Daniel Bryan’s career as a wrestler in the WWE is still pretty young, but he’s already established himself as one of the best mat-workers of all time.
Bryan has been an absolute stud since joining World Wrestling Entertainment in 2009, and he currently holds the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, which he won at Wrestlemania with a face-breaking submission on Batista.
He’s an exciting, high-energy wrestler who certainly knows his way around the mat and is a master of submissions, but is he the best technical wrestler to step in the ring since the legendary Bret Hart? Let’s break it down.
The No. 1 thing that sets Bryan apart from most wrestlers today is that he’s a wrestling purist—he stays true to mat wrestling and isn’t too flashy. He doesn't rely on brute force or strength but rather his skill and technique. Bryan is very precise with his submissions and doesn’t have much trouble competing against larger competitors.
He keeps things very fast-paced in the ring and uses a nice mix of MMA moves to complement his submissions. Bryan is extremely fluid in and out of holds and is great with reversals.
Bryan has also spent time training with Hart’s former rival, Shawn Michaels, as well as William Regal, two of the brand’s most widely respected technical wrestlers of all time. It's clear that Michaels and Regal have positively influenced the 33-year-old specialist, and they've possibly crafted not only today's best technician but arguably the best since Hart himself.
Bryan's similarities with The Hitman extend past his own actions and spill into how he works with his opponents. He has a knack for bringing out the best in his competition.
His match with Bray Wyatt at the 2014 Royal Rumble is a shining example of Bryan bringing out the best in his opponent.
While Bryan ended up on the losing side of things, he pushed himself and Wyatt to a point where they had to perform maneuvers no one had seen from them before, putting on a heck of a show in the process.
Bryan continued to please the crowd (this time in a winning effort) at Wrestlemania XXX. He added a huge element of excitement to his match with Batista and Randy Orton, who both pulled out all the stops in order to defeat Bryan.
Despite their efforts—and an RKO-Batista Bomb combination through an announcer's table—nothing could foil Bryan's perseverance.
Aside from his successes in the ring, he's received much praise outside of the squared circle as well. He's won the Wrestling Observer Newsletter's award for Best Technical Wrestler every year since 2005 and a litany of other honors.
Bryan still has plenty of gas left in the tank and is sure to have several more memorable matches, but his excellence thus far as a WWE Superstar—more specifically a technician—has propelled him into the history books for sure.
Is he the best technical wrestler since Hart? I believe so.
You can't discount the great things that wrestlers like Kurt Angle have done, but it's hard to find anyone who's put on such a consistent showing as a technical wrestler match after match. He has the accolades, the titles and the bragging rights to assert the fact that he is certainly the best technician since The Hitman.