Daniel Bryan is one of the greatest wrestlers in the world.
There is very little doubt that he is the best wrestler in WWE today.
When Daniel Bryan won the Money in the Bank briefcase, the emotion on his face told the whole story of his journey to this point.
He has been beaten, crippled and shot down for a decade. Now it is time to finally shine.
Bryan is planning to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase at WrestleMania, to finally get his moment at the "Grandest Stage of Them All."
Lately, Bryan has been on a bit of a losing streak, but we have a ways to go before 'Mania.
With half a year between now and WrestleMania, a lot can change, but, if Daniel Bryan goes to WrestleMania XXVIII, there are only a few men he should be and is likely to be wrestling for the Holy Grail of SmackDown.
Before looking at the main event talent, let's look at a few guys who would truly create a spectacle with Bryan at 'Mania if given the chance, though seem unlikely due to status in the company.
William Regal: This is not going to happen, but it would be pretty great. Regal has stated that he would like one run as the first ever English World Champion, and Bryan has tweeted about this possibility. If Regal wins the title, he probably won't make to Mania, but he and Bryan (teacher vs. student) with at least 20 minutes could be one of the greatest technical contests in WWE history.
Wade Barrett: Anyone who watched SummerSlam probably remembers Christian and Randy Orton, alongside CM Punk and John Cena. These matches were great but so was the undercard match between Bryan and Barrett. These guys took each other to the limit. Having Barrett win the title and feud with Bryan toward WrestleMania would more than make up for WWE dropping the feud after SummerSlam. The history between these two and their talent would be great to watch.
Sheamus: The closest Bryan ever got WrestleMania was his match with Sheamus. In the end though, WWE dropped the match for a dark match battle royal, won by the Great Khali. In order to remedy this, the match could be revisited as Sheamus and Bryan would go at it. Bryan would probably have to turn heel for this sort of a feud to work, though, which is unlikely if he has made it to WrestleMania with the briefcase.
CM Punk: This is a cheat as he is a Raw star, but the possibility is too enticing to leave out. The work these guys could do on a big stage like WrestleMania would no doubt steal the show. The emotion of this type of a hard fought contest could muster, where Punk is the only man standing in the way of Bryan's dream, would transcend every other match on the card.
Chris Jericho has been gone for about a year now. Fans are clambering for his return every day.
If he does come back, don't expect it until the Road to WrestleMania really starts up.
Jericho could use the Royal Rumble for his return, winning it and challenging the champion at WWE Elimination Chamber—which he would win.
A Jericho vs. Bryan match seems unlikely at this point, but it would be great.
This would not even need to be a heel Jericho vs a face Daniel Bryan.
This could simply be the master Jericho vs the rookie Bryan.
The tension between these two as they build up to the final clash would be phenomenal, but it would pail in comparison to the match.
When you put two of the greatest technical wrestlers of all time into one ring, magic happens.
Given 30 minutes and a great build up, a Daniel Bryan win would seal this match as a show stealer.
This is the most fascinating possibility for me of any opponent for Bryan.
There has been talk about Daniel Bryan's possible opponents at WrestleMania, and who will fight the streak at WrestleMania, but no one ever seems to think about these two moments as one match.
Of course, the Undertaker would have to get a hold of the title first, which would force him to wrestle a few more matches probably taking it away from Mark Henry.
The Undertaker may very well be wrestling his last match at WrestleMania XXVIII. If so, the WWE will see the final exit of a true legend.
The last act of the Undertaker should be one that makes a truly lasting impression, and putting over Daniel Bryan as a new young talent could be a great way to finally leave.
The most intriguing part of the match is it is streak against streak. Can the Money in the Bank winner ever lose, and can the Undertaker ever lose at WrestleMania? Regardless of who wins, both will have made a phenomenal and lasting impression on the WWE.
These two could have a great match, possibly rivaling Michaels vs Taker, if the Undertaker has it it in the tank, and this could create a star in Bryan even if he loses.
Bryan could be made into a legitimate star here more than from any other match, and, since the Undertaker would retire after that night, Bryan would probably become the next champion even without ending the streak by being awarded it or winning a tournament shortly afterward.
Here we start to get down to the more realistic possibilities for Bryan.
I would love to see Christian get one more run as champion where he actually has a legitimate chance to shine for a few months.
After that, Bryan and Christian could have a great and classic build up between heel and face where the good guy and the underdog Daniel Bryan ends up beating the sinister villain in Christian.
These two are too good to be left off the card at WrestleMania this year, and together they could create an amazing match that would be exciting, high octane, and technically masterful.
This is the kind of match that deserves to be a WrestleMania match.
This here is the most likely match going into WrestleMania.
WWE always scrambles to have their top stars with the World Title, and Randy Orton is the face of SmackDown.
Daniel Bryan has said that this would be a dream match for him because Orton is the top star on SmackDown, and Bryan wants to beat the best to become the best.
As a face vs face contest, this could be an amazing contest.
Watching Bryan try to overcome the odds against the huge star in Randy Orton would phenomenal to watch and create an amazing WrestleMania moment if he wins.
Both men are phenomenal athletes who I could see really going at it for 30 or so minutes without pause.
The problem is that, as a face, it is hard to see Randy Orton actually taping out to the LaBell Lock or the guillotine choke.
This kind of match would be amazing, but it creates the fear that Orton will squash Daniel Bryan and stay at the top.
This would be the worst technical match of all the possibilities, but the build up and story would be unmatchable.
Mark just won the World Heavyweight Championship six days ago. His reign of terror has been great up to this point. Now that he has the title, further destruction will occur.
In order for this match to happen, he would have to hold the title for half a year.
During this time, Henry would go through Randy, Christian, Sheamus, a returning Kane and Big Show and a variety of other stars.
It would be one of the most dominant reigns in the past five years at least.
When it seems that there is no one left, enter Daniel Bryan.
These two would create a true masterpiece in storytelling as they tell the age old tale of the underdog toppling the behemoth. David would find a way to beat Goliath.
While Henry is not the greatest worker, his wrestling and, most importantly, storytelling has created some great matches. At Night of Champions, his match with Randy Orton was the match of the night and probably the best match Henry has ever wrestled.
The emotion in the arena would be palpable as these two battle back and forth until Bryan clamps on his guillotine choke. When Henry finally taps, the crowd would go crazy.
This would forever set up Daniel Bryan as a main event star.
WrestleMania is still months away.
There is no telling if Bryan will go heel and cash in early or if he'll even lose the briefcase.
The fact is that, if Bryan makes it to WrestleMania XXVIII, he will have the chance to create magic.
The best wrestler in WWE will get his first ever WrestleMania moment on live television, and it should be phenomenal.
Whether he faces one of these men in singles competition or faces a few of them together, don't expect any less than the best match of the night.
With Shawn Michaels gone, we might see the creation of the new Mr. WrestleMania in Daniel Bryan. With his technical prowess and a big moment like his first World Title win, it is obvious that he would have the ability to take that crown.
Do you agree?
Did I miss someone from SmackDown that Bryan could be facing at WrestleMania?
Do you think all of these opponents are possibilities?