Daniel Bryan turned 36 on May 22 and although fans wished him well, there's a bittersweet feeling when another Bryan-less year passes in the WWE.
Bryan is having a great time with his family and the recent birth of his daughter, but somewhere deep down inside there has to be a part of him that wishes he was celebrating with a match on RAW.
It made us wonder — if Bryan was cleared to return to the ring, which wrestler would he want to face upon his return? We couldn't settle on just one wrestler, so here are seven opponents that'd help Bryan tear down the house.
1. A.J. Styles
Daniel Bryan has had his fair share of big moments in the WWE, but he's had very few wrestlers technically capable of matching his skills in the ring. He's often been tasked with elevating the level of his opponent but with A.J. Styles, Bryan would have been a worthy opponent. Both men cut their teeth in ROH before moving on to bigger promotions and they've never had the opportunity to tell a story on the largest of stages.
2. Shinsuke Nakamura
The American Dragon vs. The King of Strong Style. Whose running knee strike will reign supreme?
This is the strong-style match up fans deserve to see and Bryan dreamed of having in the WWE ring. Nakamura raises his level to match his opponent and Bryan would bring out the best in him.
3. Hideo Itami
Hideo Itami returned from injury with a solid performance at NXT Takeover: Chicago, so why not add him to the list of wrestlers Bryan would love to compete against? Bryan often faced bigger wrestlers, given the WWE's previous thought on their "prototype," so facing a striker his own size would give fans a different glimpse of Bryan's skillset.
4. Samoa Joe
Two of the greatest ROH wrestlers of all-time doing battle at a pay-per-view like SummerSlam or WrestleMania? These are the things dreams are made of.
Bryan vs. Joe would have a great history and play out very well on screen. It'd be even better if they were involved in an Ironman Match, an ROH staple.
5. Finn Balor
Finn Balor has superstar written all over him, but very few people realize that a young Fergal Devitt (Finn) wrestle Daniel Bryan. A heel Finn Balor with his Demon entrance vs. a babyface Daniel Bryan with his "Yes!" chants has WrestleMania main event written all over it.
6. Kevin Owens
Does it get any better than Bryan Danielson vs. Kevin Steen? Throw in the ladders, construct a cage, put the two men in a cell; it doesn't matter. These two would put it all on the line to entertain their fans.
7. Seth Rollins
We know that Bryan and Rollins have already wrestled in the WWE, but this is our excuse to show you ROH's Kenny Omega, Rollins, Bryan triple threat match.