It’s no secret that the WWE isn’t exactly huge on Daniel Bryan, despite the fact that the Beard is easily the most popular star in the business today.
When Batista won the Royal Rumble last year, fans basically revolted, demanding that Bryan be put into the main event at Wrestlemania 30. The whole thing was so perfect that WWE was able to turn it into one of the best story-lines in recent memory quite easily. Despite his success, Bryan feels he still has to work harder than everyone in the company, specifically guys like John Cena and his Fast Lane opponent Roman Reigns.
“They are more of the prototypical WWE Superstars than I am, so when I came in I don’t think any of the top WWE people looked at me as, ‘Oh this is somebody who we look at as being a future main eventer for WrestleMania’ or even a future WWE Champion, or even a future Intercontinental Champion! Somebody like Roman Reigns or John Cena – people look at them and they think, ‘Oh, this guy could be The Guy, let’s see what happens’, and that was never me.”
Reigns has quickly become Cena’s heir-apparent, getting pushed by WWE simply because the company feels like he looks like a champion should.
According to Bryan, while fans hating the Batista Royal Rumble win was a major part of his push, it wasn’t the only thing that helped him gain such a prominent role in Wrestlemania 30.
“Two major things happened that caused me to be in the spot I was at last year’s Wrestlemania: the fans rejected Batista as being the big returning hero that WWE wanted him to be and CM Punk left. These are two great big gaping holes that now have to be filled at WrestleMania. If you main event WrestleMania with just Batista and Randy Orton, the WrestleMania crowd is not going to like that. Then CM Punk was supposed to wrestle Triple H, and now you have this opening for Triple H.
So those were the two major things that caused me to be in the spot that I was for WrestleMania and neither of them had anything to do with me per se! I didn’t go out there and do anything, the fans took control of the one thing and then Punk left and that took control of the other thing, and it’s like, ‘Well, what do we do for these two problems? Ah, well – there’s Daniel Bryan!’ So yeah that’s what happened, Punk was very accurate in what he said.”
Unsurprisingly, CM Punk bolting from WWE the night after the Royal Rumble allowed Bryan to step right into the role as the number two good guy in the company, behind Cena of course.