WWE Must Develop Heel Challengers for Daniel Bryan

Alfred KonuwaFeatured ColumnistMay 12, 2014

Credit: WWE.com

Daniel Bryan is entering month two of what has seemed like an endless slow, painful rivalry with former tag team partner Kane.

Now a masked caricature of an already zany persona, Kane quickly went from corporate sellout to vintage monster with very little build-up. At the behest of Stephanie McMahon, his goal has been to "eviscerate" Daniel Bryan since donning his familiar mask. 

The return of the Big Red Machine in its entirety has been rushed, and for good reason. WWE is currently lacking in strong heels who can serve as a viable threat to Bryan's WWE World Heavyweight championship, so they're leaning on an old reliable. 

Current top heels are either young and developing (Bray Wyatt), on their way back from the abyss (Bad News Barrett) or raw and finding themselves (Cesaro).

With Kane and Bryan setting up for a rematch of a feud that becomes more ridiculous with time, Bryan's next heel challenger cannot come soon enough.

WWE can always pluck Cena from its championship contender ranks for a money babyface-babyface rematch of last year's SummerSlam main event. But this would go against Cena's announced mission to usher in a new era, with prospective talents having to “go through [him]” to get to the top.

For Bryan to continue to be a legitimate champion atop WWE, he'll need a more serious line of challengers than a 47-year-old monster. Even if WWE's current crop of half-baked heels isn't ready, it will soon become necessary to throw them into the proverbial deep end and hope they don't drown.

Bryan has a track record of standout records against both Cesaro and Wyatt, who could easily transition into feuds with the new WWE World Heavyweight champion now that their current feuds have peaked.

With the growing popularity of WWE NXT, giving up-and-comers—and NXT alumnus—world title shots will further legitimize that brand.

Who's to say that Bo Dallas couldn't be a candidate if he quickly catches fire on the main roster? Receiving a premature world title shot in a losing effort is actually better than winning a world title prematurely since losing can be built upon.

It's worth mentioning that NXT programming is only available on WWE Network, so this would be yet another marketing ploy to drive subscriptions.

To drive interest in the Daniel Bryan brand, which at its core is a brand built upon wrestling and underdog heroics, Bryan will need opposition that will bring out his best attributes.

Horror-movie acting and rescuing the damsel in distress are far from Bryan's strengths. As long as his rivalry with the demon Kane continues, his many strengths will continue to be hidden.


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