Daniel Bryan Changed WWE for the Better


Daniel Bryan may not have had the longest run in WWE, but he made one of the biggest impacts since the stars of the Attitude Era.

On paper, a superstar with six years appearing on WWE television doesn’t sound like a lengthy run until you look at what was achieved during that time – four world heavyweight championships and runs with the United States, Intercontinental, and Tag Team championships.

Not bad for someone who only stood at five-foot-eight and weighed about 190 pounds. In a world of larger than life physical bodies and matching personalities, Daniel Bryan was able to stand out as someone who seemed more normal. It was easier for a fan in the audience to connect with someone because a majority of fans couldn’t identify themselves with someone taller than six feet and could flip cars.

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Fans embraced Daniel Bryan for what he was – a talented technician who could win people over with his skills without having to bench press 500 pounds or be able to talk circles around the microphone masters like Paul Heyman. He seemed like a fan who was able to live out his dream in the WWE.

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Because of his success, many can credit Bryan for at least being partially responsible for how the WWE product has evolved in recent years. Ten years ago, the WWE would have never even considered signing someone like Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, Neville and many of the stars of NXT that are finding themselves appearing on the main roster.

While there is still a need to have powerhouses on a wrestling roster, WWE seems to have switched their focus to who the fans consider entertaining; guys who have come from similar background to that of Bryan. Independent superstars who have traveled around the world with their own respective names and didn’t necessarily have to take the offer to work for Vince McMahon’s sports entertainment empire.

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However, that’s what we all dream of at some point when we are growing up doing our own moves on those old Wrestling Buddies from the 1980s and 1990s. Guys like Bryan did that as well and took the next step by traveling the world to work on their craft in hopes of getting a contract in WWE.

Today’s fans are different from the ones back before the Internet was such a pivotal part of our lives. They wouldn’t have been able to find Bryan’s tapes from Japan and Ring of Honor if this was 15 or 20 years ago; so the regular WWE fan would not have known his story or cared that much.

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But wrestling fans know about the world beyond WWE’s sports-entertainment juggernaut. They know about guys who could be like Bryan and that is why the company has evolved to wear last year’s WrestleMania put over Seth Rollins as one of the new top guys in the company. And as Bryan gave his tearful goodbye in Seattle on Monday night, we see that evolution continues with other superstars from Bryan’s past in A.J. Styles and Samoa Joe coming into the company along with others who fans are excited to see.

If you look beyond how short his WWE run was and even if you took out all of the championship gold he wore, Bryan’s impact in WWE is one that has changed WWE in a way that is best for business.