|Daniel Bryan! *clap clap clapclapclap*|
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Little did they know that a month later, he'd return as Daniel Bryan to the company, a conquering hero, helping John Cena put down the group that Bryan had helped form, only kept from surviving due to a jealous Miz. The next year or so was spent building up the small guy from the indies as a guy who deserved to be on the big stage. It was eminently clear during the first half of his reign as United States Champion. Sure, he spent the second half of it and every moment between losing the strap to Sheamus and getting his feud-starting win over Cody Rhodes languishing a bit, but name any WWE wrestler who hasn't gotten lost in the shuffle in the last couple of years whose name isn't John Cena or Randy Orton. You really can't.
So it's with this moment that Bryan was pegged, was marked for stardom if you will. The cacophony of Michael Cole calling him a nerd was just that, background noise (and how soon do we all forget that it was Cole's antagonism that got Bryan over in the first place), because the fucking American Dragon held a briefcase in his hands, one that guaranteed him a World Heavyweight Championship opportunity, and one that we were reminded all night long, had never been cashed-in for a loss.
I'd like to think that the timing of the decision was just right. On a night when CM Punk was given his biggest stage to shine, a night when Christian was able to outsmart Orton, maybe it wasn't happenstance that Bryan was chosen as the wrestler to tackle the briefcase. Maybe the winds of change weren't just a device that Wade Barrett used to get himself over during NXT's first season. Maybe they really are blowing.
And you know what? That's a win not just for us nerds, but for everyone. People have attached themselves to Bryan in the past, and they will in the future. Still, he's one of us, he's our guy. And I can't help but feel that last night, he made it. I couldn't be any prouder.