A new report by WrestlingNews has revealed that Bryan handpicked Slater to face him as he has been underutilized over the last few months. The former WWE Champion has also reportedly been pushing for Drew Gulak to be involved on SmackDown.
Bryan reportedly has a lot of influence backstage on SmackDown.
I am told that this is Daniel Bryan’s idea and the reason why Gulak and Slater have been appearing on SmackDown lately is that Bryan suggested for them to be used in a storyline with him since he is friends with them and knows that they are underutilized.
The source went on to say that Vince McMahon and SmackDown Executive Director Bruce Prichard reject a lot of his ideas, but many of Bryan's ideas have made it to TV.
Sometimes Vince [McMahon] and Bruce [Prichard] will turn down an idea but a lot of the things he has pitched have been used on TV.
The report further stated that Bryan will be involved backstage in WWE when he eventually retires as he is very well respected backstage and is considered one of the "smartest wrestlers" in the locker room.
Bryan has faced Slater twice in February; Slater hasn't wrestled on WWE television since last year's Crown Jewel, where he was part of the battle royal. Gulak hasn't been on TV, but he has wrestled in dark matches on SmackDown, facing Mustafa Ali on a few occasions.
Bryan doesn't have any feuds at the moment, having last been involved in a feud for the Universal Championship against The Fiend on SmackDown. We will most likely learn about his WrestleMania 36 opponent in the weeks to come.