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Grimmas

Daniel Bryan

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The last 2 years of Rey's last WWE run were definitely well outside of his prime and probably the worst two years of his career since breaking onto the American scene. He was real busted up and looked like he was on the verge of hanging it up. Leaving the WWE and going a couple of years without a wellness policy really revived his career and body. 

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If the rumors are true about Bryan going to AEW and having an opportunity to work in other promotions such as NJPW, he should have  every opportunity to bolster his resume in a big way. Regardless of what one thinks about the move (I - for one - am pretty pumped about it), it seems quite likely that he will have a lot of opportunities for in-ring success. I suspect he is going to be picked apart as a legit #1 contender as the project ebbs and flows over the next 5 years. This should likely eliminate a lot of the institutional restrictions and subsequent potential excuses. In other words, his path is open, which (barring injury) should be entertaining.

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I'm excited for post WWE Bryan in general, but just looking at it from a GWE perspective it's great news.  4 more years in WWE would have added nothing significant to his resume, he already staked his claim to being the best WWE wrestler of the 2010s.  A run in a hot promotion, with a roster full of fresh matches, booked by a booker that 'gets' Bryan from Day 1 sounds exciting and should pad an already strong resume.  What excites me most is the possibility of Bryan working in Japan or with Japanese talent through AEW partnerships.

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He's my lock for #1. There are two things that set Danielson apart from every modern wrestler (and most of the old school workers too). First everything he does looks like it hurts. Second everything that happens in a Danielson match makes sense in the story of the match. I don't know of a more compelling argument than for 20 years everything he's done has been consistantly good or better. 

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I don't think anybody else in history has been a best in the world contender as long as Bryan. You could say he was one of the BITW since 2002 onwards, nineteen years ago. Even with the 2015-18 gap, that's still fucking amazing, and he keeps adding to his case with a killer 2021 (both in WWE and AEW). I don't think he's gonna get any lower than #2 on my list, and we still have five years to go.

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On 7/28/2021 at 1:44 AM, Ed. said:

A run in a hot promotion, with a roster full of fresh matches, booked by a booker that 'gets' Bryan from Day 1 sounds exciting and should pad an already strong resume.  

Bryan's only a couple of months into his AEW run but already my hopes are paying off.  It's so cool to see Bryan booked as 'the best wrestler in the world' and not Daniel Bryan: The underdog.  I'm loving how he's establishing different finishers in each match, and down the line that's going to pay off big in longer, more important matches.  I thought the Kingston match this past Friday was fantastic.  

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Every time I see him now in AEW, all I can think of is that he is the Greatest Wrestler Ever. He's a perfect synthesis and fusion of all the different styles throughout time and place, and he has the crowd control and charisma.

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I'm rewatching every Danielson's match available.

I want to make a critic to Bryan's selling. Watching his match against Naomichi Marufuji (ROH A New Level 2008), it seemed that even in the final minutes he did not give signs of tirediness. I have the sensation that he didn't sell anything. This is the critic to him in the period 2001-2010. So I don't think that about selling he is not one of the best of all time, IMO he is below wrestlers like Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Kobashi, Misawa, Kawada, Okada, Omega who are among the best sellers of all time, but I think that he also worse at selling than wrestlers like Akiyama, Christopher Daniels, Taue.

After that he is very improved in selling, I think that in AEW he is one of the best of all time, but I can't say the same for the period 2001-2010.

What do you think about that?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFQGbGVKvKE (link Danielson vs Marufuji ROH A New Level 2008)

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The match against Adam Page might have just sealed it for me. If he's not the GOAT, he's the best of the past 20 years that I've seen (as an admittedly US-centric watcher). 

The match against Omega was great and an instant classic, but this was, from beginning to end, just an absolutely flawless performance out of him. Every facial expression. Every strike. Every sell. The pacing. The variety of submissions and throws. The fact that there wasn't a single "rest hold" in any of the 60 minutes because he works every hold. 

As someone else said in the thread about Dynamite, I think its also no small feat that by the end of the match, Adam Page came out looking better than he did going in. 

I've been trying fairly hard to turn my older brother - not a regular wrestling viewer for any time over the past 25 years - to try AEW and this is the type of match that I think he would've loved and much of that goes to Bryan. If I was explaining it to my brother, who grew up watching Clash of the Champions shows in the late 80s and early 90s, it might be reductionist and incorrect even but I'd say that his match this week was him updating and improving on what Ric Flair once did. Page might be the champion, but Bryan is "the measuring stick," and represents something that even Kenny Omega doesn't - a guy that won "the big one" on the biggest wrestling show in America for the biggest company in America. Which is part of why Adam Page came out of this better; he didn't necessarily need to win, he did enough just by hanging in there. (Plus, isn't that kinda Adam Page's "thing"? That he's not a Superman? That every new big challenge he faces comes with a "learning curve" he has to triump over?)

Anyway, like the 30-minute Omega match months ago, Daniel Bryan did something I don't think many or any US wrestler could really do and kept me interested and engaged for 60 minutes (obviously the commercial breaks were annoying, but then again, it did give me a chance to pause the match and use the bathroom). It was just a total masterclass by him and, while it certainly wasn't a carry job, I''m going to go ahead and say that this wouldn't have worked with any other wrestler in Bryan's role, or at least no other wrestler that I've seen.

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This AEW run has been phenomenal and will probably lock him in as my #1 pick, which is not what I would have expected a few years ago. Part of it is that I'm not quite sure who the number two talent in wrestling is right now, but it feels like Danielson is operating several levels above everyone, even other great wrestlers. Does anyone else even come close right now? I don't think it's hyperbole to say this stretch he's been on since mid-September is one of the greatest runs any pro wrestler has ever had.

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57 minutes ago, Loss said:

Part of it is that I'm not quite sure who the number two talent in wrestling is right now, but it feels like Danielson is operating several levels above everyone, even other great wrestlers. Does anyone else even come close right now?

I am doing my list of wrestlers of 2021. Syuri and Utami are easily above him. I think Mercedes Martinez is a better wrestler today. Thunder Rosa too. I could go on.

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10 hours ago, Loss said:

This AEW run has been phenomenal and will probably lock him in as my #1 pick, which is not what I would have expected a few years ago. Part of it is that I'm not quite sure who the number two talent in wrestling is right now, but it feels like Danielson is operating several levels above everyone, even other great wrestlers. Does anyone else even come close right now? I don't think it's hyperbole to say this stretch he's been on since mid-September is one of the greatest runs any pro wrestler has ever had.

Shingo did enough in the first half of the year that I still had him as WOTY, but would've certainly had Danielson 1 if his first 8 months looked at all like his last 4.

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Do we need to rein Danielson in a bit? WingedEagle's post highlights what I mean. When given the appropriate springboard to leap from he hits great heights but, without it, he's not on that same level. It's easier to deliver hit after hit when you're only given the opportunity and opponents to do so.

I'd be keen to see some reevaluation closer to the deadline where Danielson is wrestling on a more consistent basis as well as when the novelty factor has worn off.

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I do think there's a bit of a "Public Enemy is the best tag team in the world" stuff that goes along with a lot of the AEW stuff, but the stuff Bryan did with Roman in WWE before he left was also great. So it's not all hype and sure he's being given opportunities to have the sorts of matches that no one else is, but he's been on a pretty incredible run. 

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1 hour ago, Rah said:

Do we need to rein Danielson in a bit? WingedEagle's post highlights what I mean. When given the appropriate springboard to leap from he hits great heights but, without it, he's not on that same level. It's easier to deliver hit after hit when you're only given the opportunity and opponents to do so.

I'd be keen to see some reevaluation closer to the deadline where Danielson is wrestling on a more consistent basis as well as when the novelty factor has worn off.

That's true of every single wrestler ever. There are no wrestlers I can think of who have had great runs without being given an opportunity, setting or opponents to do so.

I don't like most AEW matches that others like because I like more grounded wrestling, so this isn't that, at least not from me. The matches against Omega, Page, Suzuki, Dustin, Miro and Kingston are one hell of a case booster, with the matches against Nick Jackson, John Silver and Anthony Bowens being a step below that while still excellent.

And yes, he was having a great first four months in WWE even before leaving, just not in a way that felt transcendent. But I love the Reigns matches and the WM main event. I think he has also added quite a bit to his case since we last did this between the 2018 feuds with Styles and Kingston, that Styles match that is probably the GOAT empty arena match for me and the Brock match.

I'm all for creating some space between this run and an evaluation of it, but I also don't think we should be afraid to call it what it is or talk about how we're reacting to it now.

I can say though if I was submitting a ballot today, he'd be number one.

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21 hours ago, Rah said:

It's easier to deliver hit after hit when you're only given the opportunity and opponents to do so.

Loss covered it in general, but to be more specific to Bryan, I feel like his career proves he's more than just someone who delivers when put with the right opponent.  The guy spent a decade in WWE where he had to face a variety of talent level and they only trusted him in big spots when it suited them.  A great Wrestlemania match against Kofi Kingston isn't a given, because we're not talking about Kofi Kingston as a top 100 guy who was having tremendous singles matches with other opponents.  A great match with Triple H isn't a given, because we're not talking about Triple H as a top 100 guy.  A great match with Bray Wyatt isn't a given, because we certainly aren't talking about Bray as a top 100 guy.  I go back and forth on whether Bryan or Christian was Orton's best rival in WWE, but needless to say I don't see Orton finishing in the top 100 either.  The Miz? forget about it.

No doubt the AEW run is providing us a chance to see what Bryan's 30s would have been like if he was promoted by WWE as 'the best wrestler in the world', so it's given us more frequent great matches, but his case for GWE is much deeper than he had great matches with other great wrestlers.  He isn't someone who sparkles for a few nights in the G1 and then does nothing for the rest of the year.

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58 minutes ago, Ed. said:

A great match with Triple H isn't a given, because we're not talking about Triple H as a top 100 guy.  A great match with Bray Wyatt isn't a given, because we certainly aren't talking about Bray as a top 100 guy.  I go back and forth on whether Bryan or Christian was Orton's best rival in WWE, but needless to say I don't see Orton finishing in the top 100 either.  The Miz? forget about it.


I wanna talk about this part of the post, cos I'm not on the same page here. Triple H to me is clearly a top 100 guy, Orton is an edge case. And I don't think Bryan ever had anything resembling a real great match with The Miz or Bray Wyatt.

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Wyatt's 2014 Rumble and Miz's 2018 SummerSlam are both definitely great matches. And Bryan also has really good stuff with The Fiend years later, something nobody else did.

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23 hours ago, Rah said:

Do we need to rein Danielson in a bit? WingedEagle's post highlights what I mean. When given the appropriate springboard to leap from he hits great heights but, without it, he's not on that same level. It's easier to deliver hit after hit when you're only given the opportunity and opponents to do so.

I'd be keen to see some reevaluation closer to the deadline where Danielson is wrestling on a more consistent basis as well as when the novelty factor has worn off.

Apologies if I wasn't clear -- my post above was a reference to calendar 2021 and Loss's discussion about his view of Danielson in the current scene.  I still rank his work last year behind only Shingo for that 365 day period.  For all time purposes Danielson remains #1 today as he did in my mind on 1/1/2021.

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This AEW run has also started a weird narrative were it seems Bryan's time in WWE was wasted (the most negative take) or that it was good but not close to his best version (the most positive take).

To me, his n°1 candidacy relies on those 9 years in WWE as an active wrestler. That tenure showed he could work as a pure babyface, could work and get incredibly over as a comedy act (while having decent at worst, fun at best matches with Kane as a tag team partner) get the best performance possible from a number of average to slightly above average wrestlers in setting with limitations to the style that could be worked - at least until his first retirement, after that he basically did whatever he wanted in the E'- and work very different styles and roles. Always getting over when given the slightest of time and opportunity and always making the product and opponent better. He's one of the few that could have a legit conversation against Rey being the GOAT TV worker, he'd lose in that argument, imo, but he has a case.

We knew Danielson could have big, epic matches before WWE. We know now he can still have big, epic matches 20 years into his career and can have them at a ridiculous rate, as this current AEW run has shown. But his WWE stint showed a ton of stuff we had no clue he could do or that we thought he just wasn't good at when he was in the indies. AND he still managed to have big, epic matches with a variety of opponents that were quite different to what he faced in the indies and AEW.

I don't think Dragon is a n°1 lock, at all. But as someone that has seen almost everything of him on tape, I fail to see why he wouldn't be in the conversation for the top spot. I often read people here or on the Discord wanting to see those that argue for Danielson as n°1 to challenge his case more. I think that should happen, he has holes just as every single candidate on this project. But I also think people that are not convinced with his n°1 case should take the time to expound on that too. The only one that I've seen do that is Matt D, and he does a great job at it. Elliot rightfully challenged the "best in the world every year since he debuted" take which was a hot/wild take to begin with. Maybe the versus section should have more activity so people can explain what other top candidates do better than him, at least there was some interesting stuff in the vs Kobashi thread, were there's an argument made that Danielson's output isn't as impressive when compared to other top candidates.

On 1/10/2022 at 10:38 AM, Rah said:



I'd be keen to see some reevaluation closer to the deadline where Danielson is wrestling on a more consistent basis as well as when the novelty factor has worn off.

Not sure what you mean by this? He worked every single week since the Omega match up until the end of the year were he took 1 off before the rematch with Hangman.

3 hours ago, El McKell said:


I wanna talk about this part of the post, cos I'm not on the same page here. Triple H to me is clearly a top 100 guy, Orton is an edge case. And I don't think Bryan ever had anything resembling a real great match with The Miz or Bray Wyatt.

Now this is the stuff this thread needs, as those two opponents (in the average/slight above average category) are big to Danielson's case. Do you think Miz and Wyatt had something resembling a real great match against other opponents? or they never reached that level against anyone to you? If they did, I'd be interested in reading what those matches had that the Bryan ones didn't.

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The Kofi match. for me, is the crowning achievement of his career. He convinced people that they had wanted Kofi to be world champ for years and then it culminated in a great match on Wrestlemania. 

Also, not sure why Miz is taking so much heat in this thread. In terms of being a good wrestler, he's closer to Bryan than he is to Bray Wyatt. 

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Bryan's AEW run feels like a culmination of everything he has done so far. The Page 60-minute draw would probably not be as good if he didn't have all that experience of having long matches in ROH and knowing what works and what doesn't. His heel work since he originally became no.1 contender feels like an extension of his heel work against Kofi. The Omega match was hugely built around Bryan's 'suicidal babyface' style from 2012-2015. And the difference in almost every match he's had speaks to just how well-travelled he was during his indie run. Number 5 for me as of now, but for sure a number 1 contender (though in all likelihood I don't think he'll reach it).

 

Also, Miz is basically a blank state as a wrestler, in that he always wrestles to the level of his opponents performance.

 

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1 hour ago, Reel said:

The Kofi match. for me, is the crowning achievement of his career. He convinced people that they had wanted Kofi to be world champ for years and then it culminated in a great match on Wrestlemania. 

Also, not sure why Miz is taking so much heat in this thread. In terms of being a good wrestler, he's closer to Bryan than he is to Bray Wyatt. 

Yeah Miz was never a workrate darling or anything but he's incredibly good at the fundamentals and works around them excellently with his heel persona: when matched with someone who can equally perform on his level as a babyface, you get some actually really great matches at times. Never forget that it was Miz that got mid-card hell Ziggler to maybe his best match in years.

 

 

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Miz grew into a solid wrestler who works very well as a heel but that was not the case in 2010-2011. It was his matches with Bryan and Lawler that started to turn the perception around him.

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4 hours ago, Jmare007 said:

Elliot rightfully challenged the "best in the world every year since he debuted" take which was a hot/wild take to begin with.

I don't think anyone ever claimed this.

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