5 best Daniel Bryan moments in WWE
What a storied career Daniel Bryan has had in WWE. From being the leader of the YES! movement to defying the odds and returning after a heartbreaking retirement. Not to mention the time he was fired for going 'too far' during the famous Nexus invasion of Monday Night RAW.
He's captured the hearts of the WWE Universe along the way, and has become one of the most popular superstars of the modern era.There is now talk he is set to join WWE's current rival promotion, All Elite Wrestling, with his WWE contract coming to an end.
Whether Bryan will capture that same level of emotional connection with the audience remains to be seen. One thing is for sure, he will give it all to entertain the fans.
That being said, let's take a look at the five best Daniel Bryan moments in WWE.
#5. Daniel Bryan returning at SummerSlam after being fired
On June 11th 2010, Daniel Bryan was legitimately fired from WWE. Bryan was part of the Nexus stable that invaded Monday Night RAW and wreaked havoc. Destroying the ringside area and the ring itself. Bryan, on the outside of the ring, decided to choke ring announcer Justin Roberts with his own neck tie.
WWE claimed they had sponsors they had to answer to. They deemed Bryan's actions too violent, thus WWE had no other choice but release Bryan from his contract. Bryan was then set-free and continued to wrestle on the independent scene.
Eventually, once the dust had settled, Bryan made his return to WWE for the main event of SummerSlam later that year. He teamed up with a team of top WWE superstars, beating Nexus, to stop them in their tracks. Bryan's return was kept a surprise for the night, when he was announced as the final team member to a thunderous reception.
Bryan teamed up with John Cena, Bret Hart, R-Truth, John Morrison, Edge and Chris Jericho to face Wade Barrett, David Otunga, Justin Gabriel, Heath Slater, Skip Sheffield, Darren Young and Michael Tarver. Of course, many people suggested Nexus should have won this bout, but instead it was Team WWE.
It was an interesting period for Bryan, that's for sure, but he came back stronger than ever and went on to have one of the most successful WWE careers in modern history.
#4. Becoming 'The New' Daniel Bryan
Daniel Bryan had a change of character in 2019, when he declared himself 'The New' Daniel Bryan. Bryan was pro-eco-friendly and anti-WWE Universe. Even at one point, creating his own version of the WWE Championship using sustainable materials only.
'The New' Daniel Bryan was all about protecting the earth, some thing which he adopts in real-life with his family. He decided to shove it down the WWE Universe's throats with his heel persona.
The gimmick itself only lasted a short time and he was eventually accompanied by Erick Rowan, who aligned with his beliefs. It stands out as some of the best work of Daniel Bryan's tenure in WWE, especially on the microphone.
Let's not forget the time he went through the arena at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view berating fans for their choices. It was a sight to behold. Bryan held the audience in the palm of his hand every single time he held the mic during this period, even if he was insulting them most of the ti
#3. Daniel Bryan cashes in Money in the Bank
On the same night as the CM Punk-John Cena classic at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view in 2011, Daniel Bryan captured the SmackDown Money in the Bank briefcase. It is one of those facts that goes unnoticed, due to the history-making main event that caught the headlines and is the focal talking point of the event.
After Bryan won the briefcase, he declared that he would cash in on his guaranteed world title match at the following year's WrestleMania. Of course, that didn't happen. During this time, Daniel Bryan was also involved romantically on-screen with AJ Lee.
He decided to cash in at the Tables, Ladders and Chairs pay-per-view event some six months after he won the briefcase. He cashed in on The Big Show, having just defeated Mark Henry to win the World Heavyweight Championship.
This was Daniel Bryan's first world championship win in WWE, and would become the first of many he would hold during his WWE tenure.
#2. Daniel Bryan's return from retirement at WrestleMania
What a moment it was when Daniel Bryan announced that he was once again medically cleared to compete again. After enduring a long time on the sidelines in non-wrestling roles, Bryan made his triumphant return to WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans.
Sadly, Daniel Bryan was forced to retire from the ring due to a concussion-injury. Medical professionals would not have cleared Bryan to compete, thus meaning his career was over. But after re-evaluations and more tests some years later, Bryan was given the clear and his path was set.
He had been SmackDown General Manager, and was embroiled in a feud with Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, so it only made sense he would return to get his hands on the pair. Daniel Bryan teamed up with Shane McMahon to pick up the win in front of a jubilant and emotional WWE Universe in New Orleans.
Before moving to the last slide, we want to give an honorable mention to Team Hell-No, the team of Kane and Daniel Bryan that really gave us some entertaining moments. Hey Dr. Shelby, Remember him?
#1. The Daniel Bryan YES! Movement
What a night it was in New Orleans at WrestleMania 30 in 2014, when Daniel Bryan finally captured the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
In what was one of the most passionate and fan-engaged storylines we had ever witnessed leading up to the big moment. Daniel Bryan was constantly battling The Authority of Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, and the fans didn't like their treatment of Bryan. They felt The Authority and WWE were holding Bryan back.
Then, the tide turned. The fans were week by week getting more behind Daniel Bryan which resulted in a YES! Movement being created. YES!, of course, being Bryan's signature trademark gesture. The YES! Movement grew louder and louder and WWE had no choice but to put the former American Dragon in the spots that the WWE Universe wanted to see him.
At WrestleMania 30, Daniel Bryan defeated Triple H in the opening contest to earn his place in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship main event, which also involved Batista and Randy Orton. In the main event, even after being carried out due to injury, Bryan returned and made Batista tap out.
Being there personally on the night in New Orleans was one of those feel-good moments that will last a lifetime. Bryan had finally done it, the fans had finally done it. This was the WWE Universe's night, and what a celebration it was. It will go down as Daniel Bryan's greatest moment in WWE. YES! YES! YES!