Every Friday, I analyze past storylines that were altered by real-life instances, including injuries, suspensions and more. In this series of articles, I predict what would have happened in the angle had it gone as originally planned.
Since SummerSlam, Daniel Bryan has been in chase mode for the WWE Championship and has been headlining Monday Night Raw on a weekly basis. With John Cena currently out with an injury, it has allowed Bryan to be utilized as the company's biggest babyface, something that many people believe was long overdue.
Upon his arrival on the WWE scene in February 2010, Bryan was named one of eight contestants on an all-new reality show entitled NXT. It was ludicrous to think that Bryan needed a mentor after touring the independent scene for close to a decade, but it was essential in getting the WWE fan base familiar with The American Dragon.
Despite being the first one eliminated from the competition, Bryan continued to make appearances on WWE television, attacking The Miz and Michael Cole. He was gradually gaining momentum as a fighting babyface, but what happened next was something that no one saw coming.
On the Viewer's Choice edition of Raw in early June, every rookie that took part in the inaugural season of NXT made a beeline towards the ring and destructively decimated everything and everyone in sight. From John Cena to Jerry Lawler, no one was safe from this brutal bedlam.
During the attack, Bryan choked ring announcer Justin Roberts with his own necktie before spitting in the face of Cena in the ring. Due to his explicit actions, Bryan was legitimately released from the company mere days later via WWE.com.
Wade Barrett, the mastermind behind it all, stated on the subsequent episode of Raw that Bryan was exiled from the stable due to showing remorse for his actions. The group that would later be known as The Nexus went on to revolutionize Raw and the entire wrestling world.
Over the course of that summer, chants for Daniel Bryan could be heard at various WWE events. Meanwhile, Bryan was accepting independent bookings and wrestling in high school gymnasiums.
However, after two months had passed, backstage officials finally listened to the fans and re-signed Bryan that August. He made his surprise return in the main event of the SummerSlam pay-per-view as a part of Team WWE, defeating The Nexus in a seven-on-seven elimination tag team match.
To this day, it remains a mystery as to whether Bryan was truly fired from the company or if it was all just a "work." Regardless, Bryan went on to have an immense amount of success in WWE and the rest is history.
That being said, one question begs to be asked: What would have happened if Bryan didn't depart from the company to begin with?
I highly doubt that the plan all along was to get rid of Bryan from the start of the storyline. If that was the case, then WWE wouldn't have had him be involved in the initial attack in the first place.
Aside from Bryan, no one ever really left Nexus to become a breakout babyface (no, Darren Young doesn't count). The plan in the long scheme of things might have been to have Bryan eventually fight against his stablemates, but his match against the faction at SummerSlam that year was simply a one-off and he never crossed paths with them again.
Instead, Bryan went on to feud with his former protégé The Miz and defeat him for the United States Championship shortly thereafter. Had he not been released, I assume Bryan would have been involved in a top-tier storyline with the black-and-yellow group as opposed to being utilized in the midcard, but that is merely my opinion.
As noted before, though, Bryan has since become a three-time world champion in WWE and is currently one of the most notable names in the industry. It is unknown as to whether his 2010 firing (which Bryan referred to on television not too long ago) would have affected his success in the company, but it is clear that Bryan would have still gone against all odds in order to make a name for himself in the WWE.
Thanks for reading, and be sure to drop a comment below with your thoughts on Daniel Bryan's WWE departure in 2010. Also, mention any potential topics you would like to see analyzed in upcoming editions of WWE Flashback Friday.
Read every archived edition of WWE Flashback Friday here.
Graham Mirmina, a.k.a. Graham "GSM" Matthews, is a journalism major atEndicott College. Visit his website at Next Era Wrestling and "like" his official Facebook page to continue the conversation on all things wrestling.