After losing an opportunity to face Roman Reigns at Fastlane on this week's SmackDown, Daniel Bryan appeared on the latest Talking Smack alongside Paul Heyman and Kayla Braxton. Heyman had an announcement and offered Bryan another match with Jey Uso next week, where he'd earn the title match with Reigns if he won but would have to acknowledge Reigns as "The Tribal Chief if he lost. Bryan decided to take it one step further and upped the ante to a Steel Cage match, which Heyman (via a text from Reigns) accepted.
Suddenly Bryan's mode changed from joyfully sardonic to deadly serious.
"I'm going out to take what's mine, and that's the reign before CM Punk, and that's the best damn wrestler in the world" pic.twitter.com/qwRnyEoskD— HeelByNature.com (@HeelByNatureYT) February 27, 2021
"I have a message for you to give to Roman Reigns," Bryan said. "I am no longer putting myself on the back burner. I am no longer putting other people first," he informed Heyman. "I am going to take what's mine. And that's the reign that I've had, before CM Punk, and that's the best damn wrestler in the world."
Bryan mentioned earlier in the interview that more than anything, he was upset that the main event of WrestleMania was going to feature two men who have been in a total of three singles matches in 2021.
"I love Edge, but that (when he pointed at the WrestleMania sign) was when I felt like an absolute failure," Bryan said. "Becayse you have two guys in the main event of WrestleMania who have wrestled a total of three matches this year. I went in there, fought with all my heart against five other men... That's why I felt like a failure because the last year, I've put myself on the back burner. I'm like, 'ok, I want more for these new guys, and I failed them. But then came the deepest realization of them all, and it's that I've failed myself."
"... In that moment, taking a step back, I realized that I'm a lot more ambitious than I thought I was. And the fact that these two men are going to WresleMania and not me. After... in the last eight days, I have wrestled more matches than the two of those men combined. Do you understand what that means, Paul? I try to wrestle on every single SmackDown. If we had live events, I'd be on every single live event. I will do any show, I will fight anybody," he continued. "And on Sunday, I sat on the ground while two men — who've wrestled only three matches this year are going to main event WrestleMania. I failed myself. So, if you wanna ask how it felt to win the Elimination Chamber for the third time, it didn't feel good."