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Now that Bryan is back, here’s who we want him to knee in the face.

The awesome news is in: Daniel Bryan’s been cleared to wrestle by the WWE – and he’s (maybe) most definitely tagging with Shane McMahon against Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens at WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans!

RIP anyone who has to follow that match, by the way. Even just in a “TV role,” Bryan’s been the most over dude on the ranch.

While we’re all riding this roller coaster of joy and enthusiasm – with possibly a little worry that he might flat out get hurt again and be taken away from us – let’s sift through some of the superstars Daniel Bryan might face in this new revival (note: The Revival are not on the list).

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Because that’s what we do, right? We phantom book until we’re phantom blue in the face. But, folks, the possibilities are just too fun and juicy to ignore. WWE’s bestest B+ Player is back in the game and whether he works a full load or enjoys a relaxed schedule, we’re beyond psyched to see him in the ring again.

Here’s a run through of the top names we’d like to see square off against a newly cleared Daniel Bryan. Sorry, Ziggler. You may have issued a challenge backstage on SmackDown, but you’re too far down on the list to consider right now.

AJ Styles

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The top ticket right now, Daniel Bryan dream match-wise, is probably against AJ Styles. Two storied ring veterans who took over a decade to make it to WWE and found unlikely main event success when they arrived. Granted, Styles sort of hit the ground running in WWE while it took Bryan a while to catch fire and find his “YES!”

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These two would undoubtedly tear the house down and give us an instant classic. For right now though, let’s just hope that Styles makes it to WrestleMania (*gulp* – as rumors of an injury haunt all our houses).

Shinsuke Nakamura

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Another legend who’s hit WWE’s main roster during Daniel Bryan’s down time is Shinsuke Nakamura, and these two would thrill us by throwing knees and kicks for daaaayys.

Both of these two have named each other as dream opponents – with Bryan even mentioning Nakamura by name back when he was Intercontinental Champion and Shinsuke was IWGP Intercontinental Champion. Long ago, the two even trained together at the Inoki Dojo in Santa Monica, California – even rooming together as rooming roomies for a while.

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Some fans cried out for Bryan to throw himself into Styles’ and Nakamura’s ‘Mania match, making it a Triple Threat, but perhaps it’s best to let that one remain “as is.” That is unless Styles somehow can’t compete, allowing Bryan to step in as a substitute.

Roman Reigns

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Let us not forget (as if that’s possible) that the seeds for all of the resentment toward Roman Reigns were planted back when he was being pushed over Daniel Bryan. Now Roman’s got to go into yet another WrestleMania main event where he’ll get booed while the returning Daniel Bryan will most likely get the biggest pop on the entire card.

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So let’s allow these two guys to feud and really use the opportunity to turn Reigns heel (trust me, it’ll get him the most cheers he’s ever gotten). Put Vince in Roman’s corner and let him soak in the hate while Bryan surfs that underdog wave of wonderfulness. The ring will practically become Scrooge McDuck’s swimmable vault of gold coins.

Whoever Bray Wyatt Returns As

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Now that Bray’s been deleted, word has it he might return repackaged. Whether that means he’ll just be a slightly different version of Bray Wyatt (hey, instead of a hat it’s…a bigger hat!) or totally reworked (“coming to the ring…I.R.S. JR!), we don’t know yet, but these two had great ring chemistry before and they’d surely have it again.

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Maybe Wyatt will return as “Broken Bray” and join that whole wild universe. You know, if they were looking for someone else besides Jeff to be Matt’s cohort in ultimate deletion. Whatever the case may be, Bryan vs. Bray is always a good time.

Johnny Gargano

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The most similarly matched match-up would probably involve Daniel Bryan facing “Johnny Wrestling” Johnny Gargano. They pair up well in size, skill, and submission finisher. It’s probably one of the only bouts Bryan can have where he’d outweigh his foe.

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This one might take awhile since Gargano currently has unfinished NXT business with Tommaso Ciampa down (along with the whole “not currently being employed by NXT” deal) but as long as we can see this without Bryan, you know, becoming the NEW FACE OF 205 LIVE, we’ll be happy.

The Miz

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This is all fun and games but let’s not discount what the true money match is here. The one we all want to see happen. The one we all need to see go down. Daniel Bryan vs. The Miz. The YES! Kicks vs. The IT! Kicks. Ever since Miz unleashed his epic shoot(ish) promo against Bryan on Talking Smack, this is the feud Daniel Bryan simply HAD TO come back to the ring for. Just for closure’s sake.

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Yes, it is odd that the match we most want to see, from a satisfying storyline perspective, probably wouldn’t be the best “match” (though, hey, don’t count Miz out!) but this is a piping hot cauldron that’s been bubbling and brewing for months. Every time Miz uses one of Bryan’s moves in the ring we get that twinge – that nagging vibe that revenge is in order. That these two must meet and settle things once and for all.

Matt Fowler is a writer for IGN and a member of the Television Critics Association (TCA). Follow him on Twitter at @TheMattFowler and Facebook at Facebook.com/MattBFowler.





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