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Who’s NXT? – Getting to know Daniel Bryan

Daniel BryanHello loyal readers. Sorry for the bad NXT pun in the title, but I figured if everyone else is doing it why can’t I. If you watched the premiere episode of WWE’s new program WWE NXT, you were introduced to a “rookie” by the name of Daniel Bryan. As most of you may know, Daniel Bryan is actually former Ring Of Honor world champion Brian Danielson. Personally I don’t much care for the Daniel Bryan name. If the WWE were determined to rename him I would have gone with Brian Daniels, which I think flows a little better. For those of you unfamiliar with his past I will try to shed a little light on this exceptionally talented wrestler.

His teaming with The Miz is really interesting since they are total opposites. The Miz is someone who has always had lots of charisma but new nothing about wrestling originally. Over the past few years he has really dedicated himself to improving his in-ring work. I think The Miz is the perfect mentor for Bryan, since his greatest strength is also Bryan’s greatest weakness.

Bryan’s wrestling style is based in the martial arts, hence his nickname, “The American Dragon”. He is very technically gifted and sound as a performer. If you saw the episode of NXT the other night, two things should stand out to you right away. One, he is a very intense competitor. Two, his promo and charisma skills need some work. Throughout his career he has relied on his in-ring work to connect with the fans. In the WWE, he’ll need to improve his out of ring work as well if he truly wants to be successful. Hopefully some of The Miz will rub off on him.

For almost a decade, he has been one of the most respected and honored wrestlers in the industry. While he has wrestled for several independent promotions over the years, I wanted to concentrate on his time in ROH, where he had his greatest success.

Bryan was one of the “Founding Fathers” of ROH back in 2002. In those early years he had several highly rated matches with the likes of Pro Wrestling Radio alum (ding ding – cheap plug) Christopher Daniels and Homicide, who have since gone on to prominence in TNA. During this time he also wrestled two-time ROH Champion Austin Aries for eighty minutes in a 2 out 3 falls match.

On September 15, 2005, Bryan became the ROH World Champion. He would go on to hold the title for over fifteen months. By comparison, the WWE title would change hands six times in the same period. During his reign he had some absolute classic matches with the likes of Samoa Joe, Japanese superstar Kenta, and Nigel McGuinness (now Desmond Wolfe in TNA). Just for good measure there was a great inter-promotional feud with Combat Zone Wrestling at this time also. Remember the good old days Eric? (ding ding – cheap plug #2)

In his later years with ROH, Bryan would challenge off and on for both the heavyweight and tag titles. He was so well respected at this time that he was appointed the head trainer of ROH’s Wrestling School. When he wrestled his final match on HDNet for ROH in 2009, the entire locker room came out and lined the ring. As the pounded the ring apron in unison, they chanted (along with the crowd), “Thank You Dragon”.

During his time in ROH, he was named “Best Technical Wrestler” five years in a row by the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. He also was named “Most Outstanding Wrestler”four years in a row. He is the only man to accomplish either of those feats. ROH has produced some of the best talent working today in the WWE and TNA. Look at Samoa Joe, Desmond Wolfe, A.J. Styles, CM Punk, Christopher Daniels, Evan Bourne, Homicide, and Amazing Red to name just a few. They all mastered their craft in ROH and have since gone on to stardom elsewhere. I don’t know what the future will hold in store for Mr. Daniel Bryan, but coming from the fertile proving grounds of ROH certainly gives him a good start.

Vince DeHoratus lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two kids. He has been a life long wrestling fan and he has passed that love onto his son. Though not quite yet “middle aged and crazy”, he is fast approaching it.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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