Daniel Bryan: Charting the Key Moments in His Rise to WWE Main Eventer
Daniel Bryan has gone from a clean-shaven, young looking NXT rookie looking for a chance to shine, to a goat-faced, anger-managing (kinda) hobo-looking main eventer.
Bryan showed signs early of the aggressive character that became so entertaining, but it cost him his job temporarily.
Through simple chanting and taking time off from shaving and getting haircuts, Bryan’s character rose to the top of the company.
Bryan has been World Heavyweight, United States and tag team champion. Plus, he won Money in the Bank.
There have been many key moments in Bryan’s rise to the main event of WWE. Here I will lead us down Bryan’s path to superstardom as we take a look at the stand out moments in Bryan’s WWE career.
NXT and the Nexus
When Bryan first arrived at WWE NXT, he had the unfortunate situation of having The Miz as his pro.
Why was this unfortunate?
Because The Miz was a rising heel and Bryan was a struggling rookie babyface.
Throughout his entire tenure in NXT, one key moment stands out. After the competition was over and the group of season one competitors, the Nexus, debuted on Raw, Bryan lost his job.
While attacking Superstars, announcers and all, Bryan was seen choking ring announcer Justin Roberts with his own tie. These actions resulted in WWE legitimately firing Bryan.
Bryan would be rehired though, and return to join Team WWE against the Nexus at SummerSlam 2010.
U.S. Title, Money in the Bank and the YES! Chants
Bryan never got along with the Miz as far back as his NXT days, but he may have gotten some revenge on his former pro shortly after SummerSlam.
Bryan won his first title in WWE by defeating the Miz for the United States title.
This is when the winning was just getting started for Bryan.
At Money in the Bank 2011, Bryan won the World Heavyweight title briefcase. Although he declared that he was waiting until WrestleMania 28 to cash in, that didn’t happen.
He got himself involved in the Big Show-Mark Henry feud over the World Heavyweight title. After a couple of teases to cash in, Bryan finally did it on the babyface Big Show at WWE TLC 2011.
After winning the title, Big Show and Henry were not done with Bryan. Big Show wanted his rematch and got it on the January 6, 2011 edition of SmackDown.
Henry was on commentary and when Bryan got in the World’s Strongest Man’s face, Henry knocked him down.
As a result, Bryan won the match via DQ and for the first time began chanting YES! YES! YES! The chant, as many of you know, would turn into a huge phenomenon.
Turning Heel and WrestleMania 28
After becoming World Heavyweight Champion, Bryan began to slowly turn heel and show early signs of the angry Bryan fans learned to love. He began a relationship with AJ Lee whose feelings for Bryan were not mutual.
However, when Bryan finally decided to show a little bit of love towards AJ, it cost him his world title.
After the famous kiss to AJ at WrestleMania 28, Bryan was hit with a brogue kick from Sheamus and lost the World Heavyweight title. Bryan would dump AJ, which oddly enough began AJ’s emotional wreck character.
AJ wouldn’t stay out Bryan’s business though, as she took interest in Bryan’s new enemy, CM Punk.
Feuding with CM Punk, Kane and AJ Lee
Bryan became No.1 contender for the WWE title and began feuding with Punk. Bryan and Punk delivered one of the best matches of the year at Over the Limit and the match ended controversially, which allowed the feud to continue.
Kane also got involved in the love triangle between Punk, Bryan and AJ that led to a triple threat match at No Way Out.
Bryan got one more chance at the WWE title against Punk, this time with AJ as the special guest referee. Although I expected AJ to choose one of the two men to assist, she played the role fairly. The following night, Bryan proposed to AJ in what would set up a very interesting 1000th edition of Monday Night Raw.
Raw 1000: The Wedding and the Rock
At Raw 1000, AJ left Bryan at the altar when Mr. McMahon announced the Diva as the new general manager of Raw. Bryan threw a tantrum as Superstars and Divas’ weddings in WWE tend to go.
However, it was after the wedding that Bryan was met with another hilarious Superstar.
Punk came out to pay his respect to Bryan and call himself the best in the world again, while Bryan told Punk he was the best of all time.
This led to The Rock making his return and announcing his intentions to challenge the WWE champion at Royal Rumble 2013.
One of the funniest Superstars of the Attitude Era meets the funniest Superstar of today’s era and what happens?
Team Hell No to Present
After Bryan’s anger issues continue to worsen, AJ enrolled him and his foe Kane in anger management classes. These sessions became must-see television that propelled Kane and Bryan.
The tag team, Team Hell No, began to hug it out in the middle of the ring and even were the focus on SmackDown shows.
The tag team’s popularity naturally turned them babyface while Kane and Bryan were at the top of the tag team division.
They held the titles for eight months before losing them to Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins of The Shield.
Now, Bryan is again focusing on singles competition. After losing the tag titles, Bryan began to show aggression again and felt as though people saw him as the weak-link in Team Hell No.
Bryan has most recently been feuding with Randy Orton and the two even main evented a recent episode of Raw. If reports are any indication, Bryan is going to continue to be the focus and be, as he said on Raw 1000, the face of WWE.
What do you think are the key moments in Bryan’s rise to WWE Main Eventer? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.
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