WWE | Pro Wrestling

How Daniel Bryan Would Fare Against Yesterday’s Greats

Here we go again. Another one of my lists. Brace yourself for this one.

A comment lost on us was something Triple H said about Daniel Bryan and his quest for a WWE Title.

The COO of the WWE said if Bryan wanted to be a champion, he could reinstate various titles like the cruiserweight title. It’s a title that many fans and members of the IWC want to make a comeback. But it’s not a title Bryan should have or even be considered if it were to be reinstated.

Where would Bryan rank among the best cruiserweights? Where would he stand against wrestlers of the past?

I’m a wrestling historian. I am a wrestling fan and wonder how the crop of the current generation of wrestlers would fair against wrestlers of the past. Here are a few wrestlers I would have paid money to see face the American Dragon.

Dean Malenko

“The Man of 1,000 Holds.” He may have been the best mat wrestler I ever saw. Solid, quiet and always on point. I don’t think he ever had a bad singles match.

Although never a world champion, Malenko achieved significant championship success in ECW, WCW and the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE), holding multiple titles in each organization.Pro Wrestling Illustrated named Malenko the #1 wrestler in the world in 1997.

Chris Jericho

I am sure this is a favorite of many of you when you play your WWE video games. Jericho is as great in the ring as he is on the mic.

Mr. Charisma personified. How would Bryan do locked in the “Walls of Jericho?” Could Jericho get out of the “Yes” lock?

Jericho has been a challenger to major world championships since the mid-1990s.In WWE, is a six-time world champion, having won the WWF Championship once, the WCW/World Championship twice and the World Heavyweight Championship three times. He is truly underrated in this business.

Arn Anderson

He is the greatest wrestler to never win a world champion. Anderson was a great performer, great technician, a member of the Four Horsemen and one of my all time favorites.

A World Television Champion, World Tag Team Champion (with Tully Blanchard, among others).

There was always a snap in his work and a drive unseen in many wrestlers. And when he had to, Anderson could brawl with the best of them.

Tully Blanchard

He was a poor man’s Ric Flair. The dress, the talk, the women.

Blanchard was a tireless worker and a great mat man. The slingshot suplex, the leg locks, the “I quit match” with Magnum TA. He was great.

Blanchard and Anderson were tag team wrestling in the NWA and they took on everyone, size did not matter.

And to think he was even a star before he came to the Carolinas in his dad, Joe Blanchard’s outfit in San Antonio.

Bret Hart

We often ask this about Hart and CM Punk. But I really think this makes so much sense. The Excellence of Execution vs. The American Dragon.

Holds and counter holds. Stops and starts. Ground games and aerial attacks. I would love to see the Sharpshooter attempted on Bryan and his ability to escape only to try and place the “Yes” lock on Hart.

This is the makings of a 60-minute Iron Man Match if I ever saw one.

Shawn Michaels

He helped train Bryan. Wouldn’t it be awesome to see Michaels come out and turn his back on Bryan and side with his best Friend Triple H?

Seriously, I wanted to see Ric Flair and Michaels in the mid 1990s but did not get to. I wanted to see Roddy Piper and Randy Savage, but it never happened.

This is one that should have happened and maybe still could.

Jack Brisco

He was as technical a star as there was one in the 1970s. A two-time NWA champion who wrestled the best of the best: Ric Flair, Harley Race, Terry and Dory Funk, Greg Valentine, Roddy Piper and others.

Solid on the mat, a man who had five or six holds that wore his opponents down. We could have seen a hour of point and counterpoint with these two.

Yes, it would be that good.

Curt Hennig

Mr. Perfect was damn near that. And he was one of the more underrated superstars in his prime.

Although he was a AWA World Champion, Hennig was never given the respect he deserved. And he was never classified as one of the “greatest.”

Great on the mic as well, he could spin a tale or two.

In the ring, he was flawless.

Ric Flair

The caveat is I want 1984 Ric Flair to face Bryan now.

Could you see Flair and Bryan in a program like he was in with Ricky Steamboat or Ricky Morton. Watch him try to sandpaper Bryan’s face. Knife-edged chops by each. Flair tells Bryan he was “going to school.”

It would have been a spot we would have remember move by move even today.

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