Daniel Bryan is one of the most popular Superstars that WWE has seen in a very long time. The Yes man has worked his way up from the bottom of the roster to the very top, growing as a man and as a performer along the way.
And for fans who have supported him from day one, there has been no better feel-good story in the industry. Bryan overcame the odds and exceeded expectations to climb the ladder, and he did it all by just being himself. The fact is that fans will always want Bryan as a main event star.
Bryan's journey from WWE's entry level to championship-caliber Superstar was witnessed by the world. Fans saw a man with a lot of indie hype behind him come into WWE to the sound of crickets. Basically, the majority of the WWE audience was not as familiar with Bryan as many Internet fans seemed to be.
And because of that, Bryan found himself in an uphill battle for respect as well as an opportunity. While others around him were given their shots, Bryan was left with a weak character that was getting him nowhere.
But as fans know, Bryan made his way through the quagmire of WWE Creative. Thanks to a helping hand from AJ Lee and a breakout run with Kane, Bryan received more spotlight than he ever had in his career. The man who seemed to be going nowhere fast finally had a great shot at stardom in Vince McMahon's company.
And he took full advantage of it.
Bryan became one of the elite performers in WWE. He earned a reputation for being a guy who got it done in the ring and delivered every time he was on TV. His win at WrestleMania 30 became the absolute high point of his career and one of the most gratifying storyline finishes that WWE had seen in years.
Bryan had fought valiantly against The Authority, and seeing him overcome the odds at 'Mania was a great moment for fans who had witnessed his rise.
Many protagonists have stood in a WWE ring and claimed that the fans were the reason for their success. Oftentimes, these displays seem like nothing more than a way to get over. Showing respect to those who had given support and cheered them on to victory is a great way to get some applause and to curry the favor of the crowd.
But in Bryan's case, it's the absolute truth. Without the fans' desire to see him ascend the WWE ladder, he likely never would have.
And that support continues today. Many fans wanted Bryan to win the Royal Rumble, and when he was eliminated early, they showed their displeasure with the move. The boos continued throughout the rest of the match and afterward when Roman Reigns won. The crowd had been denied what it wanted, and it let the world know it.
Much of the frustration from that is surely due to an overall lack of faith in WWE to deliver. Fans often voice their anger over moves that they feel should not happen. But the bulk of the hate that came from this decision was because fans want to see Bryan succeed on a very high level.
Despite the fact that he is not the prototypical WWE Superstar and that Reigns won the Rumble, the truth is that Bryan has a very solid connection to the fans. He is the blue-collar worker, the man who rose up from nothing to achieve greatness. Fans not only want that underdog story—they crave it.
And Bryan more than fits the bill.
Perhaps the best quality about Bryan, aside from his ability to connect with the crowd, is the fact that he's likable. It's easy to support a guy when you like him, and Bryan has that air about him. He just seems like a guy who can do no wrong, who would be there to lend some money or an ear if life got tough.
And if you needed someone to watch your back in a fight, Bryan would jump in without hesitation.
Fans believe in a guy like that; they want to see him rise up and beat the odds. If they liked Reigns that much, they would support him, regardless of whether they believed he had earned a main event spot. But Reigns is not easily liked because he just doesn't appear to have the heart that Bryan has.
When fans look at Bryan, they see a man who has worked hard and deserves to be rewarded. They see a man who should be at the top because he is the complete package and delivers every time. They see a main event Superstar who will be there for them and entertain them like no one else can.
Fans will always want to see Bryan as a main event star, and if he were to slip down, WWE would likely have to elevate him once again because of the support from his fanbase.
Proof positive of that could take place at WWE Fastlane, when Bryan will battle Reigns for the right to face Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 31. Bryan would arguably not be in this spot had it not been for the fans' need to see him get a fair shake. The fact that he is could very well be a testament to how strong the voice of the audience truly is and how much it really can affect change.
It also certainly has a lot to do with how popular Bryan is and how much fans want to see him succeed. He's worked hard to get his spot, but his story can ultimately not be written without the support and the love he's received from the WWE faithful along the way.