Even though there are quite a few matchups better than Daniel Bryan vs. Kane, the WWE still appears to be moving in that direction.
Bryan has been out of action since undergoing minimally invasive neck surgery on May 15. The initial prognosis estimated he would miss about 4-6 weeks, give or take a week or two. Neck surgeries, no matter how invasive, are a delicate operation and the healing process can be difficult to predict. Still, WWE officials are confident that Bryan will be ready in time for the Money in the Bank PPV on Jun. 29.
His opponent will likely be Kane, and the plan is still for them to tangle in a Buried Alive match. Bryan and Kane were originally going to square off in such a match at Payback, but Bryan’s operation momentarily derailed those plans.
Kane made his presence felt at Payback, attacking Kofi Kingston before his match with Bo Dallas. This was done to keep attention on Kane and to push the idea that he’s an unstable and unpredictable monster.
With Stephanie McMahon out for revenge after being slapped by Brie Bella at Sunday’s PPV, my guess is the Buried Alive match with Kane will be Bryan’s punishment. It goes without say that the WWE World Heavyweight Championship will be on the line.
There’s always a chance that Bryan won’t be ready to wrestle by Jun. 29. WWE’s next PPV after Money in the Bank is Battleground on Jul. 20. If company officials were adamant that Bryan wouldn’t be able to compete until that date, he probably would have been stripped of the title.
Even in 2014, going two months without a world championship match on PPV isn’t a good situation. The fact that he wasn’t stripped (at least not yet) speaks volumes about their confidence in the initial estimation for his recovery. They are also aware that stripping Bryan would hurt his character, so they’re optimism may be a front to protect him.
In all likelihood, Bryan’s next match with Kane will be the last in their program. It’s a so-so match at best, but I’m confident there will be better challengers down the line.