Building Bryan Danielson: The WWE Genius

Nathan WintersContributor IIIMay 19, 2010

The debate had been raging for years.

One could say, that this single athlete was the best in the world at what he did. At 5'10" and shy of 200 lbs, veteran of the American Independents and known throughout the world — Bryan Danielson was king. 

In return, the argument was always made.

Danielson was small, bland in his appearance and nature and yet despite being a gifted athlete and pure technician, the American Dragon was not a great worker.

A great wrestler, yes. In many ways one of the best of his generation. Much like AJ Styles or Christopher Daniels before him. But like these two, a great worker in the eyes of the WWE? No. 

The difference between a great wrestler and a great worker is rather simple.

It is what drove the heat between Danielson and The Miz from the start of NXT.

See, The Miz like it or lump it, is a very good worker and has the potential to be a great one.

A great wrestler can pull all the stops. They can throw down, work a catch as catch can match, shoot, mat wrestle and display amazing feats of speed and athletic ability.

A great worker however, can draw the crowd in on an emotional level. As a face can build a crowd up behind him. As a heel can generate the heat to heighten the drama and deliver and build on a storyline. 

A great wrestler may produce the better match, technically, if indeed this was a true, real test of fighting ability and survival. But a great worker will entertain and above all else, be the reason why a majority of wrestling fans tune in each week. 

The WWE is smart and we know this. They built on this argument from day one.

Miz, questioned Danielson. Danielson questioned Miz. But really, they built Danielson as everything a majority of fans thought he was—small, bland and uncharismatic in all regards.

The genius behind it all, they built on this idea of what it is to be a "WWE Superstar," and in turn questioned every ideal, almost every belief and every stereotype that was the WWE. 

Instead of forcing the audience to accept another 230 lb-plus former college football player or star athlete, they slowly insisted the audience embrace the former American Dragon.

Using the Miz and Michael Cole, they turned the WWE universe against the idea of the WWE superstar. They shot down the ideals, notions and stereotypes of the sports entertainer, those already well known to internet commentators. 

While the likes of John Cena, Randy Orton and Triple H were being cheered for the same character traits of the "great worker" compared to the "great wrestler."

The Miz was being booed, for being the guy who dared suggest charisma, presentation and image were what made a star.

In many ways he was right. Miz made the audience hate the idea of the "WWE Superstar," allowing an alternative point of view accepted. 

The genius is the WWE knows how to build a character, build a star. Even if it means questioning everything it once and will continue to stand for.