Daniel Bryan's body has been put through a lot of punishment over the last couple of weeks, and despite all of the will in the world, that body couldn't push him over the finish line on Tuesday night.
That's the case according to the storyline, anyway.
Bryan and Rusev main evented this week's SmackDown with a spot in next month's Money In The Bank match on the line. Early in the show, they showed a clip of 2011's Money In The Bank show where Bryan won the brief case, which he eventually used to go on to become World Heavyweight Champion.
The obvious connotation was that this was Bryan's chance to once again begin his journey to becoming the champion. However, this time, he came up a bit short. At least for now.
The match with Rusev was good and a reminder that Rusev should be positioned at the top of the card consistently, especially given his popularity with the fans. Bryan was on the offensive for a good majority of the match, but the announcers continued to remind fans about all the punishment he has taken over the last couple weeks, notably the chops from Roderick Strong at Greatest Royal Rumble and his match on Sunday night against Big Cass.0comments
A logical conclusion would have been that Cass would cost Bryan this match. Instead, no Big Cass was to be found. In what would have to be seen as a surprise, Rusev won the match clean via the Machka Kick.
As SmackDown went off the air, Bryan was shown for several seconds sitting on the ring apron looking disappointed. Remember that storyline from 2013 where Bryan had to overcome all of the odds to finally become world champion? It looks like we could be in for something similar here in 2018.