Daniel Bryan: 7 Reasons the Superstar Was So Popular with WWE Fans
Health issues forced Daniel Bryan to officially retire during the Feb. 8 edition of WWE Raw, but he went out as one of the most popular Superstars in WWE history.
Whether it was his wrestling ability, down-to-earth personality or his passion for the business, everyone has their own reason for why they love the bearded brawler.
Bryan's farewell speech was emotional for both him and his legions of fans, but it was easy to believe him when he said he was at peace with his situation and grateful for everything he had accomplished.
It's depressing to think about how we will never see Bryan wrestle another match, but instead of wallowing in our own sadness, we should be celebrating his incredible career.
This slideshow will look at seven reasons why we love Daniel Bryan. This is not a ranked list, so the slides will appear in no particular order.
He Seems Like a Normal Guy
Some of the biggest stars in wrestling history have personalities that seem manufactured or totally out of this world, but Bryan gives off the impression of being a regular Joe.
People like The Rock because he is so entertaining, but we connected with Bryan because he reminds us of ourselves. He's not a bodybuilder and doesn't have the looks of a model. He's just an average dude in a flannel shirt.
People relate to people with whom they have things in common. Remember when George W. Bush was in the White House? People said they liked him because he seemed like the kind of guy you could have a beer with.
Bryan is the same way, although with him it would probably be a locally brewed, vegan craft beer made by some hipster in Portland.
His Technical Ability
Bryan is one of the best technical wrestlers of the modern era, and it's those technical skills that helped him become so popular with hardcore fans.
After years of seeing most wrestlers use a select few slams, suplexes and strikes, it was refreshing to see someone like Bryan come in and put on a clinic every single night.
It didn't matter if he was in the ring with Chris Jericho, John Cena or Big Show—Bryan could have a great contest with just about anybody.
People always say Ric Flair could have a 5-star match with a broom, and Bryan is in that same category. He had his signature maneuvers just like everybody else, but he would also pull moves out of his bag of tricks we almost never see, and that made it so he never had two matches that looked similar.
With trainers such as Shawn Michaels and William Regal, Bryan developed mat skills that rival the best wrestlers in the history of the business.
His Willingness to Take Risks
Bryan's technical ability is off the charts, but he was also capable of hitting high-flying moves that could make even the most cynical fans stand up and cheer at the top of their lungs.
His high-risk style likely contributed to his early retirement, but he left us with so many exciting moments from countless matches.
Suicide dives, flying headbutts, missile dropkicks and flips off the turnbuckle were a regular part of his arsenal, and he made every one of those moves look effortless.
Today's WWE fan needs more than they would have 30 years ago. We practically demand these men and women take unnecessary risks so we can chant and cheer.
Bryan took those risks every night, and he did it with a smile on his face. Most of the roster wouldn't even attempt half of the things Bryan did on a regular basis, and that made him special.
He Was an Underdog
Everyone loves and underdog story. The Rocky films proved that fact beyond a shadow of a doubt, and Bryan is right up there with Rocky Balboa as one of the greatest underdogs of all time.
The leader of the Yes Movement was never supposed to succeed in WWE. He didn't have the look, size or charisma to be a top star, and it made his accomplishments that much more satisfying.
Nobody could have predicted Bryan's level of success when he first joined the company, and anyone who tried would have been called a silly optimist or a mark.
Integrating his underdog qualities into storylines endeared him to the WWE Universe, but it was his real struggle to get to the top that made him a fan favorite.
Watching Bryan succeed against all odds was inspiring, and hopefully he pushed some of his fans to chase their dreams, too.
He Made WWE Listen to Its Fans
Do you remember when Zack Ryder was ridiculously popular a few years ago? What about when everyone was dancing along to Fandango's music?
The difference between those two and Bryan is that WWE actually listened to its fans when they demanded Bryan be booked as a top Superstar.
His incredible performances in the ring, the deafening "Yes!" chants and his willingness to put others over forced officials to acknowledge just how valuable he was.
Seeing how fans' opinions affected Bryan's position in the company was hugely satisfying. We don't often feel like our voices are heard, but when it came to Bryan, WWE actually paid attention and adjusted its strategy accordingly.
He was in tears during his farewell speech recalling how the fans were responsible for his big push at WrestleMania 30. It just goes to show you that management does listen to the fans from time to time.
His Comedic Value
Nobody is ever going to make the argument that Bryan was one of the most charismatic Superstars, but there's something about the way he delivered his lines that made him funny.
This was especially true during his partnership with Kane. Before teaming with the Big Red Monster, Bryan was just another annoying heel. When they joined forces, they brought out the best in each other and produced several memorable moments.
Their constant bickering and one-upsmanship gave their matches an extra layer of entertainment, but it was their anger management segments where they truly shined.
It never felt like Bryan and Kane were the butt of a joke, which made them even more enjoyable to watch. They didn't need to get cheap laughs by using toilet humor because they were genuinely funny.
Bryan might be done wrestling, but we can hope to get a reunion with Kane, Dr. Shelby and Harold at some point in the future.
Many professional athletes and celebrities develop huge egos because everyone is always telling them how great they are. When it comes to Bryan, it is the exact opposite.
When he was giving his farewell speech on Raw, he talked about how humbled and grateful he was for everything the business had given him instead of touting his many accomplishments.
You could feel the sincerity of his words when he discussed how lucky he was to meet his wife and be able to do what he loved for the past 16 years. For someone with his level of popularity, Bryan has always managed to retain a great level of humility.
In fact, it sometimes feels like he doesn't give himself enough credit for everything he contributed to the world of professional wrestling.
He wasn't the first wrestler on the smaller side to make it to the top, but he made it easier for those who will come after him by proving his critics wrong and destroying misconceptions of what it takes to be a top star.
It's difficult to walk the line between confidence and cockiness, but Bryan never let the fame and success go to his head, and that is one of the biggest reasons why we love him.
Take a moment and share what is was that made you like Bryan in the comments section.
Thanks for reading and follow me on Twitter: @BR_Doctor.