The big news from this past Tuesday’s WWE NXT was that Daniel Bryan was among the three wrestlers eliminated from competition. They promised one in the promos, but for whatever reason, they settled on three. It makes kayfabe sense seeing that Daniel Bryan had a big, fat goose-egg in the win column. However for those like me, guys who had been fans of Bryan long before we’d ever dreamed he’d be on WWE programming jobbing to Great Khali or giving away programs to flaunt one of the many “challenges” he and his “rookie” brethren were faced with, it was on the surface, a disappointment.
That is, it was disappointing for those who only heard the news and didn’t listen to his promo during the show. In his exit speech, Daniel Bryan shed his WWE-given name and vowed that Bryan Danielson would come back with a vengeance. I don’t know about you, but that’s music to my ears.
[adinserter block=”1″]Before I get too much into this column, I have to make a confession. Although I’m very much into the indie wrestling scene right now, I can’t say that I’ve been a life-long indie fan. This is a recent development. Three years ago, I probably couldn’t have told the difference between Low Ki, the shaved-bald master of stiff kicks and double stomps, from Low Ki, the Norse god of mischief. However, despite my ignorance to the indie scene, there was still one name that I knew and that I could believe was the real deal, and that was Bryan Danielson. The American Dragon’s reputation preceded him to even the most casual Internet wrestling fan. He was trained by Shawn Michaels and William Regal. His Texas Wrestling Academy classmates, Brian “Spanky” Kendrick, Paul London and Lance Cade, all made WWE appearances at various times over the last decade. Of all those students, Danielson was reputed to be the best.
Then, when I finally got into indie wrestling, both from going to live events and through the magic of Youtube and wrestling DVDs sold by great companies such as Ring of Honor and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, I’ve been able to find out more about the man known as the American Dragon. He’s the rare guy whose ability to deliver matches the hype bestowed upon him by the fickle Internet wrestling community.
What we were all seeing on NXT was nothing but a watered down version of Bryan Danielson, one that showed flashes of being the awesome Danielson that we knew from ROH, but one that ultimately was just a cheap comedic veil. With this promise of bringing back Bryan Danielson, it’s time for the audience-at-large to get a dose of how great he can be. The knock on “Daniel Bryan” from Michael Cole all during NXT was that he was too whitebread and had no charisma (a blatant lie, because he showed it all during NXT). However, what Danielson can do is engage a crowd and take them in the palm of his hand without ever putting microphone to lips and uttering a single word. In that way, he’s a lot like another guy who has an issue with The Miz like Danielson had throughout his NXT run. He also made the then-WWF a good bit of money and will be appearing on RAW this coming week.
[adinserter block=”2″]Many people feel that Bret Hart is one of the greatest wrestlers of all-time, and I’m definitely in that crowd. I’ve been a Hitman mark for as long as I can remember. Danielson has a lot of Hitman inside of him. He can deliver a submission hold with such intensity and fluidity that even restholds seem like they’re patented submission holds. Like Hart, he may not be the best promo, but never mistake his words for something ineffective. Just go back to last night’s exit promo. It even had the cameraman shaking in his boots.
While many of his fans from the indies are panicking, there really is no reason. Danielson is going to be more than okay, and once he shows the “WWE Universe” what he’s really made of, he’ll be a fixture on RAW and Smackdown for years and years to come.
Tom Holzerman is a lifelong wrestling fan and connoisseur of all things Chikara Pro, among other feds. When he’s not writing for the Camel Clutch Blog, you can find him on his own blog, The Wrestling Blog.
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