It's not looking good for Daniel Bryan these days, or for fans of the ever-popular former WWE World Heavyweight Champion hoping for his return.

Only five months removed from his epic world title victory at Wrestlemania 30 in New Orleans in April, Bryan, who came off career-threatening neck surgery recently, is facing another major surgery; this time on his arm. And at this point, rumors are starting to fly that WWE is preparing for the possibility of life without the superstar that launched a viral chant known as the "YES! Movement" across several sports.

While it would be terrific if Bryan could make a recovery, the extent of his injuries, the result of 10-plus years of high-flying risks and the wear and tear of in-ring action, is starting to prove quite severe for the former four-time WWE world champion. He was in the middle of the biggest push of his life and was arguably the most popular star on the roster with crowds everywhere, only to have his body give out on him at the worst possible moment. His indefinite loss has made an immediate impact on the roster, and Bryan's absence would have an even worse effect on storylines should he be gone longer, or even for good if he decides to retire due to injury.

However, there is only one possible silver lining, if any, that Bryan's unfortunate absence could possibly create opportunity. Already, the fast-rising Roman Reigns is looking like the odds-on favorite to headline Wrestlemania 31, possibly against new WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar. Yet, he's not the only one that could have an opportunity at the main event scene. The WWE roster is filled with talented stars top to bottom, and a select few have the opportunity to make their mark in the main event thanks to the void left by Bryan's injury at the top. Some of these stars need a shift in character direction. Others need to get a few lucky breaks. And some may just need the right opportunity at the right time, but new main eventers could be on the rise within the next few months.

Latin takes a look at some of the most likely candidates that could fill in the WWE's main event spot left open by Bryan:

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Seth Rollins

He's knocking on the door of something big, that much is for certain. When you win the Money in the Bank briefcase, 90 percent of the time, that means a world title is in your future -- well, unless you're John Cena or Damien Sandow -- and Seth Rollins is looking like that guy. In the ring, he combines grace with aerial wizardry and an innovative offense. On the mic, he's got enough skill to pass as a very good villain -- he's no Rick Rude or Chris Jericho on the stick, but he's good enough to let his phenomenal ring skills do the rest.

While there's not a likely chance that he'll be cashing in his briefcase before Wrestlemania 31, Rollins will be one to watch as the months go by. He's on the verge of being one of the best villains on the roster, and a successful cash-in and a run as world champion might be the rub he needs to catapult him into the main event scene.

Adrian Neville

This kid has the goods, there's no doubt about that. In the ring, he's a blend of high-flying theatrics meeting technical savvy. On the mic, he's pretty solid. And his fan base has been growing and thriving in NXT. Will he be able to fill a top spot right away? No, unfortunately, if only because he lacks the size that WWE desires; if he did have that size, he would likely be put right away on a fast track to the top when he cracks the main roster. Still, smaller stars have broken the glass ceiling before, as Bryan, CM Punk, Shawn Michaels, Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio have illustrated. Neville has the stuff; all he needs is the chance to prove his worth. An injury to one of the biggest stars on the roster might have created that chance for Neville.

Dean Ambrose

Right now, he's the hottest guy in wrestling not named Roman Reigns. Ambrose has been on another level for the last few months since breaking off from The Shield and going solo. Paul Heyman himself has gone on record endorsing Ambrose's talents in the ring, comparing him to one of the most popular stars of the modern era of wrestling, five-time WWE world champion CM Punk -- a compliment not to be taken lightly.

Ambrose's reactions with the crowd have been red hot, and his ability to cut an entertaining promo is well ahead of the curb. He's a future Wrestlemania main event waiting to happen, assuming WWE handles him correctly. The longer Daniel Bryan is out, the bigger the vacancy at the top seems. And that vacuum might be the opening that Ambrose needs to make his impact on the main event scene.

Bo Dallas

The younger brother of rising superstar Bray Wyatt (shh! Don't break kayfabe), Dallas has hit his stride as a heel over the last few months. His "Bo-lieve" motivational speaker shtick has brought out a charming charisma to his character-not quite pulling it off as well as Diamond Dallas Page did, but not doing as poorly as Simon Dean's effort -- and he's got enough ability in the ring to make him a solid wrestler to warrant a push.

The problem has been Dallas' reactions from the crowd. They haven't been bad, per say, but he's not drawing the kind of uber-heat that a Randy Orton, Brock Lesnar, Wyatt or even Seth Rollins draw. He needs to up the ante in order to get his stock up to the level of the main event scene by a lot, but he has a lot of potential, and if he can smooth out the rough edges to his game, Dallas could very well become a breakout star.


As far as in-ring talents go, it doesn't get much better than Cesaro. The former U.S. Champion has been on an upward trajectory ever since just before Wrestlemania, and he's currently locked in a big program against a big name in WWE, current U.S. Champion and three-time WWE world champion Sheamus. He has a solid look and he can definitely go in the ring. It would have been easier to predict his imminent ascension were Paul Heyman still by his side, but that partnership has since dissolved. Nevertheless, Cesaro is way too talented to let a setback like that stop him. He has a lot of potential to make an impact in the main event scene, particularly as a heel, and with the right direction over the next few months, he might be in position to do just that. But the company has to be careful in how they use him, lest they squander Cesaro's potential in the midcard of Monday and Friday nights.

Cody Rhodes

His career trajectory has been off ever since the middle of 2012. The year before that in 2011, Rhodes was one of the hottest stars on either of the split brands of Raw and Smackdown. As Dashing Cody Rhodes, he was one of the most entertaining heels Smackdown had to offer. When he came down to the ring with the face mask and tuxedo-clad entourage handing out paper bags to the crowd while cutting promos in his "Phantom of the Opera"-like voice, he was starting to draw some real heat from the crowd, doing some of the best work in his career. When he ditched the mask later that year and brought back the classic Intercontinental Championship -- in the process adopting a sleeker look, a more aggressive theme song and a more vicious ring style -- he looked like he was on the verge of becoming the next World Heavyweight Champion, feuding with the likes of former world champions and legends like Booker T, the Big Show and Christian.

What happened afterwards is anyone's guess, as he's largely toiled in the tag team circuit for the better part of two years, first with Damien Sandow and then with brother Goldust. The new "Stardust" moniker Rhodes has adopted is a far cry from the budding world champion-to-be we saw a mere three years ago. But Rhodes has proved that he has the entertaining in-ring ability to go with good looks, solid chops on the mic and the ability to excel in any given role, making him a no-brainer to be the next one to get a main event push. He has to ditch the tag team circuit and his silly new persona first and has to drastically alter his image again, but he's done it before and could easily do it again. With the right angle, the right push and a little faith by the WWE brass, Rhodes could become one of the premier stars on WWE's roster.

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