Best WrestleMania Feuds for Daniel Bryan Outside of WWE Title Picture
While Elimination Chamber hasn't played out yet, and there is still time to insert him into the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania, Daniel Bryan does not currently have a guaranteed spot on the show.
But even if Bryan is not the challenger nor the champion come WrestleMania, does that mean he is doomed without an opponent?
There are still several different wrestlers who could be paired up with Bryan to give him a worthwhile spot at WrestleMania—even if, in the grand scheme of things, some of them would not be anywhere near as good or important as fans are craving.
Ranked in ascending order of how much they would probably satisfy fans, here is a list of several alternative people that Bryan may face off against at the biggest show of the year.
The Wyatt Family
Daniel Bryan seems to have finished his program with The Wyatt Family, but that hasn't stopped WWE from continuing things beyond that point in the past.
CM Punk's feud with Paul Heyman could have had several different ending points but dragged on longer than it should have.
For that matter, sometimes WWE ends something without a resolution whatsoever, such as Kane's involvement with The Wyatt Family.
It would be a bit of a stretch that the fans wouldn't be particularly excited for, but there aren't a whole lot of other options out there when you consider the rest of the roster.
Bryan will not be facing people like Zack Ryder, Darren Young, Curtis Axel or anyone else who doesn't seem to truly matter.
So in comparison, a match involving The Wyatt Family may not be the ideal situation, but since Bray Wyatt is a bigger name and these two have had some storyline investment in each other, there are significantly worse options.
The Authority in General
Clearly, the big antagonist for Daniel Bryan right now is The Authority faction in general, so it would make sense to have him square off against someone that has ties to them.
Maybe Daniel Bryan leads a team of people in a tag match against several members of The Authority such as Kane or even The Shield.
Someone like Sheamus could align himself with The Authority and set up a grudge match between the two.
The trouble with this setup is that it is a huge step down and it would disappoint fans, but that doesn't mean WWE necessarily has any better plans for him.
We can hope that there will be more to Bryan's appearance at WrestleMania than this, but we should always be careful not to ignore that things could be worse.
Perhaps CM Punk's absence from the company is a ruse and the whole plan will involve some kind of a heel turn, setting up a match with Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania.
It is a long shot to say the least, but stranger things have happened in the past that have made considerably less sense—not to say that this would be a logical plan to begin with.
But only a handful of wrestlers on the current WWE roster are big enough names to justify having a match with Bryan at this year's event.
CM Punk is one of the few people that fans would enjoy to see go against Bryan due to their chemistry together and their overlapping supporters in the audience.
Until the 2014 Elimination Chamber pay-per-view is done and over with, nearly all speculation can be humored.
CM Punk could always return and cost Bryan the match or something admittedly more creative than that.
None of us know for sure what is going to happen in regards to CM Punk, so entertaining the idea of a match between him and Bryan isn't beyond the realm of possibilities.
It's unlikely to happen, but the match would be excellent.
It would seem like Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker is a lock for this year's WrestleMania, but the card is always subject to change.
Nothing has been set in stone for that match to happen where WWE cannot back out of it and change the game plan.
That means we could see Sting try to end the streak instead, or perhaps Sheamus could give it a shot.
Even Daniel Bryan could be put in that position.
The Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t WrestlingInc.com) has reported that The Undertaker may have even requested to work with Bryan, which could be all that is necessary to justify signing such a match.
Whenever rumors surface like that they have to be taken with a grain of salt, but they shouldn't be ignored entirely.
The streak match against The Undertaker has become the unofficial alternate main event of the evening for the past few years.
In many ways, CM Punk's attempt at the streak last year was a consolation prize for not being in the WWE championship match, so that could very well happen again with Daniel Bryan.
This almost seems like a forgone conclusion at this point, as Bryan is simply too popular with the crowd to give him the lesser choices previously mentioned.
It goes without saying that logic is also on the side of this match happening, as the story has been building since SummerSlam.
Daniel Bryan should rightfully seek vengeance when it comes to The Authority and having him face off with someone like Sheamus does not fulfill that promise.
Plus, having this match as the last one of the night solves one of the issues plaguing WrestleMania XXX at the moment.
Having this match close the show, on the other hand, makes it all but certain that the crowd would be red hot going into the main event.
What better way to finish WrestleMania XXX than to have the most over person in the company celebrating with an entire arena doing the "Yes" chant?
For that matter, who else is going to face Triple H at WrestleMania if it isn't Bryan?
With CM Punk missing and potentially gone for good, the most prominent wrestler outside of John Cena would be Sheamus, and rehashing his feud with Triple H from years before cannot and would not matter in comparison.
At this point, if Bryan is not inserted into the title picture in some capacity, WWE would be fools not to have him defeat Triple H in the main event of WrestleMania.
What would you like to see? Are there any opponents you hope Daniel Bryan will go up against if he isn't in the WWE Championship match?
Sound off in the comments below and fill us in on your thoughts!
Anthony Mango is the owner-operator of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment as well as the host of its podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.