Since turning heel late last year, Daniel Bryan’s enjoyed some personal success with WWE and SmackDown Tag championship runs. But his biggest accomplishment might be how much of a difference he’s made for those around him.
Kofi Kingston’s WrestleMania 35 story was better for having the hero of WrestleMania 30 as its villain, and Heavy Machinery looked like they belonged in the tag title scene at Stomping Grounds. A lot of factors have played into Buddy Murphy’s recent rise (not the least of which is Murphy’s immense talent), but Bryan was the guy who did the job for him last Tuesday, giving the Aussie’s ascent a signature win.
The biggest beneficiary of DB’s transformation into an eco-warrior we love to hate is probably his partner and intellectual peer, Rowan. The former collegiate football player and Norwegian reality TV competitor has had moments in the spotlight before while backing Bray Wyatt and teaming with Luke Harper, but he never felt like as much of a presence as he does looming over Bryan’s shoulder, rocking a different indie/alternative metal band’s t-shirt every Tuesday night.
Now, the five time WWE World champ has done something else for his friend Rowan. DB’s been referring to Big Flannel as “Erick Rowan” lately (including in the ridiculous reveal of a look-a-like as Roman Reigns attacker on the Aug. 20 SmackDown), and the company looks to have taken the unprecedented step of giving the man one of his names back:
The “Erick” was quietly dropped back in 2017, when Rowan & Harper were given giant prop hammers and relabeled as Bludgeon Brothers.
Now it’s back. Because Daniel Bryan can do anything.