matches have all featured not only great performers, but rivals with crackling chemistry.
That is true of Steve Austin and Bret Hart, Bret and Owen Hart, Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon, Michaels and Undertaker, as well as John Cena and Punk. Bryan, like Michaels before him, seems to have good chemistry with just about anyone he faces.
To garner a perfect rating, though, Bryan will have to clash with someone who he gels with at a tremendous level.
So far, it's clear than Bryan has that kind of relationship with Punk, but he's also shown glimpses of that against Dolph Ziggler, John Cena and Seth Rollins. A huge part of why matches involving Team Hell No and The Shield have been so successful has been the spark created when Rollins and Bryan collide.
Like with Punk, Bryan's rivalry with Rollins goes back to their Ring of Honor days.
Watching them lock horns in their ROH match in 2008 is mesmerizing. Bryan's size allows Rollins to use a full range of moves and not limit him to being a high-flyer. Their wrestling acumen, athleticism and storytelling abilities create an enthralling, multifaceted viewing experience.
This is a feud that could eventually involve a major WWE title.
Should Rollins and Bryan face off at the culmination of a long rivalry with a championship on the line, it's not hard to imagine a 20-minute or longer masterpiece between them giving Meltzer no choice but to give them five stars.
Otherwise, the goat-faced one may end up achieving that honor against Cena, with whom he had a fantastic match on WWE Raw, or against Ziggler, whom he's had great bouts with including a memorable fight at Bragging Rights 2010.
Considering how well he works against all these guys and others, the smart money for WWE's next five-star match is on Bryan.
Every time he straps on his boots, he is on the verge of his magnum opus.