In the middle of his highly-publicized Twitter speech in which he called for today's generation of wrestlers to stand up and get noticed, Paul Heyman specifically named Daniel Bryan as an example of someone who took the smallest opportunity and ran as long and as hard as he could with it. This came about a week-and-a-half after Bryan and CM Punk wrestled for the WWE Championship at Over the Limit, a match nobody thought possible less than a year prior.
Since then, we have seen Bryan get involved with Charlie Sheen, sent for psychiatric evaluation, attend anger management classes and win the Tag Team Championships with Kane, a man who just months prior had been vying for the affections of AJ, who left Bryan at the altar to become Raw's general manager.
Not only has Bryan not lost a step, he's as charismatic and entertaining a wrestler as there has ever been in WWE.
Let's do some research, shall we?
Go through a list of everyone who has come and gone through WWE in the company's illustrious history. Take a look at the people who had the personality, the in-ring skill and even that "it" factor that so many talk about as being the core of success in professional wrestling.
Not too many of them are still around, are they?
When we think of "overachievers," the idea is that wrestlers have everything they need to achieve their goals but are not supposed to make it work because they have been saddled with something, be it a bad character or silly gimmick. A good example would be Nick Dinsmore, known for a while in WWE as Eugene, portraying a mentally challenged wrestler.
On paper, there is no way this should have worked. Dinsmore, to his credit, took the idea of Eugene and ran with it, even winning the World Tag Team Championships with William Regal. Unfortunately, Dinsmore's personal life continued to interfere with any more success he may have had.
Let me clarify some more: William Regal, someone who never got to the level he should have in WWE due to health problems and his own personal issues, posted a TwitLonger piece about what one should do to make it in today's WWE environment. One of his ideas is to create the worst character you can think of and make it your own. The mannerisms, the facial expressions, the dialect...anything that makes you uncomfortable is something you must force yourself to embrace.
I have seen more than enough matches of The American Dragon Bryan Danielson kicking people's heads in across the independent scene without saying very much. His old fans from the independent scene and new ones from NXT had been searching for a rallying cry for Bryan for a long time. The answer came from UFC fighter Diego Sanchez.
This was probably just a little something extra for Daniel Bryan—an extra phrase to associate with a wrestler who was exceptional at making people tap out. Whether or not this was something Bryan felt okay doing or was trying to get past in his head, I do not know.
Of course, we all know how it has worked out for him.
The chant has gotten so powerful and so popular for Bryan that for one night, his "YES!" stayed in the American Airlines Arena in Miami after Raw and was heard during a Heat game.
Who else aside from Stone Cold Steve Austin, often considered the best of all time, can say he originated something like that? While we are on the subject of Austin, has anybody aside from Bryan been able to finally distract people from chanting "What?" in the almost 11 years it has haunted us?
It isn't just "YES!", either. Bryan has taken every single idea that could spell doom for someone else and turned it into gold. Right now, he "is the Tag Team Champion." Kane disagrees and claims this moniker for himself. They have been going back and forth like this for a week and are likely to continue to do so tonight on SmackDown. There is no slowing down their momentum and people are loving every minute of it.
When Bryan retires one day (hopefully a long, long time from now), a case study can be made on former WWE wrestlers and what they did with their opportunities. Plenty of others who had the talent and even the passion have tried and failed.
Daniel Bryan should go down as the best example of someone who exceeded every expectation he had.