Daniel Bryan is currently on the mend after his recent neck surgery. The WWE World champion fought an uphill battle to win the title, only to see his reign perhaps cut short due to his injury. WWE's top champion is scheduled to appear at Payback on June 1, at which time the status of the title may finally be revealed to fans.
But while Bryan is dealing with his share of adversity both in and out of the ring, the fact is that it will only get much harder for him. The reason for that is when he does eventually return to the fold, John Cena will likely be waiting for him.
Assuming that Bryan somehow manages to keep the WWE World Championship after Payback, he will surely have to contend with facing Cena once again. The reason for that has to do with what happened back in 2013, when fans were clamoring to see Daniel finally get a fair shot at the company's top prize.
It was on July 15, 2013 when John Cena stood in the middle of the ring and made the decision of who he wanted to face at SummerSlam. While many names made the list like Randy Orton, Sheamus and Rob Van Dam, the fact is that only one name was chanted in the crowd.
And that name was Daniel Bryan.
Bryan had become the must-see Superstar in WWE. Everything he did in the ring was just spot on; his dynamic, fast-paced style could only be described as controlled chaos. He brought fans to their feet every time he started running and his overall ability could not be denied.
Daniel Bryan was a technician and fans respected what he brought to the table.
In addition to his ring work, Daniel had also become very popular because of his character. While Bryan's physical energy was limitless, his delivery on the mic was more reserved.
But it was just as entertaining.
Daniel had a great sense of humor and it definitely came through every time he spoke. Even the most ridiculous spots involving him and Kane as Team Hell No seemed to come very easy. Daniel Bryan's perceived social awkwardness lent itself to many jokes in the beginning. Bryan was a nerd, a geek, a guy that refused to own a TV or eat meat, all facts that were exploited in an attempt to get him over with the masses.
But it was not until he turned heel and grew the beard that fans began to truly accept him. His reputation for being a little goofy and naive soon morphed into raging paranoia and neurotic behavior. Daniel went from being mildly annoying and basically irrelevant to being very funny and very interesting. And he did it all with just one word.
The Yes Movement may have been a storyline tool but there was really no better way to describe the incredible amount of fan support that was given to Daniel from July of 2013 to the present day. Bryan rode a wave of excitement and energy the likes of which had really not been seen since CM Punk dropped the pipebomb back in 2011.
Daniel Bryan was coming into his own and it was thanks to John Cena that he was put on the road to the top championship.
Cena versus Bryan at SummerSlam in 2013 was surely everything that Daniel's fans expected and much more. It was the untested Daniel Bryan against the established top star of John Cena. Cena was giving Daniel a chance to prove what he could do and rise to the occasion on a worldwide stage. And that is exactly what Bryan did.
And even though Bryan's title win that night ended very suddenly thanks to both Randy Orton and Triple H, the fact is that Bryan did what very few Superstars has ever done. He stepped up to John Cena and beat him in his first attempt. Not only did he win, he also took John's championship from him as well.
Since then, both Daniel and John have moved on to the next chapters of their WWE careers. But despite how far they seem to be from each other, it's likely just a matter of time until the two men cross paths once again.
The biggest reason for that lies with John Cena. The truth is that John has been the top guy for quite a while now. During that time, he has faced and beaten every top name that the company could throw at him. Triple H, Shawn Michaels, The Rock, Brock Lesnar, all of them have stepped up and all of them have been sat back down.
John Cena is the top guy in WWE and that's just the way it is.
So even though his character is a babyface, Cena would surely not take any loss lying down. That is especially true for championship losses, which are even rarer for him.
John will eventually look back to Daniel Bryan for an opponent. The rematch that could have taken place for the WWE title will now be for the unified championship, barring any unforeseen circumstances. Cena's character would want to know who the best is; he would want to know if SummerSlam was merely just a fluke or if Bryan has his number.
And for Bryan, a rematch would be more about testing himself rather than reaffirming his spot in the company.
Daniel is part of the new generation, a fresh face whose hard work and dedication to his craft have paid very big dividends for him. He is now viewed on the same level as the upper crust of WWE and that includes John Cena.
The fact that he beat Cena for the WWE Championship in his first attempt speaks volumes about just how much faith the company has in him as a performer. And that faith would be on the line once again when Daniel steps through the ropes to face John in a rematch for the title.
John has traditionally been presented as WWE's top babyface Superstar despite the hate leveled at him on a weekly basis. Daniel is unquestionably one of, if not the, top babyface in WWE as well. And the possibility of them coexisting on the same level without eventually crossing paths once again seems like a very impossible notion to be sure.
The rematch between John Cena and Daniel Bryan is coming. It may not be right now but the fact is that eventually, Cena will be in a position to challenge for the WWE World title and if that belt is held by Bryan, then fans will see them mix it up once again. For John it will be about reaffirming his spot in the company and for Daniel, it will be about testing himself once more against the top guy in the industry.
The rematch between these two men is just inevitable. And it could happen sooner rather than later.