Tensions heated up on Smackdown Live after Daniel Bryan sabotaged Shane McMahon’s attempt to fire Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn at ‘Clash of Champions’.
McMahon was ready to plant his hand on the mat to signal a three count pinfall that would have ended the WWE careers of Owens and Zayn, but was prevented by Bryan, who ‘accidentally’ fell on the guest referee.
To make matters worse, Bryan was on hand for the three count that saw Owens and Zayn defeat Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura.
On the following episode of Smackdown Live an angry McMahon called out his General Manager Daniel Bryan to explain his actions.
Bryan explained that despite the actions of Owens and Zayn in the previous weeks, Smackdown Live was the ‘land of opportunity’ and both wrestlers deserved to have their chance to fulfil their talent.
Bryan even went as far as to suggest Shane’s spiteful persona was resemblant of his father Vince McMahon.
In reply Shane said Owens and Zayn had ruined their chances on Smackdown after attacking his father and sabotaging Smackdown Live’s chance of beating Raw at Survivor Series.
Then Shane rose the possibility of the Authority by saying Bryan went against what was ‘best for business’.
The line about business is resemblant of Bryan’s past rivalry with the authority. The ‘Yes’ movement was the symbol of Bryan contesting the people in charge of the WWE.
Bryan was considered not the ideal WWE Champion and was put down at every possible opportunity by Stephanie McMahon, Triple H and their puppet Randy Orton, until Bryan finally claimed the WWE World Heavy Weight Championship at Wrestlemania 30.
Back in 2013/14 when Bryan was making his push for the Heavy Weight Championship it was easy to work out who was the face and the heel in the storyline.
Bryan was the underdog hero who was trying to achieve every WWE fans lifelong dream, while being held back by the Authority, who still believed wrestlers had to be in the mould of a Randy Orton.
In todays feud the lines are not so clear. Bryan is still a fan favourite and has the best interest of the wrestlers in mind but is aligning himself with two men who have acted in an unfashionable manner and have destroyed the opportunities of the rest of the roster, as evident by their exploits at Survivor Series.
Shane on the other hand is showing glimpses of turning into a heel by raising the ‘best for business’ agenda. But while he may become a heel, Shane has every right to be aggrieved by Owens and Zayn. Owens head butted his father, Zayn interfered in his match against Owens and the two then allowed Raw to defeat Smackdown at Survivor Series.
Ironically, despite seamlessly transitioning into a heel, Shane is alligned with two faces in Orton and Nakamura.
In a sideshow to the storyline Daniel Bryan is in an actual feud with the authority. Bryan has been given the all clear by doctors to return to in-ring action but has not been given the green light by the WWE.
The WWE are in the midst of a lawsuit with 53 former wrestlers who claim there is a link between the head injuries sustained during their time with the company and CTE, the progressive degenerative brain disease.
Allowing Bryan to return to in-ring action would be contradictory by the WWE, who have reduced the number of head injuries to wrestlers since the 2007 Chris Benoit double murder and suicide.
There are two paths the Bryan and McMahon feud can take. One is an encounter between the two at Wrestlemania. The match would be the massive draw card for the event and would be the perfect way to kickstart Bryan’s career.
The other path would see Bryan’s time with the WWE come to an end. Bryan would let his contract run out with the WWE and take his talents to New Japan Pro-Wrestling or Ring of Honor.
Bryan will wrestle again at some point in the next year. It just depends what the WWE decide is ‘best for business’.