Over the past sixteen years, Bryan Danielson competed on different continents doing what he loved to do. Wrestling for promotions such as Evolve, New Japan Pro Wrestling, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, Ring of Honor and the WWE, Daniel Bryan made a sterling reputation for himself. Everything he did in and out of the ring earned the adulation of wrestling fans all over the world. His recent retirement announcement, while disappointing to his fans, provides him with a new outlook on life. So while we can be disappointed that he will no longer be competing, we are grateful for having been fortunate enough to see him compete.
Bryan gave of himself inside the ring. There was never a moment where you could watch him and think that he wasn’t giving his all. Even seeing him wrestle for five minutes, we knew it would be the most entertaining five minutes we’d see on that particular show. Bryan would often give passionate promos that would leave fans wanting more. He has said that he didn’t have any regrets, and when you’ve accomplished all of your goals, how could you have any regrets? As fans we will miss a number of different things about Bryan. We’ll miss them because we won’t have the good fortune of seeing them anymore. We’ll miss them because we won’t be able to smile each and every time he steps in the ring and entertains us. Here are 10 things we are going to miss about Daniel Bryan:
10 His Versatility
A number of wrestling fans that were late in watching Daniel Bryan’s progression missed a lot. Often, the key to being a good heel is the ability to be a convincing face as well. When Bryan first came into NXT and was a rookie, he was often thought of as being a positive, clean shaven character that was well received by the fans. What fans will also recall was that the clean cut and upbeat rookie was a major heel for the company as well.
9 His Charm
When you saw Bryan wrestle there was always something about him that could make you smile. Whether he was in character or not, Bryan had a certain charm about him. If wrestling fans had the chance to see him as part of the WWE Network program Table of 3 as a past Intercontinental Champion, they saw how he could certainly be a charming person even when there isn't a script. He teased Ryback, while never laughing directly at him. There are other scenarios where Bryan has given a spirited promo, and fans recognized his humor and what wasn't in character. That charm will sadly be missed.
8 His Storytelling
Throughout Bryan's career he has been able to tell fascinating stories with his actions in the ring. Fans would be hard pressed to see someone more committed to his character that Bryan. Whether it was being beaten down and publicly embarrassed by The Miz, or working through issues with his tag team partner Kane, or even how convincing he was during his relationship with AJ, fans have seen the scope of different things that Bryan will go through in order to create a scene, paint a picture and execute the script.
7 His Characters
Yes! No! Early on he was accused of not showing any character or personality. While that was being said as part of an on-screen storyline, the reason for it was that he didn't sound or act over the top. But just because he didn't do those things didn't mean he lacked character.
He was jeered and cheered during his time competing on the independents. It was at this time where he earned his craft and worked on those traits, and showed he could bring a great deal of depth to a character. When he first came into NXT he was unknown to the WWE fan base, who didn't know what to think of him. He worked from his initial promo to endear himself to fans, then successfully pushed them away, leading to them chanting “No” when he would chant “Yes.”
6 His Attitude
Daniel Bryan was always one to roll with the punches. His dream was to compete in the WWE, capture the championship and main event WrestleMania. Bryan was able to achieve all these things. But even if he had never received the push he did, he would have probably been fine. But fans wanted to see him succeed so much that it was impossible to keep him down. Still, he never appeared to have a chip on his shoulder at any time.
During his time in Ring of Honor, he didn't always win, and he didn't have to win. He was so incredibly over with the fans that he always came out looking like a winner. Did he have a good attitude because good things were coming? No, because those good things were never a given. Bryan's positive attitude and ability to take things as they come all stem from whom he is and where he comes from.
5 His Matches
Although fans have seen Daniel Bryan grow into the wrestler he was, when he retired he had only scratched the surface on what he could do. During his time in Ring of Honor, Bryan Danielson faced a who's who of men that have left their mark on professional wrestling for the last two decades. CM Punk, Samoa Joe, and Nigel McGuiness are just a few of the men that have gone head-to-head with Bryan. Indeed, Ring of Honor was home to some of Bryan's greatest matches.
4 His Rivalries
Punk, Austin Aries, Samoa Joe, Chris Hero, Randy Orton, Triple H, John Cena, Kane, Tyler Black, and Frankie Kazarian are among the people who have crossed paths in the ring with Bryan. In each one of these contests, fans were treated to the best possible match he could provide them with, regardless of whether he was feeling alright.
The names listed above are at an elite level. While many wrestlers are accused of mailing it in, Bryan competed against talent that could not only wrestle, but helped further along the story with him. These rivalries have provided us with some of the best wrestling matches anywhere in the world.
3 His Wrestling
Over the span of Bryan's sixteen-year career, wrestling fans have been treated to some of the most incredible wrestling anyone has ever seen. His use of submission maneuvers and technique in the ring are matched by very few over the last two decades. With the renamed Labell Lock that became the Yes lock, Bryan was often able to make his opposition submit.
Another move that he adopted, which originated with current NXT wrestler Hideo Itami was the running high knee, known as the Busaiku he no Hizageri when Itami used it in Japan under his real name, Kenta.
2 His Heart
If there has been one thing that Bryan has been known for throughout his career, it has been his never give up attitude. Over the span of his sixteen-year career, he faced men bigger than him and fought a style that was stiffer than most, and through it all has never quit.
When he first appeared in the WWE as part of NXT, despite being recognized as having a successful independent wrestling career, he was still considered an underdog. He faced Chris Jericho while he was an NXT rookie, and despite making an impressive showing he was still presented as weaker. But though he lost the match by submission there was nothing about Bryan's showing that would lead fans to call him a quitter.
1 His Gratitude
On Monday February 8th, 2016 Daniel Bryan announced his retirement from active competition. The news has saddened fans all over the world. While we know that the decision was for the best, what he said really resonated the most with fans on that night.
Bryan repeatedly used the word "gratitude" to describe how he felt. For everyone that stood behind him, whether it was his family, friends or complete strangers, Bryan said he was grateful. What Bryan should know is fans feel the same way about seeing him compete. They are grateful to have seen him paint pictures and tell stories in the ring countless times.
From his underrated classic against CM Punk at Over the Limit 2012 to his battles against Nigel McGuinness, Austin Aries or Samoa Joe in Ring of Honor, fans have a lot to be grateful for. Thank you American Dragon, Bryan Danielson, Daniel Bryan for all you've done; it is us, your fans that know that you did what you loved to do, and we loved you for it.
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