20150112_SD_BryanKane_LIGHT_HOMEPAGEDaniel Bryan has been out of action for almost a full year after having to endure multiple surgeries to repair problems with his right arm and neck. There was a lot of uncertainty about his career. A lot of doubts that he would ever compete again. And if he did, it wouldn’t be the same Daniel Bryan we knew before in the ring. His announcement of his participation in the Royal Rumble was met with speculation that he would only participate in order to soften the fan reaction to Reigns winning by being eliminated by a heel. In other words, a lot of people felt like he was being rushed back in to the ring with no real shot of going to Wrestlemania due to his previous injuries. It would be hard to tell what WWE had in stored for Bryan until he actually hit the ring. So his Smackdown return would answer a lot of lingering questions both fans and WWE creative may have. And Bryan made his answers as clear as day.  If you were expecting Daniel Bryan to slow down after his neck surgery, or to at least take only a few light bumps, well then…

gDQk9GQBryan not only competed against Kane as planned, but also competed in a six man tag match later that night. And while I usually skip writing reviews for Smackdown since the results are usually posted way ahead of the actual broadcast, I actually enjoyed the matches on this episode more than I did Raw. The episode started off with Bryan hitting the ring and addressing the crowd on his match later. The Authority, Triple H to be exact, interrupted him and started his match with Kane immediately. Bryan actually dominated most of the match with Kane taking over to slow things down a bit at times. Daniel’s performance was incredible, and he was eventually able to get Kane in the Yes Lock before outside interference gave the match to him by DQ. Bryan fought his way out of the ambush and found himself backed up by not only Dean Ambrose, but Roman Reigns as well. This eventually lead to Triple H making a six-man tag match later with Rollins, Big Show, and Kane as punishment.

The rest of the show was filled with decent matches and promos from certain stars on their chances in the Royal Rumble match. Paul Heyman, however, delivered a promo like only he could. His promo for Brock was so great, I was actually disappointed that he was interrupted by Seth Rollins. Seth was able to hold his own with Heyman and continue to prove why he is the biggest heel in the company at the moment, but Heyman’s promo was money before Seth hit the ring. The main event started off and it was clear who the crowd wanted to see in the ring the most. Dean Ambrose got a great reaction and looked as amazing as he always does, Roman Reigns got a nice pop from the crowd as well while showing some nice improvements in the ring, but it was Bryan that had the crowd going bat crazy. He took a couple of bigger bumps this match as well. The entire match was entertaining and proved that the WWE has enough star power in Rollins, Ambrose, and Reigns to carry an entire exciting show without Cena. But the biggest statement that was made was the dedication fans have towards Bryan. And how his in ring ability and his connection with the audience decided if he is a top star or not regardless of what certain members of their creative team thinks. Daniel Bryan is back for good. Let’s hope he’s used well this time.