Awesome, but Impractical: His corner shotgun dropkicks are usually fun to watch and provide a nice visual when sold correctly, but cause Bryan to put a lot a lot of pressure on his head and shoulder after landing, whether or not he connects.
Subverted with a touch of career Genre Savvy at WrestleMania 30, since his left shoulder had been targeted throughout the night, he used the ropes to land on his feet each time to avoid putting further pressure on the bad shoulder.
Badass Beard: During his WWE run, he's grown a scruffy beard, which combined with his rather drab appearance adds to his Granola Guy gimmick. Post-his initial Face-Heel Turn, he stopped shaving it. It's now bordering on Duck Dynasty levels in length and wildness, and was probably the most robust beard in WWE... until The Wyatt Family showed up.
The Berserker: He may well be the latest Trope Codifier with how's he gone about proving himself to not be the "weak link." An example? He not only dominated the Shield in a close losing effort, but took on Ryback simply because he wanted to and refused, hell, demanded that Kane not be around to help him. The craziest part? He actually dominated Ryback for a good chunk of the match before Ryback drove him into the announce table and powerbombed him through a table.
As a face, Michael Colereally got under his skin and vice versa. On at least one occasion, their shouting matches escalated to the point where he would jump from the ring to the floor threatening to kick Michael Cole's ass and fully intending to do it.
Others saying "YES!" during his heel phase after A.J. left him at the altar to be RAW GM is this, leading to his new catchphrase: "NO!" And any references to Goats.
Subverted with the latter after his Heel-Face Turn. A lot of his more recent WWE merchandise have goat themes of both the flying and bearded variety.
He is NOT the weak link of Team Hell No. Suggesting this causes him to snap into a berserker level rage and take you out.
Sending a monster like Kane after Bryan is one thing; Daniel is more than capable of taking his lumps and dishing them back out in kind. Having that monster go after his wife BrieBella? You better hope he's too hurt to kick your face in. Stephanie found this out after Kane nearly abducted Brie on the 4/28/14 Raw:
Bryan: You will REGRET dragging my wife into this.
Big Damn Heroes: After being fired from WWE for his actions, Bryan was kayfabe exiled from the Nexus for "showing remorse". Two months later, he's rehired... and made the seventh man for Team WWE against The Nexus.
After A.J. was revealed as the ref for his title match, the new GM of Raw while leaving him at the altar and onwards.
Has since taken the role that "YES!" used to occupy in such a way that they're now a Dueling Chant:
Daniel Bryan: NO!
Daniel Bryan: NOO!!
Daniel Bryan: NOOO!!!
Eventually, Bryan brought "YES!" back; "NO!" has not been completely abandoned, although "YES!" has overshadowed it again.
His response to The Wyatt Family when Bray attempted to recruit Daniel. The however ended up being averted, as Daniel ultimately ended up joining them anyway. Which was part of his larger plan to get a chance to strike back at Bray.
Big YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES!: How Bryan celebrated his victories during his run as World Heavyweight Champion, whether he earned it or won by sheer luck. After dropping the belt, he did for a while, but the fans had taken a liking to it so he started the Big "NO!" instead. He has now started it back up again after his face turn.
The Final Countdown Tour. While it was great to see him finish his ROH career with a win, you had to feel at least slightly bad for Nigel McGuinness, knowing it was his final show as well, and McGuinness didn't get a whole frickin' tour named after him like he did.
Also Summerslam 2013, full stop. He managed to defeat John Cena cleanly, only to have the title taken away from him by Randy Orton and Triple H.
His opening promo in the 01/13/2012 edition of Smackdown had him telling the crowd that, despite what it looked like, and no matter what people are saying in the message boards, he absolutely did not intend to win his first championship match against The Big Show via disqualification. That disqualification win was all Mark Henry's fault, not his. While Henry indeed shoved him to the ground, it was because Bryan taunted him into attacking him.
He would not cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase until WrestleMania. To be fair, he wasn't going to, but certain events, such as being Mark Henry's punching bag for a few weeks, made him realize that he might not be healthy enough for WrestleMania and took the first opportunity he got to cash it in.
But even then, he did have his personal mentor, Shawn Michaels, supporting him in the face of extreme adversity... until a chain of events during a championship match got Bryan kicked in the face by HBK, costing him the bout.
WWE Fatal 4-Way on 6/20/10 began and ended with the crowd chanting "DANIEL BRYAN! (clap clap clap-clap-clap)"
Topped with WrestleMania 28 starting with Daniel Bryan chants and the next night's RAW ending with them.
In a sense, the build-up for his match at SummerSlam 2013 with John Cena. Cena was the one who brought Bryan back to the WWE at SummerSlam 2010, and now, three years later, Bryan's the one he's chosen to potentially unseat him as WWE Champion.
Boring, but Practical: His Solid Knee Plus (single leg high knee). It isn't especially technical (especially for Daniel Bryan), but... well, it does exactly what you expect of a knee forcefully applied to the face.
Luckily, it would seem that Sanchez doesn't mind how popular it has gotten since Bryan started to use it (though the fact that Bryan repeated credited him for the inspiration probably eliminated the risk for any ill-will).
Breakup Breakout: Wade Barrett has done well, but his push was derailed due to injury. As of now, Bryan is the only member of the original Nexus lineup (Bryan, Barrett, Slater, Gabriel, Otunga, Sheffield, Young) to win a world title. Most of the others are floundering around in the midcard or are Jobbers. Except for Skip in a way who been repackaged as Ryback.
Considering his career now, being the first to be kicked out of The Nexus was probably the best thing to happen to Daniel Bryan's career.
Bullying a Dragon: Spent a week or two leading up to the Rumble antagonizing The Big Show, who was already somewhat irritated with Bryan in the first place. Then he bitch-slaps him on live (sorta) television. Not the best course of action when the guy you're slapping around is well north of 400 pounds and gets to fight you in a steel cage over the weekend.
Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Fits this trope to a T during his time with Team Hell No. He's essentially gone from "slightly disturbed" in 2012 to batshit insane in 2013. But no matter his sanity (or lack thereof), if he slaps that "NO!" Lock on you in the middle of the ring, you're probably tapping.
But Not Too White: He is very pale, which other wrestlers have taken time to mock. He himself (in character) insists that his pale skin is a testament to his lack of vanity, therefore making him more manly.
While he will manage to crush anyone at a PPV, he's not as successful on Raw. He lost to Michael Tarver immediately after his return to the WWE (mostly due to The Miz's interference), and was absolutely destroyed by Sheamus which many claimed destroyed his credibility (Sheamus jumped him before the match and was eventually disqualified for repeatedly kneeing Bryan's head at the ropes), then lost again to Sheamus (although he did scare the hell out of Sheamus this time around). He's been getting better about it recently, though, ever since his feud with Dolph Ziggler, and most recently he had a great match with former WWE World Heavyweight ChampionJack Swagger and won.
Also, he lost to Alberto Del Rio in the first round of the 2010 King of the Ring. He did manage to qualify for the first round after destroying Ted DiBiase Jr. once again though, and did also get consoled by the Bella Twins.
Even as World Champ, he was not immune to this, as WrestleMania 28 proved.
Summerslam 2013, pins John Cena clean, gets an Eddie Guerrero-Chris Benoit style celebration with streamers, then Orton comes out, he is pedigreed by Triple H, and Orton pins him.
The Cameo: At a Velocity (Smackdown's midcard show then) taping in 2003, he, under his real name, fought against John Cena (then the heel Doctor of Thuganomics). To make it better, even though he obviously lost, a scheduling error resulted in WWE having him call the match, and so he got in plenty of offense.
During NXT, he (and people talking about him) were throwing around "You tap, or you snap!", a holdover from his time in the independent leagues.
However, since Michael Cole (repeatedly) got it wrong, it was dropped in short order.
"YES! YES! YES!"
Ironically, "NO! NO! NO!" after AJ Lee was declared the special guest referee for his match against CM Punk at Money in the Bank 2012. Ever since the 1000th RAW episode, it's become his catchphrase in earnest. He's worn a shirt to go with it.
Daniel: Didn't you guys get enough of that last week? (referring to their now-famous triple kiss)
Brie and Nikki: Uh, nooo.
Ironically, as of 2014, he's married to Brie Bella in real life while Nikki is dating The Rival John Cena in real life. They even took a vacation together.
Cheap Heat: He was over from his first appearance on NXT. So over that he had to rely on this in his promos to get crowds to boo him once he won the World Title. How over is he? Despite having been a huge heel at the time, WWE still used him in their 'Don't try this at home' vignettes and such when typically this is limited to faces. At Night Of Champions the crowd booed the faces, Kofi Kingston and R-truth whenever they successfully attacked Daniel Bryan despite the fact he had antagonized the crowd during the whole build up to the show.
Chick Magnet: Bryan once noted in an interview that he seemed to get paired or find attention from Divas in his storylines. This ranged from the time he danced with the Raw Divas in the ring (which was rumored to lead to a "ladies' man" gimmick), to have the Bellas accompanying him and having a competition to be "his first", having Gail Kim as his girlfriend, and the recent storyline with A.J. Lee. He joked that creative probably did the pairings because the idea of a Diva being with a "plain-looking" guy seemed amusing.
Cool Mask: During the early 2000s when he went on tour in NJPW, Danielson turned his "American Dragon" moniker into a gimmick. Observe◊.
Many of his feuds, but his feud with The Miz is a great example, yes really, despite how good you think Miz may or may not be, this feud is basically the two extremes of wrestling battling it out. You have the charismatic, cocky, flashy and larger than life though unspectacular in the ring Miz versus the more boring, humble, simple and subdued super talented worker - it's Technician Versus Performer on a grand scale that's been set up ever since NXT. The feud has allowed both to expand as wrestlers as well; Bryan gets the pizazz he's been lacking and The Miz gets some in-ring respectability.
Inverted by his mentorship of NXT rookie Derrick Bateman in that while Bryan is the humble technician, Bateman is a Large HamCloud Cuckoo Lander performer who can't even be taught a simple heel hook without slipping off into his own little world about how he's doing "SUBMISSION WREST-LING!" while Bryan plays the frustrated straight man. Surely, many a Crowning Moment of Funny will come from this.
Corpsing: Though he's never broken character, a large majority of his promos have him on the verge of doing so. Speculation has it that his beard was grown to help hide the fact that he's about a half second away from bursting out laughing at any given time. One can only wonder how he and Kane managed to do their promos cleanly though it probably helps that most of their promos end with one or the other or both storming off camera.
He did this in the indies when trying to do a promo with Paul London
Though WWE does remember him winning titles all over the world, dominating the indies, and being the best wrestler in the world awesomely enough.
Hilariously enough, this applied even when he returned in season 4 of NXT. The commentators were talking about how much he's earned his spot as a Pro, about coming full circle, etc etc etc and otherwise talking as if he'd been in WWE for a very long time. Though it neglected his stint in Nexus and such, it's more hilarious that - due to the way NXT tapes - he returned to NXT within months of him leaving it!
On a darker side, his finishing move (the LeBell/YES!/NO! Lock) is very similar to the Crippler Crossface. And as the WWE has struck Benoit from the history books, some of the commentary can be very much full of retcons in regards to the move.
The main event of the 8/6/12 Raw was Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena. The commentators had noted that it was the first time that both men had faced each other in a singles match. Except that Bryan did face Cena before on an episode of WWE Velocity. This could be handwaved, though, as technically, it was Bryan Danielson that fought John Cena more than 9 years ago.
Couch Gag: As ROH World Champion, he would constantly force ring announcer Bobby Cruise to introduce him with a different outrageous superlative, such as "the best wrestler in the entire world, with an emphasis on entire world," "the best champion in ROH history," "the best wrestler to ever step foot in the ECW Arena," "really too good to wrestle in front of all these pricks," and "even better than The Beatles."
Demoted to Extra: The second half of his US Title reign was kinda lackluster, although admittedly that's mainly because most of the mid-carders on RAW, such as The Miz and John Morrison, got elevated into the main event scene at the same time, and he could only kill Ted DiBiase so many times before it got boring. A much more straight example, however, is his and Sheamus' match for the US Championship getting knocked off the card for Wrestlemania 27. Then, [WrestleMania 28 happened.
Despair Event Horizon: His main motivation for joining The Wyatt Family. He's come to the realization that regardless of how much the fans cheer for him every week, WWE Management simply doesn't care for him. Except not, as it was a ploy to get close to Bray in order to take him out.
Both in and out of character. He defended the ROH World Championship for three months with a separated shoulder just so that he could finish the build to Homicide's championship win.
Wrestling with a broken eye socket. And not just a broken eye socket, a detached retina.
Gave up meat-eating so he could continue wrestling with his weak immune system shortly before even arriving in WWE.
Part of the reason Triple H seemingly respected Bryan was that no matter how much crap he and The Authority put Bryan through since Summerslam 2013, Bryan's rallied against them and stood tall regardless of the innumerable setbacks he's been dealt.
Sara Del Rey, who was trained by him. They use some of the same moves (Le Bell Lock, Royal Butterfly), and have used the same entrance music ("The Final Countdown", "Ride of the Valkyries")
His one-time on-screen girlfriend AJ Lee. Both considered very much members of geek culture, both fairly easily among the smaller yet more talented of their peers, both with at least a decent amount of indy success in their time pre-WWE.
Dirty Coward: During his World Heavyweight heel run, he was somehow this and a Manipulative Bastard (see below). If he couldn't win the matches he was in, he did everything he could to get out of them.
Discontinuity Nod: The WWE Title match between Daniel Bryan and John Cena at Summerslam 2013 contained a spot where Bryan resisted getting pinned by using a bridge, culminating with Cena getting monkey-flipped for his efforts. This was also one of the opening spots in their Velocity match back in 2003.
The reason for his loss at WrestleMania 28. He gave AJ Lee one kiss only turn around for a Brogue Kick.
Don't You Dare Pity Me!: How he reacted to both Kane and Randy Orton trying to tell him he wasn't the weak link of Team Hell No, or in general. Also, after a match on Raw between him and Orton had been called off due to concern for Bryan's well being, he accused Orton of this in one of their promos on the following episode of Smackdown.
In one of those anecdotes blurring kayfabe and reality, it's said that once Bryan went backstage he went ballistic at having the match called off, to the point of almost fighting with Triple H.
His end to 2013 certainly qualifies. Daniel Bryan's is given an opportunity to get revenge on The Wyatt Family by facing them in a Gauntlet match. He ends up taking a beating first from Luke Harper and then by Erick Rowan but he is able to win both of the matches. Weary, it seems like he will finally get to face Bray one-on-one...only for Harper and Rowan to attack him making the match end in a Disqualification. As he lays there in the ring, Bryan admits that Bray was right and that no matter how hard the fans cheered, he was never able to succeed against the Authority. With nothing left, Bryan gives in and accepts the Wyatt's offer to become a member of the family.
Summerslam 2013, John Cena gives Daniel Bryan a shot at his title, feeling the latter had been overlooked for too long and deserved this opportunity. They put on a classic in front of a red-hot crowd that sees Bryan go over clean as a sheet, confetti and pyro shower the new WWE champ as the crowd is unglued...only for Randy Orton to come down to cash in his Money in the Bank. Bryan is eager to take him on...but Triple H, who just finished refereeing the title match, ambushes him with a Pedigree and giving Orton the title in the process.
Early-Bird Cameo: Wrestled a match on Heat in 2003 as Bryan Danielson, against John Cena. Furthermore, because of a scheduling error, the WWE bookers had him calling the match, which lead to the match being back and forth instead of a squash.
Earn Your Happy Ending: After months of getting screwed over by the Authority, Bryan finally wins the title back at Wrestlemania 30, fort by beating Triple H, and then Randy Orton and Batista in a triple threat match, all while wrestling for nearly a full hour along the way.
Evil Costume Switch: After his heel turn, his wrestling attire prominently featured a touch of black along with the regular reds.
Even Evil Has Standards: After break up and A.J.'s progressive Sanity Slippage, he wanted almost nothing to do with A.J. However, when she was willing to go as far as jumping through a table for sake of attention, even he had to get in the way and talk her down from that one.
Evil Mentor: To AJ Lee, as he has started coaching her for her matches. She was too in love to notice.
Extreme Melee Revenge: What he did to Kane, interrupting his entrance and whacking him with a steel chair about twenty-five times uninterrupted.
Face: He started off as a heel during his ROH championship run, but he was so awesome the crowd never stopped cheering for him. In the WWE, he spat in John Cena's face and declared war on the WWE as a member of the Nexus, but unfortunately was released around that time. The WWE brought him back the moment they could, and they of course brought him back as a face because they figured crowd would probably never boo the guy after that. And then he won the World Heavyweight Championship...
And now he's essentially the Number 1 Face in the entirety of the WWE. Yes, even beyond John Cena.
Began to turn after deciding to cash in Money in the Bank at TLC on a prone Big Show moments after he won it, after having put down others for doing such a thing in the past. Afterwards, he began antagonizing Show just a little by continuing to interfere in his matches despite him asking him not to. After implying that Show DOES need his help, he was accused of having his title go to his head. Then, on the 1/6/12 Smack Down!, when finding himself struggling in a title defense against Big Show, he resorted to taunting Mark Henry into attacking him, causing the disqualification, so he could retain his title, after which, he celebrated like he had won the Super Bowl. Definitely taking a level in jerkass here...
Subverted with his joining of The Wyatt Family. By the time of that turn, he was so over that the crowd simply wouldn't boo him. WWE, perhaps picking up on the fact that this would essentially kill the angle, turned him back again within a couple of weeks.
While in the indies and ROH, he primarily used a submission hold called the Cattle Mutilation, but he's also known as "Mr. Small Package" for his tendency to use small package pins to win matches.
Since returning to WWE, he seems to have settled on an omoplata crossface (named the Lebell Lock, a reference to Judo legend Gene Lebellnote Though he's renamed it to the "YES!" Lock and "NO!" Lock and then back to the "YES!" Lock, referencing his catchphrases of sorts.) as his new finisher. Recently, he's moved to a guillotine choke. Occasionally, for a knockout finisher, he'll settle for just kicking the other guy's fucking head in - or kneeing it in.
He recently used a Flying Headbutt known as the Flying Goat, and a Buisaiku Knee Strike named the Solid Knee Plus.
He also had multiple finishing moves that involved holding the opponent down and elbowing or stomping their face in.
Although he has a nearly unlimited move set, many of his later ROH matches had a final stretch in which he would use several of his potential finishers in sequence - the Cattle Mutilation, the Crossface Chickenwing, the MMA elbows, "You're gonna get your fucking head kicked in," and the triangle choke in some order or another.
He uses a similar method of rotating moves in WWE, utilizing the Buzzsaw kick, a pair (or trio) of running corner dropkicks, a German and/or snap suplex and the flying headbutt in varying orders, usually ended with the YES!/NO! Lock for the tap out. If a tap out doesn't suffice, he goes in for the kill using the Busaiku Knee Smash, a move that he's beaten John Cena with.
Foreshadowing: Daniel Bryan first appears in WWE kicking Cena's head off his shoulders during the NXT Riot and screaming "YOU ARE NOT BETTER THAN ME!" Several years later, he would beat Cena completely clean for his first WWE Championship in a type of loss Cena only gives up once in a blue moon.
Game-Breaking Injury: While he was the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, he had to get surgery on his neck. This lead to him being stripped of the title, when it became clear he wouldn't be able to defend it.
Geeky Turn-On: He got quite excited after watching Gail Kim do some submission holds.
Genre Savvy: One of the very few to actually wise up and arm himself with a steel chair just as the The Shield's music hit. Didn't help in the long run, but at least he was ready to go down swinging.
Getting Crap Past the Radar: The September 24, 2012 RAW where he and Kane in a diner skit after Kane starts talking about hitting the other tag teams with chairs, and Bryan starts screaming "YES!"... then they sag and pant heavily in their seats, the camera pants over to the elderly Mae Young who beams and declares, "I'll have exactly what they're having".
Granola Guy: He's a former vegan and a socialist, and at least his character has always had an anti-corporate slant. He even retained the anti-establishment characterization in WWE, using it to launch a feud with company man Michael Cole.
Up to the point where he started going batshit crazy on The Shield. Ambrose and company were not laughing after Bryan's attempts to prove himself not the "weak link" cost them their first loss as a complete unit.
At an NXT promo, he gets into this with Kane again. He finishes by screaming a prolonged NO! for as long as his breath can hold out to the point where it's basically him wheezing for a few seconds at the end. Kane responds with a Little Yes and manages to not break character.
Heel-Face Revolving Door: As ROH World Champion, whether he was a face or heel depended entirely on who he was wrestling and where. He always wrestled heel in Chicago, notably against Roderick Strong and Colt Cabana; he wrestled Nigel McGuinness twice as a face, and then as a heel when they wrestled in Britain; he wrestled face against Chris Hero and Sonjay Dutt; and he was always unquestionably a heel when wrestling Homicide. After that, he remained a face - and like Ric Flair, his heel mannerisms became face mannerisms due to how integral they had become to his character.
Hey, That's My Line!: Since Bryan got "YES! YES! YES!" to take off after Wrestlemania XXVIII, other wrestlers that he has feuded with have gotten into the habit of stealing the catchphrase from him, mostly as a way to irritate him. The biggest culprit of this is A.J., though she has pretty big reasons for wanting to get under Bryan's skin. This also seemed to lead to a spin-off phrase, "NO! NO! NO!" Since turning Face again, he doesn't seem to mind all that much anymore, as it become a rally for him when he's about to bring an opponent down.
The Bella's got into it, they even made a contest out of being his "first"note they confused vegan for virgin. In fact, his 2010 storyline with the Bella's led to Bryan beginning a relationship in Real Life with Brie Bella in 2011, later getting engaged in 2013 and marrying each other in 2014. It was later revealed that he had apparently been dating Gail Kim for months; he just hung with the Bella's because he felt sorry for them.
This is now averted, now that his marriage to Brie has been acknowledged on air and are part of a storyline between him and Kane.
Hot-Blooded: Whereas he can have a rather subdued and easygoing personality (see Straight Man below), he gets pretty intense in the ring.
The beginning of his WWE run really looked like this, forced to be a rookie, with the rather average worker of The Miz as his mentor, forced to job to a pack of left-footed actual rookies, then unceremoniously fired after being attached to the hot new angle. Of course it was subverted as he got hired again cause he's so over, and got the U.S. Title and revenge against his Smug Snakeformer mentor.
The 7/30/12 edition of Raw served as one for Bryan. He starts out the night confronting A.J., who promptly calls him out on trying to marry her so he could legally have her committed. She then puts him in a match with Sheamus. He loses the match and demands to see a doctor due to a convenient neck injury. During this time, Kofi Kingston and R-Truth come out to laugh at him until A.J. brings out some orderlies to take him to the back for a psychiatric evaluation, where he slowly starts to lose his mind after answering questions and seeing a goat in a Rorschach blot test. Then, at the end of it all, for no apparent reason, when he's allowed to go free after being declared sane, Kane appears out of nowhere, introduces himself as Bryan's "anger management class", and lays him out.
Hypocrite: Cole called out Bryan on the 11/28/2011 Raw for cashing in his MitB briefcase against a knocked out Mark Henry far before his promised match at WM 28. Bryan admits that, yes, he's a hypocrite for doing it, but considering that Henry had been pretty much been trying to end Bryan's career on a weekly basis, plans change...
I Can't Dance: After taking care of business with Ziggler one week on Raw, the WWE Divas convince a reluctant DBD to dance with them. And it turns out he can cut a decent rug for a white guy. He won't be doing the splits again for a while though.
Bryan is five credits away from an associates degree, those five credits? In PE.
John Cena brings him back to the WWE at SummerSlam 2010. Three years later, Bryan's the one who would end up taking the WWE Championship from Cena.
Bryan had a storyline in 2011 where the Bella Twins were fawning over him. That storyline ended with Bryan rejecting the Bella's as he was already seeing Gail Kim. Fast forward to 2012, where he's with A.J. in storyline but, in Real Life, he's dating Brie Bella. One can imagine that they've shared a couple of jokes about the previous year's angle.
I Thought It Meant: Somehow the Bella Twins confused "virgin" with "vegan." Cue the IWC declaring "I Knew It!" when that's how the angle played out in RAW 1/24/11.
It's All About Me: As a heel World Heavyweight Champion, and then again as a Tag champ - or, in his words, "I am the tag team champions!"
It's Personal: Sure, go after him all you want, he's able to over come it.note quite literally Go after his wife? All bets are off, and he personally looking forward of sending you to hell
Jerkass: Most Heels are, but after spending most of the first part of his WWE tenure as a Nice Guy face, the level of dickishness that came with his heel turn was especially jarring.
Kick Dude: His kick combo generally sparks "YES! YES! YES!" chants.
The Load: He somehow got it in his head that he was this, much to everyones else's protests, and he went out of his way to prove them wrong. His matches with Randy Orton was something to see due to this.
His heel turn in 2011 made him into one. He managed to hold on to the World Heavyweight Championship against both Mark Henry and The Big Show, by getting the victories by countout, interference or otherwise.
Everything about his on-air relationship with AJ Lee. On the 1/13/12 show, he manipulated his new girlfriend A.J. (who confessed her love for him that VERY night) into taking a nasty looking hit from Big Show, taking advantage of the latter's Heroic BSOD to have the match called off, while likely getting Show off of his back for good.
Manly Tears: When he won the Smackdown Money in the Bank, and later, when he won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania XXX.
Bryan himself trained SHIMMER's first champion, Sara Del Rey - her Royal Butterfly finisher is a move that Bryan had used earlier in his career. According to rumor, he also advised her to use "Ride of the Valkyries" as entrance music before he himself used the song in WWE.
Name Of Power: His knee finisher, being called Solid Knee Plus. Perhaps as dig towards the fact Triple H calls him a B + player.
Well, it's an interesting aversion, as it's unofficially known as the "Knee +," but the announcers just call it the flying knee. However, he has used it to beat John Cena, Triple H, and to set up Batista for the Yes Lock (a Crossface and a more traditional example).
Nice Guy: The main problem of Daniel Bryan versus Bryan Danielson in his(their?) mind. This wasn't the problem at all, as he was only nice to the extent that he was no longer a complete jerk ass but he did not take much crap from Miz or Cole. On the other hand, his reaction to Sheamus's criminal threats toward him and Gail were a little too passive. He was fully back to his old self after Mark Henry tried to end his career though.
Nominal Hero: When eh teamed with Kane and being cheered again, he's essentially this. Purely because he crosses so far into Laughably Evil that few want to legitimately boo him.
Had an epic Oh Crap moment here at about nine and a half minutes in, where he has the YES! lock locked in on Alberto del Rio and Rio is about to tap...only for Kane to catch his hand before it can touch the matt, leaving Bryan staring dumbstruck at a very angry Big Red Monster.
Also, at Elimination Chamber when he was the last person left in the chamber and Big Show decided he didn't want to wait for it to open and climbed on top of the chamber and ripped the the top part away and climbed in. Bryan went from smug look to a look of horror.
The YES! chant usually is this to begin with, but when Bryan re-named his finisher as The Yes Lock, he punctuated it by yelling YES! in Kofi Kingston's face for a good thirty seconds, prompting Kofi to corpse from the sheer ridiculousness.
Also, the NO! chant, which had him get into a screaming match with random fans at the end of his matches, and even at one point, Animal.
Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Five ten and one hundred ninety pounds puts him firmly in the small category, especially when giants are so common in wrestling. However, he isn't a Fragile Speedster like similarly sized wrestlers - he goes toe to toe with wrestlers twice his weight and wins.
Police Are Useless: On March 10, 2014, Daniel Bryan organized what he described as the "Occupy RAW Movement." Close to 100 fans swarmed the ring at Bryan's cue◊, and they essentially held the show hostage, refusing to let the show go on unless Triple H caved in and made a match between himself and Bryan at WrestleMania. Triple H and Stephanie were not pleased... especially when they sent "security" to handle the situation. That's because "security" consisted of two bald, average-sized men who didn't even look like they were armed with flashlights, let alone anything capable of riot control. They marched towards the ring confidently, then turned around and essentially said to Hunter and Stephanie "What the hell are we supposed to do?" Daniel Bryan himself even lampshaded the ridiculousness of the whole thing:
Boy, did he have it on December 9, 2013 during the Slammy Awards edition of RAW. Lampshaded by Triple H during the Title Ascension Ceremony. Further bolstered by the fact that this particular episode of RAW took place in Seattle. note Danielson is from nearby Aberdeen, Washington.
Triple H: That's a lotta family for one building, Daniel! I should have known; a lot of 'em look just like you!
The man is so over that he managed to turn both Randy Orton and Shawn Michaels heel just by going against him. As of right now the only superstar who rivals his popularity is CM Punk. Although as of January 27, 2014, that may no longer be the case with Punk walking out on WWE.
His massive popularity reached a fever pitch during the 2014 Royal Rumble. Chants of "Daniel Bryan!" and "YES!" permeated the entire event.
When it was revealed that Bryan was not going to be in the actual Rumble match, the crowd (and by extension those watching at home, especially one Mick Foley) was completely against it, even doing "NO!" chants when Rey Mysterio was the last one to come out, and when Batista eventually won. The hugely negative response from the WWE Universe at large, coupled with CM Punk's sudden departure from WWE after the Royal Rumble, prompted the writers to completely do script rewrites for RAW the following night, with rewrites coming in 90 MINUTES before the show started!
In other words, Daniel Bryan is so popular these days that he can completely change a show almost seemingly at will!
Weaponized with Occupy Raw Movement. He actually used his popularity to hijack Raw with the fan's assistance until Triple H caved into his demands for not only a match at Wrestlemania against HHH, but also to add the stipulation that if Bryan wins, he's entered into the main event of Wrestlemania 30 for a shot at the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
Precision F-Strike: The ending of the 01/13/2012 edition of SmackDown! had Bryan telling Big Show that "You... are a bastard" for accidentally tackling his girlfriend, AJ.
Real Men Wear Pink: Vegan socialists from Nirvana's hometown don't exactly sound badass - Michael Cole even called him a wuss for not eating meat. But none of that stops Bryan from kicking a metric ton of ass regardless.
Recognition Failure: Apparently, Bryan was often not recognized by security guards when he showed up at the arena for his wrestling matches.
In WWE, he was built briefly as a natural rival to CM Punk, which may or may not have been an intentional Mythology Gag as the two have been rivals in other promotions as well and best represent the new wave of 'indy stars' finding success in the WWE. They've had a couple of matches here and there, most of them ending in a draw or no-contest. If the internet ever explodes in the future, it may the IWC's reaction to Bryan and Punk finally working a program.
He has this as well in John Cena, who especially chose Bryan has his opponent for SummerSlam.
In WWE, he has referred to himself as the "anti-superstar," saying that his music is so generic and forgettable that even he can't recognize itnote In 2010 he had a theme called "Rage" done by Jim Johnston, and that he looks so shabby and is so un-stylish that he has to show his ID to WWE security to stop them from throwing him out of the building. This is also a bit of a knock atWWE management, for giving him a generic song and being so disorganized their employees don't know who he is. He then got the very identifiable "Ride of the Valkyries".
Shocking Elimination: On NXT, especially after ending up in 1st place in the previous poll. He was removed from the competition due to him not being all in, as WWE management called it, along with Michael Tarver.
WWE got around Bryan's relatively plain look by simply portraying him as an all around normal guy in a company full of people who are balls to the wall insane, most of all his own rookie Derrick Bateman. It works really, really well, resulting in some truly funny moments, including the infamous "SUBMISSION WRESTL-ING!" incident.
Then he won the World Heavyweight Championship.
Then helost the world heavyweight championship, his ex-girlfriend became his fiancee only to leave him at the altar and essentially become his boss, who then ordered him into anger management classes with a bunch of people that were just as nuts as he was becoming, and with one of them being Kane.
Then he began teaming with Kane, it was outright inverted. When Kane is playing the Straight Man opposite you, you know you've gone way too far over the top.
This aspect of Bryan's character re-emerged in NXT season 4, when he introduced his rookie, Derrick Bateman, as "manly... so manly... oh, so manly." For his own part, Bateman refers to himself as "mantastic".
Tag Team: Perhaps his most unlikely was his forced pairing with Kane but before there was also the odd team of American Dragon and Spanky, who came together due to their rough treatment at the hands of Shawn Michaels. Then there was his team with Paul London...
That Man Is Dead: The "Who is Daniel Bryan?" NXT promo played with the idea, with him stating that Daniel Bryan is clearly a loser, and Bryan Danielson is the one who wrestled all over the world and kicked people's heads in. After the NXT invasion of Raw, he suddenly changed the name on his Twitter account to Bryan Danielson, declaring that it was indicative of the winds of change. Averted upon his WWE return at Summerslam 2010, probably since the fans had gone right on chanting "Daniel Bryan" anyway. It seems that the WWE would be conveniently ignoring the promo.
Theatrics Of Pain: He manages to make getting hit with a clothesline look like the most painful thing ever, since he somehow manages to get a full 360 degree rotation in the air when hit by one no matter who does it or when.
"The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gives one to Alberto Del Rio on the August 19, 2011 episode of Smackdown, pointing out how Del Rio's "prophesized" WWE Title victory was nothing special and all he'd done is the same old thing every other Money In The Bank winner had ever done.
A subtle, but still pretty huge example of how Daniel's changed was on the 4/2/13 edition of RAW. First of all, the match itself. Bryan vs. Rey Mysterio, not only does Bryan counter the 619 into the "NO!" Lock, he later gets hit with the move, but still manages to regain his footing quick enough to catch Mysterio in the lock again, making him tap out. Immediately after the match, however, MarkHenry just happened to return, and was out for blood. What does Bryan do, exhausted after beating Mysterio? He's suprised for all of two seconds, then gets out of the ring and charges at Henry. Sure, he just got tossed into the barricade like a ragdoll, but it's still impressive considering it wasn't too long ago when Bryan was still the WHC and avoiding Henry like the plague.
The loss of the tag team titles (or more specifically, having been the one pinned in the championship matchup) seems to have knocked the last of Bryan's screws loose. On the flip side of that, there have been at least two separate occasions in May/Early June where he's brought The Shield within inches of defeat single-handedly. While he ultimately needs help from Randy and Kane, he's the one who hands them their first loss.
He also laid all three Shield members out on one memorable episode of SmackDown.
He made RANDY ORTON TAP OUT! Using a Kendo Stick Yes Lock at that.
Screw that... he BEAT JOHN CENA, CLEAN, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RING at one of the biggest (=PP Vs=] of the year.
And then he proceeds to top even that. He not only beats TRIPLE H CLEAN in the opener of Mania, but he comes back for the Main Event with essentially a destroyed arm, gets OBLITERATED by one of the nastiest coordinated table spots we've seen in a while, and continuous attempts to be screwed...and FINALLY comes out on top of the Main Event of Wrestlemania XXX the WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
Tournament Arc: Suffered a loss at ECWA's fifth Super 8, losing to Low Ki in the finals. American Dragon got his revenge at APW's king of the indies, meeting Low Ki again in the finals and managing.
Part of his gimmick as the WHC celebrating over any victory whether they be by dq or even default.
He even celebrated his girlfriend's victory like he won the match himself on an episode of Smack Down.
Unstoppable Rage: After Team Hell No lost the Tag Team Titles, his rage at being considered the 'weak link' of the team, proceeds to snap, fly into one of these and demolish the entirety of the Shield single-handedly. This has pretty much been his default setting ever since Extreme Rules.
Vegan Evil: His former role model gimmick could be basically summed up as CM Punk as a vegan instead of Straight Edge. Even CM Punk himself lampshaded it on an episode of Smackdown, stating that if Bryan shaved AJ's head, he'd sue for gimmick infringement.
Villain Team-Up: Subverted to hell and back... almost literally. Bryan and Kane were bitter enemies that were forced to attempt to work out their problems with one another in an anger management program. Then, they were forced to team together... and eventually ended up winning the Tag Team titles. The crowd found their interactions so entertaining that, despite not changing their personalities at all (in fact, they've been simplified and turned up to near-parody levels) they've been receiving cheers like faces and began being booked as such (i.e. almost exclusively wrestling heels)
Villainous BSOD: In contrast to his normal heel persona, where it's hard to get him to shut up, when Josh Mathews asked him about his Squash Match loss the RAW after Wrestlemania, he didn't respond. At all.
Cashed in his MITB briefcase against a prone Mark Henry to win the World Title on the 11/25/2011 Smackdown, only to have the victory and the match overruled by Teddy Long due to Henry not being medically cleared. The disappointment and reluctance on Bryan's face was palpable.
In the main event of Summerslam 2013, he pinned John Cena to become the WWE Champion. Moments later, Randy Orton came out with his Money in the Bank briefcase in hand, teasing a cash in. Just as Bryan was getting ready to defend his newly won title against Orton, Triple H (the special guest referee in the championship match) delivered a Pedigree to Bryan and allowed Orton to cash in and take the WWE Championship from him.
It happened again the night after Night of Champions 2013. Daniel Bryan went over Orton clean to get his championship back... only for Triple H to strip him of it and vacate it the very next night, claiming the ref did a fast count.
The very last Raw of 2013, Bryan had a chance to get his hands on Bray Wyatt after months of ambushes and beatdowns...but only if he got through both Luke Harper and Eric Rowan. Harper essentially dominated Bryan for 15+ minutes until Daniel surprised him with a Solid Knee Plus. Rowan continued the beatdown, only to get small-packaged around 5 minutes. Bray has to come in now, Bryan finally has his chance...and Rowan and Harper floor him before he can even lay a hand on Bray. This time, the chain was yanked hard enough for Bryan to wearily accept Bray's offer to join the Wyatts. Except it was all a ruse.
At ROH: Final Battle 2006, when Homicide was wrestling him in his last shot at the ROH World Championship. During the match, Homicide was attacked by other wrestlers, and it appeared that he would once again walk away with the title - but then referee Todd Sinclair declared that the match was "too important" to end on a disqualification, and he ordered that the match be restarted (much to the delight of the fans...and the disbelief of Bryan).
After winning Smackdown's Money in the Bank contract, rather than go with the usual Your Princess Is in Another Castle cash in, he promised to cash in his title opportunity at Wrestlemania 28. He then tried to cashed it on the November 25th edition of Smackdown in 2011, but found out that Mark Henry wasn't cleared and thus it doesn't count. He would at that years TLC cash it in successfully.
Daniel Bryan(To Bateman): Now get up. Because you've got a NXT Rookie Reunion Tag Team Match tonight, an I want you to win! And I don't want you to win for me, I want you to win for you! I want you to win for chicks! I want you to win for America! AND I WANT YOU TO WIN FOR CLEVELAND!