As you will have likely heard by now, Daniel Bryan is scheduled to undergo neck surgery this week. It’s a massive blow not only to him, but the company as well. It’s losing one of its most valuable and popular stars.
The status of his current WWE World Heavyweight Championship reign is up in the air. Stephanie McMahon was on the verge of stripping him of the belt on Monday's Raw, until Kane’s brutal attack on the champion distracted her.
Per F4Wonline.com, WWE is hoping the star will only be out a month or two and that it won’t need to vacate the title.
Regardless of whether Bryan will be out for two months or longer, there is now the opportunity for other stars in the company to rise up and seize the spotlight.
The criminally underrated Dolph Ziggler even took to his official Twitter account earlier today to volunteer to help fill in the gap.
Hey @WWE if you need someone to step up for the next few weeks, Im already here doing it. Wouldnt even have to outsource— Dolph Ziggler (@HEELZiggler) May 13, 2014
Of course, while it would be nice to see Ziggler given a chance to shine, it’s probably not going to happen. WWE has clearly lost faith in the wrestler over the past year, and that doesn’t look likely to change any time soon.
Others, though, have a decent shot at getting a push in Bryan’s absence.
Since winning the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania XXX, Cesaro has undergone a career renaissance.
Thanks to his talent and fantastic, crowd-pleasing Big Swing finisher, the Swiss has a tremendous amount of potential as a good-guy character.
It’s not absurd to think he could blossom as a babyface character as Bryan recuperates from his injury.
Big E Langston is another up-and-comer with great potential.
Alas, the former NXT wrestler’s stock has fallen somewhat in recent times—he lost his Intercontinental Championship at Extreme Rules and has struggled to find a meaningful program on television—but it shouldn’t be too hard for the company to build him back up again. Assuming, of course, it even wants to.
Wade Barrett, the man who defeated him and took his belt at the pay-per-view, is another name WWE can count on to step up in Bryan’s absence.
His “Bad News Barrett” is emerging as a hit act, and a face turn in the future seems likely.
(Really, what does make him a heel anyway? People are clearly keen to cheer him.)
He’s a decent wrestler, funny on the mic and has charisma in spades, why doesn’t WWE strap the rocket to him?
Bryan’s injury is awful timing, no doubt about it.
But, instead of panicking, WWE brass would be smart to see that his absence also presents a unique opportunity for the company to get over several new stars. The talented wrestlers are there, WWE just has to utilize them.