Anyone who is a fan of pro sports knows how devastating injuries can be to a team. A star player goes down with an ACL injury and a season full of hope and promise immediately goes down the drain.
But in pro wrestling, injuries, even to top stars, can be blessings. Pro wrestling doesn't have seasons. Pro wrestling doesn't have playoffs.
Pro wrestling just has pro wrestlers and the fans who'll pay to see them.
Daniel Bryan is currently the WWE's hottest star. His neck surgery last week has seemingly derailed whatever momentum he was hoping to gain coming off his WrestleMania win and successful title defense against Kane at Extreme Rules.
The current status of his championship will be revealed this Monday on RAW, and while there are many unknowns about what will happen to the title itself, there is no question about what will happen to Daniel Bryan.
He's out. For a while.
And while that reality is a harsh blow to his many fans, they can take heart knowing that his spot on the card and his chunk of storyline time will now be dispersed amongst the rest of the roster. There are many potential mid-carders and lower-tier stars who could stand to benefit from extended minutes that would otherwise have gone to Bryan and Kane II in the weeks leading up to the June 1st Payback event and beyond.
Here are the 10 that stand to benefit most:
10. Damien Sandow
With television time needing to be spread out, Sandow could to be the beneficiary of added minutes to continue his current storyline of...being held back or silenced or whatever it is they're doing with him.
9. El Torito
Bryan's injury effects a lot of the WWE product. Nothing as much as the lack of people who make kids happy. The little bull does that, at the very least. It wouldn't surprise me if we see more of the 3MB and Los Matador's feud, with El Torito stealing the spotlight as usual.
8. The Wyatts
Specifically, Luke Harper and Eric Rowan, who appear headed towards a confrontation with the current tag team champions, the Uso's. The added minutes could go a long way to developing a genuine tag team feud, which we haven't seen the two larger Wyatt's get into with anyone yet.
The Bulgarian Brute could see his usual 2-minute squash matches go up to 5 or 6-minute squashes. He could also be in line for a major developing feud with Big-E if those in creative see fit to set the two squat powerhouses against each other.
6. Big E
The former Intercontinental champ seems to be caught in some sort of punishment limbo. The last we saw of him he came in for a hot save against Rusev and got beat down for his troubles, instead of chasing Lana's property out of the ring. That said, Daniel Bryan's injury clears a spot in the already thin "face" column of the roster that seems right to shuffle Big-E into.
5. Adam Rose
While his dancing and nonsensical debut has been something short of a disaster, a real feud with a solid roster hand like Jack Swagger could be just what Rose needs to prove he belongs on the big roster. These next three weeks will be absolutely crucial to his career, and he better deliver if given a shot on the Payback PPV, which seems likely with the Bryan's injury opening up a spot on a not-very-strong card.
4. Alicia Fox
I'm sensing an extended feud between her and Paige, with both getting extended minutes in the future leading up to a probably title match at Payback. Fox has been killing it lately, and the added tv time has given her the opportunity to actually develop a character. This can only get better for her with the Diva's roster lacking any credible heel challengers for Paige.
3. The Usos
Their tag match with the Wyatt family suddenly becomes the most high profile title match on the card, if it ends up happening. The Uso's have been receiving the rub of standing alongside John Cena in his feud with Bray Wyatt, and could end up being the only match on the pay per view that kids end up being happy with the result of. Payback is going to be a huge moment for these two and their match has the potential to steal the show.
If Daniel Bryan and John Cena are the clear 1-A and 1-B of the WWE face hierarchy, then Sheamus has clearly been positioned as the No. 3 face in the company. His US title victory serves to make him someone who will be featured regularly on television, even if he takes on random opponents every week with no clear storyline. The injury moves Sheamus up into the No. 2 spot, at least in terms of individual competitors. Right behind...
1. John Cena
And much to the chagrin of the Smark universe, John Cena is once again the top face in the company and most likely to benefit from the injury to Daniel Bryan. His television minutes, already substantial, will most likely increase. His spot on the card - seemingly destined to sit behind Bryan-Kane and Shield-Evolution, will probably has a 50/50 shot to main event Payback. And since it's called "Payback" and Wyatt won their cage match at Extreme Rules, expect Cena to stand tall once again and send the Bryan-less fans home happy in two weeks.