One of the unfortunate drawbacks of WrestleMania 34’s crowded card: Daniel Bryan’s return to wrestling got lost in the shuffle. It was probably unavoidable. Where else should Bryan return but at WrestleMania in New Orleans, where he won the WWE championship in four years earlier?
His match, where he teamed with Shane McMahon to beat Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, was fine. He looked good. It was great to see him in a ring again. But when his match ended, there were still four more matches on the card.
Last night, WWE gave us a treat: Bryan’s first singles match in three years came against a man he’d never faced in a WWE ring before: A.J. Styles, the current WWE champion. It was a legit dream match, made by new SmackDown GM Paige (who’d retired the night before).
It was a treat! It opened with a great mat-based segment that looked like it belonged in a bingo hall rather than New Orleans’ basketball arena. Bryan and Styles showed why they’re two of the most popular wrestlers in WWE. Kicks in wrestling have a tendency to look like crap; Bryan’s are great. Styles, for his part, hit an incredible dropkick that looked like it took Bryan’s face off.
Was I a bit nervous when Bryan did any moves that possibly involved his head? Of course! A spot at the end, where Styles reversed a top-rope back suplex, had me scared for a second. But Bryan didn’t really look rusty. He wrestled similarly to how he had in the past. It was great to see him in the ring again, especially against A.J. Styles.
We might not see it again for a while. Shinsuke Nakamura, who turned heel by hitting Styles with a low blow after losing his title match at WrestleMania, ended the match by attacking both men. If I had to guess, I’d say Bryan heads to Raw during next week’s “superstar shakeup” while Nakamura and Styles continue their feud on SmackDown.
Last night’s match was a little treat to end WrestleMania weekend. It was great to see Daniel Bryan wrestle again over the weekend. It’s going to be great to see him keep wrestling.