There are very few wrestlers who fascinate me to the degree that Daniel Bryan does. The response that man gets is incredible. When he won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 30, over 75,000 people stood up and passionately celebrated with him. Jubilation is, by far, the best word that I can use. The Mercedez-Benz Superdome was awash with jubilation, as confetti floated from the ceiling, and thousands of people chanted the word “YES.”
I can only imagine how Daniel Bryan felt. The adrenaline must’ve been flowing through his veins. Let me put it as dry a way as possible: Daniel Bryan won a wrestling match, and then over 70,000 people acted like it was the greatest thing that ever happened to them.
NOTE: Well, I guess the person behind the phone didn’t, but somebody had to document it. How else would I have this totally sweet, first-hand point of view? The video would look awful if he or she was chanting “YES” along with Bryan.
Why did this happen? A lot of fan favorites have won the big one at WrestleMania, but nobody has ever gotten as fanatical a reaction as Daniel Bryan. Was it the buildup? I’ve been watching that period of Monday Night Raw lately, on the WWE Network ($9.99), and it is pretty damn great. As best I can tell, it all came together when CM Punk bounced.
The original plan was for Punk to wrestle Triple H at WrestleMania 30. Frankly, The Straight Edge Superstar was right to walk away from that. I love Triple H, but he should’ve done more for CM Punk when they faced off in 2011. They had this quasi Austin/McMahon thing going. Then Triple H went and beat him in their first match, and it was over. Bogus. Punk was pretty fresh off of beating John Cena clean, twice in a row. He deserved that win.
Back on topic: CM Punk bounces, leaving Triple H without an opponent for ‘Mania. Around the same time, Batista wins the 2014 Royal Rumble, and instead of cheers, is met with a hearty chorus of boos.
Curious why The Animal was booed so heavily?
Well, the crowd wanted to see Daniel Bryan, that’s why. Earlier in the day, rumors started to spread that he wouldn’t even be entered in the match. Then, as it turns out, that’s exactly what happened. He wrestled the first match of the night against Bray Wyatt, and then disappeared. The crowd waited all night to see him again. The number 30 entrant was their last chance. The Rumble was the main event. There were no other matches. It was number 30, or nothing.
As you’ll see below, Rey Mysterio was the final entrant for the 2014 Rumble. As soon as the crowd realized that they didn’t get what they wanted, they unleashed on the poor guy. I’ve never seen Mysterio get booed like that. Normally, he’d get an all right reaction, but in that position, he was absolutely doomed.
Those two factors left Vince McMahon pretty boned. His original plan was CM Punk vs. Triple H, and Randy Orton vs. Batista in the main event. Daniel Bryan was going to face Sheamus on the undercard. Makes enough sense, I guess. Bryan started getting his huge “YES” reaction, after losing to Sheamus in 18 seconds at WrestleMania 28. I suppose the rematch would have given D-Bry the chance to get his revenge on the same stage.
Thankfully, somewhere along the way, somebody made the decision to include Daniel Bryan in the main event, making it a triple threat.
My personal theory is that it began around SummerSlam 2013. A lot of my friends will tell me no, and that I’m crazy, but they let Daniel Bryan beat John Cena, in as clean a match as possible. On that night (the second most important PPV of the year), he was a straight up better wrestler than the face of the company. That doesn’t happen often. Then to have Triple H hit Bryan with the Pedigree like that, and feed him to Orton. It’s a little fishy.
A month later, Orton and Bryan had a stellar Hell in a Cell match, which Shawn Michaels was the special guest referee for. The only reason Bryan didn’t win the title there, is because HBK hit him with some chin music. Another instance where The Authority had to screw Daniel Bryan over, in order to stop him from succeeding. Do you understand the psychology that implies?
The 2013 SummerSlam and Hell in a Cell PPVs put Daniel Bryan over as the best wrestler in the company. I know a lot of people like to imagine Vince McMahon as not being much more competent than an alzheimer’s ridden old man, but he’s – well – he’s Vince McMahon. He knows in-ring psychology. He understood what he did when he booked both matches.
Not to mention the fact that he basically did the whole angle before. Back in the day, evil Mr. McMahon didn’t think that Stone Cold Steve Austin deserved to be WWF Champion, but there’s nothing he could do. Austin wouldn’t be denied. With Bryan, Vince McMahon had a PG Stone Cold. He fought back against authority, he said what he wanted, but he was also a super nice dude. Nobody got the finger from Daniel Bryan, but they did catch some knees to the face.
Time to bring this home. This article started with a question, “why do we love Daniel Bryan so much?”
I think it’s because of everything I’ve mentioned (and more). From the beginning of his time in WWE, nobody believed Daniel Bryan would get anywhere. So, as he got closer and closer to the top of the mountain, more and more people became invested in his story. That definitely includes myself, with all my conspiracy theories. We took that journey from his NXT days, all the way to his glory days. We felt every moment.
When he got screwed over, we got screwed over. He’s identifiable, and in a world full of dudes with physiques like Greek Gods, we need identifiable. That’s why we latched onto him. Better yet, that is why we love him.
Also, the “YES” chant is pretty fuckin’ catchy.
FEATURED IMAGE CREDIT: Courtesy of WWE.com.