Daniel Bryan’s 2014 Royal Rumble Disaster, Explained

Stewart Harper

Daniel Bryan 2014 Royal Rumble snub may be the most important non-appearance in WWE history. He seemed certain to walk out of the 2014 Royal Rumble as the winner of the match heading to the main event of Wrestlemania XXX. However, disaster struck and he almost ended up facing one of his old rivals in a disappointing match on the show. Here is the 2014 Royal Rumble disaster and why Daniel Bryan didn’t win the Royal Rumble match.

Daniel Bryan Royal Rumble 2014

Fans didn’t see Daniel Bryan in the 2014 Royal Rumble. That fact enraged them more than any other before in WWE history.

Daniel Bryan’s booking from the Royal Rumble to Wrestlemania seemed simple. He had been in a feud with the Authority for months, as Triple H and co. denied him the chance to be the WWE Champion. The title had been stolen from him by Randy Orton at Summerslam 2013 and he had been denied at every turn to get his revenge. If he won the Royal Rumble match, nothing could stop him.

However, he was locked in a feud with Bray Wyatt at the time. He had been wrestling the creepy superstar for some months, even being brainwashed into joining his cult and teaming with the demonic superstar. Luckily, this all proved to be a ruse by Bryan, who wanted to get inside the Wyatt Family and take them down from the inside. This also led to one of the greatest moments in WWE history, as he led a choir of “Yes’s” atop a steel cage as he finally turned on his rival.

This led up to a grudge match between the two at the 2014 Royal Rumble. Daniel Bryan vs Bray Wyatt opened the show, which boded well for the WWE fans. This gave Bryan time to rest and prepare for his eventually entry into the Royal Rumble match. If he were to keep to his year long build with Randy Orton, this was the only way he could seemingly do it.

He lost to Bray Wyatt. This didn’t matter however and actually made more sense. If he was going to win the rumble, why not give the rub to Bray Wyatt. He’d have a ready-made feud set to go once he won the title and his first challenger would already have been built up as a main eventer.

The Royal Rumble match began in the main event of the show. Every 90 seconds a new man entered the ring and the entrant numbers slowly creeped up closer and closer to number 30. First, a smattering of “yes” chants were heard when the countdown started. Then more. Once the number 30 entrant was set to come in, the arena was filled with the thousands of fans flailing their arms around and chanting for the only man they wanted to win the match and main event Wrestlemania 30 – Daniel Bryan.

The clock counted down from 10 and that old familiar song hit. “Booyaka Booyaka 619!”. Rey Mysterio ran to the ring to the first set of boos filled the arena. And they did not stop for the rest of the match. The fans wanted nothing else than to see Daniel Bryan in the match and were happy to ruin the rest of the match because they did not get what they wanted. It was hilarious and exactly what the WrWE deserved for ignoring the fans and not putting over the first big organic star they’d had since CM Punk – who they also fumbled.

Batista won the Royal Rumble match. Eventually, Daniel Bryan won his way into the main event of Wrestlemania 30 by beating Triple H earlier in the show. He managed to overcome not winning the match and still became the WWE Champion just out of sheer popularity and love by the fans.

By why didn’t Daniel Bryan win the 2014 Royal Rumble?

Why Didn’t Daniel Bryan Win The 2014 Royal Rumble

There were a number of reasons why Bryan did not come out on top at the 2014 Royal Rumble. One of the biggest was the fact that he was not heavily promoted leading up to the event. Despite being one of the most popular wrestlers on the roster, he was not given a prominent spot in the build-up to the Rumble, and was not heavily featured in the promotional materials for the event. He was advertised as wrestling against Bray Wyatt in a singles match, but with zero mention of him appearing in the titular Royal Rumble match itself.

He was not included in the match at all. He wrestled Bray Wyatt in the shows opening, in an admittedly great match and probably Wyatt’s best singles match so match, although that didn’t necessarily remove him from contention. Many stars have wrestled at the event then gone on to appear in the match itself – in fact, Brock Lesnar lost the WWE Championship AND won the Royal Rumble match on the same night in 2022.

Additionally, WWE’s creative direction for the event was heavily criticized for not featuring Bryan as the main focus, instead focusing on the returning Batista. The Animal who went on to win the Royal Rumble and the title at Wrestlemania 30, which had been rumoured but dismissed by fans certain that this was Bryan’s year.

The decision to bring back Batista was leaked weeks prior, forcing WWE’s hand to announce him before the event. He was due to appear as a special, surprise entrant in his comeback, which the fans would have surely received better than they did. The shock of the legendary Batista coming back after 4 years away would have taken the sting out of the well-deserved Daniel Bryan being shunted from the rumble and completely ignored by the WWE top brass.

This decision was not well received by the fans and the IWC (Internet Wrestling Community) in particular, who had taken Daniel Bryan in as one of their own and were desperate to see him succeed. This soon permeated the mainstream and help make the American Dragon the most popular man in the company, even above John Cena.

In the end, Bryan’s failure to win the Royal Rumble was a huge disappointment for fans, who felt that he deserved a chance to compete for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 30. While he eventually got his chance and won the title at Wrestlemania 30, he has still never won the Royal Rumble match, or any battle royal in his entire career, as the man himself admitted multiple times in interviews, most notably in the build up to the Greatest Royal Rumble.

He now wrestles in AEW as Bryan Danielson, although he still yet to triumph in any over-the-top-rope battle royals to this day.

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