World Wrestling Entertainment

Why Daniel Bryan should head to NXT after being banned from SmackDown

BY Ryan Satin • May 1

By Ryan Satin
FOX Sports WWE Analyst 

Friday Night SmackDown this week was bittersweet, as fans were treated to a PPV-worthy main event for Roman Reigns’ Universal Championship that unfortunately ended with Daniel Bryan being barred from the show.

Before we get into that, I want to give WWE credit for making the match between Daniel and Roman feel important throughout the night. 

The predictions from talent in backstage or selfie videos gave the main event a big fight feel, and (for some reason) these comments just felt more genuine than when it has been done in the past. 

It helps that Daniel and Roman are two of the top performers in the company, so a match between them for the Universal title on TV is truly a big deal, but hyping it up as the show went on was effective for a number of reasons.

First, it reminded viewers that Roman defending his title on TV as opposed to a PPV is significant. This helps build the importance of the Universal Championship, as well as establish that Roman Reigns matches are more of an attraction rather than a regularity. Therefore, you can’t miss one if it’s airing on SmackDown.

It also made Daniel losing the match feel that much more meaningful.

Had it not been built up as one of the biggest matches in recent memory on SmackDown, Bryan’s loss and subsequent banishment from the show wouldn’t have mattered as much.

Now, however, they’ve set the emotional stage for Cesaro to avenge the loss of his friend as he prepares for a Universal Title shot in the near future (or at least, that’s where it seems to be going). This could finally catapult "The Swiss Cyborg" into the main event scene for more than just a cup of coffee. 

Bonus points for the clean finish at the end of the match and Roman finally getting a new entrance theme that has final boss vibes.

The big question going forward, though, is what this means for Daniel Bryan’s future in WWE.

The 39-year-old Superstar has been open about the fact that his full-time status in WWE might be coming to an end when his current contract expires, so it’s unclear if he’ll be taking some time away to figure out how he wants to spend the next few years or just moving brands.

I think the smart move is putting Daniel Bryan on NXT for a short period of time. Think of the dream matches we could see if that happened!

Daniel Bryan vs. Johnny Gargano. Daniel Bryan vs. WALTER. Daniel Bryan vs. KUSHIDA. Daniel Bryan vs. Kyle O’Reilly. Daniel Bryan vs. Santos Escobar.  Daniel Bryan vs. Timothy Thatcher

I could go on, but I think you catch my drift.

Bryan would also be a great resource of knowledge for the younger NXT talent given that he is not only a WrestleMania main eventer but also an indie icon and one of best wrestlers of all time. 

A move to NXT shouldn’t be a forever thing, as I understand that isn't really smart for business, but a short stint for a few months could really elevate the brand and get some new eyes on the product. 

I also don’t believe Daniel is needed on Raw right now. 

Drew McIntyre occupies the top babyface role, and Riddle is on his way to the No. 2 spot with the way he’s being positioned as of late. Plus, some of the programs available there would look like retreads rather than something fresh.

Based on what Daniel has said in recent interviews, however, the most likely scenario for him seems to be taking some time off to work out his next contract.

Either way, Bryan has been a huge part of SmackDown’s success these past few years, and it’s honestly going to be weird to not have him on the show anymore. 

If you think back, Daniel has been a SmackDown guy since his run as general manager starting back in 2016, when he was still retired from in-ring competition. He then made an unexpected return to the ring, won the WWE Championship, turned heel as "The New" Daniel Bryan and turned back into a babyface, all while repping team blue.

Daniel’s presence helped SmackDown feel like the show that focuses more on the in-ring product over sports entertainment due to the level of legitimacy he brings to the table. 

As the leader of "The Yes Movement" now makes his exit from the brand, there will be a void felt each week, but hopefully, Cesaro and others are able to fill it with ease. I have all the confidence in the world that they can.

One thing is for certain, though. We’re all lucky to live in an era when we get to watch Daniel Bryan wrestle, especially considering that wasn’t possible for a while. His last few years on SmackDown have been a treat for us fans.

I have a feeling we’re going to look back on this run of his with great fondness.

Do you agree with these thoughts? Tell me on Twitter @RyanSatin.

Ryan Satin is a WWE analyst for FOX Sports. Satin previously appeared on FS1's "WWE Backstage" and founded Pro Wrestling Sheet, where he broke countless news stories as editor-in-chief.

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