WWE Changes: Goodbye Daniel Bryan, Hello Bryan Danielson

Ken DrabekCorrespondent IIMay 12, 2010

Last night on NXT, we saw three rookies eliminated.

Michael Tarver and Daniel Bryan were both taken off the show by WWE management, who were apparently not too happy with their lack of faith in themselves on the previous show.

Both said they should be the first rookie eliminated, and both were removed from NXT this week. Skip Sheffield was also eliminated, by placing last in the pros poll.

The big story coming out of all of this is the backstage interview with Bryan, where he wrote off the Daniel Bryan name, and referred to himself as Bryan Danielson for the very first time on WWE television.

As I sat in the arena, watching the Titantron screen in disbelief, I could almost hear the keys frantically clacking away as the airing of this segment on TV would almost certainly cause the Internet wrestling community to explode with excitement.

Let's be honest here, no one saw this coming.

Most everyone I've talked to about, NXT fully expected Daniel Bryan to somehow turn around his losing ways and eventually win the competition, but it seems as if the WWE has thrown us all a major curveball.

It makes sense. In a way, it was Bryan Danielson paying his dues in the big leagues.

Perhaps he had ten losses for ten years in the independent circuit?

Let us not forget, "Daniel Bryan never wrestled on the independent circuit," as he clearly stated during his interview with Striker.

Bryan may not have, but Danielson became a huge star in independent promotions like Ring of Honor and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla.

His matches have been praised by wrestling fans worldwide, and he has held championships just about everywhere he has been. Danielson's classics with Nigel McGuinness rank near the top of my list of all-time favorites.

That is why watching him lose to rookies in three or four minutes was so frustrating at times.

This is a guy who has done so much and to see him unable to showcase his true wrestling ability every week, instead becoming an NXT jobber, became increasingly annoying.

Now, he is off of NXT and his future remains up in the air, at least for the moment.

So what is the next step?

My initial thought was that Danielson will show up on RAW, and with Bret Hart's endorsement, he will take on The Miz for the United States championship. It seems to be a popular theory among the fans and it would certainly make sense.

An endorsement by the Hitman would no doubt help Danielson get over, just look at what it has done for The Hart Dynasty.

Given Bret's past association with ROH, it wouldn't be too far fetched to think the Hitman is a fan of the American Dragon's past work.

Hart even made an appearance at ROH's "Glory By Honor VIII" event, which happened to be Danielson's last show with the company.

Plus, given everything that has happened between Danielson and The Miz on NXT, there should be some type of fallout between the two.

The fans love to hate The Miz and having him tap out to the cattle mutilation would be a great way to really get fans behind Danielson.

Perhaps this is all just wishful thinking, but seeing the fire and passion in Danielson's backstage interview was refreshing.

It certainly looks like this may have all been part of the WWE's plan for him all along.

Though it is definitely too early to go and praise the WWE creative team for this development, but it looks like they have taken a step in the right direction by letting Bryan Danielson, not Daniel Bryan, step into the spotlight.

Photo courtesy of Al Pavangkanan