These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Bryan seems to draw comparisons to Chris Benoit. This mostly comes from both being good technical wrestlers that are known as submission specialists. In addition, the diving headbutt tends to show up in their matches (though Bryan does not connect often with the move, perhaps to avoid or minimize head injuries), as well as suplexes. They also have overcome the stigma of being "short" wrestlers in WWE. To be fair, both men tend to differ after these similarities. Benoit was typically described as an intense wrestler devoted to the sport. Bryan is lauded as a tactician in the ring, and comes off as a relatable person or everyman in his persona.
He's also drawn comparisons to Kurt Angle in that they're both supremely technically gifted and are both freaking hilarious. Many times, a wrestler can be either one or the other, but these two can wrestle a flawless match, and then deliver a ridiculously hammy-and funny-promo.
Crosses the Line Twice: A big part of why his heel character is so popular. He has little to no redeeming qualities. He's a misogynistic douchebag, a preachy vegan extremist, cheats and connives his way through most of his matches leading to totally bogus finishes, just a shameless douche in general. And yet... he's not loved by his fans in spite of this all, but partly because of it. It's such a radical departure from the average cocky pretty boy heel, and his over the top promos culminating with that magical three letter word just make it hard to hate him for too long, you can just tell he's having fun. And of course, the fact that he's an amazing wrestler doesn't hurt at all.
As to "The Final Countdown", here's how awesome it was. At ROH's "The Chicago Spectacular" in 2006, as a heel, he was scheduled to defend his world title against Homicide later that month. Homicide had a match against Brent Albright on that particular night, which ended when Albright locked a crowbar submission hold onto Homicide and would not release it even after Homicide grabbed the ropes. Albright was obviously not interested in winning the match so much as he was in injuring Homicide, but why? The reason was revealed very quickly: as Albright was walking to the back, he walked out to meet him and, with a smug grin on his face, gave Albright a big handful of cash. This garnered him tremendous heat from an crowd that was already hostile to him, starting up a loud "FUCK YOU DRAGON!" chant. With that match over, the show moved on, until it was time for the main event: a steel cage match in which he would defend his title against Homicide's friend Samoa Joe. As much as this crowd wanted to see Joe destroy him, as firmly against him as they were, they still sang along with "The Final Countdown" during Dragon's entrance.
He's using "Ride of The Valkyries" again...but now it's FUCKING METAL.
It seems like every time WWE tries to make him look like a joke, he gets more popular. Fire him for being too violent? Next PPV is bookended by chants of his name. Make him an undeserving champion? He gets a popular catchphrase. Make him lose in 18 seconds at Wrestlemania? He becomes the most beloved star of the following Raw, more so than hometown hero The Rock and a returning Brock Lesnar.
Really, if WWE was trying to get fans to hate him by turning him into an Arrogant Kung-Fu GuyManipulative Bastard Heel, then it backfired spectacularly as it's only made him even more popular than he already was. Casual fans prefer his Heel persona due to disliking the squeaky clean babyface persona from before, and Smarks prefer his Heel persona due to his in-ring talent and it reminding them of his Heel run in Ring of Honor. It really all comes down to the fact that Danielson simply makes a far more effective Heel than he does a Face.
During the anger management skits with Daniel Bryan and Kane, their fellow classmate Harold ended up getting quite the fanbase, especially when it was revealed that Harold was in fact indy wrestler Scorpio Sky.
It seems to have happened again. After Daniel Bryan was knocked down to the midcard to team with CM Punk to feud with the Wyatt family, audiences have been chanting either his Catchphrase or his name even when he is not in the ring.
Fan Dumb: Ever since he joined WWE, while there are arguments that DBD could be booked better, smarks have taken every single defeat he's had as irrefutable proof that WWE is trying to bury him to Santino levels of Jobberdom. Even if he wins the US Championship. Or Money in the Bank. Or said defeat comes after putting on a 20 minute clinic pushing the other guy to the absolute limit... you get the idea.
This seems to be dying down lately, as not only is he the main face in a storyline at the front and center of the entire company, he's also defeated John Cena clean.
But it's piping up again now that Bryan is currently not in the WWE Championship chase after losing it to Randy Orton and moved on to start feuding with The Wyatt Family.
Fan-Preferred Couple: Bryan/Brie? Bryan/Nikki? Bryan/Gail? Bryan/AJ? Forget all of those, the OTP is Daniel Bryan/Derrick Bateman.
Was the fans embracing Bryan following his 18-second Mania loss part of the WWE's plan all along?
Judging from the fact that Smackdown tapings have been edited to eliminate his cheers and he's only become even more of a douche since then to counteract cheers, probably not.
After the 18 second loss, Bryan made better connections to the audience and gained more support and demand from them. Sheamus, on the other hand, just seemed to be there in comparison with his importance to the overall story-lines, despite receiving more support from booking and management. Given the above fridge brilliance, Bryan's storyline with Orton and HHH over the WWE title seems to be creative making an almost meta storyline out of how popular Daniel Bryan is with the audience despite management attempting to push an "ideal" champ instead.
Fridge Logic: Shouting "NO! NO! NO!" after a victory doesn't quite sound right somehow.
On the one hand, he only got to hold the WWE Championship for a few minutes before it was ripped away from him by Triple H Pedigreeing him and Orton cashing in. On the other hand, the preceding match vs. John Cena was itself entirely clean without interference or distractions. The last guy to beat Cena that way? The Rock.
What was Bryan's first word when debuting on NXT? Why it's "Yes.". The Miz even tells him to "have a good catchphrase" in the same segment.
In January 2012 he was presented with an award from PETA for being the "Most Animal Friendly Athlete" for his veganism. Within weeks, his on-screen character started throwing his veganism around in a smug manner during promos. In September 2012 he gave up veganism due to troubles finding food on the road. Another noteworthy fact is that he used to go fishing and hunting with his father before converting to a vegan diet.
Hollywood Homely: DBD may not have the super defined bodies of a lot of his peers, but put him in any other circumstance and he'd be quite studly.
After Danielson was fired from the 'E for choking Justin Roberts with his tie, he supposedly gained a reputation for heinous tie-related violence◊. Made all the worse by WWE.com advertising ties for Father's Day shortly thereafter. Fans at his later indie appearances threw ties into the ring and asked him to autograph their ties, too.
White Swan of SUBMISSION
From his Ring of Honor days: "You're gonna get your fucking head kicked in!" (Chanted to the tune of what is known in Australia as the "You're going home in the back of a divvy van!" chant)
YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! Stemming from his run as World Heavyweight Champion.
This could be headed for Ascended Meme status, as WWE crowds are starting to adopt this as a chant not only in support for Bryan, but for EVERYTHING.
Not to mention, WWE has officially made a "YES! YES! YES!" shirt.
"I AM THE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS!" was swiftly adopted by the WWE fans after Bryan and Kane took to yelling this atone another following their tag team championship win.
Mexicans Hate Bryan Danielson: Despite managing to get over nearly everywhere in the world, Danielson had particular trouble getting a reaction in Mexico
Moral Event Horizon: Yes, his behavior had been increasingly sketchy ever since he won the World Title, but the moment he essentially used his girlfriend as a human shield and tried to make it look like an accident firmly cemented him as something of a calloused bastard. At his next appearance, the heat leveled at him was nothing short of nuclear. (It doesn't help matters that A.J. was a very firm Ensemble Darkhorse by this point.)
He is a Large Ham with some truly epic Narm Charm moments, such as declaring himself a "ONE MAN RIOT SQUAD!" in the build up to Final Battle 2006 (seen here at 1:59).
His dancing with the Raw divas.
YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! Even as a heel, Danielson is Narm Charm incarnate.
Never Live It Down: Danielson was always a good wrestler, but from 2002-2005 his promo and speaking ability were...well, "lacking" is generous. He improved quite a lot as ROH Champion and afterward, but he seems incapable of escaping the label of "talented in the ring, but no personality," no matter how much he has hammed it up since then. NXT tried its best to alter that perception. His feud with The Miz is helping too, especially since the Miz is awesome at promos. These days, however, no one questions his ability to cut a good promo or get a good reaction entirely on his charisma. Becoming an extremely Large Ham following his World Heavyweight Championship victory might have had something to do with it.
Older Than They Think: The crowd alternating chants goes back at least to ECW's "The Shah" Hack Myers, since fans would chant "Shah" when he hit a move and "Shit" when his opponent retaliated.
One of Us: Oh yeah, this is just a small sample of how nerdy Daniel Bryan truly is.
One-Scene Wonder: Danielson's WWE Pay Per View experiences have been like this; he wrestles in the first or second match on the card, but those matches usually wind up match of the night. Examples include Miz/Morrison/DBD at Hell in a Cell, Di Biase at Survivor Series, or DBD/Ziggler at Bragging Rights.
Given his status in the mid-card currently, pretty much every wrestler he's fought since Night of Champions (Miz, Ziggler, etc) has had their "best match ever" in many people's eyes with Danielson.
Bryan beating up Michael Cole was awesome not just because of the angle, but because there is significant overlap among WWE fans who hate Michael Cole and WWE fans who like Bryan Danielson. For that exact same reason, Cole goes over the top in heeling it up whenever he's announcing a Danielson match.
The same is true, to a somewhat lesser extent, with his feud with The Miz. Smarks actually tend to like Miz (as a rule, they're fans of charismatic heels)... but they didn't like the much less experienced Miz being made the NXT mentor for the man whom many consider the best wrestler in North America.
And of course, the build-up to his Summerslam 2013 match against John Cena ran on this, complete with him declaring about his new shirt to Cena: "This shirt is a parody of you, because I think that you are a parody of wrestling."
Tear Jerker: His ROH farewell speech. Especially when he tells the sound guys to cue up his "favorite song" one more time.
The beginning of Bryan's WHC run. Yes, he is now a heel that has a high opinion of himself. Yes, that was a dick move using AJ to take a hard bump from The Big Show in a title match. However, it was a little hard to not root for him. Putting aside his admirable past work for a moment, his feud going into the 2012 Royal Rumble alone was "David v. 2 Goliaths" of Mark Henry and The Big Show (who were also booked to No Sell most of Bryan's offense). In addition, he defended the title three times before the Rumble, coming out with somewhat clever methods to walk out with the title against the odds (though again, using A.J. to help in one of those matches was questionable at best).
There's also the fact that Michael Cole, an unambiguous heel commentator (and ridiculously annoying one at that) still hated his guts.
For that matter, even the other commentators other than Josh seemed to flop back and forth as to whether they support him or are against him. Josh for his part remained the face and while he doesn't outright question Bryan, he will often call the others out for their conflicting statements.
His Wrestlemania match against Sheamus. Despite everything which had happened up to then, entering into Wrestlemania as champion as he had wanted, only to lose the title in 18 seconds after Sheamus takes advantage of distraction from his pre-match good luck kiss left a bad taste in the entire show.
This was taken to an entirely different level on the 4/2/12 RAW, where the Miami crowd, filled with leftover fans from the previous night's Wrestlemania, took over the show and spent the entire night chanting variations of "YES!" and "DANIEL BRYAN!"