Ranking Daniel Bryan's 10 Best Matches in His WWE Career
Daniel Bryan has been WWE's most consistent performer since he debuted on NXT.
Looking through all his matches, it's quite difficult to find a bad one. It's even harder to choose the best of them.
The main characteristic that matches are judged by is their quality, but career impact and match significance are also considered.
As The American Dragon prepares for what will surely be a huge second half of 2013, here are his 10 greatest matches in the WWE.
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10. NXT Rookie vs. World Champion, NXT 2010
And a star was born
Bryan's first televised match in the WWE was against then-world heavyweight champion Chris Jericho.
NXT was designed to find WWE's next breakout star, but we didn't need a whole season. After this match it was obvious to everyone who the star of the show was.
Infinite credit needs to be given to Chris Jericho, who sold Bryan's moves so wonderfully and really got him over as a serious competitor.
Bryan and Jericho had another quality bout on Raw a few months back, but this match is what put the submission specialist on the map.
9. SmackDown Money in the Bank Ladder Match, 2011
2011 was a quiet year for Bryan.
Yes, he became world champion in December, but he didn't really do much in January through November.
The only notable match he had was SmackDown's Money in the Bank match, which he miraculously won.
Bryan got beaten down a lot throughout the match, but he kept on coming back. No matter how many times he was knocked down, he came back up.
The story has a happy ending, as WWE shocked us all when Bryan's resilience earned him a blue briefcase.
It was a memorable match and a rewarding moment for Bryan's fans.
8. Bryan vs. Ryback, SmackDown 2013
Bryan gets a great match out of Big Hungry
One of the best things about Daniel Bryan is his ability to get a great match out of anyone.
Ryback has shown a lot of improvement in recent months, but he had never had a particularly good match until he faced Daniel Bryan.
With no notable build up and on a regular episode of WWE's B show, Bryan gave Rybck the best match of his career.
The design was obviously for Ryback to get over, but it was clear to all that it was Bryan who stole the show.
7. Team Hell No vs. the Shield, TLC 2012
The first of many great matches involving The Shield
Six-man tag matches involving The Shield are rarely technical spectacles, but they're always fun.
Arguably their best match was their first, when they took on the team of Ryback, Bryan and Kane.
The Shield were a breath of fresh air, and the match also benefited from tornado tag TLC stipulations.
Bryan may have been pinned, but not before he temporarily subdued the Shield on his own by applying the No Lock to each member in succession.
Not a match for a storybook of Daniel Bryan's career, but The American Dragon was a key component of this landmark match.
6. ROH Rematch No. 2, Raw 2013
Tyler Black vs. Bryan Danielson!
ROH fans were surely waiting for this match ever since Seth Rollins made his debut as part of the Shield last November.
Rollins, though not quite an "indie king", honed his skills on the independent circuit, just like Bryan, and the two wrestled against each other in Ring of Honor.
With the intensity of Bryan and athleticism of Rollins, fans got a tremendous match with ridiculous counters and many dazzling moments.
We've gotten a lot of amazing matches on Raw this year, and Rollins vs. Bryan is up there as one of the best.
5. Team WWE vs. Nexus, SummerSlam 2010
The time Daniel Bryan spent in the ring for this match was actually quite small.
However, he managed to make a huge impact in those brief moments.
The American Dragon was the surprise member of Team WWE, having been fired from the WWE/kicked out of the Nexus months prior.
Bryan came out of this match looking like a million bucks—he eliminated two members of the Nexus with ease and was only pinned after a sneak attack by The Miz.
Bryan lost momentum when he was let go by the company earlier in the year, but he gained it all back and then some on this night.
4. Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton, Raw
Who knew Vipers could tap?
The most recent of all entrants on this list, the match between The Goat and The Viper on last week's Raw was excellent.
These two have wrestled in the past, but never have their styles meshed and their chemistry worked like on this night.
It was also very refreshing to see a wrestling match close to a Raw that didn't include John Cena, a indecisive finish or with the forced involvement of a storyline.
Yes, their bout was part of an overarching story, but the focal point here was the wrestling, and it was terrific.
It may also be a red herring, but Bryan's decisive victory could also foreshadow a huge few months.
3. Bryan vs. Sheamus II, Extreme Rules 2012
Almost redeems the 18 second thing
As we all know, Sheamus beat Daniel Bryan in 18 seconds at WrestleMania XXVII.
Their rematch at Extreme Rules almost made up for that outrageously stupid decision.
This 2-out-of-3 Falls match saw Bryan attack The Great White's shoulder ruthlessly enough to get disqualified.
He then applied the Yes Lock for long enough for Sheamus to temporarily pass out.
The match (partially) rectified their 'Mania encounter, made Bryan look cunning and dangerous and, most importantly, was extremely entertaining.
2. U.S. Champion vs. IC Champion, Bragging Rights 2010
Overall, Bragging Rights 2010 wasn't a particularly good pay-per-view. Thanks to Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler, though, ordering the show was worth every cent.
While Bryan's match with Jericho on NXT made an impact he had yet to have a classic singles match on WWE television.
That changed when he stepped into the ring with The Showoff, as the two future world champions wrestled an incredible match.
King and Cole seemed to try their absolute best to ruin this match with their commentary, but at least we had Matt Striker to ease the pain.
Regardless, the match stands as one of the best that either extremely talented performer has ever put on.
1. Clash of the Indie Kings, Over the Limit 2012
We saw Daniel Bryan wrestle CM Punk many times in 2012. All of their matches were great, but this one was the best.
Bryan already had a run as world heavyweight champion, but it wasn't until he lost the title and feuded with Punk that he actually looked like a champion.
Their match told its story well—Punk was the best wrestler in the world but Bryan matched him at every turn.
The Second City Saint won the match after he reversed a Yes Lock into a roll-up, but not before tapping out after the bell rang.
So while Punk walked away as WWE champion, Bryan managed to look every bit as good.
It's a shame the pay-per-view main event was Cena vs. Laurinaitis, because this match was an instant classic.