Daniel Bryan Was Originally Set To Face Kevin Owens At WrestleMania 35
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Former WWE producer and performer Shawn Daivari joined the hosts of the Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling Podcast to discuss his time working behind the scenes with Vince McMahon and how he ended up with his position. One interesting tidbit from the show involves the main event of WrestleMania 35 and what was planned before Kofi Kingston’s standout performance at Elimination Chamber made everyone behind the scenes change gears. The mood at that PPV was electric, as described by the man himself:
The electricity from that, them being the last two in the Elimination Chamber [in] an arena in Houston. I literally couldn’t watch it on the monitor anymore. It was so electric. I walked out in the crowd, watched it from behind the curtain because I wanted to feel — you literally feel vibration when you’re standing in front of a speaker at a concert. You feel the vibration of the crowd reaction when something’s rumbling and I don’t get reactions like that anymore so I’m trying to steal pops from the other guys. I went out there. I wanted to get the goosebumps and feel that.
As reported around the time of the show, Kevin Owens was originally slotted in as the man to face Daniel Bryan for the highest prize on Friday Night Smackdown, and his appearance around the main event scene following Elimination Chamber that year was remnants of that plan. If Kofi and Daniel hadn’t immediately clicked in that match, the New Day veteran may never have gotten his time with the world title.
The next SmackDown, Kevin Owens would’ve come back and Kevin Owens and Daniel Bryan would’ve wrestled at WrestleMania. It might’ve been good, it might’ve been bad, it might’ve been indifferent. Probably would’ve been great. The audience, that electricity made Kofi Mania happen and as we know, that turned out f*cking amazing.
It is an interesting piece of info to chew on, as many fans assumed that the plan all along was for someone to emerge from that match as a championship contender. Mustafa Ali was originally slotted in Kofi’s slot in the match, and the thought at the time was that the Kofimania run was orchestrated to push the younger talent originally. Ali would take this public assumption to its logical conclusions with his Hacker and Retribution storylines, for better or worse.
Thank you to our friends at Post Wrestling for the above podcast transcriptions!