The Top 5 Daniel Bryan Fan Moments in History
Daniel Bryan's sustained main event push has been a direct result of his undeniable popularity. Despite WWE's best efforts to quietly move him out of the world title picture following disappointing numbers as a headliner for SummerSlam, Bryan's fans have refused to go as quietly into the night.
Bryan's surge is indicative of the power of the "Yes Movement." Stars such as Zack Ryder, who had similar organic popularity, were squeezed out of relevance by a stubborn WWE machine without so much as a world title program.
Ryder built his popularity through a weekly online series entitled Z! True Long Island Story. While Ryder did enjoy modest success as a former United States champion, he would eventually drop the title to Jack Swagger before entering a slow, painful career decline that continues to this day.
Attempts to do the same with Bryan have been met with strong resistance and borderline revolt. The top Bryan fan moments in history are defined by the fan's ability to become part of the storyline through their actions, which are usually spontaneous.
At times, WWE is forced to acknowledge these otherwise unplanned moments, which makes for an even better story.
5. Daniel Bryan Turns Babyface at the Expense of Bray Wyatt
The decision to have Bryan join the Wyatt family was an unpopular one based on crowd reaction. Bryan was in the midst of a hot babyface run and his love affair with the WWE universe was impossible to ignore.
"Yes" chants still dominated most of his matches, including his first match as a Wyatt against the Usos and Rey Mysterio, with fans clamoring to have the old Daniel Bryan back.
Fans received their big moment prematurely, with Bryan turning babyface just two weeks after joining the Wyatt Family.
The scene created instant elation within Bryan's fanbase. Fans came unglued as Bryan almost ceremoniously shed "the Wyatt skin," as was announced by Michael Cole.
Bryan rebelled against his temporary leader as Raw signed off with a memorable "yes" chant with Bryan atop a steel cage and the Rhode Island crowd chanting in unison. The moment rivaled that of Michigan State's own "yes" chant during a college basketball game just days prior.
4. 'Yes' Chants Take over Post-WrestlteMania Raw
In recent years, the post-WrestleMania Raw has been just as entertaining if not more entertaining than WrestleMania. The shows host hot WrestleMania crowds packed into a arena setting, where the audio comes through even louder given the smaller venue.
The night after WrestleMania XXVIII, Miami made it a point to chant "yes" at every turn. From The Rock's victory promo to wrestling matches, no segment was safe from this newfound tradition.
The chant built momentum from Daniel Bryan's shocking 18-second loss to Sheamus the night prior and fans chanting in support of the then-heel wrestler.
What could have easily been a one-night wonder has blossomed into an entire movement, with the Daniel Bryan character being built around his boisterous battle cry.
The post-WrestleMania Raw was essentially the origin of the "Yes Movement," as the first batch of WWE-branded "yes" t-shirts were rolled out shortly after this night.
3. Fans Take over Championship Ascension Ceremony
During a segment designed to be the final sales pitch for a John Cena-Randy Orton main event at WWE TLC, Daniel Bryan and his exuberant fanbase quickly became the focal point.
Bryan was standing in the corner of the ring unassumingly along with a host of former world champions who ranged from Shawn Michaels to Mick Foley to Bret Hart.
Bryan's home-state fans defiantly chanted for him during this segment, refusing to allow it to go according to plan.
Although Randy Orton was WWE World Heavyweight champion, Bryan had won the WWE title on two separate occasions only to have it unjustly stripped from his possession. Refusing to forget this injustice, the "Yes Movement" showed its support for Bryan.
Cena, apparently calling an audible, brought Bryan to center stage and refocused his promo on Bryan's popularity.
This was one of many moments that have defined the Bryan fanbase as a rabid bunch that is never shy about letting its voice be heard. It wouldn't be the first time this group hijacked a main event segment and it certainly wouldn't be the last.
2. Bryan Fans Crucify the 2014 Royal Rumble
History will not focus on the winner of the 2014 Royal Rumble, but rather the reaction to Daniel Bryan not being included in the match. Upon Rey Mysterio Jr. appearing at No. 30 and completing the field, fans booed the lifetime WWE babyface unmercifully.
The resentment would last throughout the duration of the Royal Rumble, with eventual winner Batista an unpopular choice with the Pennsylvania fans.
James Caldwell of PWTorch described the scene, writing, "The crowd remained restless, unhappy with the match. Poor Rey out at #30 was booed going for the 619. Rolling then eliminated Rey, who got cheered upon his elimination."
"Daniel Bryan" and "yes" chants would not go away as the 2014 Royal Rumble wound down. Nobody can tell the story of this high-profile Battle Royal without mentioning the controversy surrounding the exclusion of WWE's hottest wrestler.
The following night, WWE responded to the uproar by having Bryan accuse The Authority of trying to keep him down.
1. Michigan State 'Yes' Chants Featured on SportsCenter
Michigan State right guard Travis Jackson, clearly one of the biggest Daniel Bryan fans both figuratively and literally, led a "yes" chant during halftime of an MSU college basketball game against Ohio State.
The incredible scene made its way on to SportsCenter, with Daniel Bryan receiving credit from the anchors.
WWE.com ran with the story, as Bryan's "Yes Movement" had officially become mainstream. F4W (h/t WrestlingInc.com) notes that it was far from a coincidence that Bryan, who was a member of the Wyatt Family at the time, quickly became a babyface following the halftime "yes" chant.
Bryan's popularity could no longer be limited to a hometown crowd or a bizarro, so-called "smark" audience. He was the real deal and this halftime ceremony had simply validated that.
Bryan continues to draw more support with each time he is treated unfairly. There's no telling where this will land him in the WrestleMania XXX picture, but if it is unsatisfactory, rest assured that WWE will hear about it.