The past two weeks of WWE programming have been very eventful ones indeed. On the June 2 edition of Monday Night Raw, Seth Rollins shockingly turned on his Shield teammates Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns. The very next week on Raw, Daniel Bryan was stripped of the WWE World Championship due to still recovering from neck surgery.
While both incidents seem to be unrelated, the truth is that they could eventually be more connected than any fan realizes. In fact we could be looking at what could potentially be the next great WWE World title rivalry.
Bryan's removal as champ has likely been very difficult for many to accept. After all, his rise in the company came as a result of not only his hard work, but the huge support of the WWE faithful as well.
The fans believed in Daniel; they saw something in him that made them want to cheer for him, to see him rise to the top. Bryan represented the average person in the crowd, the guy that didn't really look like a WWE Superstar but who was living his dreams and fighting the good fight despite being held down.
And The Authority held him down from day one.
From the moment that Triple H turned on Bryan at SummerSlam in 2013, Daniel has found himself with his back against the wall. The Authority did everything in its power to stop him from making any forward progress in the company and they threw everything they had at him to discourage him from even trying.
Triple H and Stephanie McMahon used other Superstars like Kane, Big Show and even The Shield to keep Bryan from winning the big one. They publicly mocked him as a B+ player and they belittled everything he had accomplished in his WWE career.
The Authority believed that Daniel Bryan was not worth the effort that he was putting in. But fans felt otherwise.
They supported him through it all; they cheered for him, they chanted "yes" at the top of their lungs and the reactions they gave him rivaled any top babyface that WWE has featured in years. The crowd took the ride with Daniel all the way to WrestleMania 30 and the WWE World Championship.
And the payoff of his title victory was everything that fans could have hoped for.
So when Daniel was stripped of the belt, it was likely more than just a letdown for those that believed in him as a top-level main event Superstar.
Now that he's out of the equation in the short term, the question is what happens with the WWE World Championship? The answer to that lies at the company's next pay-per-view, Money in the Bank on June 29.
As of this writing, four Superstars have been booked to compete in the traditional ladder match: Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio, Cesaro and Randy Orton. The prize for the winner is the company's top championship, which essentially means that WWE is moving on to the next man at the top.
Could Seth Rollins perhaps be added to that match, setting up a showdown with Bryan at a later date?
While that scenario seems a little unlikely due to the fact that Seth only recently turned heel, the truth is that a possible rivalry between Rollins and Bryan over the belt does not seem that unlikely at all. They match up well in the ring, as they have similar high-octane move sets and they share intensity in their styles.
The two men have a history, as Seth was part of the faction that Triple H used to keep Bryan from the title in the first place. WWE can draw from that history, providing the backdrop for a rivalry between them.
This potential feud also keeps the heat alive between Daniel and Triple H, who has endorsed Seth Rollins on WWE programming. While Bryan is still referred to as the B+ player, the fact is that Seth is the man that could very likely be considered the future; or at least the future as Triple H sees it.
Seth is onboard with The Authority. His days of defying them and fighting the system are over; he is now part of the system, standing shoulder to shoulder with WWE's corporate heels. He now wants what they want, which means he is almost certainly at their command.
All The Game has to do is point Seth in Daniel's direction and then watch the war begin anew.
And with the WWE World title in the mix, the rivalry takes on a whole new meaning. Assuming Bryan gets another chance at the belt when he comes back and assuming he wins it, Seth could very well be the first man sent by Triple H to challenge for the gold. Hunter has made it his mission to keep Daniel from the top and he would surely like nothing more than to use his newest protegee to bring Bryan back down to earth.
The timing may be a bit early right now but the potential for Seth and Daniel to have a truly great rivalry is definitely there. They have faced off before in some very impressive bouts and it's that chemistry that could be the foundation for them to feud as soon as Bryan is healthy enough to return.
Of course the issues between Seth and The Shield will have to be dealt with first. But when they are, then Daniel Bryan and the WWE World Championship could very well be waiting in the wings.
Great rivalries are what fuel the top level WWE Superstars. Stone Cold had The Rock, The Undertaker had Mankind, Shawn Michaels had Chris Jericho and John Cena has Randy Orton. Could Daniel Bryan versus Seth Rollins be added to that list?
Only time will tell.