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Daniel Bryan's WWE SmackDown Career Ends After Losing to Roman Reigns

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMay 1, 2021

Photo credit: WWE.com

Roman Reigns defeated Daniel Bryan on Friday night's edition of WWE SmackDown to retain the Universal Championship, meaning his rival must now leave the blue brand. 

Reigns used the guillotine to submit Bryan by referee decision after a battle that saw the two future Hall of Famers go back-and-forth in an instant classic. The Universal champion survived a running knee and Yes Lock before turning the tide on Bryan, whose WWE future is up in the air.

After the match, Reigns attacked Bryan with a conchairto with Cesaro tied to the ring ropes and held back by Jey Uso. 

The contest was made official last week when The Tribal Chief eschewed Cesaro's challenge for a title match and instead decided to challenge Bryan despite the fact that Bryan was trumpeting for The Swiss Cyborg.

Cesaro urged his friend to accept, but Reigns added a caveat, noting that if Bryan could not beat The Tribal Chief, he would have to depart SmackDown.

While the stakes were high, Bryan decided to accept the challenge after falling short of winning the Universal Championship at WrestleMania 37.

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The issues between Reigns and Bryan began at Elimination Chamber when Bryan won an Elimination Chamber match to earn a title shot. The Tribal Chief came out to face him immediately after, and Bryan was no match for him due to the damage he incurred during the Chamber match.

Bryan did earn another title bout, however, and he challenged Reigns again at Fastlane. He actually made The Head of the Table tap out, but the referee was incapacitated, allowing Edge to hit Bryan with a chair and Reigns to eventually pin The Yes! Man.

Given the controversial finish to that match, WWE official Adam Pearce agreed to give Bryan another opportunity in the form of making the WrestleMania 37 main event between Reigns and Edge a Triple Threat with Bryan also involved.

Both Bryan and Edge pushed Reigns to the limit, but the titleholder was victorious once again, as he took his opponents out with a conchairto and pinned them at the same time.

That was seemingly the end of the line for Bryan in terms of title shots, but since he appeared to get under Reigns' skin last week, The Tribal Chief gave him another chance.

By virtue of his win, Reigns extended his 240-plus-day universal title run, while Bryan's future is now in question.

Bryan could be set to take some time off or perhaps even leave WWE completely, or the loss could simply be a way to transition him to Raw or NXT. He could also move to a more permanent creative role behind the scenes.

         

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