Daniel Bryan is everything that professional wrestling no longer means.
He's short, kind of pale, and if he keeps growing his beard he could be a new member of ZZ Top.
An article from The Independent gave six reasons why Bryan doesn't deserve to be at the top of the WWE:
- He doesn't have the look.
- His theme song is terrible.
- His finishing move is lackluster.
- His catchphrase is just as bad as his music and finisher.
- He wouldn't have been successful in the Attitude Era.
- Nowadays the likes of Bray Wyatt and Roman Reigns exist—who needs someone like Bryan?
All of those things listed may be why some people think he's undeserving of the attention, but for others, those are the reasons why Daniel Bryan has been so successful.
For the first time in a while, the WWE has found a character that the majority of their audience can relate to.
He may be atypical for all of the reasons mentioned above, and he's not from a long wrestling pedigree, but Bryan is the personification of the Average Joe's dream.
He is the embodiment of the idea that enough hard work will create opportunities and success.
Daniel Bryan doesn't look like a WWE Superstar, but he looks more realistic than a lot of the wrestlers who enter the ring.
His story is easier to relate to than growing up with a famous father or just having the right look.
He has gone from a nobody to a household name through his actions instead of words. He hasn't built a storyline based on pedigree—such as Cody Rhodes, Ted DiBiase or Randy Orton—but instead has a storyline that is based off of what he does in the ring.
Regardless of what "The Man" says or thinks.
Daniel Bryan would have survived the Attitude Era because he has essentially become the modern version.
He is the anti-establishment, an embodiment of the "I'm going to do what I want because I can" mentality.
It's made clear by almost every storyline he's been a part of.
His "Yes!" chants were constant motivation or reassurance that despite what he's facing in the ring, he can overcome it and win. His will could push him through any challenge the company threw at him.
The "Yes!" chants became "No!" chants, but he was still the good guy and the fans still loved him. He provided the comedic relief with his on-camera antics outside of the ring and provided drama with his talent inside it.
Then there was the short stint as the champion where he was betrayed, belittled and dismissed by Triple H and Stephanie McMahon (essentially the WWE corporate structure itself).
There was also the recent scare with the Wyatts, but Bryan was still the good guy. He was just luring Bray Wyatt into a false sense of security.
Fans love what he stands for—independence, hard work and doing what's right—even if the end justifies the means.
There is undoubtedly a new breed of wrestler: one that talks more often than they wrestle (sometimes it's hard to tell if it's a wrestling show or a soap opera) and is obviously normal.
The WWE could use a few more wrestlers like Daniel Bryan. It's been too long since they've had a character with whom fans can truly relate to.
Even his appearance on Total Divas, which features mostly the Bella Twins, helps cement him as a normal guy. Technology and media allow us to connect with these characters and wrestlers on a more personal level; it reveals the person behind the facade.
With Daniel Bryan, people can believe that just because they're a little "different" than the norm doesn't mean they can't be successful.