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Grimmas

Daniel Bryan

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I'm not in love with his ROH run honestly. Those 30 minute matches are exhausting and are something that I never really want to seek out again with some exceptions. I'll watch the Nigel matches but fuck watching those Roderick Strong matches that never end. I'd much prefer watching Austin Aries who works in a brisker pace at a similar quality level, even if Bryan is way more smarter and talented. Bryan has a lengthy run sheet of great matches against plenty of opponents despite some of the flaws of the style in Ring Of Honor. He was also able to adapt and help change the style in WWE somewhat. He turned into a more traditional make comeback guy and turned into one of the best babyaces in wrestling. An excellent wrestler. It's just little things that keep him in that 50-40. 

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Worth noting that Bryan hasn't had a normal (I mean I'm not including gauntlets, Royal Rumbles etc) match go 30+ minutes since 2009. I think he's learned the right lessons from being in some excessively long stuff in the 00s and became a greater wrestler.

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I don't see Bryan in my top 5, but I am probably going to be more forgiving for tendencies I don't like in his work before he turned, let's say 25 in 2006, than I will be for stuff after that. That's just an arbitrary date but you get the idea. Maybe that's just a way for me to avoid matches I don't want to watch for those years though.

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Has anyone this century been able to pull off a "hug it out" type of match/segment like Bryan and Kane did in 2012? It's pretty crazy to think they had a crowd go crazy over them trying to hug or not. Sure it was in Chicago, but that kind of crowd can just start trolling and making fun of it and make the segment all about themselves instead of being lead to react like Bryan and Kane did.

Does that kind of stuff qualify more as a promo even though they didn't talk and it was all about charisma and body language?

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2 hours ago, Kadaveri said:

Worth noting that Bryan hasn't had a normal (I mean I'm not including gauntlets, Royal Rumbles etc) match go 30+ minutes since 2009. I think he's learned the right lessons from being in some excessively long stuff in the 00s and became a greater wrestler.

It's definitely something that ROH wanted with Gabe famously trying to make the ROH Title into the new NWA Heavyweight Title with the classic 60 draws. 

 

WWE rarely goes past 30 minutes unless it's an Iron man match. It's definitely noticeable when the matches go long, outside of modern NXT. 

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I think we're overstating the degree to which his ROH run was comprised of lengthy epics. Outside of his 15 months with the title, when Gabe was booking him to wrestle that way, he rarely went longer than 30 minutes. Even during 2006, which was the peak of it, he wrestled nine singles matches that went 30+ (per Cagematch), which is a lot but not crazy. I haven't revisited those matches in awhile, so I'm not sure how they hold up, but I suspect based on memory that at least half of them are excellent. Then you look at 2007 after he came back from the injury and he was clearly working a more streamlined style. I don't know; I just don't view it as any kind of smudge on his career. 

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I was going to say something similar to what childs posted.  It wasn't like his entire run was littered with these long drawn out matches.

It is somewhat a matter of taste, but I went back and revisited a lot of the stuff he did from that time about a year or two ago and it held up much better than I thought. Even that 50+ minute roddy match that has taken a beating here was better than I recall. I'm not saying it will be everyone's cup of tea or that that it was must see, but I liked it more than I remember and was sort of dreading the rewatch. 

I would also add that there needs to be some clarity on an important distinction. Are people anti-long matches or is the argument that Bryan was bad at them? I don't think he was the most refined long match worker, but I would say he is generally pretty good at working a longer match that unfolds in compelling ways. It is no easy task.

In turn, I sort of stand by my original take on it. If he has a sin that is it. It does bring some matches down just a notch at least (for example, off the top of my head I think the last morishima match would have been better if it were 3-6 minutes shorter).  But I don't see it as a real negative given the context and the fact that I think I'm a bit higher than some clearly are on those.

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I agree the "too much lengthy epics in RoH" criticism isn't really based on that many matches. But Bryan's a strong #1 contender now so people are going to overly focus on his flaws to see if his case really holds up, and that's fine and proper.

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For the 2016 project, I watched a huge Bryan in WWE set from start to finish and I was really impressed with his first few months of WWE work where he's doing these 10-12 minute matches with a lot of mat work against guys like Cody, Dibiase Jr and Dolph and carrying them to interesting matches and getting fans to really react to some of the nasty looking submissions Bryan would whip out. I wonder if anyone's revisited that period of his career in the last few years?

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There isn't that many matches, sure. But it's something that really defines his title reign for me. It's something that comes to mind immediately which is why people like myself and Micro mention those matches over the majority of matches that are way shorter. 

And while they usually aren't bad, but like Micro said, there isn't much there and can leave something to be desired. I certainly don't have a wish to rewatch them anytime soon. Rewatchability is a key aspect in a wrestler for me. How much do I actively want to seek out a match or a period of wrestling for a certain wrestling. I really want to watch a lot of Jerry Lawler's matches in Memphis, for example. I don't really want to seek out more Bryan Danielson during his title reign. And I've watched the lot of it already so it's not just me presuming based on match time alone or anything superficial like that. 

It's only a small part of his career though. Something that would only take him down a few places in the top 100. 

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The Bryan/Nigel match with the ring post headbutt spot disgusted me so much I completely gave up on indie wrestling probably until up to 2015 or so when I'd occasionally find a PWG show to watch.

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1 hour ago, strobogo said:

The Bryan/Nigel match with the ring post headbutt spot disgusted me so much I completely gave up on indie wrestling probably until up to 2015 or so when I'd occasionally find a PWG show to watch.

Damn, what changed for you to then love Shibata concussing himself almost to death against Okada?

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I don't love that part and it also made me sick and furthermore headbutts in NJ since drive me nuts. There's literally zero reason to do real fucking headbutts in a fake fight.

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One of the most fascinating things for me in this project is that Daniel Bryan is my #1 but I'm willing to see if I discover any wrestler who surpasess him or to watch more of some wrestler that makes think he or she's better than Bryan.

He's my favourite of all time so of course I love his ROH title run, I've rewatched a lot of the long matches and I still enjoy them, but you may look for his matches against Necro Butcher and El Generico in PWG Giant Annual Size 2007 to check a "different" match from Bryan during that time, without the 30-min epicness thing.

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Daniel Bryan has the most diverse range of a wrestler I've ever seen he can be in the most technical of technical wrestling matches, the brawling is excellent he can be in comedy he just does it all with just Grace and flare that no one else can. I voted him number one in 2016 because I thought it made sense that he was the greatest wrestler I've ever seen and I thought a lot of people would have thought that. I'm glad that a lot of people are coming around to this thinking now. Bryan is so well-rounded and it's so good at every aspect of wrestling that it's undeniable

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I ranked Daniel Bryan 28th in 2016 and I'm fine with that. I expect he will win in 2026 and probably 2036. I have no further thoughts on Daniel Bryan at this moment. 

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Bryan was my number 24 in 2016 and I'm pretty happy with that, though I'd guess that next time he maybe cracks the top 20. Many people in this very thread have covered him and why he's good. He'll probably be the overall number 1 in 2026 and I don't really have any complaints about that. He's never been a personal favourite and there are periods - or at least highly-regarded matches - from his career that I'm not too high on, but for every 60-minute draw with Colt Cabana there's a Low-Ki match where they do maybe the best US mat wrestling ever. He also has a pretty okay resume of good wrestling matches, if that sort of thing matters to you. 

 

DANIEL BRYAN YOU SHOULD WATCH:

v Low-Ki (ROH Round Robin Challenge, 3/30/02)

v Low-Ki (JAPW, 6/7/02)

v Paul London (ROH Epic Encounter, 4/12/03) 

v AJ Styles (ROH Main Event Spectacles, 11/1/03)

w/Samoa Joe v Austin Aries & Jack Evans (ROH Third Anniversary Celebration: Night 2, 2/25/05)

w/Jay Lathal v Austin Aries & Roderick Strong (ROH Tag Wars 2006, 1/27/06)

v Samoa Joe (ROH Fight of the Century, 8/5/06)

v Necro Butcher (PWG, Giant-Sized Annual #4, 7/29/07)

v Takeshi Morishima (ROH Manhattan Mayhem II, 8/25/07)

v Nigel McGuinness (ROH Sixth Anniversary Show, 2/23/08)

w/Kane & Ryback v The Shield (WWE TLC, 12/16/12)

v HHH (WWE Wrestlemania 30, 4/6/14)

v Brock Lesnar (WWE Survivor Series, 11/18/18)

v Kofi Kingston (WWE Wrestlemania 35, 4/7/19)

v Drew Gulak (WWE Elimination Chamber, 3/8/20)

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Last night I happened to come across Bryan vs. Seth Rollins from RAW, 2013. Not quite a great match, but as a showcase for Bryan to show off his fired-up offense and some incredibly sick submission moves, it was a tremendous outing. DB was over like crazy. 

Watching this match, you could get the impression that WWE was a very hot promotion in 2013, with Daniel Bryan on fire as the lead babyface. Was this actually the case? I wasn't following WWE during this time but I'm skeptical. 

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WWE felt like a hot promotion from late-2012 to mid-2014 I'd say. Certainly when you look at the crowds, who're so consistently enthusiastic about the show it's looks like a different universe to WWE just a few years later. Even if it's cheering for Bryan when he's not there at least they've actively FOR something. Punk retiring, Daniel Bryan getting injured, splitting up The Shield and Lesnar becoming the absentee champion ended that, and that's before the Roman Reigns debacle.

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The stuff Bryan was doing in 2013 was legendary shit. His fire ups and hot tags, you knew you were seeing a historic run in real time and it was fucking awesome. The only thing I can compare it to is when Austin really started popping off in 1997. 

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Thanks for this context. Watching that match from 2013 I was struck by the sheer fact that the crowd was invested in both the work and the outcome of the match -- which seems like a rarity in recent WWE, pandemic notwithstanding. 

I feel like there had been some criticism that Bryan wasn't really that over, it was just the chant that was over; but that seems demonstrably untrue. 

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The idea that Bryan wasn't over, it was the chant that was over was an excuse used by WWE in 2013 to justify why they were basically burying him and trying to kill his heat. Of course they tried to demonstrate that by giving Big Show the Yes chants, and it failed miserably

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