The surprising announcement this week that Daniel Bryan had been cleared to return to in-ring action was one of the best moments of 2018. Bryan’s story has been an emotional rollercoaster, and the announcement this week felt like a victory not just for Bryan, but for all the fans who have stuck by him in recent years.

While fans now turn their attention to Bryan’s future in the WWE, and all of the potential dream matches we could get out of him, it is worth remembering that he is currently the general manager of Smackdown, and that he is likely going to resign from that role in the coming weeks. 

Whether we like it or not, authority figures play a huge role in the WWE’s weekly programming, and with Bryan presumably giving up his role, the WWE will now have to find a new person to take charge on Tuesday nights.

The company has plenty of great options to choose from, however, and getting their choice right will be essential. A brand can often suffer under the wrong choice, with the GM often playing a huge part of their brand’s weekly show. With that in mind, let’s take a look at five options the WWE could choose from to replace Daniel Bryan as general manager of Smackdown.

1: Lana

The Ravishing Russian Lana has not been seen on TV too much as of late. Since splitting up with her husband, Rusev, she has been working as the manager of Tamina Snuka, and the partnership has done very little to help either woman on Tuesday nights.

Lana is wasted in this role. Even without Rusev, she is still one of the most popular personalities in the women’s division, and with the division being one of the hottest things in the WWE right now, it would make sense for them to have some sort of representation as an authority figure.

Lana and Shane McMahon could make an amusing double act as well. Rusev has recently been tweeting about how he is being misused on Tuesday nights and having Lana trying to position him into a better spot on the roster as Shane McMahon tries to stop her could make for amusing viewing. This kind of storyline worked well for Edge and Vickie Guerrero back in the day, and it could be just what both Rusev and Lana need right now.

2: William Regal

Whenever there is a general manager vacancy on WWE television, William Regal’s name is never far from people’s lips.

The former commissioner of Raw has done an excellent job on NXT over the last few years and fans are desperate to see him back on Raw or Smackdown.

Regal is one of the most respected people in the WWE today, by both fans and wrestlers alike, and having him working with the main roster would be a very popular decision. He is an excellent mic worker, and he could no doubt help put some of the younger talents in the company over.

One stumbling block for Regal may turn out to be the schedule. Regal’s job in NXT seems him turn up for tapings, with the rest of him dedicated to training. Having him traveling with the roster might not be his preferred choice, and given his position in the company, he could no doubt turn down such an offer with no consequence.

3: Paige

Similar to Lana, Paige is one of the most loved females on the WWE roster, and with that division becoming increasingly prominent on television, a female general manager would be a wise move.

Paige is currently managing Absolution but reports from earlier in the year suggest that her in-ring career is over. While these reports are yet to be confirmed by the WWE, her continued absence from the ring would suggest that they are true.

Like they did with Daniel Bryan, the company could offer Paige an authority figure role on television to keep her working with the company, and after the difficult year she has had, this decision would certainly be welcomed by most fans.

She is also excellent on the mic, and she’s English, which, of course, means she would make a great heel general manager.

4: Teddy Long

Since the first brand split back in 2002, Smackdown has had a wide array of general managers. None of these, not even someone as popular as Daniel Bryan, have proven to be as popular as Teddy Long.

The former referee turned manager turned general manager had a legendary run as the general manager of Smackdown in the mid 2000’s, and his iconic ‘One on one with The Undertaker’ and ‘Tag Team Match Playa’ are never far away from any self-respecting wrestling memes website. His return would no doubt generate a huge pop from the fanbase and would be an all-around feel-good moment.

While many fans would argue that this would be the WWE going backward, Teddy Long is such a lovable character that it wouldn’t take long for him to win over the skeptics. The WWE could do a lot worse than appointing Teddy Long. Holla Holla!

5: Mark Henry

The announcement of Mark Henry being inducted into this year’s Hall of Fame was met with a lot of enthusiasm from fans and wrestlers alike. The former Sexual Chocolate has proven himself to be a legend in the industry, and by all accounts, his character and creative ideas have made him one of the most well-respected people backstage.

Like last year with Kurt Angle, the WWE have shown that they are willing to offer their Hall of Famers, especially more recent ones, a spot within the company, and Henry would be the perfect fit for Tuesday nights.

Not only he is great on the mic, but he also has the kind of physical presence that would make him one of the most unique general managers in the brand’s history. Henry has reportedly been high on pushing talent backstage, with Neville’s ascent last year having been credited to him by multiple sources, so having him as a general manager who wants to give guys a chance to prove themselves would be a welcome change.

Of the five listed, Mark Henry would make the most sense if Daniel Bryan were to step down from his position. He is universally loved and he is well respected within the industry. And to be honest, I miss his entrance music.

Steve Carrier

Steve is the Founder of RingsideNews. He has been writing about professional wrestling since 1996. He first got into website development at the time and has been focusing on bringing his readers the best professional wrestling news at it's highest quality.

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